Administration and Regulatory Affairs

Press Release

Houston's Concern with Lyft Expands from Illegal Operations to Safety Issues

March 12, 2014 -- City of Houston investigators are warning Houstonians after discovering evidence that contradicts safety inspection promises made by Lyft, a new commercial transportation provider operating unlawfully in Houston.

"We rode in a Lyft vehicle with an expired State of Texas inspection sticker," said Administration & Regulatory Affairs Department Chief of Staff Chris Newport.  "If Lyft missed something as obvious as this, what else is being missed?  Unfortunately, we now have to question whether Lyft ever looked at this vehicle and others operating within their systems.  We also have to doubt whether Lyft assurances regarding driver background checks are valid.  Basic regulations are meant to prevent these situations, while providing for as much choice to Houstonians as possible.  We are providing this information so Houstonians can make more informed decisions when choosing which transportation options to use."

The City has previously created regulations for new entrants to Houston's transportation industry, such as pedicabs and jitneys.  The regulations are designed to provide uniform and independent verification of vehicle and driver safety, which Houston passengers are not in a position to do on their own.  An update to these regulations is being formulated, with input from both new and incumbent stakeholders, to accommodate the new service options in the Houston market.

The City of Houston has been taking investigative rides provided by Lyft and Uber since the companies decided several weeks ago to initiate service in Houston in the absence of City approval of basic public safety regulations.  Legally, the only way Lyft and Uber may provide service in Houston is at no charge to their passengers.  City investigators have taken rides to verify whether customers are being charged illegally and to verify basic safety practices are being followed.  Several violations have been identified and citation were issued to Lyft operators.

City investigators will continue to monitor the operations of both Lyft and Uber.  Investigations have not revealed illegal operations on the part of Uber.