Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Commissioner Steve Novick

Official Website for Commissioner Steve Novick

Phone: 503-823-4682

fax: 503-823-4019

1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204

Uber and its drivers may face penalties, fines for operating illegally in Portland, Transportation Bureau warns

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has learned that transportation company Uber has said it will start offering taxi service in Portland illegally on Friday night.

City Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees PBOT, said the City is prepared to issue civil and criminal penalties against Uber and its drivers for operating without required permits and inspections. The City of Portland requires permits for drivers and companies that offer taxi or executive sedan service within the city limits.

“There’s nothing sharing about this so-called ‘sharing economy’ company: They want to profit in Portland without playing by the same rules as existing cab companies,” Novick said. “People who pick up passengers for Uber in Portland should know that they are operating illegally and could be subject to penalties. Public safety, fairness among competitors and customer service are our top priorities. Unlike permitted drivers, Uber drivers do not carry commercial insurance, putting Portland customers at great risk.”

Portland and Vancouver, Wash. are the only cities in the metropolitan area that regulate taxi companies. Uber recently started operating in Vancouver without permits and in other area cities that do not regulate taxis.

Since the City Council moved taxi regulation from the Revenue Bureau to PBOT, effective July 1, Commissioner Novick and transportation officials started a top-to-bottom review intended to update the City’s taxi and executive sedan regulations.

Commissioner Novick is convening a task force to reexamine existing taxi regulations and see if those regulations should be restructured while protecting consumers and drivers.

“We have told Uber and Lyft that they are welcome to offer ideas for regulatory changes,” Novick said. “Uber has chosen instead to break the law.”

It is illegal for motorists to pick up passengers for a fee in the Portland city limits without proper permits. Taxis that pick up passengers outside of Portland may drop off those passengers in Portland without a permit.

Anyone in Portland can use the smartphone app Curb to call taxis from Broadway and Radio Cab, which are two of the largest permitted taxi companies in the city.

The three most common violations of City Code that city enforcement officers find, and which Uber and its drivers may be in violation of, are: 

Code Section

Requirement

1st Offense

2nd Offense

Subsequent Offenses

16.40.090 A.

LPT and Taxi Driver Permit

$1,000

$2,500

$5,000

16.40.150 A.

Taxi Company Permit

$1,500

$2,500

$5,000

16.40.190 B.

Taxiplate

$1,250

$2,500

$5,000

Full City Code Citation: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/?c=28593#cid_408153 

The Limited Passenger Transportation and Taxi Driver Permit requirements ensure the public that drivers have passed annual City-required annual background checks.

The Taxi Company Permit requirement ensures the public that licensed companies have appropriate commercial insurance that will cover passengers in the event of a crash, and that the companies’ drivers have annual City-required background checks and inspected vehicles.

The Taxiplate display requirement calls for posting of a metal plate on the vehicle with an identification number. It helps customers and enforcement officers identify permitted operators.

The public can report suspected unpermitted operators, file a complaint and direct questions to the City of Portland's Private For Hire Transportation Program staff by calling 503-865-2486 or emailing Regulatory@portlandoregon.gov