City council hearing to set stage for final decision on ride sha - KPTV - FOX 12

City council hearing to set stage for final decision on ride sharing

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Uber and Lyft could be permanent services in Portland after a pair of final votes.

Thursday night the city council will consider new rules that would allow the companies to operate, as well as hear public testimony on the issue.

The ride sharing companies have operated in Portland as part of a pilot program since April, while a task force has sorted over issues like pricing, insurance coverage, driver background checks and access for disabled customers.

Before the hearing started Thursday afternoon, Lyft drivers stopped at officer of each commissioner and the mayor to ask for their support.

The city council is considering changes to the transportation code that would not only allow Uber and Lyft to operate permanently, but would also mean changes for taxi companies.

There was a lot of push back from those businesses when Uber and Lyft came to Portland.

The taxi companies claimed operating conditions were unfair, because those new mobile-based services wouldn’t have to follow the same rules they do.

Some of the proposed changes the council is considering include removing mandated fare rates, getting rid of caps on the number of company, vehicle and driver permits, requiring wheelchair accessible vehicles at all times and setting new requirements for driver training and background checks.

Lyft drivers like Stephanie Reynolds are hopeful commissioners will approve the new rules.

”Whenever there are people that are mixing with a social life and having a few drinks and having to get home somehow, there just doesn’t seem to be enough transportation options,” she said.” So it was important for me to come down here and show my support for the appreciation that I have as a rider first of all, and also as a driver.”

Many taxi drivers, though, think the proposed rules are one sided.

"Well the proposed regulations are really tailored for Uber and Lyft," Radio Cab driver John Orr said. "Under the guise of fairness, they’re weakening safety regulations and just tailoring the entire public for hire transportation regulations to fit their business model."

If the council passes the new rules Thursday night, there will be a final vote on November 18. 

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