Uber, Lyft now operating in Portland

Rideshare service now in a 120-day pilot program

In this Wednesday, March 18, 2015, file photo, the Uber app displays cars available to make a pickup in downtown Manhattan on a smart phone, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
In this Wednesday, March 18, 2015, file photo, the Uber app displays cars available to make a pickup in downtown Manhattan on a smart phone, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Rideshare services Uber and Lyft  launched service in Portland Friday afternoon, just days after the Portland City Council voted 3-2 to begin a 120-day pilot program that will also implement the city’s new proposed taxi code. Cab companies will be able to set their own rates during the trial period.

Portlanders began ordering rides from their phone at 2 p.m. Friday..

Amy Hall is the first licensed Uber driver in Portland, April 24, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
Amy Hall is the first licensed Uber driver in Portland, April 24, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

First driver, first passenger

Amy Hall became the first legal Uber driver in Portland after getting her business license and car inspection.

“It really wasn’t a hassle,” she told KOIN 6 News.

She said she began driving for Uber in the suburbs in January when she needed a job.

“I started reading about it like three or four years ago,” she said and described herself as “just kind of a techy, a little bit of a geek on tech stuff.”

Hall said she met a few other Uber drivers who said they were busy in the suburbs.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to have a lot more rides,” she said.

The safety issue is not “in my perspective. People ask the question and I just can’t even relate to that having been driving a few months.”

“Right away,” she said, “I’m making really good money.”

The first legal Uber rider, Charles McGee, said it’s an exciting time for Portland.

“Portland is clearly changing and evolving and Uber is just sort of another person to add to the family,” McGee said.

“Truthfully, tomorrow I’ll be using Uber to go the Blazer game,” he said.

Requirements

In an e-mail obtained by KOIN 6 News, Uber told its drivers they must meet a list of requirements in order to begin making pickups Friday.

Here’s the list:

  1. Drivers must get their free Portland Business License and print a “Certificate of Compliance”
  2. Drivers must complete a new, free vehicle inspection
  3. Drivers must pickup a “U” sticker
  4. Drivers must obtain a first aid kit
  5. Drivers must purchase a hands free phone mount

If drivers fail to comply with the requirements by noon on Friday, they will not be authorized to transport customers and their accounts will be temporarily deactivated

Launch comes after months of negotiation

The launch comes after months of debate over whether or not the city should adapt its transportation guidelines to include new rideshare programs.

On Tuesday, taxi drivers gathered outside city hall to protest the vote. Those against bringing rideshare services to the city spelled out their concerns on signs — they fought against the quality of background checks for Uber drivers, unequal insurance coverage and deregulation of pricing.

But pro-Uber advocates made sure their voices were heard as well.

“Everybody needs a choice,” Uber driver Janet Weiser previously told KOIN 6 News. “How would you like to only be able to shop at one store? How would you like to have somebody tell you what you can and cannot do in regards to getting around your own neighborhood?

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