Uber Agrees To Suspend Service In Portland For 3 Months

Marking the first time the ride-sharing company has voluntarily agreed to suspend service in a city it’s already established in, Uber has agreed to pull its drivers from the road in Portland for three months as part of a deal with the mayor to work on new regulations.

The suspension is part of an agreement with Mayor Charlie Hales to get new taxi and ride-sharing regulations on the books as quickly as possibly, officials from the city and Uber tell Willamette Week.

Reaching this point after two weeks of bickering upon Uber’s entry into the Portland market on Dec. 5, despite rules in the city that clash with the service. Portland sued just days later to get Uber to go away, a position it appears to be reconsidering with this agreement.

“The city and Uber started off on the wrong foot,” Hales told WW, “but this agreement resets the clock. We will work with Uber moving forward, and we thank other sharing-economy companies, like Lyft, for working with the city to bring our policies up-to-date.”

Uber has agreed to stop picking people up starting Sunday, Dec. 21, at which point, “We have been informed that Uber will turn off its app for Portland at 11:59 p.m. Sunday,” a spokeswoman for the mayor says.

In those three months, Hales has promised to write up new regulations or grant Uber and other ride-share companies a temporary agreement to operate in the city by April 9.

“They have agreed to a three-month timeline,” a general manager for Uber told WW. “We will be stopping pickups in Portland for the duration of that time. This is a temporary pause. We will be back.”

In the meantime, Uber will still be able to pick up passengers in the Portland suburbs, and will give drivers a $5 bonus if they drop people off in Portland, as they won’t be able to grab a return fare.

“Portland is a very unique city,” Uber’s general manager added about the deal. “So we did something we haven’t done before. We have to do what’s best for our drivers, and getting permanent regulations is the best decision for them.”

Meanwhile, both Los Angeles and San Francisco (Uber’s home town, no less) still have active lawsuits against Uber for driver safety issues and other reasons.

Uber Will Leave Portland for Three Months, in Deal with City Hall for New Ride-Sharing Rules [Willamette Week]