Feinblatt: Don’t get lost in Syracuse’s ride-hailing hype — taxis are still the way to go

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With ride-haling apps like Uber and Lyft now in Syracuse local college students will have two options for drivers: students and locals. Humor columnist Josh Feinblatt evaluates the options.

June 29 will go down in history as the day Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services began service in New York state. Of course, that Thursday was an obvious choice for the opening day for the services — “Thirsty Thursdays” are a widely celebrated weekday in central New York.

I was a resident adviser last year and will be again for this upcoming school year, but the job is almost not worth it for me anymore. Half the reason I became an RA, and the true joy I got out of the job, was seeing the freshmen’s faces when they opened up their Uber apps and saw nothing for a 300-mile radius.

“They don’t have Uber?” squealed the little freshmen with alcohol “hidden” in their vending machine bottles of juice. That was my favorite part of the year and it was a steady and steep decline from there.

The upcoming freshman class will be the most privileged of all time. They won’t know the struggle that it was to have to call Blue Star Taxi and hope it showed up.

Many people think Uber coming to New York, and specifically Syracuse, is the greatest thing to happen in the past 10 years, but those people clearly forgot about fidget spinners. Uber may make our lives easier, but ride-hailing opportunities in Syracuse bring more negatives than ripping away the happiest part of my job.

Getting places is going to be easier, but that’s exactly the problem. Lazy freshman from far and wide will Uber up the Mount on a regular basis. They won’t know the struggle.

There are two types of people that will be driving those Ubers: students and locals. Before you become an Uber champ, let’s evaluate those options a little closer.

If you hate having awkward small talk about your major, what you like about school and your plans for the future, don’t hop in the back of a black Toyota Camry with Philip or Jenny from Cicero. Dodge the robotic, repetitive conversations and just walk.

And we don’t really want fellow students driving us around. First off, we might have to run into them again on campus. And, unless your Uber is just a trip to the airport, you probably don’t want to see that person’s face again after what you did in the backseat.

I’d much prefer to take a taxi than have another Syracuse student drive me around anywhere. The options are sitting in the backseat with a 55-year-old man who carelessly threw all of your luggage in the trunk or Chris who definitely knows your friend Maddie, but can’t remember from where. I’d rather stare at the reckless driving of the older man than talk through the distracted driving of the kid you’ll now know for a long time.

The two biggest reasons people want ride-hailing is to get to and from parties, especially in the winter and to get to and from the transportation centers. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find some inherent flaws with the new change.

But the main factors which dictate party size is the weather, distance and pure laziness. If everyone can be there in the click of a button, then parties are going to hit their maximum limit early on. There goes my early bird drink special. Half the fun of coming home from parties is people stumbling and vomiting in inventive ways.

And an Uber is almost too easy to order. The user-friendly app is just begging students to order one mid-frat party and completely forget and be charged the $5 fee.

Uber will hopefully cut down on drunk driving. But is trying to get it banned so these freshmen have to walk everywhere and take the city bus if they want to leave campus worth it? Entirely.

As I begin my quest to take down Uber, Lyft and whatever weird apps that are going to come from it, my guess is an app to find student drivers called CusePool — ride-hailing services are here for now. So, please everyone, please stop asking me for a ride, especially down the mount.

Josh Feinblatt is a junior Television, Radio, Film major. He considered driving for Uber, but then realized his ever-soaring potentials at Lyft. Plus, don’t they have those little pink mustaches for your car? Are those free? Josh would like a response. He can be reached for responses about Lyft or anything else by email at, on Twitter @joshfeinblatt, or by pressing the Lyft app in the next few weeks and canceling your trips until you find him.


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