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 outside of New York City.
When state lawmakers agreed to allow companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in upstate New York and on Long Island as part of the budget, they thought that they would pass the legislation on by April 1, the start of the new fiscal year.
Traditionally, there’s a 90 day grace period before a law actually takes effect. So the ride hailing services would, in theory, be able to start offering passengers rides on July 1st.
But there was one problem. The budget was late, and didn’t pass until April 9th, so the new law allowing the ride- hailing services to begin won’t take effect until July 9th.
Some legislators, including many in Western New York, got push back from constituents, as well as the companies, to amend the bill to allow it to take effect earlier.
The Senate approved a measure to allow the ride hailing services to being as early as June 29th. Senator Mike Razenhofer, a Republican from the Buffalo area, sponsored the bill in the Senate.
“Today’s legislation will bring ride sharing in New York that much closer,” Razenhofer said. ”
Senator Tim Kennedy, a Democrat who is also from the Buffalo region, argues that having ride hailing services available during the busy July 4th long holiday weekend could even cut down on drunken driving and potentially save lives.
“If we can prevent even one individual from getting behind the wheel of his or her car and prevent even one disaster,” said Kennedy. “Then this bill is well worth it.”
Supporters, as well as the companies, claim that the services reduce drunken driving, but there has been no solid evidence to back up that claim.
The measure was approved 60-0.