Lyft Free To Operate in KC Until September Trial, Federal Judge Rules

Ride-sharing service Lyft can continue to operate in Kansas City at least until after a three-day trial set to begin Sept. 17.  | Courtesy of Creative Commons
Ride-sharing service Lyft can continue to operate in Kansas City at least until after a three-day trial set to begin Sept. 17. | Courtesy of Creative Commons

A federal judge on Wednesday denied Kansas City’s request for a temporary restraining order against Lyft.

District Judge Brian Wimes’ decision means that the San Francisco-based ride-sharing service will be free to operate in Kansas City at least until a scheduled three-day trial is held beginning on Sept. 17.

In his decision, Wimes wrote that Kansas City failed to prove that Lyft would cause “irreparable harm absent the order and that the city has not exhausted its available legal remedies at this point.

For example, Lyft drivers have been ticked, but the city has not processed the citations through the municipal court system. It also has not acted on Lyft’s lack of a business license.

Lyft, which pairs part-time drivers with passengers through a smartphone app, has been at odds with the city since its arrival on April 24.

The city’s request for a temporary restraining order, filed on May 9, accused Lyft of violating city ordinances related to taxi services, and of putting the general public risk at risk due to a lack of regulation.

Lyft, which on May 14 won a motion to move the lawsuit to federal courtalleges that Kansas City is attempting to preserve the revenues and market dominance enjoyed by the companies that are operating under the provisions of the city’s ordinances. 

A judge ordered a temporary restraining order for Lyft in the St. Louis area just three days after its arrival to the area in late April, forbidding Lyft from doing business and forcing it to disable its mobile app for the city and surrounding county.

Lyft is locked in a lawsuit with the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission, where it asserts it is not a taxi service and does not fall under the MTC’s jurisdiction.


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