Ride-hailing service Lyft on Friday will begin operations in New York City, having reached an agreement with the state and the taxi and limousine commission.
This follows two weeks of negotiations, after Lyft announced it would be opening shop in New York City without any sort of official licensing and regulators roadblocked it.
But the deal comes with major concessions from Lyft: New York drivers will have to already be licensed by the taxi and limousine commission, so it will not be a true peer-to-peer service. (We have asked for clarification about what exactly getting the licenses will entail, but this is the same way Uber operates its UberX service in New York.) The company will also shut down its previously launched services in Buffalo and Rochester later this summer as it figures out a way to get insurance that will satisfy the state.
Lyft said the service would begin at 7 pm tonight in all five New York boroughs.
The company said it still hopes to figure out a way to operate its normal model of “neighbors driving neighbors in their personal cars.”
In a statement about the news, New York attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman and financial services superintendent Benjamin M. Lawsky said, “We are firmly committed to the notion that regulators can work constructively with companies so that new ideas can come to the market — and that smart regulation should create an environment where innovators can compete. Lyft’s launch in New York City — in full compliance with laws and regulations — is proof positive of this principle.”