Albany, N.Y., February 6—The New York State Senate today approved legislation co-sponsored by Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) to allow ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to operate in upstate New York State communities.
“It makes no sense for the residents of upstate New York communities to be left standing out in the cold when it comes to the ride-sharing services that are benefitting New York City and other cities and communities throughout the nation,” said O’Mara, vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “Our upstate communities are blocked from the economic, environmental and public safety benefits offered by Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing companies.”
The new legislation O’Mara co-sponsors (S4159) would establish a comprehensive framework for ride-sharing companies to expand their operations outside of New York City. Supporters of the expansion say that it will create new jobs, as well as provide safe and more reliable transportation options to Upstate residents and visitors.
New revenue generated by the expansion of ride-sharing Upstate would go directly towards infrastructure improvements for roads and bridges, and county transit needs under the Senate proposal.
Further, the Senate legislation includes important protections for both drivers and consumers as part of the regulatory framework authorizing Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft to operate Upstate. It requires criminal and driving history background checks, passenger notifications of driver information and trip charges, and the adoption of non-discrimination and zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policies. Among other provisions, a new TNC Accessibility Task Force would identify and address barriers to and opportunities for greater access for New Yorkers of all abilities, and TNC drivers would be included in workers’ compensation insurance offered through the existing Black Car Fund.