Monday, February 21, 2011


Powell St.  Photo by John Han.
Wes Hollis is proprietor of Executive Cab

Use this self-evaluation form to see how you stack up in cab company management's eyes.  If you score 21 or higher, you are a "keeper" in their eyes.  If you score 25 (100%), you're probably a saint, not a cab driver.

  1. Communicates well in English, with comprehension.

  1. Is in reasonably good health.
    1. Is a non-smoker.
    2. Doesn't have any self-destructive habits or addictions (e.g., gambling, alcohol, drugs).

  1. Always dresses neatly when driving the cab.

Friday, February 18, 2011

"Gypsy Cab" Phrase Is Racist And Insulting To Romani People, And More. By John Han

Serbs and Gypsies who have been rounded up for deportation
are marched to the Kozara and Jasenovac concentration camp
The word "Gypsy" often used in the pejorative "gypsy cabs", to describe the illegal taxis in San Francisco is a racist slur.  It should no longer be used by San Franciscans, or anyone anywhere, when referring negatively to what should be described as, "bandit cabs", or "pirate cabs"... taxi drivers operating illegally in San Francisco, and stealing fares from legal cabs drivers.

"Gypsy" refers to ethnic groups.  Even CBS San Francisco (KCBS) is guilty of using the phrase, "Gypsy Cabs" insultingly.  Here's Wikipedia's description of "Gypsy...
  • Gypsy may refer, often pejoratively, to any of the following nomadic peoples:
·          the Romani people, the largest ethnic group popularly referred to as gypsies
o         Roma (Romani subgroup), a major Romani subgroup in Central and Eastern Europe
o         Sinti, a European subgroup of the Romani people
·          the Dom people, an ethnic group of the Middle East possibly related to the Romani
o         Lyuli, a branch of the Dom people of Central Asia
·          the Lom people, an ethnic group of East Anatolia and Armenia possibly related to the Romani
·          the Banjara, an ethnic group of India
·          the Irish Travellers (or Pavee), an ethnic group of Irish origin mostly found in Ireland, Great Britain, and the United States
·          the Ce├árdannan (literally "Craftsmen"), a ethnic group of the Scottish Highlands.
·          the Yeniche people, mostly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, and Belgium
  • Sea Gypsies, a number of different peoples of Southeast Asia
    • (Wikipedia)

San Franciscans, especially taxi drivers, and all media should stop referring to illegal taxis as "gypsy cabs", because it is racist and degrading to people of various ethnic groups.  When referring to illegal cabs on the street, they should be referred to as "bandit" or "pirate" cabs.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Update On The Week In Taxis. By John Han

SF City Hall.  Photo by John Han.

The San Francisco Public Safety Committee approved legislation Thursday making it a misdemeanor to provide taxicab service in the City without proper permits.  Supervisors Ross Mirkirimi and Malia Cohen voted in favor of the ordinance.  Supervisor David Campos was absent.

The law includes allowing SFMTA to hire taxi investigators to issue up to $5000 in fines and impound vehicles that have been caught operating as taxicabs without permits.  A handful of taxi drivers and company reps, during public comment, unanimously supported the law.  But an attorney representing Uber, a town car and limousine dispatch service opposed it, saying it will wrongfully prohibit licensed limousine drivers from picking up passengers in San Francisco who are using its service.  The law is sponsored by president of the Board of Supervisors David Chiu.  It is expected to be heard at the full Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, March 1, 2011.


At last Monday's TAC meeting, we discussed Uniform Lease Agreements.  SFMTA had presented a rough draft version of an agreement.  But it took only moments before the TAC concluded that a "one size fits all", uniform lease agreement would likely be inadequate to regulate the entire industry, and therefore would most likely need to be five separate standardized lease agreements.  In no order of importance, they are...

1)  Between the Color Scheme and the Affiliate
2)  Between the Affiliate to the Affiliate's drivers     (Affiliate is the primary driver)
3)  Between the Long term lessee (LTL) to the LTL's drivers (LTL is primary driver)
4)  Between the Color Scheme to its Gate and Gas drivers
5)  Between the Affiliate to Primary Driver Lessee/LTL     (Pre K Affiliate with no driving requirement.  LTL is primary driver)

As far as the details of what should be in a uniform lease agreement, a taxi town hall meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 22, 2011 for review and discussion, as there are no details to date.

It was suggested that cab companies volunteer viewings of the lease agreements they already use at their companies, so that an aggregate of existing agreements from various companies could serve as a skeletal reference or template.

The meeting will be held in the 2nd Floor Atrium, 1 South Vanness Avenue, 2 to 5 pm, and 5:30 to 8:30 pm.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

F.Y.I. California Law Protects Independent Contractors

Here's a tidbit of fact about California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  It protects independent contractors from specific types of harassment at the workplace, (but not discrimination?).  Here's an excerpt from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

"The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (Part 2.8 commencing with Section 12900 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code) and the Regulations of the Fair Employment and Housing Commission (California Code of Regulations, Title 2, Division 4, Sections 7285.0 through 8504):

Prohibit harassment of employees, applicants, and independent contractors by any persons and require employers to take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment. This includes a prohibition against sexual harassment, gender harassment, and harassment based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions."  (Bold italics with underline are mine.)”

View all of the California Fair Employment And Housing Act (FEHA), Government Code Sections 12900-12996.

Monday, February 14, 2011

New York's Taxi TVs Coming To San Francisco? By John Han

They're already here.  I've now been in a couple of SF taxis that have these.  And I have a feeling more of them, lots more, are on the way. 

They are called “Taxi TVs”… credit card machines positioned in the back seats of cabs that passengers can swipe themselves.  They have small, flat screen TVs that play a continuous loop of news, sports, and weather… and non-stop advertising.  Lots of New York cabs have them.  I wouldn’t doubt that a lot of riders there like them. 

But meanwhile, it’s also a fact that a lot of riders have said they are loud and annoying.  Some have gone as far as saying they are an intrusion of their privacy. 

Here's what one New Yorker said.  

“SPsGhost 3 hours ago - The payment by credit card is the most useful thing this system has brought about. There are other elements of functionality that are probably helpful to have too, like the gps tracking. But the TV's are garbage. Useless, annoying, a waste of money for all involved. They are bloatware. Some marketing hack sold the idea to the TLC as means by which to raise advertising money, but I guarantee you that ad space is worthless. They should just be axed as far a "content" goes and used solely to display the rules and fare information, which is only displayed once and then goes away, and to facilitate the credit card payment.”
(Posted on the New York daily weblog, "Gothemist", February 11, 2011, in the reader comment section of the following article titled, “Survey Says:  Cab Riders HATE Taxi TV”.)
-  New York recently surveyed 22,000 riders in which they were asked what they thought was the worst thing about New York taxis.  What did the survey reveal?  It’s in this excerpt of the article published on the Gothemist…

Thursday, February 10, 2011

SF Gate Reports Serious Traffic Changes At Union Square.

Driving around Union Square gets tougher
Most San Francisco drivers know that cruising around Union Square is a pleasure only for the patient what with all the jaywalkers, cable cars, tourists in rental cars, taxis, buses, one-way streets and distracting sights.
And it's about to get worse. Construction crews last week began closing off and rerouting sidewalks so they can relocate utilities to make way for the Central Subway. But as of Wednesday, that plan will be changed. Stockton Street will be closed -- one block at a time -- to private vehicles for the next 10 months. One lane of traffic will remain open to buses, taxis, tour buses and delivery vehicles only. Work zones and temporary sidewalks will take up the rest of the street

Read more:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A First Look At SFMTA's Draft Uniform Lease Agreement. By John Han.

The agenda item for the next Taxi Advisory Council meeting, to be held Monday, February 14th Valentine’s Day, will be “Uniform Lease Agreements”.  SFMTA has already put out a preliminary draft version at the last meeting of a lease agreement that can be viewed in full here. 

What will define a uniform lease agreement as either good or disastrous for drivers will depend upon what’s in it.  And SFMTA has offered a public preview of what’s in it, and what’s likely to come.

First off, the draft is titled “Uniform San Francisco Taxi Medallion Lease Agreement”.  A one size fits all? 

Oddly enough, it would appear to focus closely on a four layer system in which medallion holders or owners should affiliate with a color scheme, and then lease the medallion to a primary driver/long-term lessee (but not for more than three years), who would then lease shifts to ordinary taxi drivers as “secondary” drivers via a “shift agreement”… but the contents of the shift agreement not being viewable, because it’s not included in the draft.