Taxi Advisory Council > June 11, 2012, Minutes
Taxi Advisory Council
Monday, June 11, 2012
2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room
One South Van Ness Avenue
Ruach Graffis; John Han; Dan Hinds; Tara Housman; Richard Hybels; Barry Korengold; Timothy Lapp; John Lazar; Tone Lee; Carl Macmurdo; Athan Rebelos;
PRESENT: Ruach Graffis; Dan Hinds; Tara Housman; Richard Hybels; David Khan; Barry Korengold; Timothy Lapp; John Lazar; Tone Lee; Carl Macmurdo; William Mounsey; Athan Rebelos; Chris Sweis
ABSENT: John Han; David Khan; William Mounsey; Chris Sweis
ORDER OF BUSINESS
1. Call to order: Barry Korengold called the meeting to order at 1:15 p.m.
2. Roll Call – The Roll Call showed a quorum was present.
3. Announcement of prohibition of sound producing devices during the
4. Approval of Minutes from 5/14/12 (Discussion and Action)
Mr. Korengold said Page 11 should be corrected to “Criteria to hold on to a medallion for at least 5 years or be 65 or disabled”.
Mr. Korengold said Page 14 should be corrected to – driver must drive 2 or 3 years as gas and gates for a company before being able to drive a long term lease.
John Lazar said Page 6 should be corrected to “Uber still uses the word cab in Chicago; he said there’s a pending lawsuit in Chicago since they still use the word Ubercab but it was stopped in SF”.
Public comment closed
5. Public Comment
Charles Rathbone comments on Driver of the Year award presented to Michael Hong, (inaudible) and Samson Grupal. He commends these drivers for doing a good job.
Mark Gruberg said UBER is a huge threat to taxi and MTA. He doubts if this company is operating legally under the law and if they’re following rules of the State PUC. He also questions State PUC’s scope of authority. He said that we need the City Attorney’s opinion on legality. He feels that MTA should regulate them if it falls outside the State PUC’s jurisdiction.
John Lazar to Mark Gruber asked about the waybills. He later questioned Mr. Murray about legal grounds and guidelines of their operation since they are functioning as a ground transportation service in the city.
Mr. Murray explained that limos have strict standards under the vehicle code and they are beyond the city’s scope of authority since they are motor vehicles for hire. UBER is somewhere in between limos and taxi’s since they are a dispatch service. He said PUC needs to look at this.
Naim Malik concurs with Mark Gruberg. UBER operates in other cities and their rate is very expensive as it shows in their website. He said the only way we can compete with them is to add 1000 cabs in the city to get rid of UBER.
Mr. Moles suggests adding cabs needs to be done sooner. Competition is one of the biggest factor and people are complaining of not having supply of cabs. He suggests hiring temporary staff to process medallions.
6. General Discussion regarding Taxi Industry (Discussion only)
Ms. Graffis said it’s irrelevant that MTA regulates us since the 1950’s. She said UBER is dirregulating the cab business and we need to be pro-active or the taxi industry will be history.
Mr. Macmurdo requests to add Items 14 and 15 from previous Board of Director’s Meeting to the next board meeting on July 10. He suggests adding Uber since it needs to be discussed.
Mr. Korengold comments on US Open if SF Taxi may pick-up passengers or is it technically Daly City; he asked MTA to look into it. He’s concerned about how UBER competes with the industry. He’s seen taxi drivers switching to UBER because they are unregulated.
7. Report of the Council Liaison (Discussion only)
a. Staff Update
No staff update
b. Regulatory Reform Update
c. Taxi Medallion Sales Pilot Program Update
Mr. Murray addressed Mr. Lapp’s questions regarding the UBER issue in the State level. He discussed how State is going to redefine pre-arrangement.
Mr. Murray addressed Mr. Macmurdo’s request on adding items to the calendar.
Mr. Hinds asked to get a timeline on State’s decision on UBER issue.
Mr. Murray said he cannot answer this question since he is not actively involved in this issue.
Mr. Korengold said this should be a request for information.
Mr. Lapp fears the turmoil at the Taxi Detail would create delays in being proactive on actions that need to be taken; he wants reassurance that this won’t happen.
Mr. Lee feels SFMTA is responsible for giving the Taxi Industry direction on what should be done with UBER. He said SFMTA acts too slow.
Mr. Harris said the City Attorney’s together with the District Attorney, the Controller’s Office, California Public Utilities Commission and Mr. Reiskin had a meeting to discuss whether or not limousines should be regulated. It is unknown if there’s an MOU between CCSF and State. He said there’s a requirement to have a public necessity and convenience study and an environmental impact study if a taxicab is put on the street, and limos are not required of these. The State’s criteria to be a limo operator was brought up and mentioned the city’s stringent requirements for taxicab drivers. He said Mr. Reiskin is involved in this and will follow-up with this issue. This is recognized as a threat to the Taxi Industry in San Francisco.
Mr. Hybels said there are currently 5,000 permitted limousines in SFO and they’re no longer issuing new permits.
Mr. Harris will mention this to Mr. Reiskin.
Mr. Rebelos asked why can’t other jurisdictions limit issuing permits like SFO.
Mr. Korengold explained it’s a special permit to pick-up at the Airport.
Mr. Harris said this will be looked into.
Mr. Murray explained Airport’s federal regulation ties because of Homeland Security.
Mr. Harris discussed how technology could benefit the industry: Consolidating all apps and provide access to all color schemes.
Mr. Murray said we should request a similar type of technology UBER has from technology firms.
Mr. Lapp said if we increase supply to meet the demand, we can have a stronger foothold. He asked what’s being done to increase new medallions.
Mr. Murray said the Single-Operating-Permits should be out soon. UBER’s issue will wait until September.
Mr. Rebelos said financial cost for getting applications is an issue to these companies. He said the market is structured properly and would fix it on its’ own.
Mr. Murray said we’re looking at 1500 taxis in one system. He mentioned meeting with the Airport taxi drivers and starters to address issues on internal regulation since that situation is not getting better. With regulatory reform: Amending the payment method and give customers the choice on payment.
Ms. Housman said it doesn’t sound practical to have customer’s choose the mode of payment.
Mr. Korengold argues why customers get to decide if they’re not paying for the service. He said this is a breach of sunshine law because it wasn’t presented as an option. Customer don’t get a choice. That was not a topic for discussion.
Mr. Harris asked Mr. Korengold’s position on board amending its own legislation.
Mr. Korengold said they can’t discuss something that wasn’t presented.
Mr. Lapp hopes the council would be supportive of the board. He’s not comfortable with cab drivers running payment on their own cell phone and prefers a physical device in front of him. He thinks that the monetary difference is so minimal.
Mr. Harris asked about credit card use option/process for customers.
Mr. Lapp said drivers dissuades customers from using the backseat credit card panel and tells them it’s broken even if it’s not. Customer says they don’t get their receipt via email.
Mr. Korengold said customer provides an incorrect email that’s why they don’t get the receipt.
Mr. Lapp comments it’s time consuming for the drivers to enter the email and stressful for the passengers; this can be avoided when providing a paper receipt. It should be under the discretion of the customer.
Mr. Murray discussed color schemes will be responsible for their insurance for all the medallion holders. This will be discussed the next TAC meeting on June 25th together with color scheme standards. Taxi Services would like to get input from the industry.
Mr. Lazar asked about Ms. Hayashi’s Leave of Absence.
Mr. Murray confirmed that she is taking time-off.
Mr. Lapp asked if there’s no need for regular waybills if electronic waybills is in place.
Mr. Murray confirmed and said this is effective July 5th . You can also do it now if you have the ability to do so.
Mr. Harris said everybody needs to be in compliance within 90 days from July 5th regarding electronic waybills unless an explanation is provided. Companies that are not able to provide electronic trip data don’t get new medallions.
Mr. Lazar said Luxor lost 47 medallions because other companies weren’t buying worker’s comp and weren’t allowed to have transfers. Worker’s comp was mandated to all cabs in San Francisco in 2004. They are gun-shy to make driver’s go on electronic and there are a lot of talks on leave.
Mr. Harris said color scheme transfers will not be approved and the basis is to leave electronic trip data to go on non-electronic trip data. It’s not a basis for swapping. That permit cannot go there if you’re not allowed to take on electronic trip data.
Mr. Murray said a trip data is required. Otherwise, you are not allowed to take on any new permit.
Ms. Graffis asked how waybills affects inspecting or overseeing illegal limos.
Mr. Harris said only taxis are entitled to use electronic trip data and are affected by our regulation. Limousines use waybills.
Mr. Macmurdo said the December 31, 2012 is the effective date for Item 12 in the Board Meeting regarding electronic waybills.
Mr. Harris said the effective date is July 5th when the rule goes into effect and line in the sand is December 31st.
Ms. Housman said unusual incidents, confrontations, lost items, accidents are other things that drivers are required to make notes of.
Mr. Murray said to manually write it down.
Mr. Macmurdo would like to know the effective date is July 5 on Item 11, regarding credit card fee being reduced. He heard it’s delayed because of contractual complication with the vendors.
Mr. Murray said request a 90-day extension so everyone shows their contract to make sure they’re in compliance.
Mr. Lapp asked if the electronic waybill need to be given daily or upon request. He asked about the required information.
Mr. Murray said we need access to it. He said, the driver, pick-up/drop-off locations and time are required and driver enters the number of passengers.
Ms. Housman said no. of passengers may not be entered since they want the meter to go as quick as possible.
Mr. Hybels asked if unwritten rules on the color schemes like tipping cashier, gasman, etc. would be a mark on the color scheme scores.
Mr. Murray confirmed yes.
Mr. Harris said mandatory tipping and mandatory payment are violations and it would go against color scheme scores.
Mr. Hybel said that this has been going on for 35 years and it’s also been suggested on orientations not to forget to tip.
Mr. Harris said he is aware of one color scheme has discontinued this model.
Ms. Graffis said she has a problem with waybills at request of the drivers.
Mr. Murray said it’s the discretion of the company to give the waybills. We only need the electronic version.
Mr. Korengold asked how companies like Green can give-out copy of electronic waybills when they have to go to Citywide Dispatch.
Ms. Graffis said driver is provided with a trip report every week.
Mr. Rebelos said drivers can login to their own account and printout their own waybills.
Mr. Lee is supportive of the data/electronic waybills since it avoids discrepancies in the waybill. He discussed cab company standards and he said that there should be a minimum medallion in running a color scheme; maybe 10 cabs in a fleet.
Mr. Lazar said IRS would like to see information on how much a cab driver is making per day.
Ed Healy said a General Manager mentioned in an orientation that it’s a company standard to tip the gas man. As discussed with Ms. Hayashi, she said a drivers survey will be done. He thinks it’s an excellent idea to get rid of the corruption in the business. Having a centralized dispatch system would be a great benefit to the neighborhood and improve taxi service. He’s tired of hearing drivers complain about credit card fees and thinks credit cards is a way of competing with UBER.
Naim Malik asked how electronic waybills data can be recovered. He said cab driver should not pay for the credit card fees because it adds up. He said he has problems with online access and can’t get information. He thinks there should be a 5-year minimum on Single-Operator-Permit.
Mr. Jacobsen with Arrow Cab said drivers should be separated from the color schemes and think color schemes shouldn’t be penalized for the driver’s errors. He asked if there’s an easy way to get information on changes in MTA.
Mr. Rathbone said he will keep paper waybills for himself. He said corporate permits’ driver’s performance should be on scale too. He’s disappointed to hear Jarvis talking about OTA. (Inaudible). He mentioned RFP on taxi meters. He said cabs should have clear signage for customers.
Mr. Harris clarified the difference between corporate permits and color scheme permits and explained the distinction on both. He explained corporate permits are owned by corporations and they are not color scheme permits or company permits. He agrees on the need for clear signage reminding customers to finish their transaction before leaving the cab. He explained the final draft of the Single-Operating-Permit provided to the council.
Mr. Macmurdo asked if the seniority list is exclusive to people who are not in the medallion waiting list and if this has changed.
Mr. Harris confirmed this has changed.
Mr. Rathbone is concerned that 70 hours per week is not enough for color scheme to support the SOP as a permit holder.
Public comment closed.
8. Future of TAC (Discussion and Action)
Mr. Korengold thinks the TAC should continue since it’s important for this industry to have a body to discuss different issues (companies and driver’s concern). He said, despite the need for some changes, it is orderly and gives cab drivers more respect than Town Hall meetings. He would like to see the board have majority vote to override a recommendation. An official body should have representatives from different sides of the industry.
Ms. Graffis agrees with Mr. Korengold. She thinks the industry need to have its own voice.
Mr. Hybels said reports are never been given to the Board of Directors and thinks this council should be abolished.
Mr. Korengold said it should continue and give it more weight.
Ms. Housman feels it should be continue. She said to get pass Roberta Boomer and Sonali Bose would be a marvelous thing.
Mr. Korengold thinks council members that are non-medallion holder and non-company owners, should not be charged a gate fee on the day of the TAC meeting. He said drivers do not show-up to due to this gate charge.
Mr. Rebelos said this hasn’t been very productive and should move on. He feels that town hall meetings are more productive. It’s predictable on how TAC council is going to vote and he doesn’t see the point on carrying it on. He no longer wants to participate in this council.
Mr. Korengold said maybe giving reports every meeting would give the Board of Directors an idea on the function and concerns of the council.
Mr. Rebelos said he can’t see any unity on the council and industry.
Mr. Lapps thinks something is misrepresented of the actual constituents of the industry. He said that we’re better off disbanding.
Mr. Lee said talking and communicating regularly is important. We may not totally change decisions but at least we express our views. He said a little bit of change is better than no change at all and thinks government is doing a good job.
Mr. Lazar said it’s a slap in the face that things that are passed and gets voted and it does not really go anywhere. He said Ms. Hayashi did not address things to go forward on what the group wants to do. He repeatedly said things just don’t go anywhere after discussions, time input, voting. He stressed there’s very little participation from the drivers to TAC meetings and Town Hall meetings. He feels that he shouldn’t be a part of it if SFMTA don’t want to listen. None has gone forward to the Board of Directors after 2 years spent on TAC meetings. He voiced Ms. Hayashi hasn’t been representing the industry in MTA meetings. He said he wasted 500 hours attending this meeting.
Mr. Korengold agrees on the need to have a voice at the board meetings. He reminded that this is an Advisory Council and really don’t have the power to say how things are going to be; it’s a way to give opinions. He said having 5,000 drivers attending wouldn’t be very effective but it helps having representative from different factions of the industry. He said it’s better to sit down and talk and hear everyone’s concern even if the board doesn’t listen; it helps the industry get along better with each other.
Mr. Hybels said it is predictable what everybody wants. He said he’s prepared to resign and protest.
Mr. Korengold thinks it’s another avenue for the staff to hear their concerns. Decisions are going to be made by company managers and MTA without input from the industry.
Mr. Lazar said he’d like a motion to dissolve TAC. He feels that his/their opinion should carry some weight. He questioned what’s happening with the driver fund. He resigns from the TAC.
Mr. Lazar left the room.
Mr. Korengold said we can’t legally tell the MTA that they have to listen to us. It has to be a voter approved to have power. He reminded that this is an advisory council.
Mr. Macmurdo said he agrees with Rich Hybels, Athen and John Lazar. After 2 years, their reports aren’t presented, ideas aren’t recommended in public. He said, maybe MTA may want to resurrect a body similar to this but don’t think this is working very well.
Ms. Housman said to maybe change it but not throw it out. She mentioned that MTA is under new management.
Mr. Hinds said Tara makes a good point about a different Executive Director. He feels TAC don’t even exist and we’re not important to SFMTA. He said this council acts like a buffer to the SFMTA board and this body should be disbanded unless there’re specific changes.
He agrees with John Lazar to terminate TAC if SFMTA board is not willing to endorse its recommendations and be formally addressed. It should be changed in a way that it serves the industries’ best interest.
Mr. Korengold agrees but instead of disbanding it, to make it better and more effective. If we’re going to continue, we need to have a regular reporting at the MTA board meeting and he’d like to make a motion on this. We should have a regular report once a month and we need to make criteria’s if we continue.
Mr. Rebelos comments everybody’s going to get their own people and say something different to the board. TAC doesn’t speak even if it has a scheduled report; it doesn’t represent the industry. He agrees with Tone Lee on keeping communication active but he’s all about collaboration which is what’s being done in a Town Hall. He’s seen results in Town Hall but not at TAC.
Mr. Lee said TAC provides a clear picture and knowledge to SFMTA. He said SFMTA tries to balance the industry and TAC provides the platform for discussion.
Mr. Lapp said taxi industry should have a super-majority vote (3/4) to agree.
Ms. Graffis objects. She said minority rules with super-majority votes.
Mr. Macmurdo agrees with Athen Rebelos. He reminds this is an Advisory Council. He doesn’t see the purpose of a representative making reports and simply gets acknowledged; it doesn’t accomplish anything.
Mr. Korengold said it’s good to have a structured and formal body for our own purpose to vent or discuss things. It adds respect for cab drivers to come sit at the table.
Ms. Housman suggests to hold-off on any motions. She feels that we should talk to MTA first.
Mr. Hybels made a motion to disband TAC after this meeting.
Unknown second the motion.
Mr. Lee said MTA would be happy with TAC disbanding. He said SFMTA’s regulations may not be realistic to the taxi industry without any TAC input. He said with cab drivers going directly to MTA to express their views is not fair to the cab companies and vice versa.
Mr. Healy said he doesn’t like TAC’s format and complains public comment is only limited to 2 minutes. He likes the Town Hall’s format better because it gives him more time to talk and it’s balanced. He discussed Chris Hayashi’s report and said that she covered issues that got voted on. He said maybe attending board meetings may get the SFMTA’s attention.
Mr. Moles is concerned the industry would have less power when TAC disbands and thinks it should be replaced. He said UBER cab is a symptom that shows the industry does not have enough cabs.
Mr. Rathbone speaks about the medallion sales program. He said MTA board has not shown any interest on the industry. He said TAC is unproductive and Town Hall is more useful. He urges to vote on the motion to discontinue TAC.
Public comment closed.
Mr. Harris states his observation. Transcribed verbatim.
“The SFMTA board created this organization. SFMTA did not, Ed Reiskin did not, Roberta Boomer did not. SFMTA board created you through a resolution, and in that resolution it said do the following: Report to us. Not to Ed Reiskin, not to Roberta Boomer, but report to us, the board. Prepare a report and give it to us and from time to time give us other information. That’s what charged your duty. So it was a simple matter. You prepare a report, you get on the board’s agenda, and you give the report. You don’t send the report, you give the report. How does the Citizen’s Advisory Council get on the board’s agenda? They have a meeting, they prepare a report, they notify the board that we want on your agenda to present our report. Not mail it up there, not e-mail it up there, not run it through Roberta, not to Ed Reiskin, not to sit-down with Chris Hayashi, not to sit down with Jarvis. They send that report up there, the chairman of the committee goes up and gives the report. And yes, a member that spoke here is correct.
Generally, the chair of the board says, is there any public comment? We accept the report because generally from the Citizen’s Advisory Council there is no public comment, because they’re very onaculous organization. They don’t really get any teeth into it. But I guarantee you, if this board was giving a report up there and there were members of the public or members of this board, this council who didn’t like it. When Mr. Nolan said are there any public comment? They would stand up and give public comment because they can stand up and say, I don’t like the report Barry Korengold. I’m part of the minority. I’m part of the decent on this report. I didn’t like it. Majority passed it? Great! But I get to comment on it. So this council has authority. They don’t need permission. They don’t need permission from Chris Hayashi, Ed Reiskin or Roberta Boomer. The board authorized you guys. Do it! No one can stop you, no one. The only reason it hasn’t happened is because someone said to somebody on this committee, oh you can’t do that without Roberta’s permission. Really? Roberta didn’t authorize this group, the board did and they charge you with a duty. Give us a report and from time to time, give us other reports. Here you are guys. That’s how I would approach it. I don’t think there needs to have a change. I think there needs to have someone standup and say, I’m giving a report to the board. You committee, you told me to do it, I’m up there, I’m on the agenda. Come see me on June 21st. I got my 30 minutes.”
That’s my observation but I don’t know everything but that’s what I see.
The council voted on:
Future of the TAC: Disband the TAC. No means you want to continue in another form; yes is to disband it.
5 in Favor 4 opposed
Mr. Harris said TAC is created by the board and will be disbanded by the board. A quorum is sufficient. Items are noted for discussion and action and there’s no sunshine problem.
9. Council Members request for information (Discussion only)
Ms. Graffis invites everyone to come to the taxi driver’s night, July 17. Flyers distributed.
Mr. Lapp asked about the mandate to provide insurance to LTL and affiliates.
Jarvis Murray said nothing is written and discussion should be made at the Town Hall meeting.
No public comment.
10. Schedule upcoming calendar items. (Discussion and Action)
Mr. Korengold clarified the last motion is an advisory and we haven’t been disbanded yet. The upcoming calendar item still needs to be scheduled.
Mr. Lapp asked about the tenure of the TAC; if TAC will be disbanded automatically after the next meeting without further MTA action.
Mr. Harris said that would’ve been true if medallion reform made it through but consequently the pilot program is still running and they’re not going to address that until August. TAC was created by the pilot program so TAC is still viable until the pilot program is still viable.
Mr. Lapp followed-up on Richard Moles comments: How we as an industry can greatly improve the service we’re providing to the general public.
Mr. Murray asked if TAC meeting is still on June 25th?
Mr. Korengold confirms and said that we haven’t disbanded yet and just has taken the vote for disbanding.
Mr. Murray said TAC still has the task of handling the pilot program. He said there will be no new items other than completing that task.
Mr. Lee asked about the driver’s fund.
Mr. Korengold said that we have discussed other issues than the pilot program. Agenda: How could we improve service to customers and convey it.
No public comment.
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned by standing vote at 3:56 pm.
Monday, June 25, 2012
2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room
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