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29 Jul 2014 07:34 PM EST

-by Yuliya Geikhman, Staff Writer; Image: A Lyft car (Image Source: Alfredo Mendez / Flickr)

After a legal battle with the city, ride-sharing startup Lyft has officially launched in New York City.

Unfortunately, demand and pressure to adhere to NYC taxi service rules is taking its toll on the service.

The company is celebrating its entry into NYC by giving away free rides to New Yorkers. A group of NY-based users each received 50 free passes for rides under $25.

However, NYC users are having trouble finding any cars with the service. Originally the company had 500 New York drivers lined up. As part of Lyft’s agreement with the city, Lyft can only employ drivers who are registered with the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). This appears to have drastically reduces the availability of drivers within the boroughs.

Lyft states that the launch is only a beta, with the full rollout happening over the next few weeks, so users might expect more cars in the near future. The company also has its sights on changing the city’s policies, striving to introduce true peer-to-peer transportation in the near future. A petition started by Lyft has been signed by over 11,000 supporters asking the city to allow ridesharing into its streets.

According to Lyft, the lack of drivers is tied to the busy launch. In replies to users on Twitter, Lyft is assuring everyone that there are cars, just not available ones. The 50 credit offer will be extended for two more weeks to appease those who were unable to use them because of availability issues.

Another complaint against Lyft’s launch in NYC is the price of tips. Tips as high as 75 percent and 150 percent are getting added to ride totals during “Prime Time,” amounts which go entirely to the driver, states the app.

It’s a rocky start for the ridesharing company, which already occupies more than 65 cities.

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