City of Portland – Portland, OR

Portland Private-for-Hire Vehicles Rate and Fee Study

The City of Portland needed an across-the-board examination of its regulations and oversight of the taxi and livery industries. Because of limited on-street enforcement, bandit cabs and livery operators were unfairly encroaching the taxi hail business; this included livery operators illegally acting as taxis and offering “taxi-level” fares to the airport. Of particular interest, the City wanted guidance on whether to change the driver permit rate and fare structures and how to encourage green vehicles.

Nelson\Nygaard reviewed the taxi and livery industries and the respective set of regulations, analyzed the staffing and costs of the department responsible for regulatory oversight, and interviewed service providers and agencies such as Tri-Met that had contracts with certain taxicab companies.

Our recommendations related to permit fees, rates, and fines as well as changes to the sets of regulations were immediately adopted by the City. Of specific importance were the increases to fees, designed to bring in enough revenue to cover an increase in staffing and additional costs needed for proper oversight of the two industries. Among other recommendations: incentives for hybrid or other fuel-efficient vehicles and an estimate for the minimum number of taxicabs required to provide 24/7 service citywide.