Audit: Data on ride shares, taxis needs improvement

Portland unable to fully judge how transportation providers are serving the community

A taxicab in downtown Portland, Dec. 31, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
A taxicab in downtown Portland, Dec. 31, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The city’s ability to monitor and verify data on taxi companies and transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft must to improve, according to a new audit released by the city.

In 2015, the city gave the green light to transportation network companies to start providing services to passengers under new regulations. By doing so, the city also took away or changed several rules that governed the taxicab industry.

But one year later, the city is unable to fully assess how transportation providers are serving the community.

The city says the biggest problem appears to be with data.
• The transportation bureau did not regularly and systemically analyze industry data that it had collected
• The taxicab industry did not report several required pieces of data
• The city does not require companies to share detailed data that would enable more analysis and verification
• The industry considers its data confidential, which limits how the city can publicly report on matters.

The auditor’s office recommends that the transportation bureau focus on getting and reviewing data for unfulfilled rides, under served areas, long wait times, and service for disabled passengers.

When the city changed its rules for transportation services, three new taxicab companies and two new transportation network companies began operating “adding hundreds more drivers and cars.” The exact number of transportation vehicles is considered confidential. An estimated 3,000 rides per day occurred with taxicabs in April 2016.

“[The transportation bureau] concluded that there was a large unmet demand for riders that is now being served by more drivers and more vehicles under the new regulations,” the audit found.


Read the full audit 

Of the 9 taxicab companies regulated by the city, none was able to fully supply all of the required data to the city when it came to statistics on rides, canceled/unfulfilled rides, wheelchair rides, origin zip code, destination zip code, wait times, ride duration and miles traveled.

Both transportation network companies supplied all required data.

However, the transportation bureau has been unable to verify ride data supplied by the entire industry due to either missing or incomplete data.

“To further meet [City Council’s] policy direction, the bureau now needs to focus on getting all the ride data that companies are required to report,” the audit concludes. “It also needs to verify data for accuracy and completeness and analyze it for service quality concerns.”