A committee approved more permits for taxis in the City of Portland. February 12, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
A committee approved more permits for taxis in the City of Portland. February 12, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A committee has approved permits for more taxis in  Portland, and now the number of cabs in the city could go up as much as 60%.

“The community tells us there is a huge demand for taxi service, especially on weekend nights, that’s going unmet,” Dylan Rivera told KOIN 6 News.

With only 460 registered cabs in the city, taxi companies said it can be difficult to provide quick response times.

“We think if these new permits go to drivers who are willing to work those weekend nights, it could make a big different,” Rivera said.

A committee overseeing Portland’s taxi industry has approved 242 new cab permits for existing companies. Over 50 of those permits will be designated for electric cabs.

News of more taxis coming to Portland coincide with Uber’s efforts to bring its ride-for-hire service to the city. KOIN 6 News spoke with Uber spokesman Laura Zapata who said Uber is focused on operating under rules that should satisfy city service concerns. She said having more choices for transportation will benefit everyone.

“If they want to enter the Portland market doing the same job that cab companies do, which is transporting somebody from one place to another for money, they should have to follow the same rules and regulations taxi cab companies have to follow,” Noah Ernst with the Transportation Fairness Alliance said.

Ernst said Uber should have to follow the same rules cab companies do — including background checks of drivers, accommodating the handicapped and guaranteeing to serve all areas of the city.

Uber will address concerns in a presentation to city taxi regulators next Thursday.

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