What's Holding Up Uber & Lyft On Fort Drum?

What's Holding Up Uber & Lyft On Fort Drum?

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Joshua Swink is an Uber driver in the north country and an active duty solider at Fort Drum.

While he can pick up customers throughout the Watertown area, he says he has had to turn down rides from people living on Fort Drum.

"I've denied like 15 or 16 rides, at least. That's close to $200-$300 that could have been made over on like a Saturday night," he said.

But in order for Uber or Lyft drivers to get on post, it's a bit of a process.

The way some local taxi companies do it is through a sponsor, like the Army and Air Force Exchange Services. The taxi company gives its sponsor a list of drivers and information about those drivers so Fort Drum can do background checks on them.

"They get issued what's called a local access badge or a pass and in some cases that's for a year," said Raymond Myers, Fort Drum Emergency Services Department director.

Every year that local access badge needs to be renewed.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Services, which sponsors local taxis and other businesses on posts, collects a percentage of the businesses' sales.

Since it's hard to keep track of Uber and Lefty's sales, both companies will probably have pay the exchange services a flat fee.
The Army and Air Force Exchange Services says neither company has reached out yet, but officials at Fort Drum and representatives from Uber and Lyft say they're all for picking up riders on post.

"That's something we've done in other parts of the country, for example, we have a good working relationship at Maxwell Air Force Base, we have a good working relationship at Fort Benning," said Josh Gold, policy director for Uber New York.

"We're definitely interested in being able to get drivers and passengers, picking up and dropping off on the base," said Cambell Matthews, Lyft communications manager.

It seems all sides need to sit down and talk, which hasn't happened yet. There's no indication of when it could happen.

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