Portland extends pilot program for Uber and Lyft service to Octo - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland extends pilot program for Uber and Lyft service to October

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Portland is extending a pilot program that allows Uber and Lyft to operate in city limits, while local cab companies said the two startups are already cutting into business.

The city’s pilot program was supposed to last 120 days, but will now go through early October.

Commissioner Steve Novick said more time is needed to resolve issues as they develop final regulations for private-for-hire companies.

Drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft drive their own cars, and customers use a phone app to request a ride.

Established cab companies have fought against Uber and Lyft, contending drivers for those companies should have to follow the same regulations as their drivers.

Uber claims that its drivers have provided over 400,000 rides in Portland since the pilot program launched in April.

Radio Cab told Fox 12 the number of rides their drivers are providing has decreased every month since the pilot program launched. This August, they dispatched 21 percent fewer rides than last year, and some drivers are reporting losing up to 40 percent of their income.

The cab companies and their drivers said they think that's because people are using Uber and Lyft for more expensive rides, like those to the airport.

Portlanders that have used the new services seem impressed with their availability and speed of service.

 “There's really no cabs where I live and there's always Ubers everywhere,” Uber user Rachelle Cochran said. “I needed to get somewhere stat, and I was like ‘you know I'm just going to Uber it out of here!’ My girl Carla picked me up, and I was like yeah, I was at my destination like 15 minutes.”

“I use it a lot on weekends. It's just super quick,” Chase Jones, another Uber rider, said. “I love being able to do everything from my phone. Makes it way easier.”

Some local residents are still unfamiliar and said they would go with the more traditional choice.

“I think I might feel more comfortable in a cab until I learned a little more about it,” Denise Baker said.

Thursday afternoon the city council heard feedback on proposed final recommendations for rules. The issue will be in front of the city council again on October 7.

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