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SFMTA Taxi Services

Taxi Advisory Council


Monday, June 13, 2011
2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room
One South Van Ness Avenue


PRESENT:      Timothy Lapp; Laurie Graham; John Han; David Khan; Barry Korengold; John Lazar; Carl MacMurdo; William Minikel; William Mounsey; Athan Rebelos; Chris Sweis; Dan Hinds

ABSENT:  Dmitry Nazarov     

STAFF IN ATTENDANCE:  Christiane Hayashi-Deputy Director Taxi Services

1. Call to order:  Chris Sweis called the meeting to order at 1:06 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:  May 23, 2011

Public Comment:


            Mr. Minikel said that on page 5 on the motion to recommend being a taxi             driver Mr. Mounsey listed as a naye vote should have been Mr. Minikel.

            Minutes approved unanimously as corrected.

5. Public Comment

Mr. Newshum said that he believes the arrangement with the SFMTA needs to be challenged by this body.

Mr. Araiym said that only 1 percent of drivers supported electronic way bills and that 99% did not and are not being represented here.

Mr. Gruberg said that he wants to support what Brad Newshum said.  He said that taxi regulations needs to move to another industry.  Or keep it with SFMTA but put very strict rules in place on what the agency can and can not do.

Mr. Lee said that there are unhappy taxi cab drivers because they’re privacy is being disrupted by electronic way bills.

Mr. Mao said he supports peak time cabs for drivers. 

Mr. Myo said he is the representative for the Association of Vietnamese cab drivers who do not support single operator permits.

Mr. Fulkerson said he would like to endorse Brad Newshum’s remarks about the MTA using the cab industry as an income stream.  He said that he is pleased that the companies are not interested in peak time medallions. 

Mr. Rathbone said he wants to thank the SFMTA on relieving the fears of older medallion owners.  He said he hopes that very soon they can get over the medallion sales issues and get on with some of the other pressing issues like service issues.

Ms. Housman said the staff recommendations presented here did not get to the council members or anyone here at this meeting to review prior to this meeting.  She said that SFMTA and income flow needs to be separate if they are going to engage in medallion sales.

Mr. Healy said wants to agree with Mr. Newshum and Charles.  He said the pilot program is a good idea but on the other hand the money collected by the SFMTA should be pumped back into the taxi industry.

Mr. Mehmood said electronic way bills and 5% percent fees is always being put on back burner.  He said he went to many drivers and asked what they wanted and demanded he said they simply will be a strike June 21st by the taxi industry.

Public Comment Closed

6. Report of the Council Liaison (Discussion only)

    a. Staff Update- Christiane Hayashi updated

      Health Care Presentation

      Ms. Hayashi introduced Carrie Winsten.

      Carrie Winsten Administrator for Dublin Insurance Services

      Ms. Winsten made health care presentation.

    b. Regulatory Reform Update

      Christiane Hayashi said this item would be discussed under item 7.


    c. Taxi Medallion Sales Pilot Program Update

                        Mr. Harris updated and went over medallions sales pilot program statistics.


                        Mr. Hybels asked clarification on statistics.

Mr. Hybels asked how many willing buyers are there.

Mr. Harris said he doesn’t have exact number but it’s many.

Mr. Mounsey asked when he processed this report.

Mr. Harris said May 9th.

                        Public Comment


Mr. Aryan said he was under the impression that if one medallion was put up for sale one medallion had to be placed on the list to give away.


Mr. Gruberg said he thinks the statistics on the Taxi Medallion Sales is misleading.  He said that as far as health care is concerned this is something the powers that be have prevented from happening. 

Mr. Lee said he is very happy to hear that 70 year olds can sell their medallions to someone younger.

Mr. Fulkerson said that the health care plan figures make sense for everyone involved. 

Mr. Rathbone said that Health care for drivers is long over due and that this is a good thing.

Mr. Healy said the medical plan is a very good idea. 

Ms. Housman said she supports the health care for drivers. 

Mr. Mehmood said he agrees with Ms. Houseman about the misleading of giving one medallion to the wait list and one to sell.  He said he is not sure if the company will be contributing to this health plan. 

Mr. Newshum said it’s hard not to notice that the SFMTA has actually addressed a public safety issues by getting older unsafe drivers away from behind the wheel. 

Public Comment Closed



7. Review recommendations for service improvements (Discussion and Possible Action)

Ms. Hayashi referred to page 5 of Staff Recommendations handout.  She read the attached handout.


Mr. Rebelos said he has been frustrated with the changes that he thinks are coming.  He shared his concerns with the electronic taxi cab idea.  He said people should not assume that every new idea is a good one. 

Mr. Hybels said that his impression from town hall meetings was that peak time cabs were not a popular idea. 

Mr. Han said he thinks these ideas might work out but he also hopes most of these permits will accompany dispatch mandates.  He said OTA (Open Taxi Access) should be standard in all taxis.         

Mr. Mounsey said that SFMTA has already made a decision that they want peak time taxis.

Mr. Sweis said SFMTA has made up they’re mind that they want something to help fix the Taxi availability problem.  He said that it doesn’t mean that they are not willing to accept possible changes that will come from this TAC.   

Mr. Korengold said that at town hall they discussed they don’t want peak time medallions and doesn’t understand why he is wasting his time if they’re ideas will not be considered.  He said he also agrees that electronic vehicles are not practical.

Mr. Khan said that a few companies want to have OTA but a few people have killed that idea because it is not in they’re interest. 

Mr. Macmurdo said he supports both models the company model and single user permit.  He said he like the fact that it’s a pilot program for 3 years.

Ms. Graham said that the dispatch incentives that were talking about in the handout should be implemented now to all drivers without these special medallions. 

Mr. Minikel said he thinks the electronic cab is funded by a federal grant.  He said that taxi cab drivers serve the public and they should make some compromises with that in mind.  He said if circulating more medallions will serve the public better it should be strongly considered. 

Mr. Hinds said that this is a step to try to balance the supply and demand for cabs in the city.  He said he supports the permits described in the handout. 

Mr. Mounsey said he doesn’t see much difference between these medallions and full time leases. 

Mr. Han said all of these proposals can work on the condition that you have improved dispatching through OTA.  He wanted to place a motion.

Mr. Sweis said he wants to save the motions until the end of the discussion in order not to interrupt the flow of conversation.

Mr. Lazar said he questioned how two people can operate one medallion.  He also said you can’t send out new medallions and not start to fully enforce against illegal cabs.  He said the enforcement needs to come first before any of these programs are implemented.

Mr. Hybels said he is concerned with enforcement within the industry.  He said all enforcement money has been used to pay for new investigators. 

Mr. Korengold said that OTA should be on the report for recommendation.  He said he has a concern with the electronic way bills being the method to regulate these special permits. 

Mr. Mounsey said if they begin enforcing now against illegal cabs there will clearly be more room for legal medallions on the street.  He also would like to see OTA or a centralized dispatch idea implemented.

Mr. Rebelos said illegal cabs are a huge problem in San Francisco. 

Ms. Hayashi said the two items on agenda for the 21st is flag drop increase and this report.

Mr. Han said that reducing the 5% credit card fee is a service improvement.

Mr. Rebelos said that the OTA already exist and there is nothing stopping a driver from using OTA and it can be used now. 

Mr. Macmurdo said that part of the service improvements is to ask for more taxis over time especially if the enforcement needed takes place.  He said that in the future the revenue divided up in the pilot program can be divided up differently if the TAC recommends it. 

Mr. Korengold said that 80 hours a week is a medallion that is taking away from a driver and given to the MTA.  He said he does not like the MTA leasing out these medallions.  He said OTA is more effective when more cab drivers use it. 

Mr. Sweis said he agrees with Athens first point which is there are too many pilot programs out there.  He also said that 25 medallions to the list is warranted.  He said he would like to see the industry reflect on themselves and evaluate how they can make changes to improve service to the city. 

Public Comment

Mr. Gruberg said he supports single operator permits but not company permits.  He said he sees tremendous dangerous in picking which company would receive these company medallions.   

Mr. Lee said there is plenty of business on the streets for peak time medallions.  These medallions should go to drivers not companies.

Mr. Migden said he hopes that more than 25 medallions go to drivers on the list.

Mr. Vitca said that company peak time cabs should be given to the list too.

Mr. Mehmood said that in town hall meetings June 1st the people that were represented there said what they wanted.  They wanted a fixed time medallion with no dispatch involvement.  He said that he feels the town hall meetings were a waste of time. 

Mr. Fulkerson said that he is shocked that the taxi town hall meetings are extremely poorly represented here.  There are a lot of things discussed in those meetings that don’t make it to this meeting. 

Mr. Andrew said that his assumption is that the SFMTA regulates private businesses.  He said he doesn’t know why his tax dollars have to pay for the service to improve the taxi cab companies.  He says that service is not improved in his neighborhood (Richmond district)

Mr. Healy said he would like to support the peak time medallions coming back.  He said any new medallions should go to cab drivers on the list. 

Ms. Graffis said that if you go back to a system of corporate medallions there should be something in it for the driver. 

Ms. Housman said that company part time medallions should be employees and be told to go to the sunset and outer areas of the city.  She said she doesn’t want SFMTA to have any financial incentive. 

Mr. Wit said that he doesn’t like the meter increase to be heard at the same time as the proposal for more cabs. 

Mr. Cooper said he wanted to go over functionality of electric vehicles.  He said that the refueling process is much faster than Athan mentioned.  He also said that federal money will cover this project.  It will allow San Francisco to stay on the leading edge. 

Public Comment Closed

Ms. Hayashi discussed some notes she took on the discussion that just took place by the council.

The council discussed some of the proposed changes to the recommendations document. 

Mr. Sweis recommends going one item at a time and ask for a show of hands regarding support for each item on the staff recommendations handout. 

Mr. Lapp motioned to replace 25 company p/t permits with 25 full time permits to be reissued.

Ms. Graham seconded.

Mr. Sweis motioned to approve the following recommendations:

Approving a recommendation of 25 new full time medallions

Approving a recommendation of two electronic vehicle pilot program permits

Not recommending 25 company part time pilot program permits

Recommending 25 single operator part time permits proceeds going to the driver’s fund

Recommending that there be stronger limo enforcement and recommending reissuing of the OTA RFP

Recommendation of encouragement of companies who do not serve dispatch calls to serve dispatch calls

Seconded Mr. Khan

Public Comment:

Mr. Gruberg said he would support this without the extra 25 medallions.  He does not support part time permits.

Mr. Lee said he thinks 25 are enough extra medallions coming in.  He supports peak time medallions.

Mr. Vitka said he supports all the motions. 

Ms. Graffis said that you have to really think hard on voting for an extra 25 cabs.

Mr. Rathbone said he thinks the MTA will hear the OTA proposal.  He said the 25 additional cabs should be kept as peak time cab.

Mr. Healy said he doesn’t like the fact that this was thrown in at the last minute.  He said everything at this TAC meeting was discussed at Town Hall meeting. 

Ms. Housman said she does not agree with the extra 25 medallions.  She said you can add those in the future. 

Mr. Witt said that adding cabs will not eliminate illegal limos.  He said that he supports dispatch improvements. 

Public Comment Closed

On the motion to replace 25 part time medallions to 25 full time medallions.

Motion did not pass

NayesRichard Hybels;  John Han;  Dan Hinds;  David Khan;  Barry Korengold;  Carl Macmurdo;  William Minikel;  William Mounsey;  Chris Sweis;

Ayes:  Timothy Lapp; Laurie Graham; Athan Rebelos          

Absent:  John Lazar; Dmitry Nazarov

On the motion to approve all recommendations.

Motion passed Unanimously

Absent:  John Lazar; Dmitry Nazarov


8. Council Members requests for information [Discussion only]


9. Schedule upcoming calendar items [Discussion and Action]

            Council discussed possible calendar items.

On the motion to discuss options for the driver fund and re-election of TAC chair and vice chair for the next TAC agenda item.

            Motion passed unanimously

            Absent:  John Lazar; Dmitry Nazarov

            Public Comment

            Mr. Lee said there should be a flat rate from and to SFO

            Mr. Healy said this was a productive meeting.

            Mr. Witt said that drivers fund is not as urgent as dispatch problems. 


ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting was adjourned by standing vote at 5:06 p.m.


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