July will be the earliest that Uber and Lyft will be allowed to operate in Rochester and other upstate cities.
Over the next 90 days, the Department of Motor Vehicles will be working out the details of the expansion of the ride-hailing services outside of New York City, after state lawmakers gave the green light for the expansion with passage of the state budget last week.
One big point of concern among lawmakers has been safety. Uber and Lyft drivers will be subject to third-party criminal background checks. Uber spokesperson Alix Anfang says the specifics will be determined by the DMV.
"And that includes things like looking at the sexual offenders list. They can't have a criminal conviction over a certain amount of years."
Anfang says anyone interested in becoming an Uber driver can go to the company's website to start the process. She said it’s okay with Uber if someone wants to drive for that company and Lyft at the same time.
"If I were a driver, I would want to use every app that was available to me. We believe that competition for drivers is a good thing because that means we're going to raise the bar for drivers."
Anfang said it might take a while for Rochester and other upstate residents to get used to the service. “We may see a little ramping up period demand-wise, but we think pretty soon, we’re going to see people from all walks of life using Uber. Our biggest competitor is personal car ownership.”