New group fights ridesharing expansion to WNY

Posted at 11:31 PM, Jun 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-05 08:36:11-04

Upstate New York taxi companies have banded together to form a new coalition against efforts to bring ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft to communities outside of New York City.

It's called the Upstate Transportation Association (UTA) and it includes companies in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Ithaca & Binghamton.

UTA is calling on lawmakers to require fingerprint background checks, medical certifications and a full driving record review for all Uber and Lyft drivers in New York, requirements they say are already in place for taxi companies and drivers.

The coalition also wants lawmakers to prevent ridesharing companies from using surge pricing, which is when companies charge higher rates due to busy traffic or a driver shortage.

Both the State Senate and Assembly are currently considering bills to expand and regulate ridesharing services across the state.  One proposal before lawmakers would allow local governments to craft regulations for their own communities.

Ridesharing companies are pushing lawmakers to act before the session ends nest week. Uber intensified its efforts Tuesday with a new Upstate radio ad urging voters to contact their lawmakers.

A Siena College poll released Tuesday shows more than two-thirds of New York voters support the expansion.