Monday, March 5, 2012

Message From A Concerned Taxi Driver Regarding MTA Proposals For Taxi Industry Reform. 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.)

You must show up March 6th, at 12 Noon and show your opposition (Meeting starts at 1PM but we need 1/2 hour to coordinate before getting ready to occupy a seat in Room 400—those standing will be removed).

This is why we should show up:

After they 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:

11.       THE WAITING LIST, which they are planning to destroy by these means:
a.       SFMTA froze the expansion of the waiting list.
b.      Then SFMTA attempted to cut the waiting list to 1100.  Now the list is close to 3000.
c.       Then SFMTA started selling the medallion (around 210 so far).  By doing so, SFMTA achieved two other intermediary objectives.
                                       i.      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.
                                     ii.      This would also divide those on the waiting list and turn driver against driver.  Have you heard DIVIDE AND CONQUER?

22.       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.

33.       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. 

Therefore, I believe, that this strategic planning by SFMTA, initially weakens all 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 (doing it to us gradually at the same time dividing us).

Saam Aryan, 415-626-TAXI


  1. The SFMTA will be making a terrible mistake if it goes even further into the taxi industry. It is completely immoral to be BOTH the regulator AND the beneficiary of an industry. Would we accept the FAA taking profits for running airports? War profiteering is bad, but would it not be worse for the Army or Navy to be themselves taking profits from war? Are these examples not clear enough to see the situation properly?

    The SFMTA is failing in a very primal way to tell right from wrong.

    Mr. Aryan's compassion for all those involved in doing the actual work of cab driving is a matter of record. In the case of his statement today, I find no errors of substance.

  2. Hey John I thought you said there was going to be no taxi discussion on the 6th March.

    1. According to SFMTA, there will be NO taxi items on Tuesday's March 6 agenda. The items have been taken off.

      To my understanding, the MTA did not pull the items due of any kind of anticipation of protest. To my hearsay, the MTA took the items off, at least in part, at the request of a well known person in the taxi industry who often represents drivers' interests.

      The taxi drivers urging this protest are asking taxi drivers to show up for general public comment and say something to the Board regarding the issues, I think, more so that to simply circle City Hall honking horns.

  3. I hope appropriate permits were granted to protest. I am not sure how long city hall will let drivers protest without getting the permits to do so. Good Luck Tuesday!

  4. Unfortunately, they won't let you comment on anything except the specific item currently under discussion. The TC used to have a "general comments" time, but they were known to just take that off the agenda when the room was full of drivers intent on a non-calendared item. I watched that happen a couple of times - causes ones jaw to drop to the floor with awe at their duplicity.

  5. Score SFMTA 100 Taxi drivers 0

    Ballot measure would need public support, are the enough people who are not upset with taxi drivers out there to support the taxi drivers?

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