Tigard Approves Rules for Uber, Lyft, Passenger Fee will Fund Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

Tigard will levy a 50-cent fee on ride share passengers to help pay for road repair, planning, public safety, code enforcement, and electric vehicle infrastructure in Tigard. (FILE PHOTO)

The City of Tigard will soon be teaming up with the City of Portland to institute a new set of rules for popular ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. 

Tigard will join Portland, Gresham, Eugene, Springfield, Medford and Ashland in governing how “Transportation Network Companies” (TNC) operate. But instead of creating an entire program from scratch, Tigard will instead join forces with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to administer the new rules.

“It prevents unsafe drivers from operating in Tigard,” Dave Roth, a Senior Transportation Planner with the City, said at a March 2 public hearing, where the City Council unanimously approved the new regulations. 

Tigard’s rules will be largely similar to those already in place in Portland, which has been regulating ride share companies since 2014. PBOT will actually run the program, which includes background checks on drivers, vehicle safety inspections, driver education and training. 

Uber spokesperson Anna Richter Taylor noted that even before this, ride share drivers operating in Tigard were already regulated by PBOT. 

“I think it’s important for Tigard riders to know that, even though this is an ordinance that I assume will pass, there have not been any unregulated rides happening,” Taylor said. 

PBOT requires ride share companies to have specific insurance policies, a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy for drivers, non-discrimination policies and the ability to offer wheelchair-accessible services. Tigard’s policies will be virtually identical. 

Tigard will levy a 50-cent fee on ride share passengers to pay for the new program. Fifteen percent will be passed on to PBOT. The remainder would help pay for Tigard’s expenses, which include repairing wear and tear on local roads, planning, public safety and code enforcement. 

“The proposal today is part of a large collaborative effort,” Roth said, adding that Tigard joins Gresham in a partnership with Portland.

The surcharge would also help fund electric vehicle infrastructure in Tigard, which is not currently being done in Portland or Gresham. This provision was included at the request of Lyft, said Sam Cho, a Public Policy Manager for that company, which has pledged to switch to using all electric vehicles by 2030.  

“By specifically allocating these funds to this important sustainability effort, Tigard would be the first city in the greater Portland area to do this,” Cho said.