“I have confirmed that both Uber and Lyft plan to start operations in Medford when they are allowed on December first, 2017,” said Kevin Stine, a member of Medford City Council Ward 3. The decision to bring ride-hailing companies to Medford has been going on since June 2017.
“The ride-hailing companies have expanded operations throughout Oregon in 2017. Services are now in Beaverton, Bend, Corvallis, Portland, and Salem,” Stine elaborated.
On Oct. 19th 2017, the Medford City Council voted in favor of the ordinance which allowed ride-hailing companies in the Medford area.
The council decided to allow ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft to hold business in Medford is because it provides consumers with more options. “Medford strives to be known as a business-friendly city, and based on feedback that we have received, a strong majority of citizens want to have those [Uber and Lyft] transportation options,” said Stine.
Bringing Uber and Lyft to Medford comes at a price. Stine elaborated, “We [the city of Medford] are charging these companies $1,000 to operate and the Uber/Lyft approved driver would pay $60 for a business license to drive.” However, any person can drive for respected companies as long as they are accepted by the company and pay the $60 business fee.
Bringing more transportation options to Medford may be good for customers, but it may affect local taxi companies. Gary Borden of local Medford taxi company, 5 Star Taxi, said, “We have talked to our customers and they are pretty loyal so we are welcoming of Uber and Lyft coming to Medford.”
Borden continued, “They [Uber/Lyft] might impact a small portion of our credit card customers but we will be just fine.” The company owner expressed some concern regarding Uber and Lyft, “They have thrived in big cities, but the Rogue Valley isn’t scattered with millennials like some of the big cities.”
As far as safety is involved, Jason Antley, a sergeant at the Medford Police Department, believes that the ride-hailing companies could have a positive affect when it comes to drinking and driving. “With more rides available and being able to pre-schedule rides, it will increase the possibility of someone having/getting a designated driver,” Antley stated.
“Our line of work will not change. We [the Medford Police Department] will still need to watch out for drunk drivers to ensure the safety of the citizens,” Antley said.
The ride-hailing companies are coming to Medford and the surrounding cities that do not have taxi ordinances. “Besides Medford, the only city with a taxicab ordinance is Ashland, so the Ashland City Council would have to amend their code just like Medford did to have Uber and Lyft operate in Ashland,” said Stine.
“Personally, I think in a community such as Ashland that has a large student population and has tourist destination like the Oregon Shakespeare festival, that having ride-hailing companies would be a good gain for the city [Ashland],” Stine said.