Does Portland Need More Taxis?

Apparently so, according to a staff report (PDF, 151K) prepared for the Private for-Hire Transportation Board and City Council.


But as that report, and the accompanying recommendations for industry reform document (PDF, 39K), indicate being a taxi driver is apparently only one step up from indentured servitude. Among the challenges for drivers:

  • Drivers are treated as independent contractors rather than employees
  • Cab companies charge an exorbitant series of fees to drivers beyond the use of the vehicle
  • Hotel and restaurant valets demand to be paid by drivers for fares
  • A loophole in insurance regulation means that drivers don’t have medical coverage if injured in a crash

It sounds like change may be in the wind…

5 responses to “Does Portland Need More Taxis?”

  1. It seems like cabs are an important piece of the low-car puzzle, yet our cab rates are high and cabs are not plentiful in neighborhoods that you might expect them to be. Hence car2go is making a bunch of $

  2. I wonder how many unpermitted cabs their were in the City and how many of them stopped operating in August when the new law went into effect. It seems like the one change they implemented will likely make the lack of taxi situation even worse rather than improving it.

  3. regulation in the taxi industry only helps their profits. I, personally, think that we shouldn’t need much in the way of regulations in this industry. Living in a high-cab environment is much better than a low-cab one, but politically the status quo is fought for.

    The one thing I think isn’t reflected in that study is median income. I wonder if there is a positive or negative correlation between income and # of cabs/capita. Perhaps its quite non-linear

  4. I should say ‘regulation of the number of taxis’ only helps their profits. Regulation of safety is useful as cost-cutting can lead to problems

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