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SFMTA Taxi Services

Taxi Advisory Council


Monday, November 14, 2011
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; William Mounsey; Athan Rebelos

ABSENT: John Han; Chris Sweis

STAFF IN ATTENDANCE: Christiane Hayashi Taxi Services

1. Call to order: Barry Korengold called the meeting to order at 1:12 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: October 24, 2011

Mr. Korengold said that Mr. Toronto’s name was misspelled. He also said that the wording in the report of council liaison should be changed to say “to medallion holders who have a driving requirement and have attained the age of 60 or older or have disability to sell medallions”.

Public Comment

Ms. Villafuerte said that her comments were inaudible in the minutes and she would like to restate her comment. She said that she mainly said “we feel it doesn’t matter if there are 8 wheel chair callers or 80 they believe service is defined as 100% responsiveness to all callers rather serving a minimum number and that is related to boards hearing on service requirement and minimum wheel chair pick up.

Mr. Cessana wanted clarification on Mr. Korengold’s correction he felt that Mr. Korengold’s correction was more confusing.

Ms. Housman moved to approve minutes as amended. Minutes are approved as amended.

5. Public Comment

Mr. Gruberg said he could not find the schedule of town hall meetings online. He said that the color schemes should have gotten notice of meetings.

Ms. Villafuerte said she did not find the town hall meeting posted.

Mr. Cessana said he also did not have a town hall meeting posted

Mr. Lawrence said he has a friend at royal that was harassed by a board member on October 29th. He said committee members can not harass individuals. He said Mr. Lapp was directly involved.

Mr. Korengold said you can not make direct personal comments about board members.

Mr. Lawrence said Dan Hinds has collected cab deposits and not returned this money.

Mr. Korengold reminded him no personal comments.

6. Report of the Council Liaison (Discussion only)

a. Staff Update- Christiane Hayashi

b. Regulatory Reform Update.

c. Taxi Medallion Sales Pilot Program Update

Ms. Hayashi announced town hall meeting schedule. She also said there has been miscommunication with the webmaster that she is currently working on.

Mr. Lazar said that he would like to have updates posted online at least by Wed of the week before.

Mr. Hinds asked when is the report going to be presented to the SFMTA board.

Ms. Hayashi said she can not comment on this issue the CFO is the one handling this issue.

Mr. Lazar would like an updated list of sales.

Public Comment:

Ms. Villafuerte said she would like to add herself to the Taxi mailing list.


7. Discussion of alternative plans to medallion pilot program [Discussion only]

Mr. Korengold said there are 5 presenters that will have ten minutes to present. He said there would be public comment to ask questions to the presenter and then council comment.

Mr. Macmurdo presented his proposal for future taxicab medallion distribution.

Public Comment on Mr. Macmurdo’s presentation

Mr. Reimers said that if you own it the medallion should be transferable.

Mr. Rathbone wanted to thank everyone who put together a proposal. He said

Mr. Cessana said he has spent 15-20 years watching this whole process. He said he saw people too old to drive getting medallions. He said the medallions need to go into the hands of young drivers.

Mr. Lawrence said that he doesn’t see a solution to the problem here.

Mr. Healy said part of the solution in Mr. Macmurdo’s plan is to add medallions. He thinks it’s irresponsible to add more cabs on the streets.

Mr. Grethcham said don’t increase the fleet.

Public Comment Closed

Mr. Macmurdo said there should be a PCN hearing on adding more cabs. He said that there is a lot of delusion to the people on the waitlist on how fast they will be getting a medallion.

Ms. Housman urges through the chair to stick with the proposal they are discussing.

Mr. Mounsey said there will be more cabs on the street. He said Mr. Macmurdo is taking care of the medallion holders only in this proposal. He also said he is very much against this.

Mr. Hybels said the population in the city has remained the same and he would really steer away from adding more cabs.

Mr. Hinds said he supports this proposal. He said there is pressure from the city to add more medallions. He said this proposal also addresses the medallions being moved towards a sales system. He said the people on the medallion list are being put in a position of not knowing what the future holds.

Mr. Korengold said he feels it’s important to have a way for drivers who have been in the industry for many years to get a medallion. It will keep quality drivers in the industry. He said the problem with this plan is that it doesn’t give a long driver this avenue to earn a medallion.

Mr. Rebelos said he may find something wrong with each proposal. He said the proposals should not be very complicated and should be simple and straight forward. He said that the taxi industry is constantly filled with complicated rules and regulations that are hard to enforce. He said simple is better for business.

Mr. Graffis said in this proposal she doesn’t see anything on making dispatch better. She said all she sees is protection for the permit holders and looking out for their interests.

Mr. Lapp said that he does see Mr. Macmurdo addressing everyone’s needs in this proposal. He said this is a well thought out proposal that addresses those in the industry longer. He said there are a lot of good ideas in this proposal. He also says he has never used his place as a council member to approach any individual.

Mr. Korengold said he would like to see some kind of service requirement on this proposal.

Mr. Khan said the proposal emphasizes the medallion holders and company.

Mr. Lee said he supports Carl’s proposal to sell. He said he agrees with Mr. Rebelos about keeping things simple.

Mr. Macmurdo said his understanding is the topic is medallion distribution and alternative plans and that is why he only addressed these issues in his proposal.

He said that this issue is very complex and requires a complex solution.

Mr. Korengold introduced Mr. Healy to discuss his proposal.

Mr. Healy presented his proposal.

Public Comment for Mr. Healy’s proposal

Mr. Gruberg said that he supports the point on giving back to the industry all money made. He asked how the list will continue to be addressed if everyone age 65 can sell.

Mr. Malik said that this topic should not be discussed by this council. He said at the very least the drivers should vote on this topic.

Mr. Reimers said that the part regarding LL should be kept if there is a way to regulate it like GG.

Mr. Cessana said he put his name on the first list in 1972. He said reason he says this is that when someone reaches the top of the list they are too old. He also asked what has been going on with the driver’s fund. He said this fund should be used for Taxi drivers kids to go to College.

Public Comment Closed.

Mr. Healy said he would like the driver fund to benefit all drivers and not just those with kids. He said that if new medallions are added they should go to the list. He said he thinks most people will want to buy a medallion instead of waiting on a list to get one. He said he felt like the Taxi Services should be better staffed to help the industry.

Mr. Rebelos said he likes this proposal better than most.

Mr. Monsey said he really likes this proposal. He said as far as the list is concerned why not let it disappear on its own then sell all the medallions if you want.

Mr. Hybels said that medallion holders should not have the privilege taken away from using there medallion as LL. He said even if GG is more lucrative to a company than LL he is against taken away that right to medallion holders.

Mr. Korengold said that whatever system they choose not everyone will have a medallion.

Mr. Lapp said he wanted to commend Mr. Healy on the 10%. He said that having more money go into the industry as a whole is a realistic and passable proposal.

Ms. Housman said she likes this proposal very much with a little tweaks. She said the SFMTA should not benefit from selling more medallions. She like the idea of 10% to the SFMTA being put back into the taxi industry.

Mr. Hinds said that one way to promote safety has a competent knowledge of the city and has an excellent driver record. He said he wanted to thank Mr. Healy for his proposal.

Mr. Hybels said that the fact that there is no gate control on LL is what is powering them.

Mr. Korengold said that these proposals are more of a permanent plan. He said that the decision should be based on what we think is right. He said we should not say something because they think it’s wrong. He said the criteria to put more medallions on the street should be the need for them not the need to make more money for the MTA.

Mr. Healy said he doesn’t care what Mr. Newsome thinks about the taxi industry.

Mr. Korengold said that this plan states that after the list is gone it reverts to A-card seniority.

Mr. Korengold introduced Mr. Lapp.

Mr. Lapp presented his proposal.

Public Comment:

Mr. Reimers said that he likes Mr. Lapp’s proposal.

Mr. Rathbone said he would like to thank Mr. Lapp for his proposal. He said that item 3 addresses the small window of opportunity.

Ms. Murai asked if this is refereeing to Pre-k’s or just k’s.

Mr. Lapp said both.

Mr. Cessana said that this proposal seems attractive for the MTA. He said that this needs to be flushed out.

Mr. Lapp said he left it vague because there are other people’s ideas he’s interested in getting.

Mr. Macmurdo said that there is a time limit placed on this it will be more attractive to the MTA and other people.

Mr. Lazar said that he doesn’t see an exit strategy for medallion holders. He said we should try to get these proposals and come up with a good answer to this.

Ms. Housman said that including pre-k’s was not the purpose of the pilot program.

Mr. Hinds said that the structure of the industry is to focus on individual medallion holders. He said there is a consensus in the industry that this works. He said when they voted on continuing the program there was not distinction between pre k and post k. He said the distinctions they are trying to make between two will splint the industry in half. He said that he thinks this distinction being made is unproductive.

Mr. Korengold said that the Pre k’s in the industry have had it the best. He said if there were not people on the list waiting for a medallion he would have more concern for them. He said he doesn’t like the idea of a transfer fee. He said why not get a life insurance plan if that’s the case. He said the service requirement and maybe age requirement should determine if you can sell your medallion. He said he does think it’s a significant factor to give medallion holders a longer period of time to think about it.

Mr. Lapp said there should be an issuance of medallions to the list as well.

Mr. Lee said everyone wants to marry a beautiful woman who won the lottery. He said medallion holders want to have the best of both worlds.

Mr. Korengold said he doesn’t like the premise where MTA takes money. He said he doesn’t like to assume that this is what needs to happen.

Mr. Rebelos said he is on the fence on buying a transfer right. He said he sees good and bad things come of it. He said according to this hand out there are 182 pre k medallion holders.

Mr. Korengold introduced Mr. Gruberg

Mr. Gruberg presented his proposal.

Public Comment on Mr. Gruberg’s proposal.

Mr. Reimer said he says layers of red tape in the future.

Mr. Rathbone said thank you for a knowledgeable proposal. He said this proposal is more of an evolution in thinking. He said specifically 6 is too complicated. He said point 8 he disagrees with.

Mr. Malik said he believes medallions should not be put for sale but he does think it’s a good proposal.

Mr. Gratchem said he has not read the proposal. He said they can not satisfy everyone’s needs. He said the best case scenario is to let the market dictate the way this goes.

Mr. Rebelos said he likes certain aspects of this proposal. He said he is not crazy about a fixed price. He said the medallions on Auction in NY were fleet medallions. He said he doesn’t get excited about nontransferable medallions. He said this is a little too complicated. He said he doesn’t like anything that is too complicated because that makes it easier to find loop holes. He said he agrees on the MTA not being involved.

Mr. Hinds said that he agreed on a lot of this proposal. He said he appreciates the fact that medallion sales is the way things are going. He said a set price is something this group will endorse. He said the idea to set the price at a reasonable amount. He said the current price has made this program successful. He said having the SFMTA as a partner will give us more support as far as pursuing regulation issues.

Mr. Mounsey said Mark always thinks of the whole industry. He said the MTA is the only reason why we pay for medallions.

Mr. Lee said that the taxi industry will be very different in 5 years. He said he agrees with 80 percent of Mr. Gruberg’s proposal.

Mr. Korengold said that what they need for this proposal is figures. He said he would need to see these figures before he supports or doesn’t support the plan. He said that cab drivers should get first priority to the money. He said that having different types of medallions should not be a halting factor.

Mr. Gruberg said that this is not very complicated but just unfamiliar. He said we have a thick book of regulation and we have a variety of medallions. He said that coming up with figures is a fair point. He said this proposal should be taking serious enough that the MTA puts some efforts to look at it.

8. Council member requests for information

Ms. Hayashi said Mr. Harris was going to present the update of A-card seniority. She said she should have updated the legislative.

Ms. Graffis wanted to know when the final regulation will be printed.

Ms. Hayashi said for the purpose of the new driver training we will print a few copies. She said things keep changing so that would outdate any regulations printed. She said they decided not to put the regulation in other languages to keep them the same.

Mr. Hybels said you left out age 60 instead of 65. Why are they not interested in making money.

Ms. Hayashi said it was policy issue.

Mr. Rebelos said is there a stated curriculum for taxi school.

Ms. Hayashi said the training is being changed at this time trying to improve it.

Mr. Lapp said maybe someone from Taxi industry can go to bicycle coalition meetings.

No public comment

9. Schedule upcoming calendar items

Mr. Lapp said he will not attend the next meeting. He is wondering whether there will be a meeting the next time because so many people will be gone.

Ms. Hayashi said we will send an email to find out if there will be a quorum.

Mr. Korengold took vote on recommendations for next meeting.

Next calendar item discuss item 7 again and voting on taxis having their own division in the MTA.

Public Comment

Mr. Healy said he would like to see Taxis have their own division.

Mr. Korengold took a show of hands vote. The council agreed to discuss and possible action on Taxis having their own division. Continuation on item 7 to follow.

10. General Discussion regarding Taxi Industry (Discussion and Action)

No time

ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned by standing vote at 4:08 p.m.

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