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Connecticut Taxi Firms Sue Ride-Share App Companies

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Credit TechCrunch / Creative Commons
Creative Commons
Lyft co-founders John Zimmer, at left, and Logan Green at TechCrunch Disrupt in September 2013.

A group of taxi firms in Connecticut is suing two new ride-share companies, trying to stop them from doing business in the state.

The brave new world of ride-sharing apps is causing problems for taxi companies everywhere, and Connecticut is no exception.

Uber and Lyft are two online services that allow users to request a ride on their smartphone.

They can be picked up by any driver in the area who's also registered with the service, and they use the app to pay the driver a donation via a credit card. 

The drivers are not professionals, and the service is not regulated.

Credit Uber / Facebook
The Uber smartphone app.

The drivers are not professionals, and the service is not regulated, hence the taxi drivers' complaint.

Fifteen different cab and livery companies filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Hartford saying the ride share services put passengers at risk.

Their lawyer, Mary Alice Moore Leonhardt, said, "We believe they’re presenting a clear and present danger to consumers in Connecticut in these private operated cars that don’t have commercial insurance coverage. In many instances, the riders are college students who don’t adequately appreciate the importance of having a driver who’s been properly vetted through a comprehensive criminal background check."

Lyft issued a statement saying the lawsuit is without merit, and that its service provides safe and reliable rides.

For its part, Uber called the lawsuit "just another example of taxi company owners trying to shield themselves from perceived competition and limit consumer choice."

The ride share trend has also come to the attention of state officials.

Earlier this month, the Department of Insurance issued a consumer alert informing drivers that their insurance may be invalidated while they're giving lifts to paying passengers.

Harriet Jones is Managing Editor for Connecticut Public Radio, overseeing the coverage of daily stories from our busy newsroom.

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