Uber and Lyft facing uphill battle in NYS

Posted at 8:48 AM, Jun 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-15 09:52:35-04

There's no denying ridesharing is convenient, but will Uber or Lyft ever make their way to Buffalo?

Both companies have been fighting to operate in the area for years, without success. Plenty of local lawmakers thought that this would finally be the year --but it looks like they thought wrong.

Tuesday, in a statement to 7 Eyewitness News a spokesperson for Lyft said, "A vast majority of New York voters have said they want to see Lyft allowed to operate in upstate New York...Unfortunately, the amended version of the bill that went to the Assembly makes it impossible for true ridesharing to operate."

In simpler terms that means even if a ridesharing bill is passed Uber and Lyft might not set up shop in the area because restrictions from the state will be too tight.

Currently, there's two different bills under review by the New York State Legislature.

Bill Yunkee, Yellow Cab President, says he's under the impression that ridesharing in Western New York is "dead" at least for now. Although taxi companies have said ridesharing will eliminate thousands of jobs they are welcome to the idea if there's consistency in regulations. 

"Ridesharing could operate here in Buffalo and Rochester and Syracuse tomorrow if they comply to the same rules and regulations as they did in New York City." 

Lyft and Uber have said ridesharing will actually create hundreds of part time jobs for locals.

"The reality is it's not going to create new jobs, it's just going to push people from one entity to another. That's all it's going to do. If Uber and Lyft were really so concerned about job creation, and I've heard that discussion, why are they developing technology for the driverless cars?"

The State Assembly and Senate have until the end of the week to make the bill a law. 

Check out this video where we break down what some of the pros and cons of ridesharing.