The City of Laredo said late Thursday it has issued a cease and desist letter to the ridesharing company Lyft, which began to offer its services in the Gateway City on Thursday.
City officials said the letter was issued because Lyft drivers are “found to be operating illegally.”
“While it is a positive move on behalf of Lyft to have already selected Laredo as a market that they want to expand to, we are still working on our regulations,” said Robert Eads, assistant city manager, in a statement. “And until these issues are worked out and approved by the City Council, they must stop operating immediately.
“Our hope and goal is to have them and other (transportation network companies) work with us as a municipality.”
The City of Laredo said Lyft did not notify city officials of its pilot program in the community. Lyft representatives and other transportation network companies had previously expressed interest in providing their service in Laredo.
The City of Laredo has been in discussions with companies like Uber, Lyft and an independent provider.
“Eads has been in contact with an executive at the company throughout the day, to request that they work within the bounds of the two ordinances that are currently in effect in the city,” the news release states. “Since the inception of the discussions with the transportation network companies, the City of Laredo has been looking at its current regulatory rules, specifically its taxi cab and transportation for hire ordinances.
“Those ordinances will have to be amended to take into account more of the operating procedures of the transportation network companies, particularly their method of compensation or fees charged for their service.”
In November, the Laredo City Council took action and directed the city manager to explore the possibility of recruiting transportation companies to operate in Laredo.
“I think it is time for our city to catch up with other cities and provide these types of services to our community,” said Councilman Alex Perez Jr. on Thursday. “A strong and vocal group of our community that has been advocating for this type of service has been our millennials and younger population.”