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SFMTA Taxi Services
Taxi Advisory Council


Monday, September 26, 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; Chris Sweis

ABSENT: John Han

STAFF IN ATTENDANCE: Jarvis Murray Taxi Services

1. Call to order: Barry Korengold called the meeting to order at 1:10 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: September 12, 2011

Mr. Korengold went over changes to the minutes. Mr. Sweis noted and minutes will be revised.

Mr. Lapp made a change for July 25, 2011 minutes. Mr. Sweis noted and minutes will be revised.

Public Comment:

Mr. Moles made changes to minutes Mr. Sweis noted and minutes will be revised.

Ms. Graffis moved to approve minutes with changes Ms. Housman seconded.

Minutes approved as amended.

5. Public Comment

Mr. Malik said that driving requirement should change based on the age. If a driver reaches age 60 the driving requirement should be lowered to 400 hours. He also said that medallions should not be sold.

Mr. Faulkerson said he wanted to bring the medical coverage should be addressed. He said 52 million dollars has been collected by the companies. He said this is outrages and needs to be addressed.

Mr. Toran said he has been on the medallion wait list for 5-6 years. He said he is here to support the medallion sales program. He feels it’s a fair way to allow drivers like himself to have a future in the industry. He said he urges the board to continue the medallion sales program.

Mr. Huptych said he is here to also support the medallion sales program. He urges the board to reopen the sales program to others. He also urges the board to lower the age requirement to sell.

Mr. Daqa said he is here to support lowering the age requirement for those who want to sell. He said this medallion sales program gives cab drivers a future in this industry.

Mr. Bughum said he thinks the pilot program is a great idea. He said this program helps the economy.

Mr. Ali said he would like the age requirement to be lowered.

Mr. Mustafa said he has driven for 17 years he also said he owns a ramp medallion. He said it has taken 17 years to move on the list. He said the pilot program is very efficient if you don’t want to wait to have your name move on the list.

Mr. Lamsika said he is here to support the medallion sales program. He said if he had a chance he would sign up to purchase to better his life.

Mr. Healy said he requested to bring 6 more people every week, to help get rid of waiting list.

Public Comment closed

6. Report of the Council Liaison (Discussion only)

a. Staff Update- Chris Hayashi updated

b. Regulatory Reform Update

c. Taxi Medallion Sales Pilot Program Update (if board talks)

Mr. Kahn asked who will own the temporary medallion A better place? He also asked who would be driving these vehicles.

Ms. Hayashi said A better place will own sense they are providing there own vehicle which is worth $300,000 dollars a piece.

Mr. Lapp asked whether they have looked at the cost of gate and operating cost.

Ms. Hayashi said that they have not gone over every detail yet regarding operation.

Mr. Lapp asked also about battery life and change stations.

Mr. Cooper said the change stations will be located from here to San Jose with several stations located throughout.

Mr. Lee said the hopes that they have an equal policy to help choose driver for the electric car program.

Mr. Korengold asked how long does it take to charge and or switch out the battery on the electric car.

Mr. Cooper said it takes about 5 minutes to switch out the battery.

Mr. Korengold asked will the gates cost the same.

Ms. Hayashi said no but that this is still being worked out.

Ms. Graffis asked how the change out of battery worked.

Ms. Bali said it’s an automatic system similar to a car wash.

Mr. Lapp asked what type of car they would use.

Mr. Cooper said they are still negotiating that and can not release what type of car yet.

Mr. Korengold asked if the goal for this vehicle is to sell it to a typical driver or Cab driver.

Mr. Copper said yes

Public Comment:

Mr. Faulkerson said that they should not use the term “give away” when refereeing to issuing a medallion. He asked to use the word issue or sell.

Mr. Lam said that electric car having a charge station in the east bay being that a lot of drivers take fares that way.

Mr. Healy asked why the electronic way bill was not included in the legislation.

Mr. Malik asked about the supporting documents that include the medallions that have been sold or issued. He said he has not seen it on the website.

Mr. Grugerian said that he is here to support the pilot program. He said that he wants to be able to support his family and the pilot program helps him be able to do that.

Public Comment Closed


7. Recommendation to amend transportation code to allow medallion holders age to 60 and above or with disability to sign up to sell with a 30 day window to sign up to sell medallion. (Discussion and Possible Action)

Mr. Sweis said that they will be discussing this item today only because the MTA board asked the council to come up with a transition alternative before approving to maintain program.

Mr. Macmurdo said that he wants to see that in writing. He said that this item is supposed to be discussed and it’s set for possible action.

Mr. Hinds said that the selling portion of this program is winding down. He said that they need to make a positive recommendation to them to allow program to continue.

Mr. Sweis said that he has tried to turn in the report and it is in the hands of the executives at SFMTA. He said he has been told that before any expansion of program takes place there needs to be a transition program suggestion.

Ms. Hayashi said that the report is not getting to the hands of the board and that it’s not from a lack of action from this council. She said she thinks that now that there is a new director this disconnect with the board will no longer exist.

Mr. Lapp asked what Mr. Sweis meant by transition.

Mr. Sweis said that he realizes that the council is in favor of the pilot program. He said there needs to be a transition period before going into full sales and transferability of medallions.

Mr. Macmurdo said that in the short term the issue is the pilot program is coming upon a sunset stage where there are no longer any medallions available for sale. He said denying people to continue sales and people who want to buy is irresponsible because the MTA agenda is coming up October 18th and it could be effective 30 days later to open the window of sales again then apply the transition stages later.

Ms. Hayashi said that it will not be possible to take legislation to the October 18th meeting the earliest they can get to board of directors is November 1st.

Mr. Rebelos said he is a little shaken by the news. He said that suddenly there is a change there needs to be more formal communication. He said that the information Mr. Sweis gave is not sufficient.

Mr. Sweis said Mr. Macmurdo is right there should be a written communication and that they should continue with the agenda item as written. He said he will communicate with the MTA to have a more formal communication with the council.

Mr. Macmurdo said that during the past 6 months drivers had been asking him when they would reopen the sales program and he is anxious to have a response to them.

Mr. Rebelos motioned to recommend to MTA to amend the transportation code open a 30 day window to allow medallion holder age 60 and above or with disability the prevents them from fulfilling the driving requirement to sell their medallion under the medallion sales program.

Ms. Housman said that if someone has the misfortune to get sick with a disability not within the 60 day window they are out of luck. She said that they should expand this to make an exemption to people who become disabled.

Mr. Mounsey said he can not support this because it says nothing about helping the regular medallion list move.

Mr. Korengold said he can’t support this because he thinks 60 years old is too young.

Mr. Lee said 60 years old is good and better than nothing.

Mr. Khan said let the drivers sell if they want.

Mr. Hybels said that about 20 percent of drivers will be getting ready to sell and will leave metro cab. He said he is not anxious to see this pass.

Ms. Graffis said that she is tired of just hearing them talk about medallion holders she would like to see them talk about ways to better the industry the whole industry and not just the privileged few.

Mr. Lapp said they are addressing the people who are not the 1500 medallion holders by giving them an opportunity to buy into the industry.

Mr. Korengold said that if you open up the program to 60 or older negatively impacts the people on the top of the list.

Mr. Rebelos said the medallion holders over 70 already had a chance to sell. That’s why is makes more sense to open it up for the over 60 because that will provide the list with more sellers. He said selling your medallion provides more freedom.

Mr. Lee said that he agrees with Mr. Rebelos and supports his proposal.

Mr. Hinds said that his company has a lot of older drivers and have lost medallions because of this program. He does believe in this program. He said you have to have medallions for individual working drivers. He said that the older drivers need to have a way out and give new drivers the opportunity to buy a medallion.

Ms. Housman said that this council is to oversee the medallion pilot program. She said that she will be in favor of this proposal.

Mr. Mounsey said he has heard in the industry that the people who buy the medallions have been bringing their own drivers and charge them more for the gates.

Mr. Lapp said that in order to have the number of medallions to have the program continue running properly would be to lower the selling age to 60.

Mr. Macmurdo said that he doesn’t see a problem with allowing someone age 60 to find a way out of the industry.

Mr. Korengold said how is offering 1500 medallions for sale going to create an opportunity for 3,000 people? It’s not true. ….. what about drivers who are above the buyers on the list who are also driving for many years, but they won’t get a medallion because all the medallions will be sold. . . . .. If we didn’t already have this system in place (the waiting list) then it would be different. We are not starting from scratch. System has existed for 30 years, people have adjusted their lives to this system, and those people in favor of transferability….

Mr. Kahn said if we lower the age, then …. If they are medallion holders if they can’t meet the requirement, let the MTA manage the medallion as a direct lease to the driver. If they want to open up the whole list they should let everyone participate.

Mr. Rebelos said: When I said that this would benefit the three thousand drivers, I didn’t mean that they should all get a medallion . . . . The argument that the drivers on the list or drivers who have been driving for 35 years are the only ones who count is not appropriate. He said he is not complaining that he did have a medallion issued to him. He said he thinks the medallion program is effective. He said he sees the young drivers having something to add to the industry.

Mr. Lazar said they started with this as a pilot program. He said there should be a point system to allow anyone who has contributes X amount of years to sell. He said he is all for an exit program. He said that he is dismayed by the way that the report has not gone further than this room.

Mr. Korengold said he wanted to say that his points are being misinterpreted.

Public Comment:

Mr. Bouham said change is good you have to be open to a new system. He said if you own the medallion you should sell when you feel you are too old.

Mr. Ali said he came here to reach the American dream. He wants to be able to own a medallion and help achieve the American dream. He said he loves working in this beautiful city. He hopes that the SFMTA supports this program.

Mr. Malik said that the medallion wait list is not being respected. He said that today they agree on age 60 next they will make it 50. He said that they should take back the medallions they have sold and issue them to the list.

Mr. Ramos said he is for the change in the age requirement. He said he is for the purchasing of medallions allowing new blood to move in.

Mr. Fulkerson said this body is not at liberty to rewrite what they said they were going to do. He said changing the agenda item is not right under the sunshine ordinance.

Mr. Healy said he doesn’t see the point of the time limit.

Mr. Lam said he is in favor of the proposal to lower the age to 60.

Public Comment Closed

Mr. Korengold said that the list will be even slower now if they lower the age to 60. He said does it need to be 60 or can you wait and change the age.

On the motion to recommend to MTA to amend the transportation code open a 30 day window to allow medallion holder age 60 and above or with disability that prevents them from fulfilling the driving requirement to sell their medallion under the medallion sales program

Motion Passed

Ayes: Dan Hinds, Tara Housman, Timothy Lapp, John Lazar, Tone lee, Carl Macmurdo, William Minikel, Athan Rebelos, Chris Sweis

Nayes: Ruach Graffis, Richard Hybels, David Khan, Barry Korengold, William Monsey

8. Single Shift Medallions [Discussion only]

Ms. Hayashi said Single operating permits are designed to address the people who are not on the medallion wait list. She said the single operator medallion guarantee older drivers with seniority the best shifts available. She said the new drivers that were being trained were taking on Long term lease agreements taking shifts away from the gas and gate system.

Mr. Mounsey said that these people are getting a free ride. He asked don’t you care about people on the list.

Ms. Hayashi said this is designed to help people who are losing shifts, who have driven for a long time and are older drivers. It gives someone the opportunity to have good shifts and some independence from the company.

Mr. Khan said that there will be a lot of competition for these single shift medallions. He asked who will regulate these special medallions.

Mr. Korengold said he like the idea of single shift but doesn’t agree on paying the SFMTA to have permit.

Ms. Housman said that this is already been approved. She said what would be helpful to talk about is how to fix the glitches with this that may come up.

Mr. Lapp asked if the people on the medallion wait list may participate in this program and still remain on the medallion wait list.

Ms. Hayashi said this is possible and these are the kinds of questions that should be asked before this is implemented so these questions could be worked out.

Mr. Macmurdo asked about the vehicle it’s self.

Ms. Hayashi said that the vehicle purchase is something she has looked into. One nice option explored was the company providing a vehicle package.

Mr. Lee asked if it was A-card seniority list.

Public Comment:

Mr. Faulkerson said that the MTA having these medallions is a threat to the companies. The MTA is not concerned with a 3-5 year plan this is just policy. He said the MTA would be happy if there were no companies in 10 years. He said he would like them to vote against putting these gypsy cabs on the street.

Mr. Ramos inaudible…..

Mr. ? (no name given )asked if the equipment will be furnished by the cab company and if the name of this company could be disclosed.

Mr. Malik said this is another attempt to destroy the medallion wait list and the will of the people. He said the drivers that are not on the medallion wait list that is there fault and nobody else’s. He said he urges this council to issue the peak time medallions to the wait list.

Public Comment Closed

9. Council Member requests for information [Discussion]

Mr. Korengold would like to know which and what legislation has been proposed.

Ms. Hayashi said there is none at this time.

Mr. Hinds said he would like to be informed of any illegal taxi being towed.

Mr. Rebelos said could they get some update regarding the report they approved and other recommendations.

Mr. Sweis said this is a work in progress and is being worked out. He said he feels the same way as everyone else here regarding there role in whole process.

Mr. Lee asked how the single operator permits be screened.

Mr. Macmurdo asked about the reason why the Taxi division is no longer.

10. Schedule upcoming calendar items. (Discussion and Possible Action)

TAC went over possible calendar items and put them up for a vote.

Mr. Mounsey wanted the TAC to recommend whether they have there own division.

Mr. Kahn wanted to revisit driver’s health care.

Mr. Lapp said there should be a time limit to these alternative plans.

Mr. Sweis said he wants to send out a structure for the meeting.

Mr. Hinds wanted to review current standards for medallions issue ins and purchasing.

Mr. Mounsey wanted to have an item where council members can speak about things not on the agenda.

Mr. Korengold, Mr. Khan and Mr. Lee agree with Mr. Monsey.

Mr. Sweis put the different topics up for a show of hands vote.

Agenda item for next meeting is Discussion of alternative plans to medallion pilot program. Second agenda item adding general discussion item to agenda. Third possible agenda item is discussion of recommendations to make DTS an independent division.

ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned by standing vote at 4:45p.m.

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