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Uber & Lyft Can Now Operate Legally In Westchester County

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Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino announces voluntary enhanced background check for Uber and Lyft drivers. Ricky Flores/lohud

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino announced a compromise between county lawmakers and ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft.

The county will allow them to operate legally as long as an optional fingerprinting program for drivers goes into effect.

The program is called “Thumbs Up” and participating drivers can volunteer to have their fingerprint on record with law enforcement.

New drivers can go to the Taxi and Limousine Commission in White Plains to get fingerprinted, and then if they pass a background check, they will get a decal for their cars. People who call for an Uber can then see if the driver has the decal and decide if they want to take a ride.

“I feel more comfortable as husband and father knowing that driver has been thoroughly vetted,” said Astorino, who thinks drivers will want to participate in the added check so people don’t opt out of a ride.

But it remains to be seen if people will actually see the decal or not and care. Uber has agreed to the decal idea after days of fighting with county lawmakers, who felt Uber’s current background checks didn’t go far enough.

But what isn’t clear is if the app will let patrons know if the driver has passed a background check and if new drivers will be responsible for paying $90 for the extra vetting.

“This was a negotiation concluded about an hour ago so these details need to be looked into,” said Josh Gold, policy director for Uber in New York. “So we will have to look at that pool and see what the size is.”

With this new compromise, though, lawmakers say they still retain the right to opt out of the ride share agreement at any time. Uber will officially be operating here in the county legally this Thursday.

Lawmakers are still very upset with the state allowing ride shares to operate legally without the fingerprint requirement even though it’s enforced in New York City.

On Martine Avenue in White Plains, a huge crowd of protesters lined up saying their jobs are stake and they want Uber and Lyft to go through the same regulations that they have to.

AJ Woodson

AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show. AJ is a Father, Brother, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Hip-Hop Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.

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