BUFFALO, NY - As the holiday weekend begins, the lack of ride sharing options in Western New York is becoming a bigger issue for some folks. So Channel 2 wanted to know... will Uber and other ride sharing programs be coming to our area soon?
Another busy Thanksgiving Eve down on Chippewa Street and other areas in Western New York. And when folks look to get around and don't wanna drive, ride sharing like Uber is still not an option in this area. But that could change soon in Albany because some feel it's hurting our image.
Traffic will pick up on Chippewa as some folks return to their proud hometown roots. But there's some frustration that unlike just about everywhere else around the country, they can't pull up a certain App to arrange for that Uber or Lyftt ride here in Western New York.
AJ Niland., who is originally from Williamsville is now living in New Orleans. He says "it's a little inconvenient. We were talking about it at dinner actually. You know...new Orleans fought it for a while and eventually they worked it out with the cabbies on how to make it work."
A similar Uber experience for a Buffalo couple recently in Chicago as Kirsten Braunscheidel points out "I was surprised at how cheap it was. I didn't realize how inexpensive. If I was out on Allen or something, I wouldn't know who to call for a cab."
Still others bring up the safety factor of letting others drive for you. Dave Perry of Buffalo says "Less problems with pollice having to be concerned about...what's happening on the road after the bars are closed."
So after all the news stories and legislative debates over the ride sharing concept on issues like adequate insurance, regulations, controls and a level playing field for taxi operators...will it happen in upstate like it did in New York City? Our local lawmakers seem to be in agreement. NYS Assemblyman Mickey Kearns says
"I just had a family member do business in Chicago.Took a cab from the airport into Chicago...took an Uber back and the cost was three times less. So it's good for business, it's good for our community. Burt we need to move forward and it's something as a legislator I'm gonna advocate for this year." NYS Assemblyman David DiPietro adds "When I looked into the excuses like a number of us have...there aren't any. There's no problem with insurance like they originally said. There's no reason we can't have Uber in New York."
Niland also says "A lot of people are taking advantage of it so to a certain extent it does feel like Buffalo is a little behind the times on that."
Some lawmakers feel ride sharing should come up immediately when they return to Albany in January so it doesn't get mixed in with the other difficult issues like the budget and reform. That's what happened last session as it eventually stalled out as an issue.