Uber Gets the Green Light in Westchester
Despite the worries of many Westchesterites, the county has given ride-hailing companies a thumbs up, with a unique exception.
Photo Courtesy of Uber
It was announced on Tuesday that both ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft will be able to operate in Westchester, with the inclusion of the “Thumbs Up” program that lets users know whether their driver’s background screening included a fingerprint check.
According to County Executive Rob Astorino, new state regulations, which go into effect on Thursday, “contain a major flaw that put the safety of Westchester residents at risk, because they do not require ride-sharing drivers outside of New York City to be fingerprinted.”
The Thumbs Up program is the first of its kind in the country. Essentially, Uber and Lyft drivers whose fingerprints have no criminal record will be given a “thumbs up” windshield decal from the county to let customers know they are in safe hands.
“Our goal was to find the right balance between safety and convenience,” Astorino said when announcing the program. “Ride sharing is not supposed to be hitchhiking with an app.”
According to Astorino’s announcement, both Uber and Lyft also intend to “work with the county on potential revenue opportunities at county facilities,” like the County Center or Westchester County Airport.
Interested in becoming a county-based Uber driver? Beginning on Wednesday, interested drivers can to go to the county’s Taxi and Limousine Commission to be fingerprinted for $90. Within three days, the results of a background check will be returned and entered into a database of fingerprinted drivers. Those who pass the check will be issued their “Thumbs Up” certificate and decal.
Travel safe, Westchester revelers.