Portland cabbies gather downtown to protest Uber – KOIN.com
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) – A number of different cab companies gathered at Pioneer Courthouse Square to express their displeasure over the possibility of major transportation regulation changes in Portland.
Cabs filled Pioneer Courthouse Square and ringed the perimeter in the core city for about 15 minutes Tuesday afternoon. The Transportation Fairness Alliance, which is comprised of Broadway Cab, Green Transportation, Portland Taxi Cab Company, Sassy’s Cab Co., Union Cab PDX, and Radio Cab, are urging city leaders to require transportation riding sharing companies like Uber to play by the same rules as Portland’s regulated private-for-hire transportation providers.
30-50 cabs will be included in convoy. Say they planned it for 3 p.m. to try to beat rush hour. We shall see. #koin6news
— cwoodardnews (@chriswKOIN) January 13, 2015
Deribew Baynesagne has been driving a cab in Portland for 15 years. Now with Union Cab, he said he’s never been more worried about his livelihood.
“I’m really worried because, like I say, I have to work to live,” he told KOIN 6 News. “I feel like someone is coming, taking candy out of my kids mouths because this is what I work for living.”
His concern is Uber.
At Pioneer Courthouse Square there was a rainbow of support from competing cab companies uniting in frustration with Portland city leaders.
“We’re not trying to protest Uber,” said Radio Cab superintendent Noah Ernst. “We’re trying to say whatever the city does it should be fair, it should be equally applied to everybody and it should protect public safety.”
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He said the city hasn’t communicated with cab companies “and we really feel like we deserve to have our voice heard.”
On Wednesday, Commissioner Steve Novick and Mayor Charlie Hales will convene the task force to begin conversations about changing taxi regulations and making services like Uber legal in the city.
Taxi companies are upset none of them are on that task force. But Novick’s office told KOIN 6 News Uber reps aren’t on the task force, either.
Ernst said he did not know that.
“We are heartened to hear their goal is to be independent,” Ernst said, “but from our perspective some of the people included on the task force are very pro-Uber.”
Uber has temporarily suspended its operations in the city until April hoping that a deal can be reached. The company is still operating in other Oregon and Washington cities.
Uber spokesperson Michael Amodeo told KOIN 6 News the company is “excited to move forward, we’re excited about the progress we hope to see and at the end of the day this is about providing folks one more safe, reliable choice to move around town.”