Cease-and-desist order not keeping Uber, Lyft drivers off the streets.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The city of Memphis is sending cease-and-desist letter s to Uber and Lyft car services.

For now though, drivers say they are staying.

A driver who goes by VJ told WREG, “The only communication I’ve had is from Uber and they say we’ve got your back. They say they’ve been in this rodeo before.”

This rodeo, as the driver put it, is happening in places like New York City, San Francisco, and here in Memphis.

City officials say these companies don’t have the right credentials, the right permitting, or proper insurance so they banned them from city streets.

Customers use apps to order a ride, then use a credit card to give a suggested donation and/or tip the independent drivers.

Because the money is a donation, the businesses avoid operating as a business.

The drivers are checked out by the companies, cars are inspected and they are insured.

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

Owners and drivers at the cab companies don’t think it’s fair they face regulations that ride share companies do not.

VJ said, “The letter went to Uber and Lyft.  Not to us. So as far as I’m concerned Memphis hasn’t told me personally anything.”

The companies are actually encouraging drivers to stay on the streets.

VJ drives for both Uber and Lyft, and she took calls all weekend.

Chris Cline said, “It’s a risky move, a very risky move.”

He uses these ride sharing services because they are more reliable than a regular cab, and more affordable.

“It’s about one third cheaper. Very noticeable,” said Cline.

As far as we know the passengers are legally allowed to request these car services.

Drivers say they are keeping an eye out for law enforcement while they are taking calls.

“If they impound my car or ticket me I know I’m covered,” VJ added.

People in Memphis don’t know how the city will enforce this ban, and they say the consumers are the ones suffering.

Cline told us, “It’s one more thing the city of Memphis is trying to keep us from doing.”

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.

10 comments

  • Jan

    Molly— I’m the driver who passed by you downtown around 5:30 pm today in the blue BMW 3 series. I would love to have stopped to talk to you, but I was en route to a passenger. Please make a distinction between and cease and desist “letter” and an “order” in your newscasts. They are legally not the same thing and as a result you are broadcasting misleading and incorrect information. There has been no court order telling drivers to get off the streets. Furthermore, Lyft drivers have been in contact with Lyft HQ and the alleged cease and desist letter that you’re reporting “went out” on Friday has not even been received by HQ yet. Therefore, it is entirely appropriate that none of us have stopped operating. There is nothing to respond to yet.

  • MassiveAttack

    use both services multiple times a week – very pleased. City is misguided. Cab company business model is outdated, they lose. if it comes down to a cab company or not going out, I’m not going out, unfortunately there are some who would just as soon drive drunk than pay inflated cab fairs. uber & lyft are the future of low-fair car ride services

  • Chris A

    From the Lyft blog:

    “In 2012, Lyft worked with insurance industry leaders to pioneer our $1M excess liability insurance coverage to protect our community members. We stand behind this policy that, from the beginning, was designed to drop down to the first dollar and act as primary in the case that a driver’s personal policy does not respond. Millions of rides later, the policy has worked as designed and provided excellent coverage for the community. This policy has also been shared and approved by local officials across the country. In other jurisdictions, local leaders have asked us to provide more specific primary coverage.

    In response to that feedback from leaders in markets such as New York, California and Seattle, Lyft has voluntarily converted its policy from excess to be primary to a driver’s personal policy during the period from the time a driver accepts a ride request until the time the ride has ended in the app. This major change is part of our continued effort to set the highest standard for trust and safety in transportation.”

    Strong background checks, 19 point vehicle inspections, real time community ratings and zero tolerance policy for alcohol and drugs and violence -increases safety for passengers. Can you say that for a cab? Lyft meets or exceeds taxi insurance in cities and states across the country with a 1 Million $ Liability insurance.

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