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After using Uber for the first time, I now know what we’re missing.

A BRO reader by the name Leah M has submitted these thoughts in response to a post that ran yesterday on this site. The hope is that our assembly members get their heads out of the clouds and address this lack of Uber issue immediately.

Dear Assemblypeople,

img_2273This past summer, I traveled to Boulder, CO to present at an international conference. I used Uber for the first time to get from my hotel to the campus. The first day, I met a young man who pleasantly welcomed me to the city and gave me a whole list of restaurants to check out before I exited the car. He wasn’t lying- the few I checked out were amazing.

The next day, I met a woman who told me her story about how she is going back to school because she missed the technology train long ago. Uber was allowing her the freedom to pursue a new profession.

img_2355On my last day of the conference, I used my Uber app one last time to request a ride. This time, my ride was with a gentleman who was concerned about the upcoming election and what the results will mean for the future of our country.

When I remember Boulder, I remember these friendly people who shared their stories with me. The cars were clean, the people were friendly, and yes, the fact that I’d visit the city again is partially based on these interactions.

In some way, this story reminds me of Buffalo. Friendly people with clean cars who have stories to share. My feelings about Uber are contrasted with being a daughter of a father who drove cab for many years. He had no stake in his job; it wasn’t something that he could take ownership of. There was no co-op, there was no reason to invest in yourself, and there was no reason to be friendly to others. What’s great about Uber is that it’s based on a rating system. I leave a driver a good rating and other Uber passengers see it. Drivers also can rate me, which means that Uber drivers don’t have to pick up people with terrible ratings. My Dad never got that choice. He had people throw up in his car. He had his car roof destroyed by someone. He had a gun pulled on him once. As Buffalo continues its revitalization efforts, please consider voting for Uber. Our drivers deserve more, and our visitors and citizens deserve friendliness.

Join the #NYNeedsUber campaign today. Also, tell your elected representatives in the Assembly that Buffalo needs to be brought up to speed with this indispensable transportation service.

141 Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes East Buffalo peoplec@assembly.state.ny.us

149 Sean Ryan Central Buffalo ryans@assembly.state.ny.us

142 Mickey Kearns South Buffalo kearnsm@assembly.state.ny.us

140 Robin Schimminger Kenmore Schimmr@assembly.state.ny.us

143 Angela Wozniak Cheektowaga wozniaka@assembly.state.ny.us

Lead image: The Rabbit Hole. Also Springs Orleans and Boulder.

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Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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  • Manny Mo

    I like Uber and it would be a great start, but I’m more excited to see Lyft here as I’ve had better luck riding with them.

  • Marc Rebmann

    Is Buffalo Rising getting money for all these pro uber articles? Ya’ll ought be if you’re not.

  • buffal066

    Living in both NYC and Buffalo I can certainly vouch for the feeling of being stranded when in Buffalo without ride sharing. It’s becoming a major impedance for those of us getting used to the convenience elsewhere. Let’s solve the bureaucratic crap and get on with it!

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    ‘In some way, this story reminds me of Buffalo. Friendly people with clean cars who have stories to share.’

    There’s a WTF passage if I’ve ever read one. I feel like ‘Leah M’ could be the female alter ego of ‘Newell N’.

    By all accounts, Boulder was a pretty good place to be long before Uber existed, and Buffalo will have its many significant problems long after Uber will inevitably make its arrival here.

    • Buffalove

      Lay off man. She’s just writing about her experiences, you don’t have to rip on her because you don’t like the wording. And no one is saying Uber will solve Buffalo’s problems, just that we can enjoy getting a ride somewhere.

      • Matt Marcinkiewicz

        You make it sound like a stylistic/purely semantic issue, where in reality it’s an issue of making sense. ‘Friendly people with clean cars who have stories to share’ reminds one of Buffalo? How many Buffalonian cars has she been inside? C’mon, that’s just too egregiously nonsensical not to note.

        • Buffalove

          It’s purely semantic. Did you actually have to ask yourself how many Buffalonian cars she’s been in to understand the article? It’s an OpEd piece, move on.

  • Hugh Jarvis

    I have used uber a few times now, and I can definitely vouch for the convenience, the friendly drivers, and the reasonable price. ( I stopped taking cabs decades because they were so ridiculously over-priced.) I haven’t tried Lyft, but any decent ride share program would be excellent in Buffalo.

  • Bringing back Buffalo

    Uber is so much cleaner and safer than some rachet taxi. I’d rather walk home than take a taxi in Buffalo.

  • Andrew

    Omg. A Buffalonian….one of us….actually traveled outside of Buffalo to a different city?! Tell me more about the world beyond Batavia!

    This is a waste of an article. No need for it to have been published. Literally everyone here is for Uber coming to Buffalo. Everyone except people over 70 and our lawmakers.

    • Jack

      Andrew…I happen to be over 70 and I am strong advocate of UBER. I travel extensively, and have used it many times in many cities across the country. Know of what you speak…before you write…Young man.

      • Andrew

        With all due respect, Jack, you are of the minority aged Uber user. You represent the 0.02% of Uber riders over 70. Honestly, older generations do not understand the Uber system. These same peoples often combat national economic movements driven by younger people because they simply don’t understand…that was my point.

        I do praise your use of Uber and glad that you see the local benefit of such service.

  • Wise Profit

    Used Uber and Lyft for the first time a few weeks ago in Boston. Even if local cabs could use the Uber app so you knew what car you were riding in and who your driver was it would be a vast improvement. Uber is also good because if the driver takes a route that is out of the way (like when you get picked up from Chippewa and the taxi driver, against your specified wishes, takes the 33 because its longer because he thinks you’re too drunk to notice and in an effort to jack up his rates) you can tell Uber and they will refund you so that you pay for the correct route and rate.

  • Randy503

    I live in Washington, and we’ve had Uber for about two years now I have used it frequently. Some random thoughts:

    It is much easier to use than the taxi service. You just use your app to hail one, and the app lets you know how many are nearby and how long before they arrive.

    You may pick up an Uber on the street, which taxis usually don’t do. Taxis want an actual address.

    Most users look alike. I once called for an Uber and I was standing on the street. I saw a car pull up and I flagged him down. I opened the back door, and he said he was NOT an Uber! Lots of embarrassment there!

    Although Uber does minimal screening, and you can rate drivers, there have been stories of drivers stalking or attempting rape of women. Once they pick you up at your home, they have your home address. Once in their car, you are at their mercy.

    Many Uber drivers haven’t a clue about where anything is. Without the driver’s app they get, they would not know where the White House is.

    I talk to a lot of uber drivers, and it does provide a good income for many people. Not a lot, but it helps. You must have a car no older than three years and keep it spotless.

    Many drivers do not like to work the late night shift because of drunk riders. IT is not unusual for riders to vomit in your car or act very rudely and then give you a one star rating. Several Uber drivers told me that they got rated as a person, not as a driver, so they don’t want to talk too much to the riders. IOW, the rider didn’t like that the driver was an immigrant from a troubled country, for instance and assumed he was a terrorist, or didn’t like his politics, or made assumptions about his religious beliefs.

    The prices are given to you upfront so you can see how much this will cost you. No tipping is necessary. All payments are made automatically.

    It is easy to accidentally ask for the more expensive better cars. Be careful, especially when drunk, so you don’t get a huge bill.

    Remember, the drivers rate you as well. Be pleasant, courteous and respectful, and be ON TIME so the driver doesn’t have to wait for you to come out of your house.

    I find that it is an easy way to get around — too easy. Many times I could have walked or taken the metro, and Instead I take an uber. So it can get costly. Just watch yourself and watch your budget.

  • benfranklin

    Specific instances where lack of Uber hurts us:

    1.) Millions of people visit Niagara Falls each year. Buffalo has received some decent press over the last couple of years. Rather than spending one day in Niagara Falls, people are spending two or three days in Buffalo, and travelling to the Falls. Thousands of people plan their visit with the thought they’ll use Uber once they get here. When they get here and find no Uber, they don’t say ‘well, I’ll take a cab’. They cut down on the number of things they had planned, and leave with a deflated feeling about Buffalo.

    2.) Older people that would like to visit Canalside. I have visitors that are a bit older, that can’t park a long distance away, then walk to Canalside. In other cities, they take Uber right up to an attraction, and get picked up when they’re done.

    3.) Bar Exam. We get people from all over the world taking the exam here, because they think they’ll be able to visit the Falls while they’re here. See 1. above.

    I could go on, but you get the point. I would have NEVER believed Uber was so important to people, until regular users of the service are told we don’t have it. One person told me ‘I turned on the app, I just couldn’t believe it was true…’.

  • grovercleveland

    That is a random and not complete set of assemblymembers from the area

  • Patrick Cappola

    WE NEED UBER IN BUFFALO! My Pittsburgh experience was top rate!

  • LeahMacVie

    Hello folks,
    I thought I would log on and post an update. This letter was sent to all of the Assmblypeople listed above. So far, only Robin Schimminger, Sean Ryan, and Angela Wozniak’s office replied. Schimminger and Ryan’s office sent an auto-response about not being able to reply to each message. Angela Wozniak’s office sent a detailed and, what seems like a, genuine response. It included, “Unfortunately, this piece of legislation did not get voted out of the transportation committee before the conclusion of the 2016 session. It is my hope that my fellow legislators in Albany hear the constituents of Western New York and make this a priority in 2017.” It appears that when issues don’t seem like a priority to the people, they get tabled. This is why I decided to answer the call posted on Nov. 16. Perhaps, I* won’t make a difference, but maybe we* can make a difference. Carry on you fine Buffalonians, and yes @mattmarcinkiewicz:disqus, I have been inside quite a few Buffalo cars, and cabs for that matter. I like the clean ones best. Thank you for the question.

    • Matt Marcinkiewicz

      still makes zero sense phrased as it was, but I’ll not prolong a pointless argument

      • LeahMacVie

        Thank you, for both of our sakes.

    • LeahMacVie

      Update, Robin Schimminger’s office found my work address and sent me a letter (signed) about the legislation involving Uber and Lyft.

  • LeahMacVie

    Another update: Assemblyman Schimminger sent me another update. He and his Buffalo/Rochester colleagues sent a letter to legislative leaders “urging action on this vital issue”. The letter says, “we write to urge that the Legislature not go another session without authorizing ridesharing in NYS”. Thanks to Assemblyman Schimminger for keeping the updates coming.