Electronic ride-sharing applications, such as Lyft and Uber, are building their fleet of drivers in communities across New York state, in response to the 2018 budget which includes provisions for transportation network companies (TNC) to begin doing business.
Nearly six years after Uber began operating in New York City, ride-sharing is now permitted to start developing outside of the boundaries of the city, and all across small cities and towns statewide.
The victory is a welcome one for apps like Uber, Lyft, Gett, and Via, who utilize electronic networks of drivers and cars to provide quick and cost efficient travel for riders. According to Adrian Durbin, director of communications for Lyft, they are “already recruiting drivers and beginning the background check process,” he said. “We are interested in hearing from people who want to be drivers all across New York.”
The budget includes provisions for ride-sharing companies like Lyft to begin the process of establishing their business in upstate New York, which includes obtaining a license to operate, and purchasing insurance coverage for their drivers. Companies must also conduct criminal background checks on potential drivers and continue to update these checks yearly. Additionally, all cars used by drivers must meet specific safety and emissions requirements.
The budget bill, (A3009C, S2009C) also requires the establishment of a TNC accessibility task force and review board within the next 30 days in order to lay out further provisions as they become necessary.
Each county across the state, and cities with over 100,000 residents are permitted to disallow TNCs within their boundaries. Durbin says that small cities should consider the economic and safety benefit of ridesharing to their communities. “Just last year, there was a $750 million economic spur across cities that have ridesharing,” he said. The option of requesting a ride at the end of the night can motivate people to visit restaurants and bars without worrying about being too drunk to drive.
“Several studies across the country have found that instances of DUI are significantly lower in places where ridesharing is introduced,” Durbin said. A study completed by Jessica Peck, an economics Ph.D., found that in New York City, instances of alcohol related collision saw a decrease of 25 to 30 percent since the introduction of Uber in 2011.
Leaders from small cities across New York fought to permit ridesharing throughout the state, given the economic benefits it can bring to their communities. “I have been eager to bring ridesharing and its job creating potential to Rochester,” Mayor Lovely Warren of Rochester said. “Opening more transportation opportunities for our residents will directly benefit milennials, our neighbors living in poverty, and our entire community. Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft will bring more job creating opportunities to our city and its residents.”