Strong demand prompts council to approve new EcoCab taxi company, look to new rules for taxis and transportation network companies
(March 23, 2015) A combination of new city codes, administrative rules and a pilot program could allow Uber, Lyft and other Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) to legally provide service in Portland in April.
The Private for Hire Transportation Innovation Task Force was convened in January to recommend updates to the City’s private for-hire transportation safety regulations to include TNCs. The Task Force is on schedule to deliver its recommendations to the City Council on April 9 at 2 p.m. in City Council Chambers.
To implement the Task Force’s recommendations and update taxi regulations in line with City Council direction, the Portland Bureau of Transportation will offer a combination of administrative rules and city code revisions, to initiate a TNC pilot program. During the 120-day pilot program, permits will be available for companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate legally in Portland.
The Task Force’s work is divided into two phases. During phase 1, from January through April, the Task Force has focused on new rules for TNCs and taxis that the City could implement in a pilot program. During phase 2, from April through July, the Task Force will take a broader look at, and make recommendations for, permanent changes to all private for-hire transportation rules that regulate taxis, TNCs, limos, party buses, pedicabs and other private for-hire transportation operators.
Upcoming key dates for Phase 1 new taxi cab regulations to keep up with strong demand for taxi service:
Private for Hire Transportation Innovation Task Force Presents Recommendations at Portland City Council Meeting
What: Recommendations on key rules for the pilot program, including: driver background checks, vehicle inspections, insurance, access for people with disabilities, data collection, fares and other issues for transportation network companies and taxi companies. Task Force members will present recommendations and take questions from City Council. Public testimony will also be heard.
When: 2 p.m., April 9 at City Council Chambers, City Hall, 1221 SW Fourth Ave.
Portland City Council Meeting on Pilot Program
What: City Council to consider a resolution directing Transportation Director Leah Treat to launch a TNC Pilot Program based on the recommendations of the Task Force, April 9 City Council discussion and public input. Public testimony will also be heard.
When: April 15 at City Council Chambers, City Hall, 1221 SW Fourth Ave. (Time: To be determined).
To view a detailed timeline of the Task Force’s work and view a draft proposal of recommendations developed by a subcommittee of the Task Force, see www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/pdxrides or use the links provided here:
Timeline of the Task Force Discussion and Recommendations
Draft Subcommittee Preliminary Phase 1 Recommendations (March 18, 2015)
After April, during Phase 2, the Task Force will continue to review and gather input on private for-hire regulations for all modes, including taxi companies, TNCs, limos, party buses, pedicabs and other private for-hire transportation operators. The Task Force will present any additional recommendations to City Council this summer at the conclusion of Phase 2.
The City Council and the Portland Bureau of Transportation have already taken action to address high demand for taxi service in Portland. On March 18, 2015the City Council approved permits for EcoCab Portland, LLC.,the first new taxi company to start business in Portland since Union Cab was approved for operation in 2012. In February, the City’s Private for-Hire Transportation Board of Review approved 242 new taxi permits for existing taxi companies and recommended adding EcoCab with up to 51 permits.
Portland has a far lower rate of taxi availability than other U.S. cities of comparable size. According to a study by ECONorthwest, Portland had 7.5 taxis per 10,000 residents in 2013, the second-lowest among 10 cities in the study. Six of the 10 cities had taxis available at twice the rate as Portland.
View the ECONorthwest report, part of EcoCab’s permit application
For more information, to provide comments to the Task Force, or to join the PFHT Task Force Interested Parties email list, email project staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Francesca Patricolo 503-823-5087.
For more information about private for-hire transportation, visit: www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/pdxrides
To file a complaint about taxi service, call 503-865-2486 or email email@example.com.