Downtown Buffalo was packed with people in between the two sessions of the NCAA tournament, Thursday.
The taxis, from all companies in the city, lined up outside the KeyBank Center ready to drive out-of-towners.
While the games were still being played, taxi service availability didn't appear to be a problem. But, as soon as the game finished, nearly all the local cabs were in use.
Any other year, this might not be that big of a deal. But, with ride-sharing companies lobbying to expand in Upstate, Uber and Lyft's absence was noticeable.
“You don't have them in the city? Where's Uber,” asked one coupled from Pennsylvania.
“You guys in Buffalo don't have Uber? What's wrong with you? Catch up with the times. boys. We got to get after this. I mean what the heck, we're standing here in the freezing cold, freezing my shamrocks off,” said Bob Hoffman as he waited for a taxi. He’s from Erie, PA.
Legislators in Albany are debating how ride-sharing will be controlled, whether there will be state-wide regulations or more local control.
To be clear, cab company owners say, bring on Uber.
“As long as we're all on the same level playing field, I'm for it,” said Bill Yuhnke, of Liberty Cab.
“Uber could have been here if they wanted to, they just didn't want to play by the rules and that's really the most important issue here,” said Joel Giambra, who represents Liberty Cab. Giambra was also the Erie County Executive.