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First hours of Uber, Lyft full of celebration

30 June 2017, 01:02 | Lucy Hill

Credit Ellen Abbott WRVO

Credit Ellen Abbott WRVO

The ride departed at 12:07 a.m., six minutes after the apps launched here and the rest of Upstate New York.

Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, will hail the inaugural Uber ride in Saratoga Springs on Thursday, the first day ride-hailing services can be offered in upstate NY.

Right now, fingerprinting is only required for ride-hailing drivers in New York City.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, meanwhile, had already gotten his first ride Thursday morning, grabbing a Lyft from Albany International Airport.

Included was a demonstration of using a cellphone app to summon a driver.

The final legislation installed the Department of Motor Vehicles as the primary regulator of ride-hailing services, which previously were only available in New York City under city Taxi and Limousine Commission regulations. Existing drivers also may be asked by Uber to expand their service areas if they would like to, he added. Uber and Lyft are free apps to download, and require just a simple sign-up. In addition, drivers must pass a criminal background check, which includes a review of their driving record.

The DMV has established a ride-hailing complaint handling process in which complaints can be filed at the state DMV website.

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The ride sharing application, which was launched in 2009, has become a standard mode of setting up transport. Drivers must have a valid license issued by DMV and be at least 19 years old.

Both Uber and its competitor Lyft have, in the past, taken steps to make their apps more accessible to seniors.

Companies must enroll drivers in the DMV notification system, which reports traffic violations and other problems with drivers.

For now, Percy said Niagara Falls, for example, will now offer a service that many expect in other high-profile destinations.

Uber's ride-hailing app is making it easier for its users to set up trips for seniors and others who may not know their way around a smartphone but still need help getting around town.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said ride sharing would bring new "economic opportunities, jobs and a cost-effective transportation alternative" to residents across the state.

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