New York City Sued Over Ban on Ride-Share Advertising

Vugo provides targeted advertisements and video content in rideshare vehicles. Photo courtesy of Vugo.
Vugo provides targeted advertisements and video content in rideshare vehicles. Photo courtesy of Vugo.

Vugo, a Minnesota-based technology startup that delivers targeted advertisements and video content in ride-share vehicles, has sued New York City over its ban on ride-share advertising.

Vugo alleges that the ban violates the company’s freedom of speech. The federal lawsuit was filed on Oct. 20.

Based on a passenger’s intent, Vugo delivers advertisements and video content in ride-share vehicles. The company’s patent-pending TripIntent Technology uses trip signals to determine the most relevant advertisements and content for a passenger.

With Vugo, drivers of ride-share companies like Lyft and Uber can earn more income through advertising on tablet devices mounted on their vehicle headrests, according to the company.

Vugo hasn’t been able to operate in NYC because Taxi and Limo Commission rules prohibit advertising in “for-hire vehicles,” a category that includes ride-sharing vehicles like Uber and Lyft. The lawsuit seeks a declaration that the advertising ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, according to the company.

Since launching in May, Vugo has grown to include thousands of ride-share drivers across the country, including Los Angeles, Orlando, Miami, Minneapolis, Dallas and San Francisco.

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