What would have been a fantasy five years ago, ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft have become a big part of our lives. This is especially big if you live in a big city where you would need to use that.
One city that hasn’t gone with the times is Buffalo and this became noticeable when they hosted the NCAA Tournament. They are the only city who has an NFL team that doesn’t have ridesharing. For out-of-towners who don’t have a car and may be unfamiliar with the city, Lyft and Uber is necessary to get around the city. And for some reason, Buffalo still hasn’t approved this in 2017.
Put this in perspective. I live in a town about 30 minutes from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My town gets a bit of tourism but it’s a local population most weeks out of the year. And while it would be a hike, you could maybe walk from one end of the town to the other within a couple hours. There is Uber and Lyft in this town and it’s probably an eighth of the size of Buffalo.
The lack of ridesharing has gotten Buffalo residents and tourists upset. You have people saying that they walked 20 minutes to a bar and the cab service hung up on them. And people just lamenting not being able to get out and about in the city because they have no ride.
There is a cab service in Buffalo but that is essentially the only game in town. They have beefed up the amount of cabs available for the tournament but that doesn’t change the issue that they can pretty much set the prices to whatever and people either use it or walk in the cold of Buffalo. Neither option seems ideal.
In 2017, this almost seems like Buffalo is Amish. Except for protecting the cab people who are already there, there is no reason for lawmakers to deny Uber and Lyft from the city. It would add competition and drive prices lower for the consumer because the supply would meet demand and quite frankly it’s a safety issue. Have you seen videos of Bills tailgates? The Bills Mafia love to have a good time breaking tables and wearing zubaz pants. They also love to get drunk or at least they better be if they’re crashing through tables. Shouldn’t it be made easier for people to get home responsibly instead of driving drunk, which many people are probably doing simply because there’s no Uber or Lyft.
Same thing applies to the NCAA Tournament. Not only those tourists without cars are hurt with a lack of ridesharing, it hurts those who live in Buffalo who drove there and may be driving home after having a few beers. It doesn’t excuse driving drunk but at the same time, you can’t ignore that this happens and could be improved with ridesharing.
Uber provides a link for customers to contact local lawmakers about approving ridesharing in Buffalo. It’s up to them to realize that it would be safer and tourists would be willing to spend more time and money in a city if they knew they could get around. If my small town has Uber, surely Buffalo should have it too.