A ride to the nearest grocery store, restaurant, theater or bar will soon be just a tap away, as long-awaited ride-hailing services for upstate New York were officially approved as part of the state budget.
The state Senate gathered Sunday evening to formally vote on the budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year, which the Assembly approved Saturday. The $153 billion deal was reached a week after its due date, but includes several significant programs and changes.
Among them are free tuition for middle-class and low-income residents at state public colleges, an increase in education aid for public schools across the state and the expansion of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, which will be allowed to operate outside of New York City starting in about 90 days.
The last measure was lauded by local lawmakers and business leaders, who worried that Capital Region communities were falling behind without the ability to access the technology.
“As a business owner, it levels the playing field with the rest of the country,” said David Buicko, CEO of the Galesi Group. “I’m happy we got it done. I think it’ll benefit the whole Capital Region.”
Apps like Uber and Lyft allow users to hail a car with their a smartphones. New York City has had ride-hailing since 2011, but legislation to expand the service to the rest of the state had gotten hung up on disagreements over insurance regulations and driver background checks.
Organizations representing taxicab drivers had expressed similar concerns about having adequate background checks for ride-sharing drivers.
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Samuels, Brett. “Uber Coming to Capital Region.” The Daily Gazette. N.p., 10 Apr. 2017. Web.
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