Uber pays fines; prepares launch in Portland

City Council will finalize recommendations Thursday as the ridesharing company tries its leave-town-to-work-things-out strategy in Eugene.

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As Portland readies to unveil regulations that would pave the way for Uber to operate in the city, the ridesharing company paid its $67,750 of fines it accrued in December.

City officials said the payment represents a willingness to play by the rules, OregonLive.com reports.

“We think that it shows an interest in operating with permits in the city of Portland,” said Dylan Rivera, a Bureau of Transportation spokesman.

Rivera said Uber paid the fines in late March.

That information came from a press conference Monday, when the city also officially announced its plans for the 120-day pilot program that will allow Uber and Lyft to operate in the city.

Willamette Week writes:

Mike Greenfield, the task force’s chairman, said ride data collected during the pilot program would allow the Portland Bureau of Transportation to decide what to do with Uber in the long run. That includes rules around serving passengers with disabilities and the cost of “for-hire” vehicle permits. 

But will cab and ride-hailing companies cough up the data? That’s still unclear. Greenfield said PBOT staff “will develop ways to ensure they are getting the data in an accurate way” from the various for-hire companies. But no one knows quite yet whether Uber, Lyft and the cab companies will comply with any city-imposed reporting requirements.

Uber, which already operates in Beaverton, Hillsboro and Vancouver, recently decided to leave Eugene as city officials there work on a similar deal.

The Register-Guard writes:

Both the city and Uber indicated they are willing to continue discussions, and have not ruled out a return of the ride-sharing company to Eugene.

An Uber spokeswoman said the company has worked out a deal within the last few weeks with several major insurance companies to provide commercial insurance to cover the period when a driver is looking for a passenger, but doesn’t yet have one. The limit that was agreed on at this point, however, was $1 million per incident from when the driver accepts a trip to its conclusion, lower than the $1.3 million the city requires. However, during the time that a ridesharing partner’s app is on and waiting for a trip request, most personal auto insurance will provide coverage. However, the driver also is backed by an additional policy from Uber that covers driver liability for bodily injury up to $50,000 limit for injury to a person with a total of $100,000 limit for injury to all the people and up to $25,000 for property damage.

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