Statewide ride-sharing bill heads for public hearing Monday

Customers hoping to "Uber" their way to downtown bars or local theaters throughout Oregon will have a chance to tell lawmakers what they think Monday.

So will opponents who think ride-sharing companies — which let people call rides via a phone app — shouldn't operate statewide.

A bill that would pave the way for ride-hailing apps like Lyft and Uber to operate around Oregon goes to a public hearing Monday in the state Legislature.

Ride-hailing companies have met resistance because of issues such as background checks for their drivers.

House Bill 3246 has attracted more than 20 sponsors and would require that drivers for the companies — also known as transportation network companies — get a license from the state Department of Consumer and Business Services, an agency regulating consumer protection and businesses.

Lyft and Uber have made progress in some Oregon locales, including Portland, where they're allowed to operate. Uber came under fire recently with a revelation by the New York Times that the company used a tool called Greyball to elude officials.

In the run-up to the afternoon public hearing with the House Committee On Business and Labor, Lyft advocated for the House Bill 3246, arguing that ride-sharing provides clear benefits: "opportunities for those looking to make extra income; increased economic activity for local businesses, cities and towns; and the expansion of safe, affordable transportation options."

A portion of Oregon cities have made their own moves on transportation network companies.

Salem City Hall this year has considered how to get ride-hailing companies into the capital city, though city officials have not approved changes yet. Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett is an advocate of bringing the companies here.

Bend city councilors voted to approve ride-hailing companies, and the companies could start working in the Central Oregon city as early as this summer, The Bend Bulletin reports.

Other bills that affect transportation network companies will get a hearing Monday starting at 1 p.m. in Hearing Room D of the Capitol.

Send questions, comments or news tips to jbach@statesmanjournal.com or 503-399-6714. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMBach

© 2017 KGW-TV


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