County Executive Bellone Announces Suffolk County Will Participate In Statewide Ride-Sharing Program

County Executive, Uber and Lyft Representatives, and Long Island Business Leaders Tout the Over $100 Million in Projected Economic Benefits of Alternative Transportation Services.

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Photo by: Suffolk County

Suffolk County, NY – June 7, 2017 – Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced that Suffolk County will officially participate in the statewide ride-sharing program that was recently signed into law.  The program, which is expected to begin later this month, is anticipated to have a positive economic impact while improving transportation access for residents and visitors alike.
The County Executive was joined by elected officials, advocates against drunk driving, and community leaders. In addition, representatives from ride-sharing providers Uber and Lyft also discussed who would benefit from the services offered and prospective employment opportunities.
“The opportunity to provide access to ride-sharing for Suffolk County residents is a game-changer that will provide another added incentive for talented and young professionals to live and work in our region,” said County Executive Bellone. “This is about transforming suburbia on Long Island so that we can improve the health and vibrancy of our downtowns, create good-paying jobs, and improve pedestrian safety on our roads."
Huntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone said: “Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, particularly because of their popularity among millennials, provide a valuable service, especially in helping to keep people from drinking and driving. They are a nice complement to traditional taxi companies. Because their administration is not based in one specific Town, Huntington has long felt the state is the proper level of government to regulate these services, and we support County Executive Bellone’s decision not to opt out of the state legislation.”
Kevin Law, President of the Long Island Association said: “Ride-sharing is a growing industry that could help boost economic development and as Long Island continues to grow, we need to expand our transportation options and connectivity to downtowns, and thus we applaud Suffolk County Executive Bellone for participating in the state’s ride-sharing initiative.”
Richard Mallow, State Executive Director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving said: “Thanks to the County Executive Steve Bellone and the County Legislature for making a great decision to save lives by “opting in” to the statewide ride-sharing program. This will allow the citizens of Suffolk to go and enjoy themselves while out on the town, knowing that they have an additional way to get home safely – ride-sharing!”
Adrian Durbin, Director of Communications for Lyft said: "New Yorkers overwhelmingly support ride-sharing to insure safety on the road, improve local economies, and help bring needed income to hardworking families across the State.  We look forward to bringing all the benefits of ride-sharing to Suffolk, Long Island and all across New York State, and thank County Executive Bellone for his leadership.”
Alex Anfang, Director of Communications for Uber Said: "Long Island residents have been clamoring for affordable, reliable transportation options for years and thanks to the leadership of County Executive Bellone, Suffolk County residents will soon have access to ride-sharing services like Uber. We can't wait to bring Uber to Suffolk County this summer, offering riders a new transportation option and drivers a flexible earning opportunity."
According to state law, the counties of Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester were provided the option to “opt-out” of the ride-sharing program.  However, the County Executive’s decision to conform with the soon-to-be-announced state DMV regulations will allow companies such as Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing services to operate throughout Suffolk County.
With 1.5 million residents, Suffolk County projects that ride-sharing can generate up to $120 million in additional spending by passengers contributing to the local economy, $57 million in earning through wages and tips, and $34 million in estimated value of time saved.
Ride-sharing can also provide a flexible job opportunity for residents who want to earn supplemental income in addition to either full or part-time employment. Studies show 86 percent of Lyft drivers are employed or actively seeking employment, and 61 percent of Uber drivers work full or part-time jobs in addition to driving with the company. Ride-sharing enables drivers to contribute to the local economy while also increasing their overall household income and quality of life.
Ride-sharing companies also provide significant benefits for small businesses. Ride-sharing serves as a critical mode of transportation for commuters to and from small businesses, and makes substantial contributions to the local economy.
New York State’s FY 2018 Budget authorizes Transportation Network Companies (TNC), and created uniform licensing standards for companies such as Uber and Lyft, to operate across New York. Under this program, the State Department of Motor Vehicles has oversight authority over ride-sharing companies that will ensure compliance with all laws, rules, and regulations required as part of a TNC’s operational license.
Ride-sharing companies are required to maintain minimum insurance coverage levels of $1.25 million, which remains in effect from when a driver is traveling to pick up a passenger and until the drop-off is completed. New York State also established extensive safety standards including mandatory background checks, ongoing monitoring for traffic safety, anti-discrimination protections, and zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policies to ensure passenger safety.
Further, New York State mandated that workers' compensation coverage be provided to rideshare drivers through the Black Car Fund and established a statewide board to review the impact of this newly authorized industry.
Suffolk County is home to world-renowned assets that millions of people across the country come to visit and enjoy each year. Participation in New York State’s ride-sharing program also supports County Executive Bellone’s ‘Connect Long Island’ plan, which seeks to connect all of Suffolk County’s world-class assets in one comprehensive quality of life ecosystem. Suffolk County has something for everyone, from exploring the vibrant downtowns along the south shore to catching a professional baseball game or learning the historical impacts that Long Island has on the development of our country – there is a wide-range of diverse activities for all to enjoy.
Phil Rugile, Director of Launchpad Huntington said: “The key to success for attracting and retaining young entrepreneurs is a combination of providing compelling work spaces in vibrant downtowns with meaningful business and lifestyle options. Launchpad Huntington chose Huntington Village as such a place but it doesn’t end there. Transportation is a big issue and engaging ride-sharing services will give us one more advantage in our fight to keep the startup community on Long Island. We are pleased to support the Suffolk County endorsement of ride-sharing as vital to the regional economy.”
Brian J. Yudewitz, Esq., Chairman of the Huntington Chamber of Commerce said: “We are in support of the County participating in the state-wide ride-sharing program.  The additional transportation options this legislation provides will help to free up parking spaces in Huntington Village and will provide more transportation options for the residents and employees of our businesses.  This should result in a positive economic benefit for Huntington and Suffolk County businesses.”
Diane Palma, Board Member/Co-Chair of the Young Professionals Committee - Township Chamber of Commerce said: “Implementing a plan to make Long Island an easier, faster and more convenient place to get around will only strengthen the core of the younger generation.  It is a great opportunity to attract young professionals from all over Long Island to experience the great culture of Huntington.”