SFMTA Board > Jan. 27, 2009, minutes
ORDER OF BUSINESS
1. Call to Order
Chairman McCray called the meeting to order at 9:18 a.m.
2. Roll Call
3. Announcement of prohibition of sound producing devices during the meeting.
Chairman McCray announced that the ringing of and use of cell phones, pagers and similar sound-producing electronic devices are prohibited at the meeting. He advised that any person responsible for the ringing or use of a cell phone, pager, or other similar sound-producing electronic devices might be removed from the meeting. He also advised that cell phones that are set on “vibrate” cause microphone interference and requested that they be placed in the “off” position.
5. Citizen’s Advisory Council Report
6. Public Comment
THE FOLLOWING MATTERS BEFORE THE SAN FRANCISCO MUNICIPAL TRANSPORTATION AGENCY BOARD OF DIRECTORS ARE RECOMMENDED FOR ACTION AS STATED BY THE SFMTA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/CEO OR CITY ATTORNEY WHERE APPLICABLE. EXPLANATORY DOCUMENTS FOR ALL CALENDAR ITEMS ARE AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW AT 1 SOUTH VAN NESS AVE. 7th FLOOR.
7. Presentation and discussion of taxi merger including an overview of the industry, SFMTA Board powers and duties, legislation, post-merger organization, goals, and issues. (Explanatory documents include a power point presentation) (Christiane Hayashi)
Christiane Hayashi, Director of Taxis and Accessible Services, presented the staff report.
Frank Fahy stated that legislation was introduced to regulate limousines but it failed. With only one enforcement officer in Northern California, limousines are free to roam at will. Legislation should be attempted again.
Veena Dubal, Asian Law Caucus, believes that for the benefit of consumers and workers, medallions should remain the property of the city and county. The MTA should honor the Mayor’s earlier promise to protect Prop K. Ms. Dubal stated that the budget shouldn’t be balanced on the back of workers. Ms. Dubal provided written suggestions for how to improve the taxicab industry.
Martin Smith, Luxor Cab, stated that we need cab stands in every neighborhood in the city. Cab stands will improve business and will give drivers a place to sit without fear of being ticketed.
A gentleman asked the Board to note the turnover in the taxi industry. Transferring medallions is a good idea but the city shouldn’t consider medallions as assets since the city assumes no liability for them. He stated that he would like to see an exit strategy for drivers who drive a long time before getting a medallion. The best part of Prop. K was that a driver earned the medallion and couldn’t own more than one.
Mark Gruberg, UTW, stated that Prop. K should be maintained and that no transfer of medallions should be allowed. It’s a mistake for the industry and will result in bidding wars. Voters have overwhelmingly supported Prop K against many attempts to repeal it and the SFMTA should respect the will of the voters. The Mayor has reversed his position on Prop. K. It will be impossible to drive substantial revenues from medallions without going down the unfair path of medallion auctions. Revenues should be used for taxi industry such as health benefits for drivers. Mr. Gruberg expressed hope that the state legislature would allow San Francisco to devise its own program for drug testing that would be respectful of the drivers’ civil liberties.
Irwin Lum, President, TWU Local 250-A, stated that operators are concerned about the need for taxicab services. How medallions are handled is a big issue as are illegal taxi rides by limousines. There needs to be stronger enforcement of limousines. Taxi drivers are independent operators who don’t make a living wage or have benefits.
Barry Korengold stated that talk of auctioning medallions to solve a budget deficit is unfair. Medallion owners aren’t highly paid and they would start off with a huge debt if they had to buy a medallion. There is value in maintaining taxi drivers who have been driving for 20-30 years. Limousines are hogging trips to and from the airport. It has gotten out of hand. If this was handled, cab drivers would have money to buy health insurance
Director Lee asked staff to present service indices for the taxi industry such as the length of time it takes to get a cab.
8. Presentation and discussion of the SFMTA FY09 and FY10 budgets. (Explanatory documents include a power point presentation) (Sonali Bose)
Sonali Bose, Chief Financial Officer, presented the staff report.
Director Beach requested information regarding scheduled vs. unscheduled overtime.
In response to a question by Director Heinicke regarding the other options studied by the revenue panel, Exec. Director Ford stated that staff would prepare an analysis of each option including political opportunities and sensitivities, benefits and costs and possible revenues.
Director Heinicke asked staff for information regarding fare box revenue on Family Day as compared to revenue from a normal Sunday schedule.
Wynship Hillier stated that the SFMTA has the only viable transit system in the western United States from a user’s perspective. He urged staff to work with the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to alert conference attendees about illegal limousines. Mr. Hillier questioned the proposed change to the M-Ocean View line in the Ocean-Merced-Ingleside neighborhood. Changing service to the J-Church line diminishes the attractiveness of using that route to go downtown. Riders will choose to take BART instead which will increase costs.
Tariq Mehmood stated that the budget problem can be solved. The value of a medallion in San Francisco is a good question. The last sale of a medallion on record in New York City was $700,000. Drivers don’t currently have a stake in the industry. Mr. Mehmood expressed support for selling medallions. Issues with Prop K can be resolved.
Razzu Engen stated that there are costs associated with improving the program. The program isn’t reaching as many people as it should. As soon as the cost of the Fast Pass increases, the SFMTA will see an increase in demand so it might as well pay the costs now and implement a better program. Mr. Engen expressed the hope that the SFMTA can do this concurrent with the increase to the Fast Pass. He urged the SFMTA to make sure it is doing all it can to lobby Washington D.C. to take advantage of the stimulus package.
9. Presentation and discussion of the SFMTA’s Bike Plan. (Explanatory documents include a power point presentation) (Carter Rohan)
Oliver Gajda, Manager, Bicycle Program, presented the report.
Wade Crowfoot, Mayor’s Office, stated that implementation of the Bike Plan is one of Mayor Newsom’s priorities. There is no more important infrastructure improvement than improving the bike network and it is essential to making an impact on the environment, improving San Franciscan’s quality of life and reducing San Francisco’s carbon footprint. Mr. Crowfoot expressed appreciation for continuing to push bike projects forward in a difficult economic time. There will be difficult choices ahead but the SFMTA needs to push the envelope to expand the bike network. Education and enforcement have been increased to address concerns about adult cyclists riding on the sidewalk.
Leah Shahum, SF Bicycle Coalition, expressed appreciation to staff for doing a great job in a difficult time. The gathering of data is essential to knowing how to prioritize bike projects. It’s an exciting time in San Francisco with more adults riding bicycles in the city. Despite the standstill due to the bike injunction there has been a huge increase in cyclists. Other cities are seeing dramatic changes as well.
10. Update on the Transit Effectiveness Project. (Explanatory documents include a power point presentation) (Ken McDonald)
Julie Kirschbaum, Manager, Transit Effectiveness Project, presented the staff report.
In response to Director Oka’s concern regarding stop spacing, Ms. Kirschbaum stated that they will bring a recommendation to the Board regarding a city-wide policy regarding stop consolidation.
No public comment.
11. Presentation and discussion of various parking initiatives. (Explanatory documents include a power point presentation) (Sonali Bose)
Sonali Bose, Chief Financial Officer, presented the staff report.
Chairman McCray requested a report regarding the SFpark pilot projects including technologies being tested and a timeline for decisions.
No public comment.
ADJOURN - The meeting was adjourned at 1:33 p.m.
A tape of the meeting is on file in the office of the Secretary to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors.
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