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SFMTA Taxi Services
Taxi Advisory Council


Monday, January 30, 2012
2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room
One South Van Ness Avenue

PRESENT: Ruach Graffis; Dan Hinds; Tara Housman; Richard Hybels; David Khan; Barry Korengold; Timothy Lapp; John Lazar; Tone Lee; Carl Macmurdo ;William Minikel; Athan Rebelos; Chris Sweis; John Han


STAFF IN ATTENDANCE: Christiane Hayashi Taxi Services

1. Call to order: Chris Sweis called the meeting to order at 1:14 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: December 12, 2011 and January 9, 2012

Mr. Korengold said January 9th page 3 should be corrected to say 5-7 days a  week not 7.

Public Comment NONE

Mr. Korengold motioned to approve minutes.

Minutes are approved as amended.

5. Public Comment

Mr. Kim said his company will have to change his model to stay in business if San Francisco does not provide incentives companies like his that service the neighborhoods and pick up para transit customers.

Mr. Ariam said that half of the wait list has lost over 500 million dollars because of the prop K.

Mr. Mehirni wanted to ask an SFMTA representative about the 25 medallions that were to be issued to the top of the list.

Mr. ?? (inaudible) wanted to compliment Mr. Han for keeping people informed through his website.

Mr. Rathbone said that he wanted to echo Mr. Kim’s concern. He said companies ask themselves, why do they have ramp taxis, why do they have dispatch service. He said these things are definitely in the cards to go away. He said the city needs to reward them for having these type of services.

Mr. Malik said that they may have a difference in opinion but they should not disrespect each other.

6. Report of the Council Liaison (Discussion only)

a. Staff Update- Jarvis Murray updated

b. Regulatory Reform Update

c. Taxi Medallion Sales Pilot Program Update

Mr. Murray said that there will be a new investigator starting soon.

He referred to a handout regarding changes by the MTA concerning  advertisement.

Mr. Han asked what shift would the investigator work?

Mr. Murray said both day and night.

Mr. Khan asked if the backseat monitor will be regulated.

Mr. Murray said not at this time no regulating of that.

Mr. Murray said that the primary issue with advertisement is being able to identify a car is a taxi cab. He said vehicle full wraps prevent people from being able to recognize the cab.

Mr. Korengold asked if the lettering has to be increased if they have a half wrap.

Mr. Murray said they will keep the lettering in mind. If it needs to be addressed they will.

Mr. Korengold said there should be some regulation with the backseat monitors.

Public Comment

Mr. Erik said that he heard that Uber cab was busted in another city by an undercover investigator. He suggested taxi investigators in SF do the same.

Ms. Lansdown said she wanted them to address the medallions that have not been issued to the list that were suppose to.

Mr. Murray said he does not know what the exact figures are since September.

Mr. Rathbone said that he wanted to know about the fake cab that crashed into the hall of justice. He wanted to know if there was an arrest made.

Mr. Murray said they were cited by PD. He said they are looking for the driver so they can conduct their own investigation.

Mr. Kim asked when investigators will start to really enforce. He asked when is the MTA going to enforce this industry.

Mr. Aria said that he has seen multiple illegal cabs on one shift. He has not seen them enforced.

Mr. Robert asked why is time being wasted on the little things when there are illegal cabs everywhere.

Public Comment Closed


7. Discussion and recommendation for the medallion pilot program continue. [discussion and possible action ]

Mr. Sweis referred to the hand out. Mr. Sweis clarified that they are going to vote today on whether to continue selling medallions or not.

Ms. Housman asked if they could continue only for a few months because they need more time to make a decision. She wants sales to be defined better.

Mr. Sweis clarified what they are trying to accomplish today. He said they have had 1 ½ years to deal with sales. He said that is plenty of time to get a feel on how sales have worked or haven’t worked.

Mr. Khan said that regardless of what they decide MTA is going to sell medallions. He said what they can do is recommend on how to move forward with the selling medallions.

Mr. Rebelos said he thought they would go line by line through the handout and decide what they supported and what they wouldn’t. He said he thought they already all supported the program.

Mr. Sweis said they are doing something more formal.

Mr. Lazar said everyone has an opinion. He said maybe everyone should take turns talking about what they support or don’t support regarding sales.

Mr. Han said his vote will go in the direction of supporting sales.

Mr. Lee said that 99 % of cab drivers support sales and hope it grows.

Public Comment

Mr. Rathbone said the vote should go to the MTA board.

Mr. Grach said that he supports the sales program. He said SFMTA should not profit from selling medallions. He said that MTA can’t profit from an industry they regulate.

Mr. Newshum said that medallion sales have been made a fact of life. He said there is even broader support to not give the MTA anything but what is needed to operate.

Mr. Aria said that anyone trying to solve this problem should check to see if this problem has been solved before. He said the US government has already fixed similar problems.

Mr. Cesana said there is no question everyone wants sales to continue. He said that there should not be any medallions sold to anyone over 65.

Mr. Kim said he wants to remind everyone that the good thing about this system regardless of how you approach it is that medallions stay in the hands of working taxi drivers.

Mr. Kazinski wanted to support Mr. Kim’s statement. He said that taxi drivers in San Francisco are lucky they own medallions. He said they should extend the sales program.

Public Comment Closed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands from the council of who supported the sales program. 12-1 in favor of sales.

Mr. Sweis asked the council to review the summary he put together. He asked if anyone was opposed on going through the categories. No opposition.

The council members went through the list on handout 1. The council discussed ways to approach the vote on proposed solutions to sales pilot program. The council discussed the summarized proposals and how they would proceed to vote. Category one wait list was discussed.

Mr. Lazar said nobody is going to be on the same page on any of these proposals. Mr. Lazar had opinions.

Mr. Sweis opened public comment on the wait list category.

Public Comment

Mr. Moles said he is asking for support for the list to remain untouched even if they buy a medallion in case the rules change down the line.

Ms. Landswan said that Mr. Sweis has categorized everything effectively. She said how much longer are they going to talk in circles. She said they should just vote already.

Mr. Caplan said that the changes they are suggesting for sales is not even across the board. He said he purchased a medallion for 250 thousand it will be devastating to him if they sell them at a discounted price. He said they need to make it fair.

Mr. Taranto said that everyone has made valid points on this council. He said Mr. Sweis did a good job of summarizing. He said that the people waiting on the list have been waiting decades and have giving the industry a lot of years of service. He said the people that purchased have hardly put in the time before they purchased.

Mr. Kim said there are people lined up to purchase medallions. He said that people should not stand in the way of that. He said that at some point you are better off purchasing a medallion than waiting for it. He said the city needs to cut off the earned medallion list and transition.

Ms. Lytle said the current medallion program is functioning. She said it seems like a lot of this is changing the working framework of the medallions sales program.

Mr. Cesana said he has been sitting in rooms like this for 35 years. He said the council needs to realize that things need to move forward. He said at some point you have to say let everyone sell. He said it’s a good thing to go into that direction. He said you have to say you need to do something about this waitlist.

Mr. Kazinski said nobody has the guts to say no more. He said these discussions are funny. He said a simple system is being complicated. He said get rid of the list. He said the list is a cruel way to play with some ones emotions. He said SFMTA does deserve some compensation a percentage of each purchase.

Mr. Malik said he would like to see a credit given to all working drivers. Not just to people on the list waiting for a medallion.

Public Comment Closed

Mr. Sweis asked the council if they needed more time. He asked for a show of hands to support 2.2. The council discussed changes or amendments to the wording. Mr. Sweis said no changes to the words.

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands to support 2.2

4 in support 9 opposed.

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 3.1.

6 in Favor 7 opposed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 5.1

3 in favor 10 opposed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 5.2

0 in favor 13 opposed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 6.1

5 in favor 8 opposed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 7.1

1 in favor 12 opposed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 8.3

7 in favor 6 opposed

Council took 5 minute break

Mr. Sweis read the operational suggested proposals.

The Council discussed the operational proposals.

Public Comment

Mr. Rathbone said atleast 5 items should pass. He said 2.1 is the fastest way to get a real driver behind the wheel. He said 6.3 should pass. He said drivers bill of rights is in the cards and coming.

Mr. Taranto said there is a conflict between 2.1 and 6.2. He said lowering the age to 65 should be allowed.

Mr. Kim said that this industry the last ten years has changed quiet a bit. He said this industry is run by people who are not being held accountable. He said there is an opportunity for medallion sale reform right now. He said that they need to make sure that these medallions bought, sold and transferred be run appropriately and professionally.

Mr. Gruberg said he said voting on specific proposals and then stitching them together seems difficult to do.

Mr. Cessano said 2.3 is the most difficult thing they are going to face. He said this is the proposal SFMTA is mostly backing. He said the whole point for MTA on most of these proposals is to extract money from the taxi industry. He said they industry must do things on a fixed fee basis.

Public Comment Closed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 1.1

2 In favor 11 opposed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 1.4

12 in favor 1 opposed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 2.1

8 in favor 5 opposed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 2.3

7 in favor 6 opposed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 6.2

9 in favor 4 opposed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 6.3

9 in favor 4 opposed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 6.6

13 in favor 0 opposed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 8.2

11 in favor 2 opposed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 8.5

13 in favor 0 opposed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 9.1

2 in favor 11 opposed

Mr. Sweis asked for a show of hands 9.3

9 in favor 4 opposed

8. Council Member request for information. (Discussion only)

Mr. Hybels would like to know what happen to the 7 medallions that still haven’t been issued.

Ms. Graffis would like to know how many cab companies have been cited for letters of intent.

Mr. Han would like to know if there is anything in the MTA regulations that they can not charge a 10 min for credit card transactions. \

Public Comment

Mr. Cessano said the airport has a book of regulations. He wanted to know who is in charge of the taxi industry the MTA or the airport

Mr. Kim would like more transparacny on who gets a medallion and why. He said because the MTA is not transparent there is a perception out in the industry that there may be corruption. Some drivers are being passed up and there is no explanation.

Mr. Gruberg said there is no way to tell who has received a medallion or who is next in line to get a medallion. He said he agrees with Mr. Kim there is no transparency. He said the website has no such updates.

9. Schedule upcoming calendar items (Discussion and Action)

Mr. Sweis the item for today will be continued.

Public Comment:

10. General Discussion regarding Taxi Industry (Discussion only)

Mr. Korengold asked again to put this agenda item earlier in the agenda.

Mr. Han said there is a federal law that states they can ask for a ten dollar minimum when accepting a credit card.

Mr. Khan said he thinks they should dim the backseat units.

Ms. Graffis said the backseat units are distracting.

ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned by standing vote at 4:07p.m.

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