Uber and Lyft become legal in Westchester

Posted: Updated:

It's official. The Uber and Lyft apps you may have on your phone are now legal in Westchester County.

As of 12:01 a.m. today, a state law legalizing the ride-hailing services across New York kicked in and that includes Westchester County.

It almost didn't happen, as county lawmakers threatened to opt out of the law because some said the safety checks for Uber and Lyft drivers were inadequate.

Uber and Lyft officials were unwilling to impose further background screenings for their drivers and threatened to turn off their apps in the area if Westchester opted out.

But a last minute deal allows the companies to operate in Westchester, if the drivers would consider undergoing voluntary fingerprinting at their own cost.

Right now, fingerprinting is only required for ride-hailing drivers in New York City. Most Uber and Lyft drivers are on record as saying they would not go for that voluntary fingerprinting because it's not necessary.

News 12 spoke with an Uber driver who said he drove a taxi for seven years but switched. "I used to deal with cash all the time with Uber you just deal with credit cards, no worries about the money. It's been wonderful," says an Uber driver named Jay.

Many residents tell News 12 they look forward to the service and that it is safe. “I set up an account with them, but what happens is before the driver comes in you check your app and you see the face of the driver in the car that's coming to you and then when it comes you know the driver and I think that is very safe," says Regina Odom, of White Plains.

The new state law was approved last month. Albany lawmakers then moved the effective date up 10 days so that Uber and Lyft could operate across the state by the July 4th holiday.

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