A Memphis city official ordered ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber to quit operating in the city until they meet the same regulatory requirements as taxis and other vehicles for hire.
A cease-and-desist order was sent out Friday by city permits-licenses administrator Aubrey Howard.
It was unclear what impact the action would have on the app-based services that passengers use to summon Lyft and Uber drivers in private vehicles.
The Lyft app, which uses Google Maps to track the whereabouts of available drivers, showed drivers moving around the city as usual early Friday afternoon.
The city action came two months after Uber and Lyft moved into the Memphis market.
Arrival of the new transportation option thrust both the city permits office and Memphis International Airport officials into a national debate over how to regulate Uber and Lyft.
The city’s permit system covers public conveyances ranging from taxis to limousines to horse-drawn carriages.
Howard’s letter said in part, “please be advised that until such time as you and/or your company, and any individuals associated as drivers with its operations, obtain the necessary credentials, you must cease and desist from operating a vehicle for hire service upon the streets of the city of Memphis.”
A Lyft spokeswoman, Chelsea Wilson, did not immediately respond to specific questions about the company’s response to the order, but said by email, “Ridesharing has become part of daily life for many Memphis residents and the community has made it clear they enjoy having Lyft as an option for getting around town. We look forward to continuing our conversation with local leaders about our rigorous safety standards and community-powered movement. Cities and states around the nation have worked to update their regulations to allow Lyft’s peer-to-peer model to thrive and we hope Memphis leaders will do the same.