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Saturday 10 December 2022
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Upstate Taxi Drivers Rally to Fight Ridesharing Companies Like Uber as Many Locals Push for Arrival

taxi
In a free market, competition is a crucial element for success. For a long time, the taxi industry has held a stranglehold on the personal transportation business, but that has changed over recent years as startup ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have been met with overwhelming success. More than 40 states, including New York City, currently allow these companies to compete, but Central, Western, and Upstate New York regions have been one of the last holdouts. That could be changing soon.

According to InsuranceJournal.com, a coalition of more than 50 groups that support the expansion of ridesharing services like Uber called New Yorkers for Ridesharing are campaigning to bring the app-based services to the rest of New York, too.

“Increased access to transportation means increased access to restaurants and bars,” said Jay Holland, government affairs coordinator for the New York State Restaurant Association, a member of the coalition.

While competition is certainly good for the consumer, members of the taxi industry are, of course, opposed to the expansion. Rochester taxi drivers even staged a protest rally outside of City Hall last Monday to voice their concern.

“We have families, we have kids in colleges,” taxi driver Johnnie Reynolds told WHEC News 10. “We have to update our cars. We have to pay our insurance and Uber can come in here and just work under no rules and regulations; we can do the same thing. It’s only fair.”

Not only could these services provide jobs and cheaper transportation, but they could help social causes in the community as well. Uber’s entry into California markets reduced DUI deaths between 2009 and 2014. On average, the number of alcohol-related driving deaths decreased by between 3.6 and 5.6% in California areas that utilized the Uber X service, according to a recent Entrepreneur article.

While the potential users and those who desire to work for the driving service see it as an efficient and economically progressive move, taxi drivers argue that it’s not fair for them to skirt the rules and regulations their industry must follow.

“We’re not opposed to competition — what we need is a fair playing field,” said Mark Ilacqua, president of Suburban Taxi in Syracuse. “Taxi companies follow regulations on fingerprint background checks, workers’ compensation, for-hire insurance and many other costs… Uber and Lyft want to avoid regulations simply because they care more about corporate profits and cutting fares.”