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Portland Bureau of Transportation

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News Release: City board approves 242 new taxi permits, recommends Ecocab entry as Portland responds to high demand for taxis

(Feb. 12, 2015) Responding to widespread public interest in having more taxi service in Portland, the City’s Private for Hire Transportation Board of Review has approved a record number of new taxi permits and recommended a new taxicab provider.

The board approved permits that were requested by six of the seven taxi companies that do business in Portland. The board also recommended City Council approval of 51 permits for a new taxi company, Ecocab, which plans to offer service with a fleet comprised of all-electric vehicles.

"We hear from the public that they want taxis to be more accessible, and we hope these new permits will make it easier for everyone to be able to take a cab when they want one," said Leah Treat, Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

Taxi Companies Current number of taxicabs Requests for new cabs New total pemits available
  Approved 2012 Approved 2015  
Broadway Cab  136  30  166
Green Cab  59  82  141
New Rose City  19  30  49
Portland Taxi  30  24  54
Radio Cab  149  26  175
Sassy's  17  0  17
Union Cab  50  50  100
Total  460  242  702

The board required that the first vehicles added to the fleets of the existing companies be wheelchair accessible. The City requires that each taxi company ensure that 20 percent of its fleet is accessible to people with disabilities. If the City Council approves Ecocab and the 51 permits recommended, the total number of taxis permitted in Portland would grow from 460 currently approved to 753.

The change comes as PBOT conducts a top-to-bottom review of the City’s regulations for taxis, limos, town cars and other services, which are regulated by the Private for Hire Transportation (PFHT) Division. The City Council moved the division from the Revenue Bureau to PBOT effective July 1, 2014.

New dispatch software has identified times during which there is a significant shortage of taxi vehicles available to serve the public during periods of peak demand.

Initial reports in 2014 indicated that during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, there was an approximate 90 percent availability of Broadway and Radio cabs requested through their contracted smartphone application, called Curb.

On weekends, that percentage drops to 60 percent and lower. For instance, on Saturday, Oct. 25, between 2 and 3 a.m., 206 requests for rides were made to Broadway Cab and Radio Cab through Curb, but only 50 of those requests were fulfilled.

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The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation