The Outkast Agency, a national PR firm for Lyft, one the largest rideshare companies in the U.S., sent a press release early Thursday announcing Lyft’s plans to operate in Key West beginning at noon the same day. Currently, ridesharing of any kind is illegal in Key West proper and punishable by up to a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  A request by the Keys Weekly for more information on whether Lyft had found a loophole or was disregarding the city’s ban on ridesharing was returned by Jenna Stokes at the Outkast Agency, who wrote: “In regards to regulation, from the partner side, I know Lyft has been working with state regulators to bring the service to the state. If you have specific questions about the regulatory concerns in Florida, I can connect you with someone from Lyft to provide more context on regulation issues, as it is best to speak to someone from Lyft who more closely handles those issues.” Stokes then referred the Weekly to Chelsea Harrison, Senior Policy Communications Manager for Lyft, who confirmed the company’s plans to begin operating in Key West. “The launch today does include Key West. We’ve wanted to be in the Keys for quite a while and have heard from people in the area that they want access to Lyft’s affordable, reliable rides. Visitors and residents in Key West deserve the modern transportation options found in other Florida cities. We will continue to work with state leaders to advance a uniform set of rules for ridesharing across the state that will expand economic opportunity and consumer choice for all Floridians.” As of Thursday, the Weekly attempted to use Lyft in Key West, but no drivers were available in the area.  However, as of Friday morning, an attempt was made to use Lyft and a driver was immediately available in Key West on the Lyft smart phone app. When asked if any rules or regulations had changed regarding the City’s ban on ridesharing, Key West Mayor Craig Cates said he was unaware of any changes and that current litigation remained in Tallahassee. “We are still waiting to see what happens at the state capital,” said Cates.  “If nothing changes there, I’m ready to bring [a measure to approve ridesharing] back to the dais.” More to come on this story.

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