Monday, March 28, 2011

The San Francisco Cab Drivers' Association - "Amended Interim Report" - Taxi Advisory Council Meeting, March 28, 2011. By John Han.

Barry Korengold, president of the San Francisco Cab Drivers' Association (SFCDA), presented at Monday's Taxi Advisory Council meeting, proposals to amend the "Interim Report on the Taxi Medallion Sales Pilot Program".  That report was the topic of discussion for the agenda item held March 28, 2011. 

Korengold, at the meeting, criticized the TAC draft report, saying it is biased, and does not accurately represent past TAC discussion regarding impacts that the selling of SF taxi medallions has had so far on the taxi industry.  Korengold also criticized the report for drawing false conclusions, and for making recommendations on items that had not yet been adequately discussed.  For example, the TAC's draft report recommends to the MTA Board that is should "expand" the pilot program, even though the TAC had never actually voted on such a motion.  

The draft report does not indicate whom of the 15 member council had drafted it.  But an inquiry during Monday's meeting revealed that it was Dan Hinds , President of National Cab, Carl Macmurdo, President of the Medallion Holders' Association, and Athen Rebelos, new general manager at De Soto.  

The San Francisco Cab Drivers' Association "Amended Interim Report" can be VIEWED HERE.

Also, Richard Hybels of Metro Cab was welcomed as new member of the Taxi Advisory Council.  Hybels is a company representative replacing Athen Rebelos, formerly of Green Cab.  

Rebelos, now General Manager for De Soto, fills Jane Bolig's former seat on the council.  Bolig is De Soto's former president.  


Here is a draft version of the "INTERIM REPORT ON THE TAXI MEDALLION SALES PILOT PROGRAM".  This is the agenda item for discussion and possible action for the Taxi Advisory Council meeting Monday, March 28, 2011. 

On ____, the SFMTA Board of Directors authorized the sale of S.F. taxicab medallions on a provisional basis and under specific conditions* (include authorization language as attachment). The key elements of this pilot sales program were:
  1. All sales to be voluntary
  2. The pool of potential sellers to be limited to individuals 70 or older, or any medallion holder with a qualifying disability
  3. The pool of potential buyers to be limited to active drivers on the medallion applicant waiting list
  4. An established sale price of $250,000
  5. The creation of a Taxi Advisory Council to oversee the pilot program and to advise the SFMTA Board of Directors on taxi industry matters

Cab Stories.

Here's some cab stories that got put up on the SF Taxi Talk forum and republished here on Taxi TownSF.  They're written by "TM".   Anyone can join the SF Taxi Talk list by going to...
One radio call I got was at about 4:25 AM one moist Sunday morning. From deep in the Sunset, a house off Noriaga street, possibly 43rd Ave, it did not state a destination. At that time of the morning virtually nothing is open in the Sunset. Only the bakers, at work on the Sunday’s donuts cakes breads and delectables. They say  a few other types of delectables are available at some therapeutic establishments. Some were busted recently by our well paid police with nothing better to do.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Yellow Cab Announces Its Back Seat Taxi TVs. By John Han.

Photo By SpecialKRB Flickr

Yellow Cab, over the weekend, put out a stack of flyers at their window for drivers to pick up and read.  The flyers are informing all Yellow drivers about the New York style credit card swipes that will be installed in back seats of all Yellow cabs.  Here’s a full text of Yellow’s flyer…

“The SFMTA, Taxi Division, recently mandated companies to comply with new regulations regarding credit card processing, waybills, and computer records.  We will be installing back seat payment terminals in all cabs and training everyone on their use.  This is an expensive mandate for all companies.  In return, the SFMTA is allowing all companies to shift the burden of credit card processing to an independent 3rd party processor when they comply with the new mandates.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Taxi Advisory Council Draft Report on the Medallion Sales Pilot Program.

The following is a DRAFT report from the San Francisco Taxi Advisory Council (TAC) on the Medallion Sales Pilot Program.  It was reviewed and discussed at the last TAC meeting held March 14, 2011.  The TAC's deadline to submit a completed report to the SF Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors is March 31, 2011.

Draft version...

Report of the SFMTA Taxi Advisory Council
on the
Taxi Medallion Sales Pilot Program Report

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Taxi Advisory Council (TAC) has convened twice per month since August, 2010 to analyze the problems and benefits that may result from the Taxi Medallion Sales Pilot Program (Program) based on data collected from various sources described in this report.  With over 50 permits transferred under the Program to date, the industry is beginning to be able to see the impacts of medallion sales.  We have made significant headway in identifying the issues and recommending solutions for problems that are anticipated as a result of the Program.  

Another Taxi Driver Robbed At Gunpoint! By John Han.

Photo by John Han.
Another San Francisco taxi driver has been robbed at gunpoint.  This one occurred at 4am at Geary and Scott. Read the Article in the SF Appeal online newspaper.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cabulous Now On Android. By Gabriel Golden.

Though it's not on their Web site, Cabulous now has their app for drivers available for Android smartphones and devices. 

Go to Android Market and make sure to download Cabulous Personal, *not* the Cabulous Fleet version; the latter will take over your phone.

(From the publisher:  Listen to a past interview with John Wolpert and Kieran Farr about Cabulous on San Francisco station KPOO, CLICK HERE)

Do In-Taxi Cameras Really Deter Crime? Another Taxi Driver Robbed. By John Han

Photo by John Han.
Verifone video cameras installed on the windshields of taxis are most likely saving cab companies and  insurance companies a lot of money on accident costs.  Those cameras can record exactly what happened during an accident and indicate who was really at fault.  That also can save a taxi driver's job.

But I'm not sure I'm convinced that they're doing as equally good of a job in deterring crime, even though it is claimed that they do.

A Yellow Cab driver was robbed late during the Saturday night shift, March 12, 2011.  Yellow Cab posted a notice on the wall warning drivers to be careful out there.  According to the notice, the driver dropped off at Palou and 3rd St. at 2 am.  Then, two twenty something men jumped in the cab and were vague about their destination.  After that, one of the men pulled out a gun and demanded the money.  The driver was not injured but lost some $400 and a cell phone.  

I hope the SFMTA will deal with safety issues around cab drivers, and give its discussion equal priority as it is giving to the sale of medallions and franchise peak permits.  It is too easy to offer answers such as, "cameras deter crime".  I doubt the cab driver who was robbed Saturday would agree with that.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Wes Hollis is proprietor of Executive Cab.  He sent in this article as a response to Ed Healy's blog, "Credit Card Charges:  Illegal"

I have had a merchant credit card account for 10 years.  My lease drivers pay their gate fees with their credit card sales.

My credit card processer is NPC in Louisville, KY.  NPC handles Visa, MC, and Discover.  American Express does their own credit card processing.  My monthly cost with NPC is 7.5%.  My monthly cost with American Express is 10%.  I have the monthly statements to back up these figures.  This past month my credit card processing expense was $175.00.

Yet, I have never charged my drivers for these fees.  I give them 100%, dollar for dollar credit on their credit card sales.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

SF Taxi Driver Dean Clark And Others Rally At City Hall. By John Han.

(Video by Tony Derenzo)
San Francisco taxi driver Dean Clark and a handful of supporting taxi drivers came out for a small and short rally in front of City Hall Monday, March 7th.   Dean Clark was struck by an uninsured motorist in 2010, and so far claims that medical costs have not been paid for by Workers' Compensation. Clark's story is covered here.

My opinion is that these types of rallies must involve larger numbers of cab drivers, and be better organized in order to sway public opinion, and have more meaningful legislative influence.  Until then, I hope that the SFMTA will hear this small cry.

Have You Gotten A Parking Ticket?

Photo by John Han.
What cab driver hasn't?  Here's a fun and interesting link that a driver sent in, on how to fight a San Francisco parking ticket.

READ THE INSTRUCTIONS on how to fight a SF parking ticket.

The Phantom Cab Driver Phites Back, by Ed Healy

Thanks to Ed Healy for the recap on Tuesday's Board of Supervisors Meeting...

Supes Pass Watered Down Enforcement Against Illegal Cabs et al

At yesterday's Board of Supervisors meeting, the board unanimously voted to pass their watered down version of legislation making it a misdemeanor to operate an illegal taxis or limo, or to solicit or accept payment for referral of passengers, or assignment of shifts or dispatched calls, or other illegal activities that suck money off of legitimate cab drivers and both cheat and endanger the general public.

The Supes voted to okay their own amended version of the ordinance that lessened the penalties that the police can give from $2,500 and $5,000 to $1,000.
Read More

Saturday, March 5, 2011

California's Workers' Comp Laws and San Francisco's Taxi Industry, A Cab Driver's Experience. By John Han

SF Taxi Driver Dean Clark.
The following is a highlight and recap of a discussion I had with SF taxi driver Dean Clark.

Clark is a gate and gas taxi driver working night shifts at National Cab.  Clark alleges that in April of 2010, his taxi was struck by another vehicle driven by an uninsured motorist at 8th St. and Minna, in which he had suffered, and still suffers from injuries unaccounted for today.  Here are the highlights of the accident, and the details of what later took place with the cab company, as they have been relayed to me.

In April of 2010, Clark was driving southbound on 8th St. in the far right lane.  A woman in another car was heading westbound on Minna.  She attempted to crossover 8th St to get to the other side of Minna, but in doing so, struck the front driver’s side of Clarks taxi, causing the taxi to spin.  Clark says that upon impact, the taxi’s seatbelt locking mechanism had failed, and that no airbags were deployed because the vehicle did not have any.  Consequently, Clark’s head hit the front windshield, and as the car spun, also hit the side window, causing blurred “temporary blindness”, for several hours.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why Cab Drivers Are Poor. An Analysis of SF's Taxi Industry. By John Han.

Photo by John Han.
(Originally published January, 2011)  Portions of this essay are edits from a previous essay I wrote but was not published.  It was  submitted to SFMTA Taxi Services Division.  Here's an edited, published version... 


Taxis play a major role in San Francisco’s transportation and local business economy.  Tourism, conventions, hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sporting and concert events all benefit from the industry’s services.

For some, taxis are one of the few viable options of getting around, such as senior citizens and the disabled using the Paratransit program.  And for many others, taxis can provide casual and safe alternatives to the risks of drunk driving (Anecdotally, in major cities, cab drivers may prevent more fatalities and injuries resulting from drunk driving each weekend than any other profession in the country or the world). 

Unfortunately, despite the importance taxis play in most major cities and in the lives of many, taxi drivers themselves have bleak hope for being able to secure a financial future.  Why is this?  Are cab drivers lazy?  Are negative ‘cabbie’ stereotypes true?  This essay is an attempt to analyze the concern from an ordinary cab driver’s perspective.  I hope readers will read it through (though lengthy) and hopefully gain some insights, and maybe help in ways to improve it.