BUFFALO, NY -- City leaders and local law enforcement gathered on the steps of Old Erie County Hall on Wednesday morning to discuss the arrival of ridesharing apps, like Uber and Lyft, to Western New York.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn was joined by Buffalo's Mayor, Byron Brown, Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard, and East Aurora Police Chief Shane Krieger in welcoming the service with open arms.
Flynn says he hopes the introduction of ridesharing can help decrease the number of DWIs in the county, which has seen a recent increase in DWIs over the last few years.
According to the Eric County District Attorney's Office, the number of felony DWI arrests in the county has risen from 549 in 2013 to 592 in 2016. That's an increase of just under 1% each year.
Aside from the impact it could have on a growing drunk driving problem, the conference also covered the economic push that could come from the service's appearance in the area.
“My administration has been proactively pushing for expansion of ride-sharing beyond the New York City area for over two years, so I’m very pleased it’s about to become a reality,” says Mayor Brown who was referring to Governor Andrew Cuomo signing a bill back in May, allowing for the areas outside of New York City to start using ridesharing services.
The Mayor continued by saying the services could add new jobs and money to the local economy; oney that could be used for projects around the city.
"Right now we are seeing a real economic renaissance in Buffalo and Western New York" says Mayor Brown "Anything that we can do to produce more jobs, to produce more employment opportunities and circulate more dollars into our economy, benefits the economic development and the economy of Buffalo and Western New York."
Ridesharing services are scheduled to begin on June 29th.