UberX is illegal in Vancouver, Wash., but the transportation startup doesn’t appear to be leaving town any time soon.
As noted by BikePortland.org this morning, Vancouver Assistant City Attorney Brent Boger penned a memo late last month that basically called out Uber for failing to follow regulations outlined by the city for taxicabs.
UberX, which allows everyday people to drive riders around town with their own vehicles, does not comply with Vancouver’s laws “unless it makes significant changes to the business model,” Boger writes. Uber, which launched its UberX service in Vancouver last month, would need to apply for certain permits and be approved by the city to legally conduct business.
But toward the end of his memo, Boger notes how “comprehensive enforcement of the City’s Taxi Code is, from a practical perspective, not possible, given limited city staffing.” If the City Council is willing to find a way to allow UberX and other TNCs to operate, Boger offers two solutions: Deregulate the taxicab industry, or create an ordinance similar to Seattle’s that establishes new regulations for the TNCs.
Uber doesn’t appear to be worried.
“Regulatory models have not kept pace with innovation,” an Uber spokeswoman told BikePortland. “We look forward to working with officials all over Washington to get a statewide solution that addresses this emerging industry.”
And that shouldn’t surprise anyone — Uber has operated illegally in cities all over the world for quite some time. The company did so in Seattle until the City Council approved new regulations in June.
However, Uber has been unusually cautious about entering Portland, which is just a short drive across the Columbia River from Vancouver. As we highlighted in January, Uber tried to convince Portland’s lawmakers to change its regulations but hasn’t found success yet.
Regardless, Uber has put up more than 300 postings on the Portland Craigslist job board and the company began operating in Vancouver last month. In addition, UberX became available in Salem and Eugene last month as well.
It will be interesting to see if and when Portland opens its doors to the likes of Uber and Lyft, especially given how the city has been so cordial with Airbnb, another startup in the “sharing economy” category.