Transportation Network Companies (S.4159)

Date: 2017

S.4159 (Seward)

MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT

Unshackle Upstate, a non-partisan, pro-taxpayer, pro-economic growth, education and advocacy coalition made up of business and trade organizations from all parts of Upstate New York, supports this legislation.

This bill would establishes a regulatory framework for transportation network companies (TNCs) in New York State. Among other issues, it addresses the permitting of TNCs by DMV and the permitting of drivers by TNCs; the issuance of automobile insurance policies to TNCs; consumer protections and driver requirements; at imposes a 2% tax on TNC trips.

Currently, ride hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft cannot operate outside of New York City due to the state’s insurance laws. New Yorkers and visitors to our state want access to Uber, Lyft and similar services. These services have become the preferred car-for-hire in many parts of the country. They offer customers who prefer to hail a ride through their smartphone the ability to do so, in some case at a lower cost than other transportation providers do.

Transportation network companies should be allowed to operate in the state, so long as they comply with the same regulations that apply to every other form of transportation in the state.

In some places, such as Nashville, TN, these services are getting credit for encouraging redevelopment of downtown neighborhoods. Such services reduce the need for downtown parking, which can be costly and in short supply.

Competition between transportation providers is good for consumers, both in terms of providing higher quality and lower costs. It is simply inconceivable that New York’s lawmakers have not yet taken the steps required to modify state law to allow these services – which are ubiquitous in many other states – to operate in New York. If we hope to have a 21st Century “knowledge economy” and the economic growth that it promises, then Albany lawmakers must welcome and encourage the kind of innovation that is behind the growth of ride-sharing services.

For these reasons, Unshackle Upstate supports the enactment of this legislation.