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As Seattle Considers Ride-Sharing, Portland Is A Holdout

OPB | March 17, 2014 1:44 p.m. | Updated: March 31, 2014 7:50 a.m. | Portland

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Seattle City Council members are set to vote on new rules for ride services like UberX, Lyft and Sidecar at the request of taxi drivers in the city. KUOW in Seattle reports that the proposed regulations would limit the companies to 150 available drivers per company.

At the same time, the city would issue 200 more permits for taxi drivers during the two-year pilot program.
UberX says it boasts 900 drivers in Seattle alone and that the new regulations could effectively shut the ride service down.

People can summon drivers from ride services like Uber through smartphone apps.

People can summon drivers from ride services like Uber through smartphone apps.

Uber

Ride-sharing services have been popping up all over the country: Sidecar is in five major cities, Lyft is in 20 and Uber is in 37 U.S. cities and dozens of cities internationally. The companies have smartphone apps that people connect to their credit cards and use to summon a driver to their location.

But a handful of cities, including Portland, have banned non-taxi ride services completely to avoid issues with safety, taxes, labor laws and licensing, as well as to protect the taxi economy.

Uber has had its eye on the City of Roses, but city code requires a 60-minute advance reservation for non-taxi ride services, which doesn’t jibe with the on-demand ride-share model. As GeekWire reported, this regulation dates back to when luxury cars first entered the Portland market and didn’t want to abide by taxi rules, like accepting all riders, regardless of distance, having cameras in cars or setting predetermined fares.

There’s an active petition online, but otherwise the campaign to bring Uber to Portland has gone cold. Uber replied to an inquiry email saying there wasn’t much to share right now.

If the regulations pass in Seattle, do you think it will hurt Portland’s chances of getting Uber?

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