Uber testimony highlights rift between the rideshare startup, Portland cab companies

Taxi companies insist rideshare companies follow same rules, while Uber says innovation is being stifled.

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Public testimony Thursday suggested that compromise between Portland taxi companies and Uber is unlikely.

Rhetoric at the hearing was particularly heated on one side or the other Thursday, the Portland Tribune reports:

One of the rules Portland cab drivers insist Uber must follow is the requirement that a specified number of each company’s cabs be equipped to accommodate wheelchair-bound and other disabled passengers: “They’re not going to worry about getting grandma to the doctor on time, because it’s not profitable,” said Linda Rabb. Several cab drivers and supporters said they’ll be driven out of work if Uber comes in and undercuts the current pricing system. “They call it ‘the Walmart on wheels,’ ” said Marco Mejia, of Portland Jobs with Justice. 

Sean Baioni, the transportation chair of the Southwest Hills Residential League, said when he tries to get a regular taxi here, “All I ever hear is ‘they’re on the way.’ ” But when he first used Uber, his ride came in three minutes: “I think Uber hit the ball out of the park with customer experience.”

The company has previously said that it would relaunch its operations in Portland in April, even though it is unlikely the city will be prepared to issue the necessary permits by then.


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