Lyft is taking cues from its ridesharing competitor, uberX, and launching in Philadelphia on Friday evening without a license. (That first weekend won’t be free, like uberX’s splashy fall launch, though.)
The service offers rides, hailed by mobile app, from normal people (read: people who are not professional drivers). Though Lyft declined to disclose how many Philly drivers it recruited for its launch, Lyft spokeswoman Chelsea Wilson said they include a gastropub owner and a Penn grad student.
The Philadelphia Parking Authority has said that if it catches any Lyft drivers, it will fine them $1,000. Wilson said the company would cover any fines, as well as pony up any necessary legal assistance.
Lyft may have had staffers in Philly as early as July, when we spotted a big pink Lyft mustache at Center City coworking space CityCoHo. At the time, no one from Lyft or CityCoHo would confirm a Philly presence or plans for expansion. The company has some employees in Philly working on the launch (Wilson would not specify how many) but Wilson said that Lyft doesn’t have a permanent Philadelphia office. CityCoHo’s Drew Foulkes confirmed that Lyft is working at the space.-30-