Uber VP rebuffs notion that Portland changed its modus operandi

During an event with Portland mayor Charlie Hales, David Plouffe said Uber ‘s approach to the Portland market will not guide future strategy.

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During an event with Portland mayor Charlie Hales, David Plouffe said Uber’s approach to entering the Portland market will not guide future strategy.

From the Portland Business Journal:

Plouffe said the service already has more than 500 drivers in Portland. The company expects that number to eventually hit 10,000. During the pilot, the city will collect data and use it to shape permanent regulations. Hales said the collected data will demonstrate whether the options will disrupt mass transit use. He noted there are still areas of the city, such as East Portland, that are still hard to reach.

About a quarter of Uber rides start within a quarter-mile of public transit, Plouffe said. In Seattle the company has cars with bike racks, suggesting that people use it as a last-mile option. Hales added that “One of my jobs is to make sure we have a deliberative process… It will be imperfect but it will be discussed and a public process, an iterative process.”

During the TechFestNW forum, Plouffe said the company would help East Portland, an area long considered to be underserved by traditional taxi companies and TriMet.

Willamette Week reports:

Plouffe pledged to Hales that Uber would provide city regulators with “anonymized, aggregated data” that would prove the San Francisco company was sending cars to the Portland neighborhoods least served by cabs and TriMet.  Hales said he hoped that City Council temporarily legalizing Uber and its rival Lyft last month would bring more transportation options to East Portland neighborhoods with unpaved streets and missing sidewalks.

“The level of transportation there is poor, and I hope this improves it,” Hales said. “Data will help prove out that hope. If you can’t walk half a mile, and you don’t want to navigate that muddy street, this helps.”

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