Getting started in the Oregon taxi business can be intimidating. Thankfully, all the relevant laws are available online. Taxi companies and insurers can also help prospective drivers through the process.
The laws governing taxi drivers in Portland can be found in Title 16 of the city Code & Charter. For the purposes of this post, we’ll use Portland as the example for all Oregon taxis–but make sure you find the equivalent documents for the city you plan to work in. Specifically, our rules are in Chapter 16.40 of the Code & Charter.
Taxi drivers are usually independent contractors who lease their cabs from their companies. Every Portland taxi driver who is an independent contractor has to obtain a business license. Once you get the nod from your prospective company, they’ll have to send an application to the city on your behalf. If it’s accepted, it’ll be good for one year; at that time, it will have to be renewed.
A few of the conditions that will prevent an applicant from becoming an Oregon taxi driver are:
- Any felony conviction within the last 10 years
- Any violent or sex-related felony, ever
- 5 or more traffic violation convictions within the last 3 years
- Applicant is younger than 21 years
- Applicant can’t get regular auto insurance for any reason
Once you’ve gotten started in your taxi-driving career, you’ll need to keep a few things with you at all times:
- A non-digital copy of Taxi Company insurance and a non-digital copy of the vehicle registration
- A non-digital copy of the driver’s City of Portland business license
- A valid state-issued driver’s license
- A valid, original, City of Portland driver permit, prominently displayed
There is also a list of official do’s and don’ts which basically amount to, Be nice. Be courteous. Don’t commit crimes. You can see the full list here.
Driving an Oregon Taxi: Wrapping Up
Becoming a professional taxi driver can be a tedious process, but Oregon taxi companies tend to help a lot. Much of the application and certification processes have to be taken care of by the company anyway.
Give the company you want to work for a call before you walk in to apply. They will be able to answer most of your questions and may have a list of things to bring with you.
You can also call a taxi insurance company like OTTIS and pick their brains.
Good luck, be safe, and happy driving!