April 15: Date Uber, Lyft will be allowed to operate in Portland

The vote is expected to introduce a three-month trial period.

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Ridesharing companies will get formal approval from Portland officials to start operating in the middle of April.

The vote is expected to kick off a three-month pilot program, Willamette Week reports.

Documents show the task force created by Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick will set preliminary rules by April 9 for driver training and permits, background checks on drivers, and service for people with disabilities. It will then finalize those rules on July 15. 

But the city does not appear to have reached a consensus on the crucial issue of what rules Uber will have to follow on commercial insurance. The task force is considering a plan that would require Uber and Lyft to carry a $2 million insurance policy when they begin Portland service—but officials may wait on state officials to direct a decision on what times that insurance policy will apply.  

The relatively stringent limit the city places on the number of taxis allowed on the streets has been a consistent source of complaints from cab companies in Portland. And in New York, where ridesharing companies have been operating for years, Uber cars now outnumber the iconic yellow taxis on the streets, the Associated Press reports.

It was a changing-of-the-guard moment that passed with little fanfare this week in figures released by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission: 14,088 registered Uber cars compared with 13,587 yellow cabs. But it hardly means yellow cabs are out of favor. In fact, there are about 440,000 yellow cab rides a day, compared to just 20,000 to 30,000 Uber rides. That’s because Uber drivers often own their own cars and work less than 40 hours a week, while most yellow taxis are owned by cab companies, have more than one driver and are on the road close to 24 hours a day.

“Yellow cab rides significantly outstrip the number of black car rides,” said Meera Joshi, chairwoman of the taxi commission. “So the number of their affiliated vehicles in and of itself doesn’t paint a complete picture.”

On April 21, Oregon Business will host its first “Hot Topics/Cool Talks” breakfast: “Tech in transit: Will Portland build the next Uber?” The ridesharing company’s general manager for the Northwest region will be one of the panelists. Learn more about the event here: http://orebz.com/1HYfM37