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Lawmakers want ride-hailing available for July 4th

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Nick Lippa
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Erie County legislators want the start of ride-hailing moved up, to make for a better and safer Fourth of July.

It is all supposed to start July 9, three months after the new state budget was put into place. The new system would allow Uber and Lyft and others to operate beyond New York City, the current area where the services can be used.

That may change because there is a sudden push in Albany to amend the law to restrict registered sex offenders from driving for the services. The new law opens a window for them.

"All this resolution is doing is asking the state to move up the start of ride-sharing nine days, from July 9 to July 1, in the hopes we can have a safer Fourth of July holiday for everyone," said Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo. "I hope that our state delegation will advocate for this as well and hopefully we can get this passed."

Lorigo said it would help reduce the number of DWIs and alcohol-related accidents over the holiday.

"We have a problem throughout New York State with DWIs and alcohol-related accidents and the Fourth of July holiday is one of the top holidays for alcohol-related accidents on our roadways," said Lorigo. "If we could get ride-sharing approved and implemented prior to the Fourth of July holiday, I think it would go a long way in ensuring safer roadways over that day and a couple of days there."

Buffalo Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams said her constituents want Uber and the others. However, they also want to be sure people from every neighborhood have a chance to join the list of drivers for the services.

"We're going to have to overcome getting Uber drivers in all parts of the community. We don't want any neighborhood to be excluded," said Miller-Williams. "Once Uber comes, we want it to be inclusive. So we want - whether you're Black, Hispanic, White, whatever the case may be - we want to be inclusive when Uber gets here so that everybody has an opportunity to experience ride-sharing in a positive way."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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