Uber and Lyft take to the streets of Eugene and Springfield

As students return to the University of Oregon for fall term, they will find new transportation options for traveling to the airport, football games, bars and anywhere else in Eugene and Springfield.

Both popular ride-hail services Uber and Lyft began operating in the two cities this week. Lyft kicked off its services on Wednesday, Sept. 5 and Uber followed on Thursday.

The Oregon Duck took the inaugural Lyft ride to Autzen Stadium yesterday. Lyft announced a partnership with Oregon Athletics, in which they plan to coordinate pick-up and drop-off locations at the UO’s sports venues, said Todd Kelsay, Lyft’s Pacific Northwest General Manager.

Springfield and Eugene Mayors Christine Lundberg and Lucy Vinis taking the first ride from Arcimoto manufacturing plant in Eugene, which provided three-wheel Fun Utility Vehicles as an escort to the Uber.

And just like that the inaugural @cityofeugene @Uber ride takes off from @arcimoto.

— Sarah Northrop (@SARTAKESPICS) September 6, 2018

Vinis said that she’s excited to welcome back ride-hail services.

“As the host city for a major university, we have an obligation to make sure the students are safe,” she said. “This is one additional way in which we can ensure students’ safety.”

The first Eugene Uber was driven by Matt Sayre, vice president of the Technology Association of Oregon, who played a major role in bringing Uber back to Eugene.

“Lane County got the not very prestigious designation of the DUI capital of Oregon,” Sayre said. “We are very hopeful that having this very easy option for students will help that.”

Matt Sayre is the driver of the mayors’ Uber. Mayors of Eugene and Springfield, Lucy Vinis and Christine Lundberg, take the inaugural Uber ride recognizing the ride share app’s return to Eugene, Ore. on Sept. 6, 2018. (Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

The relaunch of Uber in Eugene comes after the city’s decision in April to ease regulations imposed on transportation network companies, or TNCs. Both ride-hail companies applied for TNC licenses last week.

The city’s regulations require that anyone interested in driving for either Uber or Lyft apply for a public passenger vehicle (PPV) certification from the city as well. After a potential driver applies for either Uber or Lyft, they must then apply for a PPV driver certification, which costs $65.

Interested drivers must be 21 years of age and must have obtained acceptance from the TNC they applied to, in addition to a vehicle inspection, background check and proof of insurance before they can receive a license from the city.

The University of Oregon is working with the ride-hail companies to create designated pick-up and drop-off locations around campus to regulate the flow of traffic, according to an Around the O article. The designated locations include near the Student Recreation Center, Kalapuya Ilihi and Global Scholars Hall, Matthew Knight Arena, and near PLC.

“Campus roadways already have a very condensed mix of pedestrians, bikes, skateboards, and vehicles,” Kelly McIver, a University of Oregon Police Department spokesperson, wrote in an email. “Having ride-hail vehicles stopping all over would unnecessarily increase risk.”

Uber and Lyft are offering discounts to Eugene and Springfield riders. Uber riders can get $5 off for two rides through midnight on Sept. 20 by using the promotional code UberEugene18. Lyft is also offering $5 off three rides by using the code LYFTEUG.


Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis gets inside an Uber. Mayors of Eugene and Springfield, Lucy Vinis and Christine Lundberg, take the inaugural Uber ride recognizing the ride share app’s return to Eugene, Ore. on Sept. 6, 2018. (Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

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Emily Matlock

Emily Matlock

Emily Matlock is a news reporter for the Daily Emerald. She is a senior studying journalism and Spanish and she's interested in cross-cultural communication. As a native Oregonian, Emily enjoys hiking and exploring Eugene.

Email: [email protected]
Follow on Twitter and Instagram: @emilyd_matlock