Ride-sharing service Uber got its start in urban areas, and is usually shown in pop culture ferrying passengers around major locales like New York or Los Angeles.
But in most states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania, Uber is available in suburban and even rural areas. The only catch is you'll probably have to wait a bit longer.
Josh Gold, policy director of New York for Uber, offered Pittsburgh as a stand-in comparison for Buffalo and its surrounding communities. In downtown Pittsburgh late on a weekday afternoon, the wait time was seven minutes. In a rural town about an hour outside of downtown, the wait was about 18 minutes.
"We want to be everywhere in the state," Gold said. "The goal is to provide a car to people everywhere."
Uber drivers, who work on a contractual basis, cannot charge for the drive to a passenger. However, if you hold up the driver more than a few minutes upon their arrival, you may be charged for the waiting time.
Uber fares for Upstate New York have yet to be set. Gold said Uber considers other available transportation and rates for transportation in setting its price for a locale.
The rates may be higher during times of peak travel, such as holidays or weekend nights — something Uber calls dynamic or surge pricing. Fares might increase by a fraction or by multiple times its initial cost.
"The goal of dynamic pricing is to have supply meet demand," Gold said.
Under the deal struck by state lawmakers earlier this month, the state Department of Transportation will have 90 days to craft and finance regulations for the ride-sharing industry.
Gold said they the company has already received more than 50,000 applications for interested Uber drivers across upstate. With more drivers, of course, means a higher likelihood there will be rides available in rural areas.
Meantime, rural dwellers with no vehicle could utilize Rural Niagara Public Transport. The service costs just $2 for rides picked up on route, and $4 for drivers who require buses to drive off route. However, buses will deviate no more than 0.75 miles from their four established routes.
Route one circles through North Tonawanda, Wheatfield and Sanborn. Route two goes through Cambria, the City of Lockport and Royalton. Route three heads through the city and town of Lockport, and the towns of Cambria, Wilson and Newfane. Route four services the western part of the county, including the towns of Lewiston and Porter and the hamlet of Ransomville. The routes run from 5:45 a.m. to about 6:30 p.m.
Niagara County Social Services recently received $325,241 in federal funds to purchase new buses to replace the current vehicles, which have been driven 300,000 miles apiece.
For more information on Rural Niagara Public Transport, visit Niagaracounty.com, click on "County Information" followed by "Public Transportation Schedule."