Capital Region gearing up for the start of ridesharing services

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Ridesharing services are about to debut in Upstate New York.

Ridesharing services officially begin on June 29 in Upstate New York and Long Island. Capital Region bar patrons said it couldn’t come soon enough.

“The number one complaint is always the taxi service in Albany,” bartender Joe Trisigni said.

Services like Uber and Lyft are beginning earlier than originally scheduled after officials pushed for a bill that would allow them on the streets before the July 4 holiday.

“The Capital Region has a long service of very poor taxi service,” Assemblyman Phil Steck said. “I get a lot of complaints from constituents.”

Safety is another concern with taxis, according to one University at Albany student.

“The taxi services treat us pretty badly,” Gabriella DiSanto said. “They would drop us off on different spots on campus. Me, personally, one time they dropped me off on the complete opposite side of campus. It was 3:30 in the morning, and I had to walk back to my dorm room by myself.”

DiSanto wasn’t the only one who will begin using Uber this week. UAlbany student Lea Stepakoff said the convenience of calling a ride with the touch of your finger can’t be beat.

“It’s definitely safe; it’s reliable,” she said. “I’m able to handle all my credit card payments that I plug in through the app.”

Another local will be behind the wheel when the apps launch.

“I signed up a few months ago when they first announced they were coming up here,” Ed VanWagner said. “I mean, a ride to Albany Med is probably $35. I’m sure with Uber it’ll be a lot cheaper.”

On Wednesday, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles announced that it approved more than 20,000 drivers for Uber and Lyft ridesharing services.

Anyone using the service should ensure the emblem on the window of the car is an official ridesharing vehicle.

The New York DMV compiled a list of FAQs for ride sharing passengers, applicants, drivers and local governments.


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