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Over 100 Uber and Lyft Drivers Suspended in Portland, Oregon



More than 150 Uber and Lyft drivers have been suspended for offenses that should have blocked them for working for the two rideshare companies in the first place.

The workers in question were employed in Portland, Oregon and the offenses range from traffic violations to felonies, according to ABC News.

The suspensions, 168 in total, were confirmed by the Portland Department of Transportation, ABC News reported. In some cases, the department completely revoked permits for the workers in question.

Two of the Lyft drivers were convicted felons, one with a sexual assault conviction. The second had been convicted of assault with intent to murder.

The issues surrounding the drivers in question were discovered as the Portland Bureau of Transportation conducted random checks, according to John Brady, director of communications for the agency.

“For 80 people a month, we do the full background check, we do criminal history and if the person is on the sex offender list,” Brady told ABC News. They also do a series of random field checks using “secret shoppers and uniformed personnel” who check the safety of the vehicles and more.

“We want these consumers to be safe, in terms of physical safety and the mechanical safety of the cars as well as the drivers, so we would like Uber and Lyft to do everything that they can to make sure that that takes place,” Brady added. “We’re still going to continue to do our own checks, we found it a good backup system to enhance consumer protections.”

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There are a variety of reasons why a rideshare driver can be disqualified in Oregon including not having had a driver’s license continuously for the past year. Drivers can also be disqualified for having a number of traffic violations, or for not having a valid license at all.

“We have tens of thousands of taxi, Uber and Lyft drivers and by and large, they are safe drivers and safe individuals but we’re committed to finding anyone who isn’t and make sure that they aren’t driving,” Brady told the news outlet.

When contacted by ABC News, Uber offered the following statement:

“There’s nothing more important than the safety of the drivers and riders we serve. We have strengthened our background checks and introduced new screening technology that monitors new criminal offenses. But safety does not start and end with a background check.”

“Uber has a number of safety features in place for riders and drivers, including an emergency button with 911 integration technology in more than 250 cities across the US, including Portland. We will continue to put safety at the heart of our business,” the statement continued.

For its part, Lyft told ABC News that safety is a key priority for the company. Lyft’s statement on the matter also noted that since the company’s earliest operations, its products and policies have been built with a focus on safety.

“All those who apply to drive with Lyft are screened for criminal offenses and driving incidents,” the Lyft statement continued. “Lyft was the first rideshare company to institute criminal background checks. Just this summer we announced an expansion of our criminal background check process to include continuous monitoring, as well as a new enhanced identity verification process.”

Lyft also said in its statement to ABC News that any driver who does not pass the initial, annual, and continuous screenings is not able to use the platform.

“We are constantly working to improve the safety of our platform and are committed to delivering the best experience for all users,” the company said.

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Brightline Reports Substantial Ridership Growth to Begin 2020



WHY IT RATES: The growing company’s Travel Agent Program provides 20 percent commission to registered travel agents.—Patrick Clarke, TravelPulse Senior Writer

Brightline has released ridership numbers for the month of January 2020, showing an increase of 56 percent compared to January 2019, and the third straight month of ridership growth compared to the same month the previous year.

Since November 2019, Brightline has exceeded the monthly 100,000 ridership milestone and January 2020 marked an all-time high. Brightline kicked off 2020 with record ridership and connected the South Florida megaregion with 30,000-plus passenger trips over Super Bowl Week alone.

To put this in perspective, it is equivalent to removing nearly 14,000 one-way car trips from our city’s streets and highways. This is a reduction in trips reduced over 600,000 vehicle traffic miles which otherwise would have consumed nearly 25,000 gallons of gas and emitted almost 500,000 pounds of CO2 into our air.

“Since Brightline opened its station in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach, our destination has enjoyed unparalleled accessibility—opening up more options for leisure and business travelers as well as residents throughout South Florida,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches. “Recently, with Super Bowl LIV in our backyard, we also saw an influx of visitors from across the region who came to experience our Super Bowl Host Committee activities. We look forward to continuing the momentum during the MLB Spring Training season and the increasing number of conventions and meetings being held in The Palm Beaches throughout the year. The addition of Brightline’s forthcoming Boca Raton station also will reaffirm our southern gateway city’s status as a major corporate center, meetings and leisure destination.”

The weekend of February 14, Brightline connected the marine industry and boating aficionados alike to the Miami Yacht Show and Miami Boat Show, many traveling from points north of South Florida—parking in West Palm Beach to take the train.

Brightline’s Train-to-Port Package continues to gain popularity among guests and recently had a cruising couple book their third package in less than a year. The train’s Travel Agent Program provides a generous 20 percent commission to registered travel agents when booking reservations on Brightline.

SOURCE: Brightline press release.

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