KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The new ride-sharing service Lyft is hoping a federal judge will side with them.
Representatives for the city were inside the Jackson County Courthouse Tuesday for the scheduled hearing when at the last minute, Lyft decided to move the hearing to federal court.
"It's our right to do and we're trying to protect the Lyft Community, so we took advantage of that and now the next step is federal court," Lyft's lawyer Pat McInerney said.
Since Lyft launched in Kansas City this month, the city fined 15 Lyft drivers just for picking up riders.
The city filed a restraining order against the ride-sharing company after negotiations to get Lyft to file proper permits to operate failed. City Spokesman Chris Hernandez said the city hasn't heard from Lyft since negotiations ended last week.
"Things were a little far apart, but again we embrace the concept and technology they want to bring to Kansas City. Kansas City is very welcoming of innovation and tech. It's just a very simple matter of meeting a few requirements and then they would be welcomed to operate," Hernandez said.
A Lyft representative emailed us explaining today's events:
"Today's hearing was part of an important conversation surrounding the role of ride sharing in Kansas City. Lyft's community powered model has been enthusiastically embraced by residents who have welcomed us as a safe and affordable transportation option. We will continue to engage in productive meetings with city leaders and are dedicated to finding a solution that ensures a future for ride sharing in Kansas City.
We have received reports of citations among ridesharing drivers in Kansas City. As always, we have responded immediately to provide support and we are also covering the cost of the citations and any necessary legal assistance.
I also want to make sure that there isn't any confusion about Lyft's rigorous safety requirements - I think you've seen our trust and safety comparison for what Lyft does and then what is required for taxi and livery services in the city, but if you haven't, you can take a look at it here . I also want to point you to one of our blog posts on Lyft's insurance coverage here . As you can see, what Lyft requires goes above and beyond what existing transportation options currently do."
No federal court date has been set.