Good news for Hudson Valley and Orange County as Uber and Lyft — the two most popular ride-sharing companies in the United States — are now permitted to operate in New York State after legislation went into effect last Thursday. The original measure called for the services to begin outside of New York City on July 9th, but Governor Cuomo and the New York legislature worked out a deal to push up the start to just before the busy Fourth of July holiday.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said:
Today begins the launch of ride sharing in every corner of New York, bringing with it new economic opportunities, jobs and a cost-effective transportation alternative. For far too long, Upstate and Long Island residents unfairly faced artificial barriers that denied them access to these services, which was an unacceptable affront to the spirit of innovation that drives New York. I’m proud that this wrong has been righted and that a fair, safe and comprehensive ride sharing system has been put in place that benefits New Yorkers in every corner of this great state.”
Uber and Lyft often struggle to penetrate certain local markets because city ordinances and regulations are too cumbersome for them to properly operate within. Officials in New York State have long thought that ride-sharing companies lack the same safety standards as taxi companies, and should remain forbidden until they comply. Specifically, they wanted Uber and Lyft to adhere to insurance policies taken up by other members of the ride-hailing industry, even though they are structured and operate differently. The bill signed by Governor Cuomo earlier in the month sets rules that give Uber and Lyft a clearer idea of the regulatory framework, and provides the two ride-sharing companies with more clarity for a whole state, which could be helpful for spreading to more rural areas, as they usually introduce their services on a city-by-city basis.
Officials say the new law will provide work for thousands of drivers and reduce alcohol-related road accidents. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) said more than 20,000 drivers are expected to provide rides for Uber and Lyft. The agency, whose duties include regulating ride-hailing companies, based on the number of drivers who filed information with the DMV to become drivers for the two apps.