People & Places

Best Villain 

Lyft

Like a gun-slingin', whiskey-drinkin' outlaw swingin' through saloon doors, Lyft sauntered its way onto Cherokee Street ready for a fight. Armed with the moral superiority of Silicon Valley, pink furry mustaches and a gazillion Facebook likes, Lyft deputized a swarm of twentysomethings with the responsibilities of professional drivers before screaming into the night with two upturned middle fingers, "The rules do not apply to us!" If it was a fight they wanted, it was a fight they got. The Metropolitan Taxicab Commission was more than happy to remind Lyft that the rules do, indeed, apply to them — first with a cease-and-desist letter, then with four police citations, a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction. Now Lyft has agreed to an August 2015 trial date and will spend the next year finding expert witnesses to fight a permanent injunction that could ban it from St. Louis for good. The MTC, with its own history of playing the villain, is relishing each opportunity to loudly fight for public safety under the limelight that comes with Internet virality. Maybe that's what makes Lyft seem so villainous: All this petulant naïvete is finally forcing the obtuse and insular MTC to start acting like the hero.

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