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Uber For Portland 'Highly Likely'

OPB | July 29, 2014 12:51 p.m. | Portland

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Uber advocates may soon get their wish to bring the rideshare service to Portland.

On Tuesday’s Think Out Loud, host Geoff Norcross asked Dylan Rivera, a Portland Bureau of Transportation spokesman, about Uber in the City of Roses and his response was surprising. It looks the rideshare services are being seriously considered.

“It’s highly likely that we can accommodate Uber and some other competitors,” Rivera said.

Last year, the revenue bureau advised that the city maintain its ban on rideshare services: City code requires a 60-minute advance reservation for non-taxis, which doesn’t sit well with Uber’s model. The company has a smartphone app that people connect to their credit cards and use to summon a driver to their location.

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

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.

Rivera said as of July 1 this year, the question of rideshare regulation has been moved into the Transportation Bureau’s jurisdiction.

“Commissioner (Steve) Novick is interested in modernizing and taking a look at all of our taxi regulations and really trying to see where we can make improvements” Rivera said.

Uber was established in Salem, Eugene and Vancouver earlier this month. Though the rideshare company hasn’t made a formal announcement, there are ads for UberX drivers in Portland and sponsored posts on Facebook.

 

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