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Buffalo Place formalizes support for ride-hailing services

Buffalo Place, the nonprofit downtown business improvement district, has joined the bandwagon calling for Uber and Lyft to operate in Western New York.

The organization's board on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution urging state and local approval of legislation and regulations "that will bring ride sharing to Western New York."

The resolution noted that the organization's role is to "improve access to and within downtown Buffalo" and that Buffalo is "the largest U.S. city and only National Football and National Hockey League city where ride-sharing is not available." That makes it more difficult to compete for conventions and sporting events, board members said.

Board members acknowledged there is still debate about the issue. The taxi industry has opposed ride-hailing services without requiring those drivers to have insurance, licenses and background checks.

Buffalo Place members noted Gov. Andrew Cuomo's inclusion of ride-hailing as part of his legislative agenda this year.

"Ride share is coming. We will have opportunities to tweak it for our local area," said board member and county Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams. "We have to be able to embrace it and then work it out."

Uber has pursued an intense campaign to legalize ride-hailing services in Upstate New York.

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