ride sharing

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A special task force has been holding listening sessions across the state to get an idea about where ride sharing services fit in for individuals with disabilities.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

The State Assembly is proposing an additional statewide surcharge on ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft in its spending plan. The funds collected would be used on transportation services.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

There have been some bumps in the road since ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft started operating in upstate New York more than a month ago. One concern has been traffic congestion in a small, popular area of downtown Syracuse.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

The ride hailing era in upstate has begun. Central New Yorkers began using Uber or Lyft to snag a ride Thursday.

Uber, the bigger of the two ride hailing operations, came to Syracuse to offer an example of how the app based ride hailing system works. Uber spokesman Sean Connor hailed a car in Armory Square.

“One of the great things about the app, it tells me the make, model and driver, so I get into the right car -- which is important,” Connor said.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport is preparing for the era of ride-hailing services that’s about to descend on upstate New York.

Starting June 29, travelers will be able to use ride hailing apps to get around town. One of the major requests is expected to include rides back and forth to the Syracuse airport. To that end, airport commissioner Christina Callahan says the airport is working with the two big players in the ride-hailing world, Lyft and Uber.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft will be allowed to operate in upstate New York starting June 29th. But some in Syracuse want the city to opt out. 

New York State Senate

The state is one step closer to having ride-hailing services available before the Fourth of July, now that the state Senate has passed a bill to speed up when companies like Uber and Lyft will be allowed to operate in upstate New York.

When state lawmakers agreed to allow the companies to operate outside New York City as part of the budget, they thought that they would pass the legislation by April 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

New York State Senate

State lawmakers are still trying to negotiate a deal, but are heading toward a late budget. The state Senate adjourned for the day Friday about 4 p.m., saying they would come back when there was something to vote on.

There are tentative deals on increasing tuition aid to college students, approving a bond act to protect water infrastructure and allowing ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to operate outside of New York City.

Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) said the trouble is getting everyone to agree to all of the details at once.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders plan to meet all week, but no agreements are finalized yet on a state budget that’s due Friday.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget is not just facts and figures about what taxes to collect and how to spend them. Cuomo also has put unrelated changes into the spending plan — everything from allowing ride-hailing services to expand in the state to enacting ethics reforms.

From allowing Uber and Lyft outside of New York City to imposing term limits on lawmakers, the governor’s budget includes many items that normally would be considered policy changes and debated and approved in the regular part of the session.

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Along with insurance issues, handicapped accessibility has become one of the roadblocks to getting ride sharing services in upstate New York.

State lawmakers expect to make expanding ride sharing services to upstate New York a priority this upcoming legislative season, including Uber and Lyft. But they’ll have to get past the insurance and taxi lobbies, and also may also find roadblocks from the disabled community.

Access CNY Executive Director Paul Joslyn says it’s a matter of making sure disabled riders aren’t left out.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Syracuse University researchers are hoping an academic study of sustainable transportation can help convince state lawmakers to allow ride sharing services like Uber in upstate New York. 

The year-long study looks to identify alternatives to the way many people get around in upstate New York; one person driving a car. SU architecture professor Tarek Rakha, who’s leading the study, said that includes something New York state law currently doesn’t allow upstate -- ride sharing, through services like Uber or Lyft.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

It was Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter’s (D-Syracuse) first legislative session in Albany this year. The assemblywoman said while much was accomplished at the end of the session in June, many issues she is still pressing for many issues that were left on the table.

Paid family leave, increasing the minimum wage and requiring schools test for lead in the water are three big issues Hunter was happy to see passed in this year’s legislative session.

Onondaga County is jumping on the Uber bandwagon.

State lawmakers are considering changes in state insurance laws that would allow ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft in upstate and other parts of the state they are currently prohibited. The Onondaga County Legislature, by unanimous vote, is encouraging them to do it.

“We are so far behind the eight ball on this,” said Legislator Kathy Rapp.

That’s why the Republican supported a memorializing resolution that asked the state to make the changes that would allow ride-sharing services in the Syracuse area.