Taxi companies want level playing field with Uber and Lyft

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- You can't drive around downtown Memphis anymore without spotting a car sporting a pink mustache.

That mustache indicates the driver works for Lyft.

Ridership continues to grow as companies like Lyft and Uber have hit the MidSouth.

Customers use apps to order a ride, then pay or tip the independent drivers.

Taxi cab companies across the country, including here in Memphis, want to put the brakes on the way ride sharing services are doing business.

Ham Smythe, IV is President of Yellow Cab Checker Cab.

Smythe already made a call to the city permits office to request changes, "We're asking that the city and state enforce existing rules and that's all on for hire services and these are unquestionably for hire services."

That includes carrying 'for hire' transportation insurance.

Smythe isn't the only one with concerns.

The Tennessee Commerce and Insurance Commissioner recently warned of gaps in coverage for Transportation Network Companies.

Legislation that would mean tougher and more expensive requirements led to an all out protest in California.

WREG recently went for a ride with a Lyft driver who told us drivers are put through a background check,.

He also said vehicles are inspected and drivers are set up with a mentor driving skills are tested.

Smythe says it's not enough.

He says taxis follow strict regulations and companies like Uber and Lyft should face the same.

"It means a third party's inspecting to make sure you're doing vehicle background checks, motor vehicle checks, criminal record checks."

Much of this demand for regulation came after a six-year-old girl in California died after being hit by an Uber driver.

Her family is suing and claims the company ignores distracted driving laws due to the way the app works.

The City of Memphis permits office told me they're currently studying their options as it relates to all the companies involved.

Lyft provided the following information about its safety policies and insurance:

• Lyft has a $1,000,000 commercial liability insurance policy that protects drivers and passengers while they're matched on the app.
• Lyft's $1M coverage vastly outpaces that of a Memphis taxi, which is only required to carry a $50K combined single limit policy. Lyft's coverage is 20 times greater than a Memphis taxi.
• This excess liability policy was specially designed to drop down to the first dollar in the event a driver's personal policy isn't collectible.
• Lyft also provides uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage up to $1,000,000.


  • eric

    Having A Simple Background Is Not enough. I will not let my family use a “ride share service”. The requirements are not the the same, be safe call a taxi.

  • Nunya

    Taxi drivers here take advantage. Let me explain how. My husbands car ran out of gas at exit 25. The wonderful taxi driver said he was going to charge him 80 dollars. My husband had no choice since I was out of town. 80 dollars just for a one way drive to exit 25. I don’t care about what they have on the front of them..I care about how they rip people off.

    • eric

      It’s never right to judge
      All people in a group by the actions of one person. Be sure to have your taxi driver run his meter on all trips. If the driver won’t don’t go . Call another there is plenty of taxis out there.

    • eric

      It’s never right to judge
      All people in a group by the actions of one person. Be sure to have your taxi driver run his meter on all trips. If the driver won’t don’t go . Call another there are plenty of taxis out there.

    • Ham Smythe, IV

      Nunya, if you were ripped off by a taxi driver in Memphis, you can be sure that the company with whom he is associated very much wants to know about the facts and so does the City of Memphis Office of Permits. Both will take your complaint seriously! If the facts bear out what you say, he will have his permits and priviledges revoked.

      But we can’t help if you don’t tell us!

      • Tonya

        It has been since the last part of March. My mother passed away on April 19 so I will have to get the information from him as I was not here. This guy was a real gem though and had no problem taking cash. I will ask my husband who he called and I will let you all of you know the name and who he worked for.

  • ikaiyoo

    We have taxi services in Memphis? When did this happen??? I always thought we just had a phone number to call to schedule a pick up from a car that never showed. I have called for a taxi 4 times in my life. 3 never showed and the 4th took 3 1/2 hours to show up. I have used lyft twice. They both showed up in less than 1/2 hour.

  • Danial Lucas

    Ride share apps providing more possibilities to hail stree cabs by tapping rather calling. Cab drivers also passionated to drive uber and pink mustache cars for high earnings.

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