(The Verge)- Uber has a remarkably rich history of upsetting local city transportation officials by setting up shop before laws and regulations have been ironed out. And that’s just what’s happening tonight in Portland, Oregon where Uber apparently surprised everyone by launching its ridesharing service without the approval of the city’s transportation bureau.
If caught, fines for both Uber and its drivers are steep, running $1,500 for the company (for the first offense) and up to $2,250 for the driver, with those fines going up to $5,000 for additional violations. And the city says it’s on the lookout. “They think they can just come in here and flagrantly violate the law?” Portland’s transportation commissioner Steve Novick told The Oregonian. “This is really amazing. Apparently, they believe they’re gods.” An Uber spokeswoman said the company plans to support drivers there “every step of the way.” It’s currently unclear if that means Uber plans to foot the bill for those fines.
Uber’s entrance to the city is complicated due to Portland’s proximity to neighboring cities where Uber is allowed, including right across the bridge to Vancouver, Washington. Drivers in those places can pick people up and take them into Portland within minutes, meaning whatever return trip to those areas requires riding without a paid passenger on the way back.
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