Share, , , Google Plus, Reddit, Pinterest, StumbleUpon


Posted in:

Ridesharing in WNY Takes a Hit. The Fight for What’s Right Rolls On.

The future of ridesharing services coming to Buffalo just took a hit. According to New York State Senator Chris Jacobs (60th SD), New York Assembly’s new ridesharing legislation is  a “major step backwards”. The new legislation calls for “ridesharing providers to carry three times as much insurance coverage as for hire vehicles in New York City.” This is absurd and outrageous. 

The required coverage increases to ten times the level required downstate when ridesharing drivers have a passenger.

“This is not a ridesharing bill, instead it is a bill to kill the efforts to get ridesharing across New York State,” said Jacobs. “This legislation includes incredibly burdensome insurance provisions, the highest ridesharing taxes in the nation and unworkable regulations that would completely undermine the ability of ridesharing to work in Upstate and Western New York,” the Senator added.

Not only would ridesharing providers have to carry three times the insurance coverage, The Assembly bill would also have each local municipality design its own ridesharing regulations, according to Jacobs. 

“If this isn’t an effort to kill ridesharing I don’t know what is,” said Jacobs.  “We have 23 municipalities just in Erie County, if each one has its own rules and regulations that would make ridesharing completely unworkable.”

The State Senate passed a ridesharing bill last month and the Governor included ridesharing in his proposed budget.  Jacobs urged the Assembly to go back and pass a reasonable and workable bill.

“The convoluted regulatory framework, punitive taxes and insurance fees in the current Assembly bill will only ensure Buffalo and Western New York will still hold the embarrassing title as one of the few places in the country that does not have ridesharing,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs also pointed out that he thinks that there is a good chance that ride sharing will still happen in Buffalo. The bill was “put in”, but it was wasn’t passed. There is still plenty of support for ridesharing, including the Governor’s office, so we need to keep pressing on until we win the good fight.

All we can say here at Buffalo Rising is, “WTF?”

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

View All Articles by queenseyes
Hide Comments
Show Comments
  • Mytwocents

    “This legislation includes incredibly burdensome insurance provisions, the highest ridesharing taxes in the nation ” Well, it IS New York, so this is not surprising. It is however, a joke.

  • Mr. B

    “The new legislation calls for ‘ridesharing providers to carry three times as much insurance coverage as for hire vehicles in New York City.’ This is absurd and outrageous.”

    Either 1) the taxi lobby in Buffalo is more powerful than I thought, or 2) that much is needed for the insurance companies to properly line the pockets of the State Legislature — or 3) both.

    “All we can say here at Buffalo Rising is, ‘WTF?'”

    My sentiments exactly.


  • J G

    Just a big sigh unfortunately.

  • Sabres00

    I’m starting to really believe that this is being lead by lawyers who don’t want to lose all the DWI money that they rake in up here. Obviously taxi services don’t want it, but I didn’t realize that the taxi drivers had more pull in WNY then the teachers union.

  • Me

    Our state is too corrupt to allow for change. Sadly, Gantt runs the transportation committee and he is the most corrupt of them all. He is probably in bed with the taxi unions. He has blatantly stated he is opposed to Lyft and Uber, but wont state why. The only thing I can think is if Cuomo threatens money to Rochester over this, he would tie Gantts hands.

    • BufChester

      Gantt is exhibit A on why NYS had the most dysfunctional legislature in the country. He is corrupt, closed minded, petty, and impossible to defeat.

  • Foomanschu13

    Could really use some leadership from Cuomo to get the Assembly to stop blocking this. Too many downstate politicians lining their pockets while everyone else suffers

  • Tim H

    If you support ride sharing in Upstate and Western New York, call New York State Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (Kingston) at (845) 338-9610. He is the current chairperson of the insurance committee, and is single handedly proposing bills for ride sharing that he knows are not passable. He did it last year (our own Assemblyman Sean Ryan also sponsored that bill) by proposing ride sharing vehicles have $1.500,000 in liability coverage. That’s 30x the $50k in liability insurance a traditional taxi is required to have in Western New York.

    I did call Cahill’s office. When I asked why he was pushing for outrageously high insurance requirements for ride sharing drivers, his office told me that he wants to protect the people of New York. When I asked him why he wasn’t also campaigning for higher insurance requirements for traditional taxis, they would not answer the question.

    So, here’s the realty from my perspective. Cahill and Sean Ryan are both trial lawyers….lawyers who both had campaign contributions from the New York Trial Lawyers Association. Make no mistake, not being able to pass a ride sharing bill IS NOT about the lobbying efforts of the taxi drivers of our state, It has everything to do with attorneys who are in fear of losing lucrative DWI cases through the reduction of DWI related traffic injuries.

    Cahill continues to introduce ride sharing bills in the assembly that are not passable. It appears to me that he would like to be seen as an advocate of ride sharing, however in reality needs to support the trial lawyers, who have become key supports of his reelection efforts, year after year.

    This has nothing to do with the safety of ride sharing passengers in New York State. 48 other states in the US have figured out how to make ride sharing work for the people that they represent, but Cahill and the NYS Assembly can’t?

    Assemblyman Kevin Cahill: 845-338-9610 or Albany: 518-455-4436
    (unlike most assembly members, Cahill has decided to keep his email addres private)

    And, an interesting Watch, if you want to hear Cahill’s reasoning for the need for extreme caution regaridng ride sharing

  • lexwood

    Sean Ryan should be dealing with what his constituents overwhelmingly demand instead of sticking his nose into the development of the Elmwood village. He is a complete disgrace and I hope everyone realizes this and votes him out next election!!

    • BufChester

      I’m generally aligned with Ryan’s political views, but I agree with you completely. He’s not the Common Council Member for the EV, he needs to focus on State issues like this, and changing the law so 14 year olds can’t be married to 60 year olds.

      If he want to focus on local issues he should run for Council next time there’s an open seat.

      • flancrest

        Are there a lot of 14 year olds getting married to 60 year olds? If you want him to focus on issues that matter, that doesn’t seem like it should be on the list.

        • BufChester

          How many 14 year olds being married off to 60 olds is too many?

  • BuffyBengals18

    Take note of all these douchebag politicians who are not passing this with flying colors and vote them out of office. This is embaressing.

    • BufChester

      You don’t know much about state politics do you? It is virtually impossible for an incumbent who seeks reelection to be defeated. Through highly restrictive ballot access rules, benighted campaign finance legislation, and gerrymandered districts, the incumbent return rate is in the high 90s Death and indictment are the most typical ways that state electeds leave office, especially ones who have been in office for many years.

      • flancrest

        You don’t know much about politics at all do you? It is impossible to unseat an incumbent unless you try, but those who have demonstrated they are not responsive to constituents are vulnerable to grassroots movements to primary them, which avoids issues around gerrymandering.

        Tell Eric Cantor and Bob Bennett about the powers of incumbency. They had a lot more money than any state rep ever has and still got bounced by primary challengers with no institutional support.

        • BufChester

          Cantor and Bennett weren’t in the NYS legislature. But please, do run for Assembly or Senate. As you say, you can’t win if you don’t even try.

  • eagercolin

    Yes, let’s rally around billionaires whose business model is predicated on denying its employees basic labor protections and evading the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    • NateBuff

      Remember, they work for Uber/Lyft for 12 hours+ a day, but they aren’t actually employees.

    • Rational Thought
    • BufChester

      Why are you bringing Walmart/The Waltons into this discussion?

    • EndlessIke

      If you don’t like it don’t work for them and don’t use their services. Why do you get to have a say in how other people choose to work and what services other people buy. Are we free men or slaves to EAGERCOLIN’s whim?

  • Buffalo Guest

    Amazing how the only place we can read with any great detail about this issue is on Buffalo Rising.
    The Buffalo News and local tv stations don’t seem to want to spend the time investigating with is really going on with ride sharing in upstate. BR seems to be the only ones getting to the real core of the holdups.

    So, New York State Assemblyman Kevin Cahill who chairs the insurance committee is a major roadblock. Trial lawyers in NY using their influence and money to make ride sharing go away.
    Our local leaders just seem to be giving us lip service.

    Now what do we do?

    • Cvepo

      Because ride sharing would be a positive thing for the city. All they want to do is talk about shootings, and then post articles about heated golf cart debates in East Amherst, as was in the BN this morning…

  • Rational Thought

    This is what uber drivers do.

    All you moron ride sharing advocates are gonna be in for a real wake up call. While uber charges tolls to your destination, they don’t compensate the driver for the trip back home. Uber drivers are gonna quickly learn to refuse fairs that require tolls. Also uber doesn’t show the driver the destination before they arrive. The driver will waste their time and money. This will anger the criminals that uber hires and they will take out their anger on your face.

    • distas

      So your logic is to not allow the consumer to decide for thmselves?. Got it.

      I’m convinced most cab drivers are just criminals that haven’t been caught yet, so your canvasing of Uber drivers is irreverent.

    • BufChester

      Because a taxi driver never beat up a passenger?

      Both sides in this debate need to accept that not every one of their constituents/allies is going to be perfect.

      This is fundamentally a question about how business should/will be regulated, and about how the market accepts new models for delivering services.

    • EndlessIke

      My wife’s been assaulted twice by cab drivers (both in the United States). Neither was caught.

      What else you got, slaver?

      • Rational Thought

        You and your wife are liars.

        • EndlessIke

          Okay internet tough guy

    • Tim H

      Uh….the uber driver would likely pick up another fare. That passenger would pay the tolls. It’s not one and done trips.

      • Rational Thought

        “the uber driver would likely pick up another fare.” You’re making the incorrect assumption that there is another fare to pick up. Common mistake of a retarded moron.

        • Tim H

          I like you. I’m surprised that we’re friends.

          Now go educate yourself on how cabs and uber dispatch. Then, take a taxi to an airport and see if they leave, or if they stick around at the airport to wait for another fare. Don’t do this in Buffalo though….we’ve also restricted all taxi companies but 1 from do My pickups at the Buffalo Airport.

          Rational Thought. Oxymoron of the day…

    • Matt Marcinkiewicz

      This is the same guy who always cries ‘obstructionism’ on preservation issues. Guess he found an obstructionist cause of his own. I’m pretty indifferent to Uber’s presence in Buffalo, but I find RT’s stance ironic

      • Rational Thought

        Uber is breaking the law. Developers have the legal right to demolish a building. If you lack the intelligence to understand that, then you’re probably stupid enough to drive for uber.

  • EndlessIke

    Disgraceful. If I hadn’t left upstate NY years ago I would be at the state capital with torches and pitchforks.

  • Tim H

    Assemblyman Sean Ryan is at at again for the NYS Trial Lawyers association, advocating making ride sharing companies carry 30x what traditional taxis carry, just because a densely populated NJ does (46 of the 47 states that allow sharing don’t require this much over coverage)

  • ex716

    I left WNY 20 years ago and sometimes miss it. For those who live in NYS and don’t travel often, you might not realize how vital Uber and Lyft are to the modern world and economy. I’ve used Uber in probably 20 states and many cities, including a town of 5000 in California, and in other nations even! It’s an expected part of modern life. Buffalo is in the stone ages.

    Sometimes people who left see glimmers of hope in WNY (rehabbed buildings, progress in Buffalo, some new businesses), but then we hear things like NYS can’t have Uber. I say “can’t have” Uber because the government is illogically preventing you from having a vital utility — Uber would love to do business there, people demand it, and people would love it. You can’t have it because your political process is broken (nanny state government, highest property taxes in the nation, stifling business regulation, government jobs are the best jobs, etc.) For the rest of the U.S., Uber is a utility like water pipes. No one comes to Buffalo and says “how nice, Buffalo doesn’t have water pipes because pipelayers aren’t treated as employees, they don’t make enough money, there’s not enough insurance and regulations. Outsiders visiting Buffalo say, “this city is dead. It doesn’t even have Uber!.”

    • Rational Thought

      “For those who live in NYS and don’t travel often, you might not realize how vital Uber and Lyft are to the modern world and economy.”

      I travel all the time for business and have never needed an uber or a lyft. Taxi cabs fill the role far better.