SFMTA Taxi Services
Taxi Advisory Council
Monday, January 9, 2012
2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room
One South Van Ness Avenue
PRESENT: Ruach Graffis; John Han; Dan Hinds; Tara Housman; Richard Hybels; Barry Korengold; Timothy Lapp; Tone Lee; Carl Macmurdo ;Athan Rebelos; Chris Sweis
ABSENT: David Khan; John Lazar; William Minikel; William Mounsey
STAFF IN ATTENDANCE: Christiane Hayashi Taxi Services
1. Call to order: Chris Sweis called the meeting to order at 1:08 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 Postponed until the next meeting
5. Public Comment
Mr. Rathbone said he had a concern with the couple of million dollars SFMTA will use to improve Taxi
Mr. Turan said he would like to urge the TAC to continue the medallion sales program. He said it is economically sustainable and provides insurance to drivers.
6. Report of the Council Liaison (Discussion only)
a. Staff Update- Christiane Hayashi deputy director updated.
b. Regulatory Reform Update
c. Taxi Medallion Sales Pilot Program Update
Ms. Hayashi said Mr. Minikel has given up his seat at TAC. She will be accepting request to fill his seat.
7. TAC discussion of alternative proposals and recommendation for medallion distribution program. [Discussion only]
Mr. Rathbone presented his alternative program.
Mr. Mehirni said if any medallion will be issued to companies instead it should be given to the list or people wanting to buy a medallion
Mr. Healy asked if this meant that all medallions would be sold.
Mr. Rathbone said that his proposal is to address the interest of drivers taken care of by insuring there are currently enough medallions out in the city.
Public Comment Closed
Mr. Korengold asked would there be an end to the earned waitlist in his proposal.
Mr. Rathbone said yes at some point there would be an end to the list. He said he doesn’t know or can predict when. He said he hates to see drivers having to make a hard decision to buy now or let the opportunity go.
Mr. Hybels asked what the definition of full service Cab Company.
Mr. Rathbone said it would be a (inaudible)
Ms. Housman said by flooding the market with medallions seems like a backhanded way of doing things. She said she is not necessarily against the full service color scheme. She also asked about having employee drivers.
Mr. Han said it seems like the solution Mr. Rathbone has come up with is just throwing more cabs out there. He has not come up with dispatch solutions.
Mr. Macmurdo said he likes his Mr. Rathbones proposal.
Mr. Lee suggested they issue the 100 medallions to the people willing to buy instead of those just wanting it for free.
Mr. Rathbone said they should accommodate those people waiting for a medallion.
Mr. Rebelos and Mr. Lapp both stated this was a good proposal.
Mr. Korengold said that people buying medallions today are driving 7 days a week. By doing so there are many drivers losing shifts.
Mr. Graffis presented her proposal.
Mr. Healy asked about the 186 transferable medallions.
Ms. Graffis said she assumes those are the ones that were sold until now. She would put a cap on it now.
Mr. Taranto said the passenger impact should be looked at which it hasn’t.
Mr. Rathbone said that he appreciates Ms. Graffis putting numbers. Mr. Rathbone said the number put on should be a significant number. He asked who would pay for workers comp.
Ms. Graffis said she doesn’t anticipate a change to the single operator medallion. (inaudible)
Ms. Murrai said this proposal is a little confusing to her. She said she still feels a working driver should earn a medallion even though she realizes at some point it should stop. She said she also believe the medallion is an asset.
Public Comment Closed
Mr. Han said his impression is an attempt to propose to move the industry away from leasing and try to go towards transportation service.
Ms. Graffis said that is correct.
Ms. Housman said she like the idea of single operator medallion. She said she has been in favor of ramp medallions becoming corporate medallions and in favor of having this ripple out to the rest of the industry.
Mr. Rebelos said a problem you may see if some of the fleet were employees would be that it would be in the cab company interest to give the best shifts to the employee driver.
Mr. Korengold asked about the retirement aspect of Ms. Graffis proposal.
Mr. Hinds said the one big question was is a single operator medallion practical.
Ms. Graffis said yes she assumes it is practical.
Mr. Lee said that unfortunately this county is run on the 1 percent. He said he still needs time to read book to figure if this could work.
Ms. Sweis said they would continue this item to the next meeting. He said they should discuss the summaries of the proposals at the next meeting. He clarified that by the end of the next meeting they need to come up with a recommendation.
Mr. Hinds asked what kind of format to anticipate for the next meeting.
Mr. Sweis said he will write up a summary of all the major points of the proposals. He said the council can decide to add or take away. He is open for ideas on how to go forward with this process.
8. Council Member request for information. (Discussion only)
Mr. Hinds said that it’s critical at this point to get accurate information on how the program is going. He said it would be a good idea to survey what the medallion purchasers are doing with the medallions they bought.
Ms. Hayashi said they did do a survey like this before and it was not credible. She said they know that there is a whole lot of affiliate leasing. She said they know that there needs to be a way to regulate those leases. Ms. Hayashi said the driver’s survey needs to be designed in such a way they can get answers to some of these questions.
Mr. Hybels said (inaudible)
Mr. Rebelos asked how frequently new driver’s tests are being offered.
Ms. Hayashi replied we have 2 classes a month.
9. Schedule upcoming calendar items (Discussion and Action)
The council discussed ways to discuss the proposals and come up with a summary to present to the board. Final recommendations will be voted on next week.
Mr. Rathbone asked if they could vote on all the major points of
Mr. Moles asked if he can leave his number and proposal as reference with someone.
Mr. Gruber said that this vote will shape the industry. He said they should not feel pressured to do it on someone else’s timetable.
Ms. Murai asked if they can have an answer about the 50 single operator medallion distributions.
Mr. Spain said that this council has been dragging there feet for 1 ½ years. He said the MTA was not expecting an extension of this program. He said this program needs to be expanded to everyone.
Mr. Toranto said that they should shoot for having something to show on March 13th. He said give them something that shows them you are going in a certain direction and then wait to have everything resolved before you give them a final proposal.
Public Comment Closed
Agenda item set by TAC to be TAC discussion and recommendation for medallion distribution program
10. General Discussion regarding Taxi Industry (Discussion only)
Mr. Korengold wants this item to be earlier in the agenda. He said that there was cab driver robbed at gunpoint in Sunnydale on Saturday night.
Mr. Han said he received an email from someone who says they are a para transit rider. He said the Para transit rider was dragged from a cab and said that this guy said he took a picture. He said there should be a higher standard of taxi drivers so this stuff doesn’t happen.
Mr. Rebelos said he is worried about the testing of new drivers. He said there will be a shortage of drivers.
Ms. Hayashi said they have 50 new drivers each month that can’t find jobs. She suggested the color schemes come up with solutions among themselves. Maybe call each other when they need a driver for a certain shift.
Mr. Rebelos said they should have a town hall on this subject.
Mr. Lee said that SFMT should not control the market. He said that they shouldn’t get involved in who works when and how. He said the market needs more freedom.
Mr. Hybels said he got in a cab that had a camera on the windshield. He said they should look into that.
Ms. Hayashi said until the state law changes they can’t do anything about it.
Mr. Lapp said regardless of what position they take on Credit Card structure. He said he has too many drivers that have no regard concerning the law to accept credit cards. He said that the SFMTA should post a memo that it’s not optional to accept credit cards.
Mr. Mole said they should put a note saying they get more in tips by using a credit card.
Mr. Tarantino said Athens idea of town hall meeting was a good idea. He said there should be a sensitivity training for cab drivers. He said there needs to be a retraining course offered to drivers.
Mr. Healy said he has been running survey’s with his passengers. He said that according to the survey half of the drivers are giving passengers grief over credit cards.
Public Comment Closed.
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned by standing vote at 3:34p.m.