We launched Lyft in June 2012, and over the past five months it has captured the imagination of the city by demonstrating the power of peer-to-peer ridesharing. More than anything, we believe in the power of community to solve the biggest problems that our generation faces from the economy, to the environment, to how we interact with our city and the people around us. From day one, we knew the road ahead would come with challenges. Transportation has historically been a highly regulated industry, and the existing regulations weren’t designed to imagine a world where two neighbors who have never met are able to connect within a matter of minutes to share a ride across town.
In August, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued Lyft, along with other ridesharing companies, a cease and desist letter. Since receiving the letter, we’ve had productive conversations with the CPUC in an ongoing process to accommodate new services that don’t fit within existing regulations. Yesterday three companies (Lyft, Sidecar and Uber) were issued a citation from the CPUC. The CPUC cited Lyft with a $20,000 fine, claiming that we are a charter-party carrier. We oppose this citation as Lyft is not a charter-party carrier, we are a peer-to-peer ridesharing platform. This is a case of regulators trying to put us into a box that doesn’t fit. Lyft operations will continue as normal.
We responded to the CPUC immediately and have already had a positive follow-up meeting with them. Everyone at the table understands that the existing regulations have not caught up to the latest innovations. The CPUC understands the importance of ridesharing and they are discussing opening up a rulemaking process to design new regulations that support peer-to-peer transportation.
We respect the CPUC’s role in protecting public safety, and we share safety as our top priority. Lyft’s driver screening process uses strict criteria based on criminal background checks and DMV record checks. We also have a high bar for insurance. The CPUC requires that licensed sedans carry $750,000 of liability coverage, whereas Lyft designed a first-of-its-kind $1 million excess liability policy. We will continue to work with the CPUC to ensure our shared goals for consumer safety are met.
Peer-to-peer transportation is worth defending and we stand by our community of mustache-sporting Lyfters. The economic, environmental and community benefits that services like Lyft bring to local communities are worth fighting for — and now more than ever before we need to stand together. Now is the time to take action and respectfully tell the CPUC and Governor’s Office that you believe in the power of community to solve our greatest problems.
To help, please respectfully voice your support for Lyft and the peer-to-peer ridesharing movement:
1) The CPUC: 415-703-2074, firstname.lastname@example.org
2) The Governor’s office: 916-445-2841 or Email Form
3) Sign this petition to support peer-to-peer ridesharing
We appreciate your support and will continue moving forward.
Logan Green & John Zimmer
Co-Founders, Lyft & Zimride