Thursday, February 16, 2012

Recommendations For Medallion Reform (Conclusion of the votes). By John Han.

The following pertains to San Francisco taxi medallion reform, and what kinds of policies the Taxi Advisory Council (TAC) thinks the MTA should adopt going forward with permanent medallion sales.

On February 13th, 2012, the TAC voted on the items below, which concludes its final recommendations held over two consecutive meetings.

The members present were Ruach Graffis, Dan Hinds, Tara Housman, Richard Hybels, David Khan, Barry Korengold, Timothy Lapp, John Lazar, Tone Lee, John Han, Carl Macmurdo, William Mounsey, Athan Rebelos, and Chris Sweis.

William Minikel was absent as he no longer serves on the council, and his seat remains vacant.

Here are the votes of the council.

Category 3: Financial

1.2  [Financial] No more outright medallions sales by SFMTA

3.2  [Financial] Reduction of SFMTA resale transaction fee to 5%.

6.4  [Financial] Transfer fee distribution should be changed to 10% for MTA and 10% for Driver Fund.

6.5  [Financial] All revenues genterated from the taxicab industry should be reinvested in the taxicab industry.

7.2  [Financial] Driver Fund to be created to help with medallion purchases and subsequent healthcare for drivers. a) $50,000 payment into fund will allow permit holders to auction medallion rather than sell for fixed price.

8.1  [Financial]  Medallion prices should remain regulated at 250K with adjustments for inflation.
PASSED  10-4

8.6  [Financial]  SFMTA should not have a financial interest in medallions sales.  

9.2  Permit holders pay into the driver's fund based on the type of medallion they possess. 

Category 4: Retirement

1.3  [Retirement] Reduced driving requirement with contribution to drivers fund for older or disabled permit holders.
  • These would also be run solely as gas and gate.
  • A permanent retirement decision can be made of either eliminating the driving requirement or selling the permit anytime after the age of 65.

3.3  [Retirement] Waiver of driving requirement with commitment to sell within fixed time period.

3.4  [Retirement] One month window annually allowing permit holders to commit to selling so heirs could sell if permit holder dies prematurely.

3.5  [Retirement] Allowing a limited number of K permittees to retain their permit without a driving requirement after a commitment to return permit to the city upon death.

4.1  [Retirement] Ability for K and pre K holders to purchase transfer rights by paying transfer fees in advance.

8.4  [Retirement] Medallion holders should be given the choice between selling their permits or relinquishing it for continuing income.

About two weeks earlier, January 30th, 2012, the TAC voted on eighteen other votes pertaining to the “waiting list” and “operations”. Those votes can be reviewed by CLICKING HERE.

Additionally, the MTA Taxi Services Staff issued its own draft of recommendations for public discussion.  

CLICK HERE to view the first page of those drafts. 

CLICK HERE to view the draft's second page.  (Images are scanned and can be printed for easier viewing.)

The draft recommendations on these two pages indicate whether MTA Taxi Services Staff currently agrees with the TAC's recommendations, disagrees, or considers an item non-applicable for now.

These draft were presented for public discussion at town hall meetings held Tuesday, February 14th, 2012.

On March 6, 2012, the MTA Board of Directors, at its regular meeting, is expected to consider the proposals for medallion reform.

As of the time of this writing, information is not yet publicly posted on the MTA's website as to whether the Board will be likely to vote on the proposals, or whether it will only discuss the proposals, and then vote on them at a following March 20th meeting.

Below is the text of a third page issued by MTA Taxi Services Staff titled, "Draft Staff Medallion Reform Recommendation.  Town Hall Meeting, February 14, 2012"

It is important to note the implications and potential impacts of these draft recommendations. 

Source: Death, revocation, new issue

Eligible: Qualified drivers by waiting list number

Timing: Continuing until waiting list is exhausted

Price: No cost

Once acquired, medallions may any medallion
holder who becomes eligible:

  1. A person at least age 65; or
  2. A person with a disability that prevents their meeting the driving requirement.

After the list is exhausted, reserve 100 medallions for drivers with more than 20 years experience who
will be eligible by A-Card seniority to acquire a medallion without purchase. These would continue
to circulate among this eligible population as they come back through death or revocation.

(Lifetime of Vehicle )
(33% of fleet)

Source: Death, revocationnew issue

Eligible: Qualified companies

Timing: As Prop K medallions are returned and new issue

Price: $2,500/month, with $500 reduction for fulfillment of dispatch quotas.


• What is a qualifying company?
• What is dispatch quota?


  1. A stable source of revenue as a reward for well-performing companies
  2. More good shifts for drivers (ifthere is a medallion holder they always take the good shifts)
  3. The ability to reduce the fleet size if necessary
  4. Company accountability
  5. Financial incentivfor improved dispatch success
  6. SFMTA revenue
Source: Individual sellers; SFMTA sales: deathrevocation, new issue

Eligible: Qualified drivers by seniority

Timing: Continuing as transferablmedallionbecome available

Price: $250,000 +

  • Allow sellers to sign up on an ongoing basiwhen they are eligible
  • Keep rule that if they don't sell within a certain amount of time of offer they are no longer on seller list.
  • Have an annual sign-up fopotential buyers. If they are higher on the list than already signed up buyers they have to wait until thlist of already signed up buyerhas been exhausted
Additional measures:
  1. Clean up waiting list and cut off around 1100
  2. Prohibit affiliate leases, grandfather existing leases for the life of the vehicle.
  3. Keep existing driving requirement for all ages
  4. No pre-K or corporate medallion sales - all that are returned go back to waiting list.
  5. Interim term: all new issues split between list and leases until maximum leasratio is reached, then all to list until list is exhausted.
  6. Long term scenario: all newly issued medallions wouleither be leased directly or sold by SFMTA.


  1. Thank you, John, as always. Great reporting.

    I am alarmed that, after so many of us in the industry have spent so many years battling the idea of corporate permits (corporations, after all, are NOT people), Ms. Hayashi would propose turning 33% of the fleet into corporate medallions. And I think it very clear that the whole point of this bad idea is for her to find a way to get revenue to the SFMTA. I was glad to see that the Council voted 14-0 that "All revenues generated from the taxicab industry should be reinvested in the taxicab industry." And I was glad to see that the vote was 9-5 (I would have preferred unanimous) that the "SFMTA should not have a financial interest in medallions sales."

    Is there any chance you can identify the five people (and the companies they are affiliated with) who voted in favor of the (to me) insane idea that the SFMTA should be allowed an interest in medallions sales?

    Thank you again for the clear and straightforward reporting.

    1. Hi Brad,

      The 5 votes in favor of the SFMTA having a financial interest in medallion sales were by Dan Hinds (National Cab president),
      Timothy Lapp (Yellow Cab),
      Carl Macmurdo (Medallion Holders Association),
      Athan Rebelos (DeSoto Cab general manager),
      Chris Sweis (Royal Cab).


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