Ridesharing advocates celebrated service coming to Upstate New York

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Those who advocated for ridesharing in Upstate New York celebrated on Tuesday as the service will soon become a reality.

The celebration came after years of advocating for ridesharing services. Among the advocates is Troy business owner Vic Christopher.

“We’ll have connectivity and economic activity and tourism like you’ve never seen it before,” he said.

SUNY Student Assembly Pres. Marc Cohen also advocated for ridesharing.

“Six hundred thousand students said with one loud clear voice that we want the opportunity to have ridesharing,” he said.

So what’s the next step?

“We’ve got to get some drivers,” Cohen said. “We’ve got to make sure the apparatus is in place outside New York City.”

Nicole Rice hopes to help. She wants to become a driver for Lyft.

“It’s nice to be in your own vehicle, and it’s nice to be your own boss,” she said. “You can work the hours that you want to work.”

Rice wants to be able to show those coming to the Capital Region everything the area has to offer.

“I’d love to pass that on to someone outside of the area looking to have a good time here,” she said.

Plus, make some extra cash on the side.

“Just like a lot of people my age, I have some pretty significant student loan debt, so it would be great to pay those off a little bit faster,” Rice said.

A big question surrounding the push for ridesharing is safety. Rice said she never feared for her safety while using the services.

“It doesn’t look good for Lyft or Uber or whatever ridesharing program it is to have bad things happen to people using their services,” she said.

Christopher said it’s something people shouldn’t worry about.

“There are stringent background checks and people driving their own cars,” he explained. “They care for their own vehicle.”

Cohen said ridesharing will actually make the streets safer.

“You go out, you have a couple drinks at night, and sometimes it’s not great to wait for a cab,” he said.

Ridesharing is currently slated to come to Upstate New York in July, but lawmakers are working on a bill that would bring the service ten days sooner than expected.

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