Taxi Wars: Uber, Lyft now allowed at PDX

The rideshare companies weren't allowed to pick up passengers at the airport until policies were updated

Chelsea Miller arrived at PDX by Uber, May 8, 2015 (KOIN)
Chelsea Miller arrived at PDX by Uber, May 8, 2015 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Greg and Chelsea Miller arrived at PDX Friday to depart on their honeymoon by Uber. When they return, they can now have Uber pick them up as well.

Chelsea Miller arrived at PDX by Uber, May 8, 2015 (KOIN)
Chelsea Miller arrived at PDX by Uber, May 8, 2015 (KOIN)

“Uber is always clean and good conversation,” Chelsea Miller said. “It’s much easier for us.”

As of Friday, the controversial rideshare companies are allowed to operate from the airport. Until now, they have only been allowed to drive to the airport but not pick up from there. The airport was in the process of updating their policies.

Uber and Lyft began operating in Portland on April 24 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.

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

The companies needed separate permits from the Port of Portland to be able to pick up at the airport.

“We’re really doing this because our customers have been asking for this and from our perspective it’s really part of offering many transportation (options) to PDX travelers,” said Steve Johnson with the Port of Portland.

Welcome to Taxi Wars.

A line of taxis at PDX, May 8, 2015 (KOIN)
A line of taxis at PDX, May 8, 2015 (KOIN)

The airport can be one of the biggest moneymakers for taxi and rideshare companies — who are now competing for the business of thousands of people who fly in and out of PDX every day.

“We do have a permitting process so both organizations are permitted here and it lays out all the rules for operating at the airport,” Johnson said.

Uber brags riders can get from the airport to downtown Portland for as low as $22. Cab companies said the same ride would cost between $35-$40.

Some Portland taxi drivers are now stepping up their game by partnering with Flywheel, which allows people to order the nearest licensed taxi and pay for it on their phone — just like the apps for Uber and Lyft.

“To drive for Flywheel you have to be a licensed taxi cab driver,” said Evan Smith. The company said they have about 150-200 drivers using the program in Portland.

“With us,” said Flywheel’s Nash Rook, “you’re getting more professional drivers.”

Taxi companies said they’ve been providing good service in Portland for a long time and will continue to do so. But Uber has proven very popular at airports in other cities.

It’s a whole new ballgame when it comes to getting a ride home.

A Transportation Network Companies sign at PDX, designating cabs and ride-share companies, May 8, 2015 (KOIN)
A Transportation Network Companies sign at PDX, designating cabs and ride-share companies, May 8, 2015 (KOIN)

[anvplayer video=”498269″ /

Comments are closed.