BAY SHORE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – People who use Uber, Lyft and other popular ride-sharing services could soon find themselves stuck without a ride in Suffolk County, as local lawmakers fight for a share of the tax revenue.
Ride-sharing was rolled out on Long Island only eight months ago, but already riders can’t imagine life without it.
“It’s very cheap, and affordable and very convenient, too,” one woman said.
Yet Suffolk County could put its ride-sharing into reverse while it presses the state for a piece of the four percent surcharge on every ride.
“The entire four percent goes back to New York State general fund and a little bit to the MTA,” Suffolk County legislator Bridget Fleming, D-Noyac, said. “It only makes sense that a portion of the surcharge should come back, so we can continue to offer the infrastructure that supports ride-sharing.”
Fleming has proposed a temporary six-month moratorium on Uber and Lyft to pressure the state to earmark the four percent for local public transit and level the playing field with taxi drivers. She says it was premature to give ride-sharing the green light last summer.
“It’s my intention to restart a conversation that should have happened before ride-sharing came into Suffolk County,” she said.
But 80 Uber drivers packed into a hearing to be part of that conversation Tuesday. Driver Alex Pomposelli said any break in service will endanger livelihoods.
“Her bill will hurt families – thousands of families,” he said. “It will bankrupt me.”
Bobby Smith said he’s getting commuters to jam-packed train parking lots and keeping drunks off the roads.
“Fridays and Saturdays, I do over 60 rides per night from different bars, or different groups or weddings,” he said.
A spokesperson for Uber says, “Banning Uber is the wrong way to pressure Albany.” The move would make Suffolk County the only place in the country with a ride-sharing ban.
As Fleming heads to Albany to push for bills that would return the four percent to all local counties, she says she’s hoping it won’t come to a moratorium. The measure moves on to the full Suffolk County Legislature next week.
Uber and Lyft have more than 7,000 Suffolk County drivers.