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Seeking to fill a void in transportation options for Upstate New Yorkers, Lyft originally launched its ridesharing services in Rochester and Buffalo in 2014. However, they were forced to shut down soon after launching by order of the New York State Attorney General, because of a unique provision of the New York State Insurance Law which required passing a separate statute to authorize transportation network company group insurance policies. This bar to entry in the market was unique to New York State, and hindered Lyft from being able to demonstrate the benefits of its platform in upstate communities while attempting to get authorization from the Legislature.

In a truly comprehensive legislative, administrative, and public relations strategy, ASA engineered a plan to educate Legislators about the economic, transportation, and social benefits of ridesharing by conducting Albany-based and in-district face to face meetings, creating a statewide coalition (“New Yorkers for Ridesharing”) of over 120 influential Upstate transportation, local government, environmental, business, and community partners, holding community events and rallies across New York State, and participating in public hearings and informational events.

In addition, ASA took the lead in negotiating complex statutory changes to the New York Insurance, Transportation, Human Rights, and Local Government laws, navigating concerns from Taxis and Livery organizations, Labor groups, and the Trial Lawyer bar to enact legislation as part of the 2017 State Budget. After passage, ASA and Lyft negotiated complex regulations with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, Division of Criminal Justice Services, and Department of Financial Services to create an entirely new administrative and regulatory system for ridesharing so Lyft could obtain its New York State operator’s license. Lyft launched its peer to peer ridesharing platform in Upstate New York to much fanfare on June 29, 2017.

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Albany Strategic Advisors
111 Washington Avenue, 2nd floor, Albany, NY 12210