On Thanksgivng-Eve bar owners want ride sharing

Posted at 11:44 PM, Nov 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-22 23:50:20-05

For many, the night before thanksgiving is a chance to reunite with old friends and have a few adult beverages. And while there are taxi services to get partiers home safe, there is one service you can get downstate, but not in upstate places like Buffalo. That’s ride sharing.

“It doesn't make any sense that we don't have it at this point,” said Jay Manno, an owner of two bars on Chippewa Street (Soho Burger Bar and Frankie Primo’s).

Right now, the correct type of insurance for drivers is holding up upstate ride sharing.
“We just can't launch in upstate New York until the state approves the kind of insurance that we are able to buy everywhere in the world and 47 other states,” explained Josh Gold, a Senior Policy Manager at Uber.

Uber says they are also going against taxi and trial lawyer lobbyists in Albany.

A bill that would bring ride sharing to all of New York was co-sponsored by one Buffalo state senator.  It failed to pass the assembly last session.

“It's something that puts western New York at a competitive disadvantage when compared to other communities, like ours across the country,” said Sen. Tim Kennedy.

While politicians and bar owners agree on the economic impact of not having companies like Uber, they also agree on the safety impact.

“Bringing these ride sharing services to New York, we will certainly save lives, there is no question,” said Sen. Kennedy.

A big argument the taxi lobby has against ride sharing, is the amount of taxi drivers that would be put out of business. They say driving a taxi is something you can do to support a family, while working for Uber, simply provides a supplemental income.

In upstate New York, more than one-million people have the Uber app on their phones.