Cops run sting on Lyft: Public Enemy #1 Peer to Peer Ride services

USA By: Tad Lumpkin 2:42 pm

(Vice)- In 2013, there were 46,164 crimes committed within the borders of Florida’s Miami-Dade County, and 6,468 of those were violent crimes such as homicide, forcible rape, and aggravated assault. Now, though that represents a 15 percent drop in violence since 2009, there is still quite a bit for cops to do—yet officers are so bored that they’ve resorted to carrying out sting operations on drivers for the peer-to-peer car service Lyft.

On Wednesday and Thursday, after booking rides as passengers, undercover Miami-Dade cops impounded two drivers’ cars and fined them for operating a vehicle for hire without the proper licenses. Lyft, which operates in 60 cities, provides a way for people in need of a taxi to get a ride from a driver of a private car (adorned with the company’s signature pink mustache), after which the passenger gives the driver a “donation.” Lyft says it’s technically not a taxi service—it’s a community of drivers and people who need rides—and therefore doesn’t need to be regulated as such, though that assertion has made a lot of taxi and limo companies mighty angry. Lyft came to the Miami-Dade area just three weeks ago, and apparently its drivers there weren’t aware that what they were doing is technically illegal. They definitely didn’t think that the cops would resort to posing as passengers in order to arrest them.

The taxi-company-led backlash against Lyft and similar car services is a nationwide trend. In the last few months, Madison, Wisconsin; Houston; Austin; and Pittsburgh have also seen Lyft drivers ticketed and slapped with fines ranging from $25 to $2,000 for operating illegal cabs or similar no-nos. And last week the Virginia DMV banned Lyft and the slightly classier Uber, which means stings may be coming to that state as well. (It’s important to note that many of the cities Lyft operates in aren’t exactly flooded with legal cabs—Pittsburgh, for instance, barely has any.)

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SOURCE: Cops run sting on Lyft: Public Enemy #1 Peer to Peer Ride serviceshttp://www.vice.com/read/the-police-are-cracking-down-on-ridesharing-services-that-make-cab-rides-cheap

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