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Ride-hailing explored at local forum

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There's a push underway for ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft in upstate New York.

Saturday, the public had a chance to share their concerns about ride-hailing at a forum at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

State Senator Tim Kennedy says not having ride-hailing for big events like Bills and Sabres games is quite noticeable.

"You have people pouring out in the tens of thousands. But they don't have the same sort of transportation availability in ride sharing that they do have in other areas of the country," Kennedy said. "It puts our community at a competitive disadvantage."

Todd Vaarwerk, director of advocacy and public policy for the Western New York Independent Living Center, said the rights of disabled people need to be protected when it comes to ride-hailing. He's heard of cases in which visually-impaired passengers were not allowed to bring in their seeing-eye dogs.

Last week, the State Senate approved a bill to allow ride-hailing upstate. It's now before the State Assembly awaiting action there.

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.