Photo by John Han.
The other day I contemplated a formula for how to make cab companies and medallion holders both want to run someone out of town for good.
It involves a vision for a close to perfect taxi industry as may be possible for San Francisco.
It goes something like this....
The City and County of San Francisco would revoke ALL traditional full-time medallions back to itself and act as the holder. For the ones already sold, it would buy them back. Single operators are another story.
As holder of all 1535 full-time regular medallions, San Francisco would lease all of its medallions directly to licensed cab companies at the same rate as cab companies are currently paying out to individual holders.
This could conceivably eliminate illegal brokering. (You industry savvy people should be able to see why it could eliminate illegal brokering. The brokers would have to do business with the City regulators, and not individual holders who may be out of range of regulatory resources. If, hypothetically, a City regulator were to be caught doing unwarranted business with non-licensed brokers, the accountability could be far greater for the administrator than would be for an individual holder, because things of that nature tend to make news headlines.)
At a loose, and rough average of $2000.00 a month per medallion, 1535 full-time medallions would generate $3,070,000.00 per month in revenue, or $36,840,000 in revenue per year. At $2200 per medallion, that loose figure would be $40,524,000 per year. And at $2500 per medallion, it would be $46,050,000 per year.
The imperative part of this is that the money would first be used to provide qualified, full-time drivers with healthcare and pension industrywide. Smart people at the MTA could do the research and determine what the actual costs would be. (What if there was enough money in there to include part-time drivers? Probably not, but what if?)
Some would say that this is exactly what MTA Director Malcolm Heinicke attempted to do when the MTA first took over regulation of the industry. He wanted to take all the medallions back and turn them over for profits for the MTA.
I think Heinicke was halfway on the right track. But he's not a cab driver so how could he know the full story?