Weekly Feature

2017-04-20 / Editorial

Ride-sharing offers many opportunities for WNY

Bee Editorial

It’s an exciting time in Buffalo as the legalization of ride-sharing in upstate was passed as part of the 2017-18 budget. This will not only be a positive step for tourism, but also offers plenty of opportunities for people who live here, as well.

It seems like a perfect time as events start building up and Western New Yorkers begin to mark their calendars.

According to a press release, the state Department of Motor Vehicles has 30 days to craft regulations that will oversee the ride-sharing industry, and services should be up and running in 90 days.

“I am thrilled that Buffalo and Western New York, a 21st Century community on the rise, can now say it is a place with 21st Century business and recreational amenities like ride-sharing,” state Sen. Chris Jacobs said in the release. “I co-sponsored ride-sharing legislation in the Senate and strongly supported its expansion statewide, not only because it provided a safe and affordable transportation alternative, but because it would provide additional opportunities for enterprising Western New Yorkers to take part in our economic recovery.

“I’m glad that opportunity now exists and I want to thank my fellow ride-sharing advocates for their support in making ride-sharing a reality.”

While there is a wait to avail oneself of ride-sharing services, individuals are able to apply to become a driver.

Requirements for those interested in becoming drivers include being at least 19 years old and having a valid license and insurance coverage. In addition, individuals must own, lease or otherwise have authorization of a vehicle.

Interested drivers can’t appear on the national sex-offender registry or have committed certain crimes within the past seven years.

According to the release, ride-sharing companies will be required to check the driving history of potential drivers before hiring and will be required to have a zero-tolerance policy for drivers found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while on the job.

Ride-sharing companies also have their own requirements that potential applicants must meet. An example is that Uber and Lyft require that drivers be at least 21 years old.

To sign up to become a driver, people can visit the Lyft and Uber websites at www.lyft.com/drive-with-lyft or www.uber.com/drive.

There’s a lot to look forward to as the months keep getting warmer.

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