App-based ride-hailing could be coming to upstate New York as soon as the July 4 weekend and at least one popular service says they plan to include the city in their statewide rollout.
Legislation passed as part of the state budget process earlier this year will allow ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber to operate outside of New York City for the first time. The companies use smartphone apps to connect those seeking rides with drivers who work as independent operators using their personal vehicles. The legislation initially allowed for a start date of July 9. But an amendment that has passed the legislature and is now awaiting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature would allow the companies to begin operating statewide on Thursday, June 29.
Meanwhile, at least one major ride hailing company, Lyft, has said that they plan to include Kingston in their service area. According to city communications director Megan Weiss-Rowe, a Lyft representative told attendees at an informational event held Uptown last week that Kingston would be included in the statewide rollout. Lyft Director of Communications Adrian Durbin said that the company definitely planned to provide service in Kingston, but had not finalized a timeline. Durbin said that the company was “aggressively recruiting” drivers locally to ensure reasonable wait times for users when the company begins local operations.
“We definitely plan on operating there, what’s not certain is the date when we will start,” said Durbin. “We hope to begin operating across as much of the state as possible as soon as possible.”