Lyft ride-share suspends operations in Buffalo

Sara Ali, Reporter

Ride-sharing company Lyft, which began operating in Western New York back in April as an alternative to taxi services, suspended its ride-sharing services in Buffalo and Rochester August 1, according to The Buffalo News.

In the days that Lyft was legal, it was a popular service used by Buffalonians all around, especially college students on local campuses, including SUNY Buffalo State. Moving to a new city, usually jobless and car-less, there was a demand for commuting services. Lyft was the “go-to” company for these needs.

Lyft functions in a simple process – download the app, tap the green button when you need a ride, track your driver’s location and route, then hop in the front seat for a ride to your destination. The driver uses his or her own vehicle, usually adorned with a pink mustache.

Opinions on the commuting company differ among college students and other Buffalo natives.

Industrial technology graduate Ebenezer Baawuah said that Lyft was a great service and he had a great experience using it.

“I’ve used it over five times; it was weird the first time because you sit up front next to the driver, but I got used to it after a while,” he said.

Baawuah also mentioned that he felt comfortable using the service because you can view a picture of your driver, as well as a background check.

Senior business major Naomi Feliz felt differently.

“It was too sketchy for my liking because you sit up front, but that is just me – being a New Yorker I would rather sit in the back,” she said.

Feliz used Lyft when the first five rides were free but said she now has a bike and would probably not use Lyft again, even if it were legal. However, she said she likes being able to see a picture of the driver and has recommended it to her friends.

Senior economics and finance major Chris Thompson says he has used Lyft over 50 times.

Thompson described using Lyft as a great experience and much better experience than using a cab. He added that the app was simple to use and he only had to wait five to ten minutes at the most, whereas his experience waiting for a taxi was different.

“I had to wait 20 minutes for a taxi driver,’ Thompson said. “Lyft was a lot more convenient and there is always a set price.”

Buffalo native Rebecca Kulik said she used Lyft in Nashville, Tennessee. She said people were able to rate their drivers and never had to wait more than five minutes for a ride.

“I tried using it here in Buffalo but they had just started at the time and there were no drivers available, but Lyft is a hundred times better than a cab driver. I would recommend it to anyone,” Kulik said.

Following complaints from the taxi industry, Lyft agreed to suspend its services until they comply with New York State’s insurance laws and regulations, according to The Buffalo News.


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