Have you ever been stuck on a street corner waiting for a ride? Have you ever gotten in the wrong car because it was the same color as another? Have you ever not gone to something that you wanted to because you couldn’t drive there? No. Well, I have, and it sucks. What makes it hurt even more is knowing that there’s something out there that could fix all of these problems, but our politicians in Albany are too short-sighted to see the big picture benefit.
As many of you may know, I am legally blind and suffer from X-linked retinoschisis. It’s a rare congenital eye disease that is degenerative and only affects males. As a result, my visual acuity hovers between 20/200 – 20/400 and I can’t drive.
Given my disability, the visual component of my job is a challenge, but many times its transportation that does me in. I can’t tell you how often I have to stick around at events I’m covering as I wait for a ride. Thankfully I’ve got great parents that support and help me chase my dream as a reporter, but even they can’t be everywhere. It’d be nice to catch a cab, but I have a better chance of running into someone with the same condition as me than I would hailing a readily available, affordable cab ride home.
What’s preventing Uber from coming here is as described by Matt Baumgartner, owner of Wolff’s Biergarten, “political crap that regular people don’t care about.”
That crap he’s referring has to do with insurance premiums and safety concerns politicians conveniently have with ride hailing platforms like Uber. What really raises some eyebrows is that it’s the position taxi unions and owners would want them to take.
I’m glad our politicians are looking out for us, but if they really wanted to advocate on behalf of all constituents, they’d support Uber. Bringing Uber to the capital region is not a revolutionary idea, it has successfully happened throughout the country. It would however, be revolutionary for one in five capital region residents who have some form of a disability, people like me whose liberty is dependent upon transport by others.