Bill could provide Uber and Lyft services to WV

Marshall students are looking forward to potentially using services Uber and Lyft after the West Virginia House of Delegates pushed a bill allowing ride-sharing companies to operate in West Virginia.

House Bill 4228 passed with a vote of 94 to 4 Feb. 15 after a session filled with several questions and debate.

Delegate Matthew Rohrbach, R-Cabell, said ride-sharing companies are great services that offer many opportunities for students and people in the Huntington community.

“I’m excited,” Rohrbach said. “I think Marshall students in particular will benefit a lot from Uber. Most of them for part-time work and as a service that they can use for easy and efficient transportation.”

Senior public health major Meena Elango’s father is an Uber driver. Elango said she has become familiar with the system and believes it will help students interact with businesses in the city of Huntington.

“I think it’s a great way for students to take advantage of another opportunity,” Elango said. “I think the city of Huntington is a developing city, and I think it’s something that can benefit the community, as well as the students.”

Rohrbach said he thinks the ride-sharing companies will flourish more in Huntington and other West Virginia cities rather than in rural areas, due to a larger population size.

“Probably in the rural areas, Uber is not going to work very well,” Rohrbach said. “First of all, the cell phone coverage is spotty and you’ve got to have cell phone coverage for this to work, and they probably don’t have the mass of people that it’s going to take to really generate such business.”

Delegate and taxi driver Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, said Uber and Lyft would create competition for the taxi business. However, Pushkin said he still supports the bill because it will give people more options to get home safely.

“I’m not up there representing my own interests or looking out for my own best interest or just the best interests of taxi drivers,” Pushkin said. “We’ve got to do what’s best for the public good. That’s the way I wanted to vote.”

The bill is expected to pass through a Senate committee in the near future. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said he supports legislation allowing ride-sharing companies to operate in West Virginia.

Emily Kinner can be contacted at [email protected]