Fast Track Ridesharing in Time for Fourth of July Weekend

ALBANY, 05/11/17 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I/Ref- Oneonta) today announced that he has signed on as the co-prime sponsor of legislation (S.5814) to fast track the start of ridesharing services in New York State.  The bill would allow transportation network companies (TNCs) to begin operating in time for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

“The summer tourism season is just around the corner and the availability of ridesharing services across the state will be a major plus offering economic, environmental and public safety benefits,” said Senator Seward.  “This legislation would clear the way for companies like Uber and Lyft to start operating a few days early – in time for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.”

Ridesharing regulations were included in the recently adopted state budget, however, the earliest TNCs would be allowed to operate is July 9, 2017.  The new legislation sponsored by Senator Seward would amend the effective date allowing TNCs to hit the streets ten days sooner, starting on June 29, 2017.

“Ridesharing has the support of groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) because of the enhanced public safety benefits.  With Fourth of July parties and an increase in tourism traffic, giving ridesharing the green light ten days early could be a lifesaver,” said Seward.

As chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee, Senator Seward has been instrumental in developing legislation to expand ridesharing operations outside of New York City.

“I first introduced legislation to bring ridesharing to the balance of the state in 2015 to meet growing demand for the app-based transportation services.  Business executives, tourists, college students, and everyone in between utilize ridesharing apps when visiting cities around the nation and the world and Upstate New York needs to keep pace,” Seward added.

In 2016, the New York State Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senator Seward that would have allowed TNCs to gain insurance coverage. 

On February 6, 2017, the New York State Senate passed a comprehensive bill, sponsored by Senator Seward, to bring ridesharing to Upstate communities. Many provisions of the bill (S.4159) were included in the recently approved New York State budget.

“Had we reached final agreement on my legislation, passed by the senate in February, ridesharing companies would already be picking up passengers across New York.  I am hopeful that we can adopt this new bill and take advantage of an accelerated start date,” Seward concluded. 

Companion legislation (A.7624) has been introduced in the state assembly by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill.