Uber and Lyft will be able to return to Portland under a new set of proposed regulations unveiled by the city’s Private For-Hire Innovation Task Force today. The 12-person task force will present the recommended regulations to the Portland City Council later this week, which could then lead to a 120 day trial period for Transportation Network Companies like Uber.
The proposed rules are a key step towards allowing Uber and Lyft into the Rose City, since city laws previously prevented the companies from offering their services to patrons in Portland. Uber began operating illegally in Portland late last year, but stopped after the city agreed to set up new regulations that allow TNCs to operate by April 9.
For the most part, the rules call for TNC drivers to abide by the same regulations that the city holds taxi companies to. Drivers won’t be allowed to work for more than 14 hours at a stretch, can be taught through city-authorized programs offered by companies and must be subject to background checks. Cars will have to contain first aid kits and functional heating/cooling systems, but won’t be required to hold a fire extinguisher and spare tire – a departure from previous rules.
In an important move, the rules also require that Taxi companies and TNCs offer vehicles that are accessible to disabled patrons, or refer customers to a city-authorized provider that does offer those services.
Any Taxi or TNC drivers who are classified as independent contractors (like those who drive for Uber and Lyft) will be required to obtain a business license from the City of Portland, and must carry documentation of their business license number with them.
The regulations also require TNC drivers to hold insurance in line with what Uber and Lyft currently offer on their platform. Companies will be required to hold a general liability policy and drivers will be required to carry contingent insurance coverage while they are searching for a ride, and primary coverage with minimum liability limits of $1 million in combined single limit coverage when driving someone or driving to pick that person up.
The draft regulations are embedded below: