It’s one of the first lessons we learn as kids: don’t get in the car with strangers. But modern technology has made services like Uber and Lyft so popular that many are choosing to take the risk, despite reports of violence and sexual assault involving ridesharing services.
For example the deadly shooting in Kalamazoo, Mi. last year. Just this week an Uber driver was accused of raping a user in San Antonio, Tx.
Now some are questioning how comprehensive background checks for potential drivers in upstate New York would be. Uber drivers in New York City are required to complete a fingerprint test, but the proposal for upstate does not list that as a requirement.
John Kadar, owner of Ithaca Dispatch Incorporated, parent company of Total Transportation of Elmira, said skipping the more in depth background check is unacceptable on Uber’s part.
“The safety issue by Uber is indefensible,” Kadar said. “I don’t think there’s any excuse for not fingerprinting. And we see that when they wanted to get into a very lucrative market, like New York City, they complied. So why shouldn’t they comply here?”
Students at Elmira College agree, they said if Uber is going to fingerprint drivers in one place, they should do it everywhere.
“I think that the fingerprinting and all of that should be included,” Elmira College sophomore Morgan Mucia said. “I mean if I’m getting in a car with a stranger and Uber promotes it being a safe way to drive with them and you already have the background check I’d rather feel like 100% safe with it.”
But students said they still want to see Uber in the Twin Tiers, as they haven’t had the best luck with local taxis.
“I called them 30 minutes before I even had to be somewhere,” senior Natalie Bourdierd said. “They said I’ll get a taxi out to you in 15 minutes. They never showed up even 15 minutes after my appointment and after the time I was supposed to be there and I had to cancel it.”
Some prefer knowing exactly who they should expect to pick them up.
“I think one of the nicest features about the Uber app on the phone or a mobile device is that you get a picture of the Uber driver so you know what to expect when someone actually drives up to the curb,” junior Leah Cunningham said. “Otherwise it’d be a little more intimidating.”
The proposal would make the rules and regulations for ridesharing the same in every upstate city. However, Kadar said he believes that responsibility should be left to each city.
“These are companies that operate in a local environment,” Kadar said. “They’re carrying local people and that the municipalities should have an input into controlling these kinds of things.”
Officials from the Chemung County Clerk’s Office said they will know more about the proposed legislation after a meeting scheduled for Jan. 23.
Read more at MyTwinTiers…