PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Uber’s general manager for the northwest region addressed concerns Thursday about bringing the rideshare service to Portland.
Uber said it is ready to do business in Portland — and it plans on doing it with the support of the city.
“We want to be regulated and we want regulations to be in place around background checks, around insurance, around vehicle inspections,” Uber General Manager Brooke Steger told KOIN 6 News. “Those are things we already have and already do.”
From the beginning, the City of Portland and local cab companies have expressed concerns regarding Uber’s ability to provide safe and reliable transportation to all areas of the city. Some are worried the rideshare company will avoid short rides and focus on longer, more profitable trips from places like the airport, at the expense of existing taxis.
“We’ve actually seen the exact opposite happen,” Steger said.
Steger explained that a majority of Uber trips fall under the category of short-term rides, replacing individuals’ travel with their personal vehicles.
“Yes, we see people utilizing Uber to go to and from the airport, but also to get to and from a meeting very quickly,” Steger said. “Or, they’re sending a vehicle to get their grandmother to a doctor’s appointment. There are so many use cases for this that we see a variety of trips.”
Steger also said drivers may be removed from the service if they chronically avoid fares in their area.
The rideshare company now has a market for transporting people with disabilities. Some Uber driver’s vehicles are handicap accessible — there is also a voice activated version of the Uber app for riders with vision problems. A product called Uber Assist was designed specifically to help drivers handle riders with disabilities.
The local advisory council overseeing Uber hopes to devise new regulations for the rideshare company by this spring.