Following a press conference in Albany today, Assemblyman Raymond Walter (R,C,I-Amherst) and Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C,I,Ref-Ballston) have introduced legislation that would allow Transportation Network Companies (TNC) such as Uber and Lyft to provide ridesharing services statewide. Currently, these companies are only allowed to legally operate in New York City. Walter and Walsh were joined and supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, CenterState CEO, Niagara USA Chamber, Visit Buffalo Niagara, and Saratoga County Sheriff Michael H. Zurlo.
“We were joined today by stakeholders from all across the state to talk about the significant benefits of Transportation Networking Companies like Uber and Lyft being able to operate statewide. The message is clear, New York needs ridesharing now,” said Walter. “These companies are providing a service that connects people to people, people to businesses, and businesses to other businesses. Bringing ridesharing to Upstate New York will help boost Upstate New York’s economy while also helping to make our roads safer. I hope my colleagues in the Assembly will pass this legislation in a bipartisan fashion so we can finally allow ridesharing statewide.”
“Ridesharing isn’t an upstate versus downstate issue. It’s an issue that creates jobs, bolsters local businesses, provides safe and inexpensive transportation and helps make our roads safer. That’s something all New Yorkers should rally around and support. As a mother, I worry about the safety of my children on our roadways. Services such as Uber and Lyft would help give me and other parents some much-needed peace of mind.”
“Mothers Against Drunk Driving asks everyone to have a plan to get home from a party, an evening out with a loved one safely - whether that is a non-drinking designated driver or a ride sharing service. Ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft saves lives! It gives people an additional way to get home safely. We thank Assemblyman Walter and Assemblywoman Walsh for their help in advocating for common-sense legislation,” said Richard Mallow, New York State Executive Director, Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
“Buffalo is reaching new heights as a visitor destination, with restored architectural gems, a redeveloped waterfront and more attractions, hotels and restaurants than ever before. But ridesharing is a missing piece in the puzzle for providing an impeccable experience to first-time visitors,” said Patrick Kaler, president and CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara. “We applaud the initiative of Assemblyman Walter, Governor Cuomo and other members of the Western New York delegation to address this critical need in our tourism industry and keep Buffalo competitive as a destination.”
“Ridesharing can be an important service to help reduce drunk and impaired driving, especially in areas underserved by taxis and other public transportation,” said Saratoga County Sheriff Michael H. Zurlo. “People often underestimate their level of impairment after a few too many drinks, but improving access to alternate rides home can ensure more lives are saved from senseless drunk-driving accidents. I encourage our legislators to remove the barriers to ridesharing and pass this legislation now so we can get this important life-saving tool in Saratoga County and across upstate New York.”
“Ride-sharing, an adaptive and innovative form of transportation that we have spent several years studying and talking about here in Upstate New York, has already proven successful in communities across the country,” said Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO. “Ride-sharing would create a new, reliable transportation option for our upstate communities, as well as create new jobs for residents. This is a popular and safe transportation option for students, business travelers and visitors, populations we’ve worked hard to retain and attract. It also provides an opportunity to facilitate entry into the workforce, as a lack of transportation is among the barriers to entry into the job market for many who are unemployed. It’ time to act to bring upstate into the modern transportation era.”
“In Niagara County, we attract visitors from all over the world and one of the biggest surprises to them is that we do not have the convenience of ride sharing like in so many other areas,” states Deanna Alterio Brennen, President and CEO of the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce. “With all of the new development in the Buffalo Niagara region it only makes sense to make our transportation options catch up to the progress we have seen in other areas. We would not ignore other advancements to improve our region so why shouldn't we have this one?”
“We fully support bringing ride-sharing to Upstate NY. While Saratoga Springs enjoys very good traditional taxi service, visitors demand the choice, convenience and comfort of using services like Uber and Lyft as that is what they have come to know and enjoy while visiting other destinations around the country and around the world. Upstate NY destinations, like Saratoga Springs, are at a competitive disadvantage right now. In addition to the tourism benefit ride-sharing brings, there is also an added benefit to workforce development. A service like Uber Pool would provide workers who travel from outside the area a new, low-cost and convenient means to get their workplace from point a to point b. We encourage the NYS Legislature to pass Upstate Ride-Share now,” said Todd Garofano, President, Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau.