Lyft Had a Rocky Start in NYC Over the WeekendBy: Josh Wolford - July 29, 2014
Fresh off its kinda victory on Friday in New York City, Lyft launched in all five boroughs to much fanfare. Unfortunately, high demands coupled with an underwhelming workforce and newly-imposed regulations made getting a Lyft driver a real headache in the Big Apple.
Folks took to Twitter to vent.
— Farnoosh Torabi (@FARNOOSH) July 27, 2014
— Ashish Singal (@ashishsingal1) July 28, 2014
— pbj (@patrickbjohnson) July 27, 2014
— Brittany Megan Wayne (@brittanywayne) July 28, 2014
— Thomas Cantwell (@AstoriaTom) July 28, 2014
There was also the issue of Lyft’s “Prime Time pricing”:
— Andrew Keller (@andrewdkeller) July 27, 2014
Lyft has been fielding tweets like this since their Friday launch.
@AstoriaTom Hi Thomas, sorry about this. We know waiting is frustrating and we're working to get more drivers on the road in Manhattan asap.
— Lyft (@lyft) July 28, 2014
According to an admittedly unscientific experiment by DNAinfo New York, there were “no more than two cars on the road at a time in the five boroughs — and most times, no car could be found at all.”
NY Mag confirmed this shortage, saying that “no drivers were available” in all of Manhattan on multiple app checks.
“We are working hard to grow our community of drivers as quickly as possible to meet this overwhelming demand,” said Lyft in a statement. “Tens of thousands of New York residents across all five boroughs opened the Lyft app to request a ride over the weekend, and we look forward to adding more drivers and giving all New Yorkers access to safe, friendly and reliable rides.”
It could, in fact, be some pretty hard work ahead for Lyft. In order to be able to launch last Friday, Lyft had to make a major concession to the city’s Taxi and Limo Commission. Lyft had to give up a major aspect of what makes Lyft (and Uber and others like it) true peer-to-peer ride-sharing services – Lyft drivers in New York City will have to be licensed by the TLC.
That clearly makes it harder to quickly populate the drivers pool.
And a thin workforce is obviously not what you want in a city the size of New York.
If you can get a ride in NYC, it’s going to be free for a while. All new users have received 50(!) free rides for the first two weeks. And you could have a fun experience…
— David Perell (@david_perell) July 26, 2014
Image via @ashishsingal1, Twitter