Thursday, March 8, 2012

HOPE FOR THE BEST BUT BE READY FOR THE WORST. City tried to get all medallions for itself before, but the opposition was too strong. By Saam Aryan.

(Note from the blog's administrator - this article has been submitted to Taxi TownSF and has been published in the interest of free speech.  The following views are those of its author, and not necessarily the views of the blog's publisher.)

After SFMTA saw, in the last strike, that all we could do was getting around 600 cabs circling the City Hall, they must have thought that it was not much of deterrence. Therefore, I believe, SFMTA decided to go ahead with their plan. SFMTA now is closing on us on three fronts. They will keep at it until there is nothing left of us. These three fronts bring them their objective of MONEY, MONEY, and MONEY:
  1. THE WAITING LIST, which they are planning to destroy by these means:

    1. SFMTA froze the expansion of the waiting list.
    2. Then SFMTA attempted to cut the waiting list to 1100. Now the list is close to 3000.
    3. Then SFMTA started selling the medallion (around 210 so far). By doing so, SFMTA achieved two other intermediary objectives.
      1. SFMTA is preparing those on the list for their next phase of total elimination of the list; in the future. By selling the medallions the way they did, they destroyed future income for around 50% of those on the Waiting List. This is a huge amount that many on the list would not be earning (around 500 Million to 1 Billion). Instead of having the medallions going to top of the list, SFMTA sold it to those far away from the top.  This caused at least $20,000/year lost for around 50% of those on the list. How many years those on the list were pushed down (instead of moving up)? My answer is between 12 to 24 years. Each year that they did not move up is at least $20,000/year lost—money that they would not be earning. 120/10 = 12 years to 120/5 = 24 years. 5-10 were the approximate medallions that would go to the list by dead and disqualification.
      2. This would also divide those on the waiting list and turn driver against driver. Have you heard DIVIDE AND CONQUER?

  2. GETTING ALL THE MEDALLIONS TO THEMSELVES. SFMTA announced that they would like to have 1/3 of the total medallions going to them. They wanted (And I believe they still do) to achieve this by getting all the future medallions from dead, disqualification and new issues. This would guarantee that those on the waiting list would be waiting more than 500 years; if there would be any waiting list left. Again, this, like other attempts by SFMTA, I believe, would be to take the shocking away for their plan of taking all the medallions to themselves.

  3. REDUCING THE CAB COMPANIES TO ONLY A FEW. They have already frozen the addition of new color scheme and dispatch. Now, when the owner dies or disqualifies, so dies the color scheme or the dispatch; so it comes the shrinking of the companies. It is not hard to predict that there would be lots of nitpicking on cab companies to get them disqualified. Those few big ones would be getting promise of big bucks. Most likely, they would be tempted to go for it (for not having the means to fight back, or greed, etc.) 

     In the future, these cab companies, not having competition and having regular coordination among them, could raise gate and pay smaller checks to medallion holders (those medallion holders that were tough enough or lucky enough to survived). This in turn weakens the cab companies to fight future aggression by SFMTA. This is because drivers would not be supporting cab companies anymore for taking money from their pocket.
I believe that this strategic planning by SFMTA, weakens three pillars of the taxi industry (cab companies, drivers--with and without medallions) before its total collapse. At the end all the medallions gets back to SFMTA. City did try it before, but the opposition was too strong. They changed the tactic by doing it slowly so each step would not shock us. We need a Court’s injunction to stop SFMTA FROM FURTHER DAMAGING US THEN REMOVE THEM THROUGH BALLOT. These I believe strongly. IN ADDITION, WE NEED 1,000, EACH TO PUT $100, TO RMOVE SFMTA THROUGH BALLOT. Checks will not be cashed unless a trusted group is on bank’s signature card and we have $100,000. 

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  1. I think that Mr. Aryan is correct in his analysis of the situation with regard to the San Francisco cab industry. I have to say that I am also dismayed that since this essay was posted 2 days ago, that I am the first to have anything to say about it one way or another. If the drivers are going to continue to be apathetic about the situation, our goose is cooked. I think a ballot initiative sounds like a good idea. I would like first to hear from someone who knows about the law to tell us about the legal in's and out's of taking this action. But after that, it is going to be up to us the drivers, especially since we have no effective union. But yes, driving around city hall isn't enough. We will have to demonstrate to City Hall that we are serious, and again, as I look at the responses here.....or the lack of them, it doesn't look like anybody cares weather or not we will continue to be able to make a viable living driving a taxi cab in San Francisco. Does that mean that everybody else but me has other good job prospects? If not, it's looks like it is time for us all to step up before it's too late.

  2. I feel sorry for the drivers, but even if it goes to vote there will not be a win. Many in San Francisco want more cabs on the street. The current situation has been greed demonstrated by the current cab companies and medallion owners who take advantage of the gates and gas driver. The current system is not working and if cab companies and medallion owners were smart in the past they would have taken care of their own, instead of taking advantage of the poor working class of gates and gas drivers. The taxi industry should be ashamed of themselves instead of blaming the SFMTA from breaking up the current corrupt system. Taxi Medallion Owners and Taxi Companies for years have been eating their own by not providing safe working conditions, proper safety nets, and an appropriate working environment. This was the seed that was sewn. Its too late for the evil to continue. The SFMTA could clean up some of the corruption and make a more level playing field for all of those involved in the taxi industry! After all the medallions are ultimately owned by the city anyway. Imagine if all of the gates and gas drivers who got screwed by the industry in its current state came out and spoke out to the public! Imagine if all of the people who have been discriminated against by the current drivers in the industry came out to speak, people who just wanted a ride but got kicked out of the cab because they were gay, a woman, or an ethnicity that the driver did not want in their cab! Go ahead and put your ballot measure on, there will be lots of opposition to your measure. This is not a labor issue, it is a greed issue for the taxi companies and medallion owners so they can keep what they got by taking advantage of gates and gas drivers for years to come, and not give the gates and gas drivers anything to protect themselves!

    1. Gas and gate drivers were stepped on in the past and it is going to get event worst for them. If you think SFMTA is on the side of gas and gate driver you are totally away from what is going on. Hoping for something does not make it come true. You need to check the facts. These are some of the facts that you verify it by yourself, for yourself.
      1 SFMTA mismanaged and they are on RED. They will be mismanaging shin and F. up taxi industry further. Those on control (Large cab companies and SFMTA) will get what they can get. Latter SFMTA, being in control and needing money to cover their mismanagement, they would ride the cab companies remaining. Drivers end up further screwed. You do not need to be a scientist to see SFMTA's business conduct. Recently they spent $450,000 of your money to get opinion how San Francisco cab industry should be. They are not even in the US. instead of wasting like this they could have surveyed the public, the taxi drivers, the police; people that live and ride in San Francisco. Obsessed, they spent your money overseas.
      2. Director of taxi division of SFMTA SELECTS a group from taxi industry to make suggestions what regulations SFMTA should impose on taxi industry. They selected those that would dance to their music. In exchange, those with the proper backup (such as large cab companies, and medallion holder association) would some goodies for dancing.nicely.
      Do you think SFMTA cares about cab drivers which have no power, no representation, and barely can read and speak English; these MIGRANTS.

      Please research the issue. Even 100 hours of research is not enough, let alone forming an opinion when you are not seeing and experiencing their conduct from inside.

      Live will go on but some that do not educate and act will be way down the food chain.

    2. It is not hard to figure out that people would not be as carful with money, if it were not theirs. SFMTA spent close to ½ million of our money on consultant, in CANADA, to tell them putting GPS on us, for ELECTONIC-WAY BILL is OK. In fact, entities can and do get away with murder when no one presses charges. It does not matter that you know that fourth Amendment of US Constitution is for everybody in US, it does not matter that you know that SFMTA cannot set rule and then, Willy-nilly, break it (Res. 09-077). It does not matter that you know SFMTA is in violation of California Constitution (Article XIIIC, Section 2). You need to press charges to stop them. Please … please, protest, even 600 cabs circling the City Hall did not do it. You need to do what it takes to stop the abuser.

    3. There is no fault on drivers part. They did not kicked out any one out of the cabs without a serious reason. If there is one or few incidents that does not represent the entire industry. There are over 50,000 rides a day. Even the police officer who are well educated and extremely trained do make mistake.

      It is all about the major cab companies greed to get more money always for their stock holder or an owner of few big cab companies and they will do what one can to get more and more money. MHA which origianlly was having concerns for 300 owners who are not driving and were about to loose their medallions was looking for their exits now expanded more than where it should go far. It is time to put brakes and let the
      industry move on without too much disturbance for any party involved.

  3. Wow. Anonymous, your words are somewhat refreshing. I like almost all of it.

    The only point I"d raise is where you say, "Many in San Francisco want more cabs on the street." I'm not even necessarily disagreeing with you on this one either.

    But what I think most riders mean when they say this is that they'd like more 'AVAILABILITY' of taxi service. This could be achieved with a vast overhaul of the dispatching system and the addition of an electronic hailing system in all cabs... something like what Uber is to limos and town cars, only it'd be for cabs.

    Then, more cabs could be decided upon. Probably the best solution for better availability of taxi service would be - issuing an approved number of more cabs PLUS improved dispatch structuring, including a uniform electronic hailing app.

    But not one without the other.

    In my opinion, it should also be examined whether better working conditions for non-medallion gate and gas drivers could lead to better experiences for the passengers they provide service to. There's probably a relationship.

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