ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Uber officials were flanked by state and community leaders in making a push to get its service approved for Upstate communities. If allowed to operate, it's believed the ride share service would make an immediate impact on job creation and economic activitiy in cities like Rochester.
"We can add a thousand jobs in the first year of operating, which is exciting, as well as 40,000 reliable, safe and affordable rides every month to people who live here who want to get around," Uber NY General Manager Josh Mohrer said.
Uber is a transportation network company that develops, markets and operates the Uber mobile app which allows consumers with smartphones to submit a request for transportation which is then routed to Uber drivers who use their personal vehicles.
It's a service local assembly and senate leaders support.
"Given the senators that I've talked to, I think there's pretty good support for it in Upstate New York," Senator Rich Funke said. "It's a free market thing, we're for free market enterprise and I think it's a good thing."
There's a great deal of interest from area residents in becoming Uber drivers. They turned out by the hundreds to learn about the business and the opportunities Uber presents.
"In a community that is economically challenged, the notion of literally a thousand people being entrepreneurs, being independent contractors who can decide to provide rides at times that are convenient to them, at hours that are convenient to them without regard to whether they want to work five hours or 10 or 15 hours a week. So the hours economically are great," NYS Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle said.
Cab drivers, who declined to comment on camera, had mixed reaction to the possibility of Uber coming to Rochester. One said it's a free marketplace and welcomed the competition Another says business is tight now and believes Uber may force some taxi drivers out of business.
And the Committee for Taxi Safety agrees. A statement it released says in part "Uber should stop misleading New Yorkers and admit that a ride sharing economy means a net loss of fulltime jobs Upstate. Uber jobs are part time and Uber's schme to lure away fulltime taxi drivers hurts small businesses that also employ dispatchers, office clerks, mechanics and other workers."