Weekly Feature

2017-04-20 / Editorials

Ride-sharing offers many opportunities for WNY

Bee Editorial

It’s an exciting time in Buffalo as the legalization of ride-sharing in upstate was passed as part of the 2017-18 budget. This will not only be a positive step for tourism, but also offers plenty of opportunities for people who live here, as well.

It seems like a perfect time as events start building up and Western New Yorkers begin to mark their calendars.

According to a press release, the state Department of Motor Vehicles has 30 days to craft regulations that will oversee the ride-sharing industry, and services should be up and running in 90 days.

While there is a wait to avail oneself of ride-sharing services, individuals are able to apply to become a driver.

“While we wait for the DMV to craft service regulations, Western New Yorkers don’t have to wait to take advantage of the potential that ride-sharing will bring to our region,” Sen. Tim Kennedy said in the press release. “Job opportunities are already being created, and I strongly encourage those looking to become a driver to start exploring the application requirements now.”

Kennedy was one of a bevy of elected officials that lauded the recent news that ride-sharing services are on their way to Western New York. The work those officials put in to clear the way for rise-sharing in our area deserves recognition and praise, especially considering the opportunities ride-sharing is already presenting to area residents.

Requirements for those interested in becoming drivers include being at least 19 years old and having a valid license and insurance coverage. In addition, individuals must own, lease or otherwise have authorization of a vehicle.

Interested drivers can’t appear on the national sex-offender registry or have committed certain crimes within the past seven years.

According to the release, ride-sharing companies will be required to check the driving history of potential drivers before hiring and will be required to have a zero-tolerance policy for drivers found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while on the job.

Ride-sharing companies also have their own requirements that potential applicants must meet. An example is that Uber and Lyft require that drivers be at least 21 years old.

To sign up to become a driver, people can visit the Lyft and Uber websites at www.lyft.com/drive-with-lyft or www.uber.com/drive.

There’s a lot to look forward to as the months keep getting warmer.

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