McALLEN – The Lyft website has listed McAllen, Edinburg and Harlingen as cities where the rideshare company is now available.
A press release from Lyft not only said the company was launching in the Rio Grande Valley but also reads “We're excited to bring Lyft to your area so that locals and visitors have more safe, reliable transportation options.”
The press release even offered a code “LYFTLOVE17” to receive a $5 discount on a customer's first Lyft ride anywhere.
But in speaking with city leaders from McAllen and Edinburg, details of the company operating within the their respective city limits are not yet finalized.
Currently the legal department for the City of McAllen is having discussions with Lyft and McAllen City Manager Roy “Roel” Rodriguez has not received any notifications that Lyft has indeed launched or is operational within the city limits.
“We're trying we understand how all of it works because we don't have that right now but I am not aware they have launched,” he said.
The City of McAllen currently licenses those operating a taxi which includes an inspection of the vehicle and the operator having to carry insurance.
Another aspect that needs to be determined will be operating at the bus station and the airport. Currently the taxi service is regulated by the city so they are able to park at the airport and bus station.
“My understanding so far, it's very preliminary, is Lyft does not intend to do that,” Rodriguez said. “There is going to be an on-call basis only.”
For Lyft to operate in Edinburg drivers would have to follow the unified development code which would mean drivers would not be able to advertise being available for a fare with a sign in front of their home. They would also not be able to advertise in the newspapers.
According to the city's spokesperson Irma Garza taxi services are required to get a permit from the police department in order to operate within the city limits.
“If they are operating, they are operating illegally because they have not contacted the city,” Garza said of Lyft drivers.
An email was sent to Lyft to receive clarification on the launch after speaking to city leaders but no reply has been returned before the end of the business day. This story will be updated when more information becomes available.