By Brix Fowler, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
Almost a month after the ride-sharing program Lyft started up in Kansas City, the city says it is still running illegally. This comes after Lyft pushed for its fight against the city to go to federal court.
"It's our right to do and we're trying to protect the Lyft community, so we took advantage of that and now the next step is federal court," said Pat McInerney, the lawyer representing Lyft.
The case is over a restraining order Kansas City, MO, filed against Lyft. The Lyft program uses an app to let people find other people to hitch a ride with instead of calling a cab.
The city says the way they operate is against the law.
The city is also getting criticism, accused of not having enough options for people looking for a ride. Some are even calling it a monopoly.
Yellow Cab runs a majority of the cabs in the city. Its competitors say they have an unfair advantage that has turned the company into a virtual monopoly, but Yellow Cab disagrees.
Mohammed Noor has owned Atlas taxi for 20 years and he says he's about to go out of business.
"It's hurt our business probably 100 percent," he said.
Noor said it's because of Yellow Cab's unfair advantage.
"Yellow Cab. They basically have 95 percent of the business in Kansas City, MO, today," he said.
Noor said he knows why. Yellow Cab has contracts with hotels and other businesses that stop his cab company from working in those areas.
"We're not going to apologize for doing what we think is a really good job," Bill George, who runs Yellow Cab in Kansas City, said.
George admits they do have contracts with hotels and other businesses. He said, though, that's not the reason for his company's success.
"If you provide good service and you're attentive to your customer's needs, hopefully you will gain that business," he said.
But with Yellow Cab owning 60 percent of the city's cabs and the city now taking a hard line with Lyft, some are left to wonder if Kansas Citians have enough options to get around the city.
"We're open to all competition as long as we all follow the set city rules," George said.
"We're already out of business you know. Drivers don't want to come make a payment, they argue with us, we don't make money," Noor said.
Noor said six of his drivers have quit in the last three months because they weren't making enough money.
Lyft cited several procedural issues in their court documents, including that their company is not based in Missouri, while the city is. We'll keep viewers updated on what happens in Federal Court and if people will continue to see Lyft's pink mustaches driving around the metro.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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