Thursday, April 14, 2011

Recap of Monday’s Taxi Advisory Council Meeting, April 11, 2011. By John Han.

The Taxi Advisory Council (TAC) voted on two motions that passed overwhelmingly last Monday.  The first was Carl Macmurdo’s motion citing SF Transportation Code 1122(a), urging the MTA Board to hold a public meeting for a meter rate increase.  Transportation Code 1122(a) reads…

Beginning in calendar year 2010 and at least every other calendar year thereafter the SFMTA Board shall hold a hearing to determine, in its sole discretion, whether the rates of fare and cap on gate fees then in effect should be increased, decreased or remain unchanged.”

Council members Jim Gillespie, Athan Rebelos, and Chris Sweis were absent for the Monday's meeting.  Macmurdo’s motion passed unanimously by the council members who were present.

The second motion was Barry Korengold’s.  After public comment raised concerns on potential health impacts of electronic waybills and lack of study concerning them, Korengold motioned to urge the MTA Board to halt mandates on electronic waybills, until a health impact study could be conducted.  The council voted 8-2 in favor of Korengold’s motion.  Council members Bill Mounsey and Laurie Graham were the dissenting votes.

The TAC is an advisory council that advises the MTA Board of Directors on taxi issues.  It has no legislative powers, as did the former Taxi Commission. 

The deadline for electronic waybills is July 1st, 2011, according to Taxi Services Division.

During the Council Liason’s Report, Michael Harris, filling in for Director Christiane Hayashi who is on vacation, said that requests for proposals for the City’s Open Taxi Access (OTA) program has been halted indefinitely.  Harris claims he has no facts as to why the Requests For Proposals has been tabled. 

However, the SF Gate and the SF Examiner have reported on OTA in their Wednesday publications, noting its controversy.  But the newspapers do not report Harris’ claim made Monday that the program has been put to rest indefinitely.   Harris also said the MTA Board is expected to hold a public hearing in May, 2011 regarding 5% credit fees on drivers, and electronic waybills and whether drivers should bear the 5% costs.  

Yellow Cab expects to implement the fees no later than Friday April 15.  The MTA Board has not announced a date yet.

Rebecca Lytle of SF Federal Credit Union released updated statistics on the Medallion Sales Pilot Program.  Michael Harris, who administers SFMTA’s statistics on the program for TAC, said technical difficulties prevented him from releasing updated numbers.  He said new numbers would come at the next TAC meeting. 

Finally, representatives for the senior citizens and disabled community put on an informational presentation called “Shop-a-Round Taxi Service”.  This new program will be funded through federal grant money and will work like Paratransit.  The Shop-a-Round Taxi Service allows senior and disabled riders to use a low cost transportation option to and from grocery stores. It will have a 10% tip option for taxi drivers the same as Paratransit.  

For unfair tickets issued by PCO’s to taxi drivers while assisting senior citizen and disabled riders, drivers may contact Kate Toran at (415) 701-4440.

For unfair tickets issued by PCO’s to taxi drivers while engaging in loading and unloading passengers and their cargo, see this NOTICE put out by the SFMTA.  


  1. Having read John's blog and specifically his report on the 4/11 TAC meeting it looks likeYellow Cab will pull a fast one on the drivers and start charging them 5% for credit card transactions while the SFMTA is slow to regulate, or is perhaps co-opted by the big companies.
    Certainly there's no evidence at this time of Yellow pulling the strings of the SFMTA regulators. Maybe Yellow knows how slow the SFMTA is to regulate on behalf of the public and driver interest. It may be a case of sharp businessmen and weak SFMTA regulation at best.
    Something seems awfully wrong with that picture ... .

    Dave Schneider

  2. This undying campaign to raise cab rates continues to be a bad idea. It's a short-sighted solution that will hurt a lot of low-income riders while avoiding the real source of taxi driver income woes. For example, how many drivers are now paying $70 or $80 per shift in gas? Cab company owners may sound all "populist" by supporting higher rates but if they eliminated the gas hogs, driver incomes would rise exponentially. Same with the credit card fees they've been charging all these years. Same with the grossly illegal and extortionist TIP SCAMS charged by YELLOW, LUXOR, DESOTO, NATIONAL and others. How many thousands of dollars a year do drivers pay into these scams for the luxury of driving a decent cab? Let the City crack down on these income killers before taking it out on those who can least afford to pay.

  3. Dave,
    Having been fired from Yellow Cab several times and quit a few more over their awful voiceless dispatch system, I'm not their staunchest defender. Nonetheless, they are not duping anyone; indeed, they were merely following the SFMTA's mandates in a timely fashion, but I think that was your point.
    Regarding John's intended or unintended attempt to make it APPEAR that Yellow is pulling a fast one —to paraphrase you— I think your assertion is unfair and off the mark in this case. He merely states facts when he wrote: "Yellow Cab expects to implement the fees no later than Friday April 15. The MTA Board has not announced a date yet." I don't see any prejudicial implications there, do you?
    Having been squashed like a bug under Yellow Cab's foot many times, first by Jimmy Steele than Nate, vis-a-vis deposits for collisions not my fault with letters from Nate himself to support my assertion and other ticky-tacky charges arbitrarily assessed against some but not other drivers, I can understand why John has a tendency to mistrust first and come out swinging. It's called experience, and if experience teaches us anything, it is to protect ourselves.

  4. John, thanks for good and healthy journalistic
    style information in your blogs.

  5. John blogs you can write any comments. Another bloger for taxis, you can not post and he do
    not post comments which are against him.
    Good job John.

  6. Dave, Bud, Bill and two anonymous very good and knowledgeable comments. Keep it up.

  7. Please note that both votes were invalid, as they were not on the agenda. Time for a Sunshine Ordinance refresher for the TAC members.


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