Uber and Lyft now licensed to operate in upstate N.Y.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft have finally made it to one of the last holdouts in the country — upstate New York.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles said the companies began operations last month in cities such as Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany.

“New Yorkers have long demanded statewide ride-sharing services and I’m pleased that these services will now be available,” said Terri Egan, DMV executive deputy commissioner.

“Ride sharing will enhance safety on our roads, open new economic opportunities for New York’s small businesses and enable thousands of New Yorkers to earn extra income,” Egan said. “This is an exciting chapter in the history of New York transportation and another example of how government and industry are working together to move the Empire State forward.”

In approving the applications by the ride-sharing companies to operate in upstate New York, DMV also implemented new regulations, including requiring that the fare or estimated fare be provided on the ride-sharing app to the customer before the ride begins.   The app also must display a photo of the driver; the make, model and color of the vehicle; and the vehicle’s license plate number.

Ride-sharing vehicles must also display a prominent emblem on the passenger side of the front windshield to verify to passengers the company the driver works for.

DMV has established a complaint process for violations by ride-sharing companies, and is requiring the companies to have established processes for consumer complaints easily accessible through their apps.

Ride-sharing companies must pay the state a $100,000 application fee and an annual renewal fee of $60,000. They also must provide vehicle liability insurance for $1.25 million and workers’ compensation coverage for their drivers.

Companies are also required to adopt anti-discrimination policies for all passengers, including those with disabilities.

Drivers must be at least 19 and must pass a criminal background check that includes a review of their driving record before they can transport passengers. Ride-sharing companies must enroll their drivers in the DMV’s License Event Notification System, which reports traffic ticket convictions, suspensions, revocations, reinstatements and other events.

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