New push for ridesharing apps in upstate NY as Uber releases advertisement

Uber released new ads, pushing for the service to be expanded to upstate new York (Provided photo)

Rochester, N.Y. - Many have pushed to get popular ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft to upstate New York cities.

Tuesday, Uber launched its million-dollar ad campaign to try and make that happen. It starts with saying New Yorkers want driver-sharing services for Christmas.

The goal is to put pressure on state lawmakers to pass a ridesharing bill.

But this service is not yet allowed in upstate cities.

"It's a bummer that it's not here,” said Benjamin Emmerich. “I'm from New York City, and I used it all the time there."

Julie Elliot thinks having the ridesharing service would be safer for the younger generation.

"I actually have a friend who encountered a drunk driver once or twice on excursions out to bars,” Elliot said. “I think it would help limit drunk driving in the city because it would enable people to get from place to place in a safe way."

Part of the hold-up is due to changing the insurance law for the cars enrolled in a company's network - changes that would allow group rates for companies and also protect other drivers and passengers.

This summer, the state Senate passed a ride sharing bill, but it got hung up in the Assembly.

"Our Senate bill is the same bill that allows ridesharing in 23 other states when it comes to the insurance component,” said Republican Senator Rich Funke, 55th Senate District. “The Assembly version wants three times as much insurance coverage, and that would increase cost for those who'd like to use Uber or Lyft upstate, and we don't think that's fair.”

Not everyone is completely sold. There are genuine concerns from some.

"It would be okay if Uber drivers were background checked better, like cab drivers are finger printed,” Shane Crudeoe said. “I’m not totally against it as long as they can hopefully guarantee some safety for the riders.”

Taxi drivers are concerned about losing business, and the fact that they have to pay extra money for insurance liability.

"I'm with the cab drivers on this one," Crudeoe adds.

Republican Senator Michael Razenhofer launched an online petition to bring ridesharing here.

Recently, Gov. Cuomo came out in support of the idea.

“We’re really happy now that the governor has come out in support of ridesharing in upstate,” said Sen. Funke. “I think that’s going to be important, and we need everybody on board. I think the governor’s influence will certainly be welcomed.”

Funke said passing a ridesharing bill is a priority.

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