Roberto Baldwin was a reporter for The Next Web in San Francisco between April 2014 and March 2015. Roberto Baldwin was a reporter for The Next Web in San Francisco between April 2014 and March 2015.
When you live in Los Angeles you plan most of your life around traffic. Actually, it’s planning on how you’ll pass the time while stuck in traffic. Lyft is hoping to ease some of that congestion by expanding its multi-passenger ride-sharing service, Lyft Line to the city of angels.
The company announced today that Lyft Line would be rolling out to LA in the next couple of weeks. The initial launch will be limited to a specific group of users and not to a specific geographic area according to the company. So if you’re interested in trying the service out, launch the app and hope for the best.
Lyft launched Lyft Line in San Francisco back in August amongst an announcement flurry of similar services from Uber and Sidecar. Each service offers shared rides with strangers along a similar route at a discounted rate compared to the usual single rider trip.
Unfortunately for all of these startups last week California regulators stated that the their multi-person ride sharing services are not legal. Recode reports that the CPUC sent a letter to Uber about the state prohibiting charging fares to individuals rather than the total amount to all passengers. In other words, you’re not allowed to be a bus.
Uber told Recode in a statement:
We welcome the opportunity to discuss this new form of shared transit with President Peevey and the CPUC to ensure that residents continue to have access to this innovative and sustainable transportation option.
Concerning the CPUC, Lyft sent TNW the following statement:
The CPUC rule cited in the letter was not written expressly for TNCs, and it was also not written to prevent casual carpooling, which has been used by commuters for decades. Lyft Line streamlines the process of connecting commuters who want to share the ride in a safer and more convenient way. We encourage the CPUC to interpret this rule from a 21st century position that puts consumers first and in a way that fits the spirit of the law. We have received an overwhelming response from Californians in support of Lyft Line and we will continue to work closely with the CPUC, as we’ve done since 2012, to secure a future for this innovative option throughout the state of California.
So until that’s sorted out, I guess it’s business as usual as far as these startups are concerned. The Lyft Line feature is available in both the iOS and Android apps.
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