Ride-sharing services is coming to Westchester County after all.
Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino is launching the first-in-the-nation program to bring services, such as Uber and Lyft, to the area while making sure riders are safe, he announced Tuesday.
Astorino announced the solution by creating a voluntary pool of fingerprinted drivers the ride-sharing companies could hire.
Working with Lyft and Uber, Astorino developed a plan that will enable residents to know whether their driver’s background screening includes a fingerprint check.
The new program is called "Thumbs Up" and participating drivers whose fingerprints do not show a criminal background will issued a thumbs up decal issued by the county to be placed on their windshield, according to the announcement.
“Ride sharing is not supposed to be hitchhiking with an app,” Astorino said in a statement. “The public has the right to know that the driver picking them up has been fully screened for a criminal record."
In addition to supporting the program, Lyft and Uber said they would make technology available to the county to help with traffic management and work with the county on potential revenue opportunities at county facilities, such as the Westchester County Airport.
Beginning Wednesday, interested drivers can be finger-printed with results returned and entered into a database within two to three days. Drivers who pass will be issued the decal to be placed in their windshield.
The program comes after the county considered opting out of ride-sharing services, with Uber fighting back.
Uber put out a full-scale campaign in the form of radio ads, mailers and emails to current app users, calling the proposed block a "secretly-rushing" ban on "affordable, reliable transportation options."
"Banning Uber would make Westchester one of the only counties in the country without ridesharing. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that residents understand the consequence of the county's actions and have the opportunity to make their voices are heard," said Alix Anfang, a spokesperson for Uber.
Counties with more than 100,000 residents, like Westchester, are allowed to opt out of the services.