Why ridesharing is an important driver of workforce development

Over 500 cities and more than 40 states across the United States have successfully implemented ridesharing efforts, including companies such as Uber and Lyft. However, Buffalo remains the largest economic market in the U.S. that does not offer this transportation alternative. And that has a direct effect on workforce development efforts in our region.

There are many reasons to support ridesharing, however, one point often overlooked is the ability of ridesharing to create greater access to higher paying jobs. According to the Invest Buffalo Labor Market Assessment, sectors such as Advanced Manufacturing and Cleantech will see significant retirements and moderate growth over the next 10 years. Many of these jobs that will open are located outside the city or offer opportunities in second or third shift, which does not align with current transportation options i.e. public transportation.

No ridesharing is a roadblock to racial equality.

The Greater Buffalo Racial Equity Roundtable recently released a compelling report, “Racial Equality Dividend”, which outlines the gap of racial equality in Buffalo. When the data from the report is aligned with data from the Labor Market Assessment it clearly shows a disconnection between our employment market and neighborhoods with high concentrations of people of color. A key barrier that is recognized throughout the report is transportation.

• Limitations in our transportation system adversely affect employment, education, public health, and neighborhood investment.
• Our current transportation system does not sufficiently meet the needs of our community and it is even worse for people of color.
• According to the Racial Equity Roundtable report, less than one-third of the region’s jobs are accessible by public transit and 65% of the regions transit commuters are workers of color.
• After managing a workforce development program for the last seven years, working with a majority of people of color, the limitations in our region for employment opportunities became apparent.
• Job seekers regularly had to turn down work because bus scheduling didn’t align with available shifts and taxi fares were simply not economical.
• In most cases the businesses that were hiring were located steps outside the City of Buffalo.

Support ridesharing for greater economic growth.

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Ridesharing will create greater access, while providing an economical option to jobs, schools, healthcare services, and commercial districts. Over-regulating ridesharing will only drive up costs, which in turn will once again limit low income residents from accessing the service. Buffalo, along with other upstate cities, need ridesharing services to remain competitive to attract residents and businesses to further our economic growth.

Click here to learn more about other policies we are advocating for this year.