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.