After a few weeks of setbacks and standoffs, Lyft has found a way to bring its car service to New York City: just abandon the core of its business model. The ride-sharing startup, which lets ordinary people with privately-owned cars use its service to sell rides to one another, will launch Friday as more of a conventional, Uber-like service that deploys only licensed livery drivers.
Lyft has wanted to come to New York for quite some time, and over the last two weeks Lyft’s dispute with state and city officials has become the conflict du jour between a sharing economy startup and local government. The fate of similar startups in the big city has set an ominous backdrop to Lyft’s ordeal. After Sidecar, another ride-sharing company, staged a local launch last year, it only stuck around for a few weeks.
And so it goes. This round goes to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the NY’s Taxi and Limousine Commission.