SFMTA Taxi Services
Taxi Advisory Council
Monday, April 25, 2011
2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room
One South Van Ness Avenue
PRESENT: Jim Gillespie; Laurie Graham; John Han; Dan Hinds; David Khan; Barry Korengold; John Lazar; Carl MacMurdo; William Minikel; William Mounsey; Dmitry Nazarov; Athan Rebelos; Chris Sweis
ABSENT: Timothy Ajaegbu
STAFF IN ATTENDANCE: Michael Harris-Investigator Taxi Services
1. Call to order: Chris Sweis called the meeting to order at 1:07 p.m.
2. Roll Call – The Roll Call showed a quorum was present.
3. Announcement of prohibition of sound producing devices during the meeting.
4. Approval of Minutes: April 11, 2011
Barry Korengold said he saw a lot of grammatical errors. Also asked why the vote was not taken on item 9.
Ms. Graham motioned to approve minutes for April 11, 2011. Mr. Korengold second.
5. Public Comment
Mr. Arayan said the SFMTA wants to treat them as an employee by making them use they’re equipment but does not want to give them the benefits of a city employee.
Michael Monroe said the 5% increase credit card charge should be passed on to the passenger. Said Vegas charges a flat 3 dollar fee wants to know why San Francisco doesn’t adopt the same rule. He said he would also like to see the driving requirement lowered as you get older.
Mr. Mehmood said 5% credit card charge is a scam. He said that the electronic waybills are endangering his privacy.
Mr. Lee was opposed with the 5% surcharge. He said his taxi cab should not have an electronic way bill devise because he is not a government employee.
Mr. Faulkerson said he is in favor of electronic way bills but doesn’t think it will be accurate. He said he thinks there should be both hand written and electronic way bill at the beginning of the process to catch glitches in the system.
Mr. Marque said that he is frustrated with all the illegal cabs.
Ms. Mcguire said she wants to know why the hearing from SFMTA hasn’t been granted. She also said that the TAC has work to do like make up a report.
Mr. Wes said he wants to know what other major cities are doing as far as meter rate increases.
Mr. Lee said he has been riding taxis in San Francisco for a while and said he loves taxi cab drivers and what they do for the city.
Mr. Healy said he is in favor of electronic way bills. He also said that the Vegas surcharge should be explored as an option.
Ms. Murai said she isn’t sure why a fee can’t be applied to people using a credit card.
Mr. Gruberg said that MTA is offering town hall meeting regarding credit card fees only to allow taxi cab drivers to vent and not to really make any changes.
Mr. Brad Newshum said that from previous experience in this industry he fears that the decisions being made are already made and he hates this.
Mr. Rathbone asked the TAC members not to get distracted with all the things being thrown at them he urges everyone to stay focused on the medallion sales program.
6. Report of the Council Liaison (Discussion only)
Mr. Harris announced two town hall meetings being set up in May. Next board meeting May 17th board item meter increase.
Mr. Harris said SFMTA would like to know what the TAC input is on credit card issue (5%) and peak time medallions. Mr. Harris also addressed buyer’s assistance program.
Mr. Harris updated and referred everyone to the handout.
Mr. Sweis asked how the buyer assistance is not working.
Mr. Harris said explained why sellers do not want their money tied up.
Mr. Han said on meter rate increase at the board is that just discussion or will there be a vote.
Mr. Harris said he believes that there is action and discussion on that item.
Mr. Mounsey said the list is still not moving fast enough.
Mr. Hybels said that if you can’t find anyone with a full down payment shouldn’t you just keep going moving down the list until you get someone who will buy with a full down payment.
Mr. Harris said that is correct.
Mr. Minikel said when they spoke about credit card issues with the deputy director she said they needed to come up with a solution without passing on the fee to the customer.
Mr. Harris said he recalls it being because visa had a rule where the fee can not be passed directly to the user.
Mr. Minikel said a convenience fee for online purchases is similar to what taxis are proposing as a solution to 5% fee.
Mr. Harris said its illegal for those types of fees and visa will deal with those merchants.
Mr. Rebelos said the taxi drivers in Vegas are using taxi pass. He explained the use of this service.
Mr. Sweis said he didn’t want to discuss this further without putting it on the agenda.
Mr. Nazarov said he wants to know what’s going on with Uber Cab.
Mr. Harris said they’re function is government by CA. PUC.
Mr. Nazarov wants to know if the city can prohibit Uber cab.
Mr. Harris said that Uber cab can not be hailed on the street and they can not have a meter that is how the city regulates them.
Mr. Korengold said he wants to comment on how buyers can’t afford the down payment without down payment assistance. He said it seems like the buyers are only those that have money not those who have the time on the road.
Mr. Minikel asked if those buyers who can not obtain down payment assistance are passed up on the list.
Mr. Harris said he will continue to find a match for those people.
Mr. Sweis asked what potential solutions exist regarding the problem with the buyer's using down payment assistance.
Ms. Rebecca Lytel said they are trying to find the right loan for the buyer and something that works for seller. They are learning from the pilot program on different scenarios that come up.
Mr. Sweis with current pay off scheme how long will it take them to pay off.
Ms. Lytel said between 7-9 years if they make their minimum payment.
Mr. Minikel asked what the monthly payment is on a $200,000 loan.
Ms. Lytel said all the payment amounts are on they’re website.
Mr. Han said by brandishing the medallions as gate and gas make a different when buying.
Ms. Lytel said it makes a difference for the driver in income.
Mr. Lazar asked is there a time frame on when you resell your medallion if you bought it.
Mr. Harris said technically they could sell they’re medallion the next day because there is no rule set up for that.
Mr. Lazar said if a 46 year old person wants to sell they’re medallion that they bought from a 76 year old they can just sell it.
Mr. Harris said yes it would go to the next person in line to buy a medallion.
Mr. Mehmood said the two town hall meetings May 3rd should not be used as a town hall meeting. May 3rd is when they will be protesting.
Mr. Lee said that MTA staff is doing a good job they are executed the policy not making it. He said this board should be in charge of setting policy.
Mr. Frank said that it is unfortunate that Mr. Han and Mr. Mounsey have not really moved on the list. He said he thinks all that equipment (credit card) is a distraction and hazardous while he is driving.
Mr. Faulkerson said that too much weight is put on the buyer being able to afford the medallion and not how much time a driver has put into the industry.
Mr. Marque said in regards to Veri Phone and receiving a 1099 he hopes there is better outreach on what is going on.
Ms. Mcguire said you are being charged. She said the system is double billing. She said she hopes that before this is mandated this needs to be straightened out. She said that the medallions that the police department passed on to Chris are still operating at the color scheme. She wants to know how long the MTA been receiving funds on these medallions.
Mr. Sweis said you need to talk to your color scheme regarding the 1099. He said the SFMTA did not apply this law.
Mr. Healy said that regarding the TAC meetings they are completing ineffective. He said you should keep people to one minute public comment and maintain people on topic.
Mr. Monroe said limos keep picking up their fare. Drivers are refusing credit card fares and it is only going to get worse.
Mr. Gruber said that Mr. Ford said at the last meeting that the 5% fee will continue to go through regardless of any town hall meeting. He wants to know how many ghost medallions are being operated and being held back from being re issued.
Ms. Graffis said there has to be some way to pass the credit card fee to the passengers.
Mr. French said he was eligible to buy a medallion then figured out after all those fees where said and done he could not afford it.
Mr. Moles said that when he first began driving he didn’t get on the list because he didn’t think he would continue to be a driver. Now he is being offered an opportunity to buy even though he hoped to earn one.
Mr. Sweis called a 5 minute break
7. Rough Draft of TAC Pilot Program Report Continue (Discussion and Possible Action)
Mr. Sweis said he wants to briefly go through the handout of recommendations and check off what should be discussed today.
Board checked off items to discuss today.
Board went over page one of Recommendations handout eliminating Create Lease Regulations and Service Improvement Recommendations for later discussion.
Board discussed Waiting List/Driver seniority System topics on handout.
Mr. Macmurdo would like to propose a motion to give the MTA preliminary recommendation to continue medallion sales whenever the medallion sales pilot program concludes.
Mr. Rebelos seconded the motion.
Mr. Rebelos says he’s glad this motion was made and it will allow them to move forward with this report.
Mr. Sweis asked for and advisory vote on preliminary vote to watch sales program continue after the pilot program.
Mr. Korengold said he doesn’t support continuation of program.
Mr. Mounsey said this whole thing is ridiculous. He said if you want to continue to sell medallion sales past the pilot program they might as well sell all the medallions.
Mr. Han wants to request an advisory vote.
Mr. Sweis corrected and said he’s the only one who can call an advisory vote.
Mr. Macmurdo said these recommendations are brainstorm ideas that may be used to amend the current rules. (For example age requirements and driving requirements)
Mr. Korengold said he thinks it’s too early to recommend a continuation of the sales program without visiting other ideas to change the program.
Mr. Minikel asked Mr. Harris if he had an opinion on the vote based on his experience as an attorney.
Mr. Harris said he is not a legal advisor for this board but as a liaison he did say if you vote on this motion it is a recommendation to SFMTA board.
Mr. Rebelos said by voting yes on this motion means we like this pilot program moving forward with future recommendations to change the pilot program if needed to serve parties better.
Mr. Hybels said whether they recommend the program or not selling medallions is a good idea so why not recommend the program.
Mr. Minikel said he would like to make changes to the program before voting on recommending the program to move forward.
Mr. Han said that by voting yes you are voting to end pilot program and move forward to faze two of the program.
Mr. Korengold said why is it necessary to vote on this when half of the medallions have not even been sold yet.
Mr. Sweis said to do a preliminary recommendation doesn’t make sense. He says they should let the program continue and make a final report when the program is finished. He said they should reach the maximum medallion sold before recommending the program to continue. He said they should make the recommendations first to see how the program is impacted either negative or positive.
Mr. Monroe said he waited only 10 years and says after hearing people have been waiting so long for a medallion there has to be a better way to get people off this list.
Mr. Lee said they need to open up the medallion program so more people can own one.
Mr. Ditca the motion on the floor is a simple endorsement of the pilot program. If you want to change to the program just add an amendment to this motion.
Mr. Mcdow said he doesn’t understand why this program is not being supported as successful. Both goals are being met your getting older drivers off the street and MTA is making money.
Mr. Ghotra said he supports this program. He said it’s the only program to give you a chance to own your own medallion. He said there should not be a restriction on when you want to sell your medallion.
Mr. Harting said he is one of the disabled drivers that turned 70 and got out because of the medallion sales program. He supports the program.
Mr. Faulkerson said the motion on the floor is to silence the discussion.
Mr. Rathbone said he urges the member to proceed to a vote. He said they this board has spend 6-8 months discussing if this program works.
Mr. Healy said this is the third meeting in a row they have asked themselves the same question about this program.
Mr. Garcia said if you allow everyone to sell a medallion there will be none given to the list.
Mr. Gruberg said there is lack of clarity on what this board is suppose to be doing. He said he wants to see some discussion on medallion sales program before anyone votes yes on this motion.
Ms. Graffis said tweak the program work out the issues before recommending this program continue. She continued to compare this program to a pregnancy.
Public Comment Closed.
Mr. Korengold said that the reason these issues have not been discussed is because someone always motions to continue the sales program before they get to discuss the recommendations on the report.
Mr. Hinds said that by endorsing this program it does not mean they will not be able to address the other issues affecting the program.
Mr. Khan called for the vote.
On the Motion to make a preliminary recommendation that sales continue after the pilot program is complete.
Ayes: Richard Hybels, Jim Gillespie, Laurie Graham, Dan Hinds, David Khan, John Lazar, Carl Macmurdo, Dmitry Nazarov, Athan Rebelos,
Nayes: John Han, Barry Korengold, William Minikel, William Mounsey, Chris Sweis
Absent: Timothy Ajaegbu
Motion Passed 9 Ayes 5 Nayes
Mr. Sweis called a 5 minute break.
8. Council Members requests for information [Discussion only]
Mr. Hybels would like to know how many medallions are being leased by SFMTA which ones and which companies.
Mr. Hinds said would like the SFMTA review whether tip proctors increase tip amounts.
Mr. Lazar said would like to know if all color schemes are required to have audited financial statements.
Mr. Gillespie said he wants to know if the alternative fuel vehicles are being enforced.
Mr. Lee said average A-card standings.
Mr. Lee said he wants to thank Chris and hopes that some of the riders see what taxi drivers go through
Mr. Sweis Closed Public Comment.
9. Schedule upcoming calendar items [Discussion and Action]
Mr. Sweis said he would like to discus the recommendations that were in item 7.
Mr. Korengold said he would like to address SFCDA recommendation.
Mr. Hinds said they moved the discussion of the waiting list to number on the discussion list. He also would like to put the driver fund and how it can be used to help the buyer program.
Mr. Sweis said there should be a general discussion on what to do with the driver’s fund.
Mr. Han said he volunteers his blog on any proposals anyone recommends.
Mr. Korengold said that his proposal has been looked at by different people in the industry and that he would like to put the SFCDA proposal on the agenda.
Mr. Minikel said that Mr. Korengold had a good proposal that is worth looking at.
Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands regarding discussing other proposals for medallion reform.
Agenda item for next meeting continuation of TAC Pilot Program Report Rough draft.
Motion passed unanimously.
Absent: Timothy Ajaegbu
Mr. Lee said they should open up the medallion sales program for those who want to buy.
Mr. Rathbone would like to make a suggestion for next meeting by reducing public speaking time to 1 minute. He also suggests that the meeting move along more quickly.
Mr. Faulkerson said that previous suggestion is like a gag order.
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned by standing vote at 4:45 p.m.