New York Finally Opens The Roads To Uber And Lyft

REUTERS/Richard Drew

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor

Uber and Lyft are finally permitted to operate in New York after legislation went into effect Thursday.

The two most popular ride-sharing companies in the U.S. have been forbidden to offer their services in a large portion of the state since their inceptions. Heavily-populated areas like Long Island and Westchester County did not have access to the firms’ services, while New York City has been able to choose from Uber, Lyft and the larger traditional taxi industry.

“Today begins the launch of ride sharing in every corner of New York, bringing with it new economic opportunities, jobs and a cost-effective transportation alternative,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in an official statement Thursday. “For far too long, Upstate and Long Island residents unfairly faced artificial barriers that denied them access to these services, which was an unacceptable affront to the spirit of innovation that drives New York.”

Uber and Lyft often struggle to penetrate certain local markets because they feel that city ordinances and regulations are too cumbersome for them to properly operate within. (RELATED: Uber’s Been Using A Secretive Tool To Avoid Detection By Predatory Regulators)

Officials in New York, for example, have long thought that ride-sharing companies lack the same safety standards as taxi companies, and should remain forbidden until they comply. Specifically, they wanted Uber and Lyft to adhere to insurance policies taken up by other members of the ride-hailing industry, even though they are structured and operate differently. Taxi workers in New York and across the country have protested against their ride-sharing counterparts, in concurrent agreement with many city officials.

The same showdown occurred in Austin, Texas, as regulators there wanted Uber and Lyft to comply with their fingerprinting requirements and pickup and drop off designation areas. (RELATED: People Were Stranded In Austin Because Of Uber And Lyft Restrictions)

The bill signed by Cuomo earlier in the month apparently sets rules that give Uber and Lyft a clearer idea of the regulatory framework.

The legislation also provides the two ride-sharing companies with more clarity for a whole state, which could be helpful for spreading to more rural areas, as they usually introduce their services on a city-by-city basis.

State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer said in June that if the new law took effect after the busy time of July 4, it would have been “too little, too late,” according to WKBW.

Uber and Lyft did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment by the time of publication.

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