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City takes steps to ensure safe rides for Gresham residents

November 23, 2020

On November 17, Gresham City Council implemented safety regulations and accessibility requirements for transportation network companies (like Uber and Lyft), which provide Gresham riders with additional protections.

Transportation network companies (TNCs) use a digital network or smartphone app to connect passengers to drivers that provide rides. Cities and states are increasingly regulating TNCs to ensure safety, assess traffic and impact on roads, and monitor emissions.

The regulations prevent unsafe drivers from operating in Gresham, ensure that vehicles are safe and enhance equity for riders, consistent with regulations in neighboring Portland.
“As technology evolves, it’s important that our services meet the needs of our residents,” said Mayor Karylinn Echols. “These new regulations ensure that Gresham residents using these ride apps can continue to enjoy that convenience with a greater assurance of safety.”

Gresham will receive criminal background checks and driving history reviews of Uber and Lyft drivers.  A driver will not be permitted to operate here if they have a violent felony conviction, a sex offense, or a recent traffic crime conviction including driving under the influence or leaving the scene of a traffic injury.  The regulation requires companies to have zero tolerance policies for drug and alcohol use for drivers on the job.

The ordinance also requires vehicles to clearly display company logos, to have passed safety inspections, and to have properly functioning horns, lights and signals.

Finally, TNCs will be required to accept requests for service from any location within Gresham, including requests made by persons with disabilities and requests for wheelchair accessible service.  It also requires that the companies have zero tolerance policies for discrimination.

Gresham will enter an agreement with the City of Portland, who will administer portions of Gresham’s program, which is both cost-effective and efficient, as it is likely many TNC drivers operating in Gresham are already permitted to operate in Portland. Portland’s Bureau of Transportation is experienced in managing new driver data, issuing permits, reviewing background checks, and conducting audits of drivers and vehicles.

As part of this new program, transportation network companies will remit to the City a nominal fee – 50 cents – for each trip that originates in Gresham. Fee revenue will fund administration and regulation of this program, as well as City services impacted by the operation of TNCs, like transportation planning, public safety and code enforcement.   

Currently, Gresham and Portland are working on an intergovernmental agreement. These new regulations will go into effect 30 days after enactment, which is scheduled for December 1. TNC drivers currently permitted to operate in Portland should expect no disruption in their ability to operate. Under the new regulations, any driver holding a current City of Portland permit will be entitled to operate in Gresham until a new joint Portland/Gresham permit is issued.  Qualifying drivers new to the system will be issued a joint Portland/Gresham permit.  TNC drivers seeking clarification on permitting can contact 503-823-7483.