Private For-Hire Frequently Asked Questions

Private for-Hire frequently asked questions.
On this page

Please note: We are working on updating these Frequently Asked Questions. Please call or email us if you have questions. We appreciate your patience.

Translations for Frequently Asked Questions

Español   Tiếng Việt   中文   Русский   Română   украніан  日本語   Soomaali   عربي   ລາວ

Where do I get my business license?

The Revenue Bureau provides drivers with business licenses. They are located at 111 SW Columbia St., 6th floor. You can also get more information by calling 503-823-5157 and choosing Option 1.

What are the requirements to start a PFHT company?

Requirements include, but are not limited to, the certification form, a driver list, a City of Portland business license, Secretary of State registration, vehicle registration, vehicle mechanical inspection, ADA certificate of compliance, ODOT registration, insurance documents, and payment to the City of Portland. Please see the requirement list:

How long does it take to process a new company application?

Applications can take up to 60 calendar days to process.

Can I open my own Taxi company with one vehicle?

No. Portland City Code requires Taxi companies to have a minimum of 15 vehicles in their fleet.

Can I apply for a new Non Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) company permit?

Before a company permit can be issued, applicants must confirm that they have a valid contract with a broker:

Where can I get a replacement vehicle permit and how much are they?

Requests can take up to 3 business days to process and are free of charge. Please fill out the replacement form:

What should I do if the vehicle make/model I have is not on the approved Executive Towncar list?

If it is not on the approved list, the vehicle cannot be permitted to provide private for-hire service. With that being said, you may submit a request to the Advisory Committee to add the vehicle to the list:

Why do I have to pay for an Executive Sedan, Shuttle, or NEMT permit when taxi and TNC drivers don’t have to pay for a permit?

Portland City Code requires Taxi and TNC companies to collect a $0.50 surcharge for each trip that originates within the City of Portland. This per ride surcharge covers the cost of taxi and TNC permits, and other program services.

If my taximeter is not working, can I still operate that taxi in the City of Portland as long as I tell the customer how much it will cost before they get in the car?

No. If your taximeter is not working, you cannot operate your vehicle in the City of Portland until it is repaired. All taxi vehicles must have a working meter, camera, and credit card machines. Operating without a working meter, camera or credit card machine are each Class B violations, which range from a $1,000 penalty for the first offense to suspension or revocation of your operating permit. Please refer to the penalty table:

If I have a valid PFHT or Taxi driver permit, can I drive for any company?

No. You must be certified by each company you work for prior to providing services for that company in the City of Portland. Furthermore, you must have the proper permit for that company’s type of transportation service.

Is my permit valid after the expiration date?

No. You must both be certified and obtain a new permit prior to your expiration date. If your permit is currently expired, stop driving and tell the company you work for that you need to renew your permit.

Will I receive a penalty if I’m driving without a valid permit?

Yes. Civil penalties will be issued to you and your company if we find you operating without a valid permit or with a permit that was not certified by the company you are working for.   Remember, each company you work with must first certify you to the City of Portland Regulatory Program. Civil Penalties can be found in Portland City Code Chapter 16.40.930. To view the City Code:

Do I need to have a new background check done every year?

Yes. Every company you are certified to provide services for is required to check your criminal and driving history each year.

Why is an annual background check necessary if I’ve been a driver in Portland for many years?

City Code requires that a new background check must be completed for each company you are certified to provide services for, every 12 months to capture any new records that may appear on a report since the last time it was completed.

Can I use a background check that was recently completed by my company, the police, or the FBI to get my Private for-Hire Transportation permit?

It depends. The company must have used a background screener who is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). City Code states the background check must include certain searches. See City Code for requirements: All PFHT drivers have the same requirements. The police and the FBI offer background screens, but they are not accredited by the NAPBS and therefore their background check is not sufficient. Please see NAPBS website for accredited companies.

How long do the background check and driving record check take?

If the City is ordering and reviewing a driver’s background and driving records, it can take up to 30 days to complete. Once the report is completed and returned to the City, staff must review and approve it before emailing you and your company an approval. Once you receive this approval email, you can come to the City to purchase a permit.

When do I have to take the test?

Upon receiving an email from the City that your certification is approved, you will have 30 days to pass the training and test with a score of 80% or better. You can take the training and test prior to being certified. Each driver must pass the training and test every 12 months. Get started now by going to

What if I don’t pass the driver training and test within 30 days of my certification?

Your permit will be suspended. Therefore you cannot operate, until you pass the training and test. You will also need to start the driver certification process over again.

If a passenger requests a vehicle with a wheelchair ramp, how long do I have to pick up that passenger?

Taxis and TNCs have 30 minutes to arrive at the pick-up location. If you are going to be later than that, you should call the passenger and let them know when you expect to arrive. Please keep in mind that civil penalties may be issued if you arrive more than 30 minutes after the request was made, regardless of whether you call the passenger ahead of time.

I am allergic to dogs. Is it ok to tell a passenger that I will find them a new driver if I don’t want to take their dog?

No. Allergies and fear of dogs are not legally valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people accompanied by  service animals. Please refer to the Department of Justice for more information:   Section 2.6

If I am involved in a traffic collision, do I need to show the other driver my vehicle insurance if my company carries the insurance? Can the other driver contact my company and ask to see it?

All PFHT drivers in the City of Portland are required to keep a paper copy of the commercial vehicle insurance in the car while operating. TNC drivers must keep a paper copy of their personal automobile insurance in the car as well as the TNC insurance in the car. Insurance documents must be given to the other party involved at the time of the crash and must be shown to any authorized City of Portland employee or police officer upon request.

How do I report to the City of Portland when I am arrested, charged or convicted of a crime; in a collision while operating a PFHT vehicle, or; my driver’s license becomes suspended or restricted for any reason?

You can send an email to State what occurred and give us your permit number, name and contact phone number.

Can my passengers smoke in my vehicle if I don’t mind the smell?

No. According to Portland City Code Chapter 16.40, it is illegal for anyone to smoke or vape inside a private for hire transportation vehicle.

Can I be issued a new City of Portland driver permit or keep my existing driver permit if my state issued driver’s license was suspended for a short period of time?

If your driver’s license was suspended for any reason (even for 1 day) in the past 12 months, you no longer have 12-months of uninterrupted driving history. Therefore, you cannot be a permitted driver in the City of Portland and your permit will be denied or suspended. The City of Portland wants to ensure that Private for-Hire Transportation drivers consists of only the most responsible drivers. Examples of DMV suspensions include, but are not limited to: Failure to report an accident to the DMV; failure to appear to court; failure to pay a fine; failure to pay child support (including being behind in support payments); driving while under the influence; refusal to consent to a breath, blood or urine test; being convicted of three or more specific offenses within a five year period; or having four convictions and/or collisions in a short period of time. For more information:

Am I required to notify the DMV when my address changes?

Yes. Oregon DMV requires you to notify them within 30 days of changing your address, and Washington requires you to report changes within 10 days. If you fail to update them, you may be issued a citation. The City of Portland reviews your driving record and will deny you the privilege of driving private for-hire if you have more than one violation in a 12-month period and/or have a driving related suspension anytime in the past 3 years. Make sure to notify the DMV of any changes right away and always be responsible for maintaining a good driving record. For more information: