Uber is Coming to Portland (Sort of) and How to Get a Free Ride

Uber is a ridesharing company that allows you to use your smartphone to order a ride, track the cars progress to you in real time, texts you when the car arrives, and all payment is handled through the app.  Uber is a competitor with traditional taxi services.  The taxi industry here in Portland is a highly regulated industry, except that it’s sort of not.

In Portland there are a limited number of taxi operating permits that the city issues to taxi companies. These permits are effectively controlled by the Private For Hire Transportation Review Board.  The board does not actually approve the permits but is heavily influential with respect to taxi industry policy within the city.  As you can imagine when the taxi industry has a heavy influence on policy it may affect whether Portland would permit Uber to operate within city limits.  As of today, Portland is the only major west coast city not to permit Uber to operate within its city limits.

Well there is good news, if you live in a suburb.  Uber is now operating in Tigard, Beaverton, Gresham, and Vancouver.  Uber can pick you up in these cities and drop you off in Portland, Uber just can’t pick you up in Portland.

When the taxi industry has a controlling hand in policy what do you expect? God forbid Portlanders be allowed to use a ride service that is convenient and cheap.  For comparison sake lets look at costs between traditional Portland taxi’s and Uber.  A ride from downtown Vancouver to PDX is $17- $22, Beaverton to PDX is $36 – $48, and Gresham to PDX is $27 to $36.  (Click here for Uber cost estimates).

Now, lets take a look at how much a traditional taxi from Beaverton to PDX will cost you. From downtown Beaverton to PDX is 20 miles.  You will be charged $2.50 for pickup plus $1.00 for each additional passenger.  You will then be charged $2.60 per mile plus $.50/minute waiting time.  At a minimum, assuming no waiting time charges (yea right) a taxi will cost you $55 for a couple to ride from Beaverton to PDX.

With Uber not only will you save money on the base rate but there is also a trick to earning an easy $60 – $90 in credits with Uber.

How to earn a free ride:

Here is an easy way to earn $60 – $90  $40 – $60 in free rides with Uber.  If you use my referral link to sign up for Uber you will receive a free ride worth $30 (now $20).  When you sign up you will also get a referral link/code.  If you refer a friend they will get $20 and when they take their first ride you get $20.  If you have a significant other this is effectively $60 for the two of you.

The one caveat to these credits is that they work for one ride at a time, and they operate more like vouchers.  It’s really one free ride worth up to $20.  So if your ride is $17, that uses up your entire $20 free ride.  If your ride is $40, then you owe the difference.

I imagine that eventually Uber will come to Portland.  Unfortunately, it will probably involve making Uber just as expensive as the traditional taxi companies so they are not put out of business.  All the more reason to sign up for the credits above.

Note:  When you use my referral link I also get a referral credit.  Thank you in advance.  

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5 thoughts on “Uber is Coming to Portland (Sort of) and How to Get a Free Ride

  1. Pingback: Transportation Options For Getting To And From PDX | Portland Travel Tips

  2. uber cost just as much as a cab but they get to u faster then a cab if that is a convenience.
    Yes they do pic up DT Portland.
    A lot of times there is no cars available.

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