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Newport considers whether to allow rideshare companies

City council members in Newport are considering whether to create a stipend for council member. File photo of Newport's City Hall.
Chris Lehman
City council members in Newport are considering whether to allow rideshare companies to operate there. File photo of Newport's City Hall.

The City of Newport is considering whether to allow rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft to legally operate there. A proposed ordinance would essentially regulate those companies in the same way as the city regulates traditional taxi companies.

Supporters of the idea testified this month that it’s often hard to find a cab in Newport.

Marty Johnson said she works at the hospital to help discharge patients, who often want a taxi to take them home.

“And sometimes we can’t get one, because their one-and-only driver is in Lincoln City, or going to Portland, and we can’t get the patient home," she said. "And I totally understand there are circumstances that do present that, but I just feel like there should be more options.”

The owner of a local cab company said she’s not opposed to allowing rideshare companies as long as the drivers are subject to the same requirements as regular taxi drivers. Michelle Geltner said Yaquina Cab offers 24/7 service, something she doesn't think Uber or Lyft would be able to provide in Newport.

"Right now, if my drivers are not driving, they're still on the clock," she said. "They're still in a car. They're still following the rules of in-car practices."

Geltner suggested the city partner with existing taxi companies to provide an "on-demand" ride service that could provide more consistent coverage at all times of day. Council members invited Geltner to submit her idea in advance of the scheduled vote next month.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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