It’s seems like ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft are about to make a huge splash in New York’s Upstate region and Long Island just before the upcoming holiday. Cuomo signed legislation into law that will let ride-sharing services start to operate after the New York Senate and Assembly passed the measure. This should be great for people looking for a cheap and easy ride from point A to point B, but we’re sure taxicab drivers aren’t so happy about the new laws being put into place so quickly at such a high-volume time of year.
Emergency regulations govern and restrict the ways in which the companies can operate, though. Drivers cannot be registered sex offenders, nor can they be under the age of nineteen. In addition, they cannot be allowed to operate with the ride-sharing companies until passing a criminal background check. These restrictions will be overseen by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
In order to help prevent wrongdoing on the part of the driver, there are rules in place (although most of them are already common for companies like Uber and Lyft. Passengers must have clear access to pictures of both the driver and the vehicle in use, in addition to that vehicle’s license plate number. Part of the reason for this is simply to have it recorded outside of the company’s books in the case of an automobile accident or criminal wrongdoing by the driver. On top of that, passengers must be presented with an estimated fare in order to have a basic idea of how much the trip will cost. This is possible because passengers input their destination before they even call for the ride. The driver never needs to ask.
Safety is a big part of ride-sharing, as physical currency never needs to change hands. Everything is done electronically, which means there’s no reason someone could ever have for trying to rob the driver of his earnings (a rampant problem for taxicab drivers).
Then again, there is a lot of controversy surrounding these same ride-sharing companies. It turns out you may want to have Albany lawyers on speed dial just in case you’re an upstate passenger who gets into trouble with a bad driver (or a driver who gets into trouble with an equally bad passenger, it must be said). There are quite a few horror stories out there, so ride safe and be respectful to one another during the upcoming holidays.
Of course, most of those stories might soon be a thing of the past anyway. Uber in particular is continually updating its driverless automobile capabilities, and might one day soon offer a driverless ride. That’s if even more massive companies like Google don’t swallow up the competition first. Their technology is likely a lot farther ahead, and they have more experience getting their products and services into the waiting hands of consumers.
Either way, we can imagine the kind of trouble people can get into when there’s no one around to pay attention to the road–or you. What happens when you have teenagers in the backseat with no chaperone? Another theoretical problem down the road could involve drug deals going down in rented rides. Won’t the future of travel be interesting?
Even if you plan to use a ride-sharing service instead of driving yourself, try not to overdo it with the booze! Sometimes making choices with the best intentions can lead to the most devastating–or embarrassing–consequences. Have fun this Fourth of July!