Uber today announced that it is debuting in four more Oregon cities — but not Portland.
The on-demand company will offer its transportation service in Hillsboro, Beaverton, Tigard, and Gresham starting today. uberX is now operating in six Oregon cities, having launched in Eugene and Salem this past July, but has stayed away from Portland.
As The Oregonian notes, Uber drivers in Oregon can pick up passengers outside of Portland and drop them off in city limits — they just can’t pick up another customer in Portland. This is similar to rules at airports, including Seattle-Tacoma International, where uberX drivers can drop off but not pick up passengers.
It’s been interesting watching Uber, which has raised $1.5 billion, stay out of Portland. The company often sets up shop in cities without first becoming regulated — it did so in Seattle before laws put into place this past June — but has yet to do so in the Rose City.
In an interview with City Commissioner Steve Novick this past August, Portland lawmakers appear to be taking their time when it comes to allowing companies like Uber and Lyft into its city. Novick said the issue is not as important for his office as tasks like fixing broken streets, preparing for an earthquake, and reducing unnecessary emergency room visits.
“This would fall into sort of a medium tier,” Novick said of the Uber problem. “But it’s still very interesting, and something we’re not going to forget.”
Last week, the Portland Bureau of Transportation found that demand for taxi rides is exceeding supply and in response has temporarily lifted restrictions to allow for more taxi cabs. The demand is not too surprising given a recent study from the R Street Institute that found Portland’s transportation options to be lackluster compared to other U.S. cities.