Orlando police ready to ticket 'Lyft' drivers

Popular ridesharing app begins Thursday in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. - Getting a "Lyft" will soon be easier in Orlando when the popular ridesharing app begins Thursday in Orlando.

Once users download the Lyft app on their smartphone and ask for a ride, a driver will figure out where you are by your phone's GPS signal.

The drivers are everyday people who pass background checks and use their own personal vehicles to share rides.

"I have a couple friends who have used it and they've loved it. They say it's cheaper and more reliable," Chelsea Curto said. "So, it's something I definitely want to look into for the future."

But the moment these Lyft drivers roll through town in their signature pink mustaches, they may be targets for Orlando police. The city plans to ticket drivers if the company does not fill out an application to be a "Vehicle for Hire" under municipal codes, and so far, it has not.

Recently, the other new ridesharing company, Uber, failed to fall in line with city codes covering drivers for hire and has already been slapped with 14 citations, and drivers have been towed seven times, according to Orlando police.

It's an uneasy thought for one future rider.

"I feel like that would be awkward, especially knowing I didn't do anything wrong, I just took the ride from somebody else," said Curto, who said the risk of getting pulled over during her ride would probably discourage her from using it.

In a statement, Lyft spokesperson Katie Dally told Local 6, "We have been in touch with Orlando city leaders, and had several positive discussions. We will continue to work together on a permanent solution that ensures ridesharing can thrive in Orlando."

Dally went on to say, "We are committed to standing strong with drivers and passengers every step of the way, fighting any citations, covering relevant costs and making policy progress."

The big question many people have: Is it as safe as taking a taxi?

Lyft's website said drivers and users can rate each other at the end of a fare, the company performs background checks on drivers and pulls DMV records, and it adds a $1 million insurance policy to each driver's own insurance.

Lyft service begins at 7 p.m. Thursday.

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