Starting today, Uber and Lyft can operate in Upstate New York, including large cities like Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton and Rochester. While legislators allowed the expansion of ride-hailing companies in the region, counties reserve the right to opt-out should issues arise.
Louis Hyman, professor of history and labor at Cornell University and expert on the gig economy, says that Uber and Lyft’s new presence in New York State – much like the advent of industrial jobs in the 19th century – is disrupting, but also expands the opportunities for workers and consumers.
“Uber and Lyft will create more than destroy transportation jobs and will help New Yorkers have more reliable means to get around.
“We should not think of this development as the coming of Uber and Lyft but rather as the expansion of the on-demand digital economy. These particular companies are only two of a vast world of new kinds of work that Upstate New Yorkers will be encountering over the next few years. They will disrupt assumptions about what work is, and where it will take place, but at the same time, will create new opportunities.
“When industrial jobs came to western New York, we also struggled over how to turn those jobs into ‘good’ jobs. Hopefully this time around, we will not take a hundred years, but instead recognize the opportunities.”