Contact Center Industry News

TMCNet:  Detroit reaches operating agreement with Lyft ride service [Detroit Free Press :: ]

[May 03, 2014]

Detroit reaches operating agreement with Lyft ride service [Detroit Free Press :: ]

(Detroit Free Press (MI) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) May 04--One of the two smartphone-hailed ride services in Detroit has been given a temporary legal blessing by the city.

Lyft and the city signed a two-year agreement Friday that will allow the San Francisco-based transportation company to continue service in Detroit in exchange for adhering to new safety and insurance requirements.

-- Tom Walsh: Uber Technologies brings touch-screen transit service to Detroit Prior to Friday's deal, Lyft, like its competitor Uber in metro Detroit and Ann Arbor, was operating in a legal gray area in regard to Detroit's "vehicles for hire" regulations. Both companies use smartphone applications to match fare-seeking drivers with riders.

"It's a win-win situation," Detroit Corporation Counsel Melvin (Butch) Hollowell, the city's top lawyer, said Saturday. "It recognizes our needs to ensure that the public is protected, and it embraces the new business model that we think is good for transportation in the city." Lyft and Uber recruit regular folks to be drivers using their personal vehicles. Both assert that existing state and city regulations for the cab and chauffeur business should not apply to them, as they don't own vehicle fleets and instead function as high-tech coordinators and middlemen.

Under the new agreement, Lyft will need to conduct police background checks on its drivers and provide proof that all of its drivers have commercial-grade auto insurance, similar to that which traditional cab drivers carry. It also establishes a "strenuous" vehicle inspection program.

Lyft drivers adorn their vehicles with pink fuzzy mustaches.

Lyft spokeswoman Paige Thelen hailed the agreement and applauded the city for having "recognized the value of peer-to-peer transportation and embraced innovation in a way that will forge a path for other cities and states to follow." Hollowell said he considers the agreement to be an interim fix until the Detroit City Council can take action to possibly update the city's official regulations. He acknowledged the car ride service would still need to meet any state requirements.

"It's a new form of transportation," Hollowell said, "and frankly one of the reasons it's become so popular is people are not totally satisfied with taxicab service." Although Lyft drivers will now have to pay significantly more for insurance coverage, they will not have to pay to register themselves as drivers for hire, a cost of up to $2,000 for a taxi bond plate. Hollowell said he believes there is "room for interpretation" in current regulations that might classify Lyft drivers as such.

The city has yet to reach any similar agreement with Uber, the first of the two companies to arrive in Detroit. In February, Hollowell's office sent Uber a "cease and desist" notice.

"Until they get the green light from us, that cease and desist is in full force and effect," Hollowell said. "That means that they're subject to what the penalties in the ordinance are, which are very substantial fines and potential criminal penalties." An Uber representative could not immediately be reached for comment Saturday.

Contact JC Reindl: 313-222-6631 or Follow him on Twitter @JCReindl.

___ (c)2014 the Detroit Free Press Visit the Detroit Free Press at Distributed by MCT Information Services

[ Back To Cloud Contact Center's Homepage ]


Featured Resources

Featured Report
Millennial Research on Customer Service Expectations

Millennial Research on Customer Service Expectations

The "why" behind this research is simple: our clients recognize that different generations bring different expectations, varied communication preferences and new customer service patterns to the customer experience...
Featured Report
Optimizing the Customer Experience through Cloud Contact Centers

Optimizing the Customer Experience through Cloud Contact Centers

Adoption of cloud contact centers is on the rise. Findings from Aberdeen's January 2014 'Public Cloud vs. On-Premise: How to More Effectively Deploy a Cloud Center' study shows that 31% of contact centers are deployed in the cloud, and our related blog post highlights that companies anticipate their adoption of cloud technology to rise further throughout 2014...
Featured Report
Aberdeen report

Aberdeen Report: Cloud for Mid-Sized Contact Centers – What You Must Know

Cloud Technology is opening new doors for many businesses. However, it does so only when it's combined with the use of best practices and key technology enablers. This document highlights the adoption of cloud technology by mid-size contact centers and illustrates the reasons driving their investments...
Featured Whitepaper
Aberdeen report

Seven Critical Capabilities to Demand From Your Cloud Contact Center Provider

To deliver a world-class customer experience, your contact center must be flexible and reliable, while providing all the tools agents and supervisors need to manage their workflows. Here are seven critical capabilities to look for when deploying a contact center in the cloud...
Featured Webinar

Contact Center Economics and the Cloud

Together, Bob and Drew will help you understand the economic value of upgrading technology, important business and financial considerations, and how to compare total cost of ownership of a premises vs. cloud or hosted solution. Watch the webinar on-demand now...
Featured Datasheet
Zipwire Cloud Contact Center

Zipwire Cloud Contact Center

The appeal of moving services to the cloud is obvious. Cloud services offer reliability and robust feature sets without the need to implement or maintain complex contact center infrastructure. The Zipwire™ cloud-based contact center allows businesses to leverage the flexibility and cost savings of cloud architecture while offering a seamless, first-class customer experience...