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City begins holiday season taxi permit program

Portland's Bureau of Transportation has launched a seasonal taxi permit pilot program, allowing companies and vehicles permitted to provide non-emergency medical transportation will be eligible to provide on-demand taxi service Fridays and Saturdays, from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. each night.

The pilot program ends Jan. 2.

The change comes as the bureau prepares a top-to-bottom review of the city’s regulations for taxis, limos, town cars and other services regulated by the Private for Hire Transportation Division.

New tracking software has identified times during which there is a shortage of taxis during periods of peak demand. During normal business hours Monday through Friday, there are plenty of Broadway and Rodio taxis available. On weekends, however, fewer taxis are available.

“As we enter the holiday season, the busiest time of the year for taxi companies, there is a pressing need for more cabs on weekend nights,” said Leah Treat, Bureau of Transportation director. “Further review of how best to serve increased calls for on-demand, private for hire transportation service in Portland is needed. We’re committed to look at ways to modernize and improve taxi service in Portland.”

Through the seasonal taxi permit pilot program, about 100 vehicles are expected to be eligible to apply to participate.

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