Wednesday, May 18, 2011

MTA Board Approves A Meter Increase, And Delays July 1st Deadline For Electronic Waybills. By John Han

Taxi drivers pushed for a meter increase during public comment that would've included a raise in the
flag drop at Tuesday's MTA Board meeting.

The MTA Board of Directors approved a meter increase Tuesday at its regular May 17th meeting, and the drivers raise will go into effect after June 21st.

The vote passed unanimously with six members present.  The Board approved a 10 cent mileage increase from 45 cents to 55 cents for every one-fifth of a mile, and a 10 cent increase from 45 cents per minute to 55 cents per minute wait time.  There was no increase in the flag drop.

Taxi Driver.
Director Malcolm Heinicke had originally motioned to hold off on any vote until the Board could hear further recommendations from the taxi industry at its June 21st meeting.   Other items are expected to be heard at that time such as peak time taxi service, credit card fees, and an increase in the flag drop.
MTA Board Director Malcolm Heinicke listens to taxi
drivers supportinga meter rate increase during public
comment at Tuesday's MTABoard meeting May 17, 2011. 

Heinicke cited a lack of "public support" as a main reason to hold off.  He said that a meter rates would have to be coupled with a "service increase", and that a raise for cab drivers, "could not go forward without adding more cabs."  He mentioned that a peak time pilot plan should be discussed in the coming weeks before any further actions could go forward, because the public can't get cabs during busy hours.

That being said, a number of visibly upset taxi drivers wanting a vote that day left the meeting in protest, one shouting out a call for a strike.

However, after the meeting resettled, Heinicke's motion failed, getting only three votes but needing four.  The aye votes were Malcolm Heinicke, Cheryl Brinkman, and Leona Bridges.  The no votes were Bruce Oka and Jerry Lee.  

MTA Board Vice Chairman Jerry Lee and Director
Leona Bridges.
After that, Vice President of the Board Jerry Lee, motioned for a second vote that passed unanimously, but only authorizing the 10 cent per one-fifth mileage increase and the 10 cent increase per minute wait time, with no increase in the flag drop.

The Board said Sunshine laws prevented it from authorizing an increase in the flag drop that day, adding that an immediate increase in the flag drop was not necessary, since any increases would not go into effect until after its June 21st meeting anyway. 

Additionally, Director Bruce Oka said that although he supports a meter increase, it should not be approved without a gate increase, and that the two items should be considered together.

Finally, the item to remove the July 1st deadline for implementing electronic waybills was approved unanimously.  Implementation of electronic waybills was delayed for at least 120 more days. 

John Lazaar, President of Luxor Cab.
Carl Macmurdo, President of the Medallion Holders Association.
Hansu Kim, President of DeSoto Cab.

Before the meeting, taxi drivers protested electronic waybills outside of City Hall, circling cabs and honking horns around the building. 

Medallion holder Brad Newsham holds a sign outside City Hall before Tuesday's May 17th
 MTA Board meeting to protest electronic waybills and fees that the City is imposing
on taxi drivers. 

Taxi driver Harold Miller.
Photos by John Han.


  1. The SFMTA, by the lobbyists, for the lobbyists and of the lobbyists.

    Before this is all over, medallion owners will either be bought out, or thrown

    Out via onerous regulations, based on technicalities, the cab companies, who

    They could get over and did in the short term, will go bankrupt, again through

    Onerous regulations and not to mention serious multimillion dollar accidents,

    Too numerous to mention, and the drivers, well the ones that's still willing to

    Put up with all of the bs, will be in for one he'll of a show!

    P.s the SFMTA will most likely, disappear after sf declares bankruptcy.

  2. most drivers will bail out by 2 to 3 years after electronic way bill passes, unless it is made some how bearable. As it is now cab driving really doesn't pay enough, make it pay less and even the most desperate will leave the business..

  3. The problem is this,

    The city and the SFMTA want us drivers to be rolling atm's as well as collateral

    Damage in their reckless pursuit of present and future funding, without so much

    As batting an eye to violate our rights as employees that are consistent with

    Decisions from the Courts, the NLRB, and the State of California.

    So, what does this tell us, well.........., it tells us that we have an out of control

    City And county whose officials, will do as they please, and show utmost

    Contempt, for the state and federal courts as well as their agencies.

    Now, am I saying these protests are a waste of time? Of course not, these

    Protests provide drivers, with a legal foundation, in which to lay their claims,

    Which backed up by case law, will provide them with a formidable lawsuit, if

    They find the right paralegal or Atty to help them.

  4. I'm wondering how the people on the medallion waiting list are feeling about

    Now as the SFMTA is about to seize control of the mine while they get the shaft.

    I guess that's of no concern to owners like Ed since they got theirs, so now they

    Can spend all of their time, prattling on with their, holier than thou, shit doesn't

    Stink, viewpoints you know, hanging out with cab management and SFMTA

    Wolves while they ( medallion owner sheep ) can discuss, in the dining room,

    What's for dinner.

  5. Holding the drivers first raise in seven years hostage to "better service" is awful. In my 33 years of driving I wanted nothing more than to have a passenger in the back seat at all times.
    Better service is code for more radio pickups and 3 companies and City Wide dispatch pick up 90% of the radio calls.
    I'm against a gate raise unless the cost of insurance goes up which it may. Certainly no gate increase for companies that don't pick up more than a handful of radio passengers.

  6. It is in th large cab companies best interest........... To provide poor service

    To the public at large, that way management can massage radio ride statistics,

    In order to demand more medallions be put on the street.

    For example, I work at yellow, and it seem like every time I try to use their

    Computer dispatch as per SFMTA regs That I pick up one radio call per hour,

    I get at least 3 no shows so why should I use the service, if its so unreliable?

    The public is angry because drivers do not show up, or show up late and the

    Drivers are angry because of all the no shows, so what's the problem, well.........

    Cab company dispatch systems are because they are accountable to nobody

    For service quality and reliability

  7. Taxi should change to big wheel, and Driver should change to crier. So, a Big Wheel Crier can't focus on his real obligation -- the fellow human beings who need a ride. He can't stop bitching about how little money he makes or how the city (or some other organization with humans -- are conspiring to steal his money. If that is a taxi driver. Imagine the former taxi driver that has too man complaints, or a physical affliction preventing driving a taxi. Now that person is still addicted to the drama, so he becomes a cashier. A cashier who insists that you must have a horrible disposition before they go pick up fares. Imagine that B.S. A cashier that could be replaced by an ATM. Replace cashiers with machines and watch a major increase in customer satisfaction and taxi driver benevolence.


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