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Some problems, but so far so good Cuomo says of ride-hailing Upstate

National Public Radio

It has been just over two weeks since ride-hailing services have been permitted outside New York City and Governor Andrew Cuomo said he is pleased so far.

Cuomo pushed to allow ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to operate Upstate and on Long Island, where service began June 29.

There have been reports that potential passengers in more rural and remote areas have been unable to quickly summon drivers, if at all. In addition, some local transit authorities have tacked on additional fees that riders must pay as part of their bill to the companies.

Projecting a $2 million loss from ride-hailing, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority initially added a $3 fee for each passenger picked up at the airport and a $5,000 start-up fee for each ride-hailing company to operate at the airport. After some vocal pushback, the NFTA re-negotiated deals with Uber and Lyft. Lyft agreed to the $3-per-ride fee, while Uber agreed to a $180,000 first-year fee.

However, the governor said people should be patient, as it has only been two weeks, after all.

“Let’s give it some time,” Cuomo said. “I’m sure it’s not going to solve every problem, but it’s also no doubt that it’s been a welcome relief all across the board.”

Areas outside New York City are some of the last regions of the country to get the services. Cuomo, speaking in Buffalo, said the exclusion of ride-hailing from upstate and Long Island was an “injustice.”

Alaska was the only other state not to permit ride-hailing services, before that state’s governor signed a bill into law in mid-June to allow them.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.
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