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­ SFMTA Taxi Services

Taxi Advisory Council


Monday, February 28, 2011

2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room

One South Van Ness Avenue

PRESENT:     Jane Bolig; Jim Gillespie; Laurie Graham; John Han; Dan Hinds; David Khan; Barry Korengold; John Lazar; Carl Macmurdo; William Mounsey; Dmitry Nazarov; Athan Rebelos; Chris Sweis

ABSENT:        Timothy Ajaegbu; William Minikel

STAFF IN ATTENDANCE:  Christiane Hayashi – Deputy Director/Council Liaison



Accessible meeting policy - One South Van Ness Avenue



1. Call to order:  Chair 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:  February 14, 2011

Ms. Graham motioned to approve the minutes for February 14, 2011.  Chair Sweis seconded the motion

On motion to approve the February 14, 2011 minutes.

AYES: J. Bolig; J. Gillespie; L. Graham; J. Han; D. Hinds; D. Khan; B. Korengold; J. Lazar; C. Macmurdo;  W. Mounsey; D. Nazarov; A.   Rebelos; C. Sweis     

Absent:  T. Ajaegbu; W. Minikel       

5. Public Comment

Mr. Rathborne said he wanted to bring up the general role of the taxi advisory board.  Said that the agendas over the last several months including this agenda have very little to do with the medallion sales program.  He urged the board to stick to what is important which is to address the medallion sales program.

Mr. Gruberg said that tomorrow the SFMTA board is meeting regarding some traffic issues.  He went over some changes the board will be covering and his concerns with those changes.  He wanted to inform people of this agenda item.

Mr. Healy said that there has been a movement for more cabs on the streets.    He said they should find a way to better distribute cabs instead of putting more cabs out into the city. 

Mr. Williams introduced himself as Green cabs GM.

Ms. Graffis said she is with United Taxi Cab workers.  She said there has not been a safety hearing or safety inspection for far over a year and would like to request such a hearing. 

Chair Weis Closed public comment

6. Report of the Council Liaison (Discussion Only)

a. Staff Update

Chris Hayashi-Deputy Director updated.  Announced RFP (Request for Proposals) on the fast track.  She said she will purpose closing 3rd holding lot at the airport to help provide more taxis in the city.  Said she went on a ride along to observe the rear seat passenger information monitor.  She will design a survey for drivers with monitors to get bugs out of the system.  Deadline today for any person representing a color scheme who is interested in serving on the TAC board.

b. Regulatory Reform Update

Ms. Hayashi said that item #34 will be up at the Board of supervisors meeting.  Peak time concept will also be considered on Tuesday by SFMTA board.  She said the board is directing staff to bring back the concept to this TAC meeting.  She also said Jarvis is working on revising penalty schedule.  She said town hall meeting focused on GG term leases.  She said she will schedule more town hall meetings on long term lease and other leases.  She said she welcomes assistance from any other cab companies providing documents they can work from.

c. Taxi Medallion Sales Pilot Program Update                          

Michael Harris, Investigator, Taxi Services updated.  He asked council to consider lowering age for medallion sellers to age 60 that would add 409 potential sellers to the group.  End of June 30th he said he should see his target hit.

Mr. Mounsey asked why the number of free medallions has not grown.  And why is he selling more than giving away?

Mr. Gillespie wanted to know what the target was.  How many medallions?

Mr. Harris said certain number of medallions to be sold.  He said ten million dollars in medallion sales.  He said that is a little over 100 medallions.

Mr. Khan asked as far as enforcement is concerned how is it going to work.

Ms. Hayashi said we first have to get citation stock.  She said as soon as we get that we can schedule some enforcement.  Effective date is about April 15th.  

Mr. Hinds clarified the veriphone process.  He went over fees regarding accounts holders and none holders.

Ms. Hayashi said she needs to have an understanding of what’s going on.

Mr. Han asked what’s going on with the bike messenger bulletin.

Mr. Murray said he is meeting with Mr. Mason tomorrow morning.  He will address that issue with him they believe the safest place to drop off a passenger is closest to the curb he hopes Mr. Mason will take this on and pass it on to PCO officers.

Ms. Hayashi said she was contacted by the bicycle coalition to support the position that taxis should not be allowed to drop off in bike lanes.  She said she doesn’t see how that would be safe she disagreed.  Said the SFMTA is very clear on what is safe and what is not. 

Mr. Han said he had question on backseat swippers.  Says drivers have not been included in discussion.  Said MTA and management is the only one discussing this matter when the Taxi cab drivers are the ones that are going to pay the 5% fee. 

Ms. Hayashi said she drove around in the evening in a cab to include the driver’s point of view.  She will collect information from the drivers using these machines and will use that information to address these issues.

Mr. Korengold said he thinks the closure of 3rd lot is terrible.  It will create traffic.  He said lowering the age to sell a medallion to 60 is a bad idea maybe age 65 is better.  He wants to know if goal of ten million dollars includes the money from medallions being rented by MTA.  If its not he said they need to talk about that money being included.  The money should be in the books.

Ms. Hayashi said she understands the goal to reach 10 million dollars is in medallion sales revenue.

Ms. Bolig asked Mr. Harris if you’re having a hard time encouraging people over 70 to sell what is the incentive to get younger people to sell their medallions.

Mr. Harris said that with new group there will be some that want to sell and some that don’t want sell.  He said he is playing the ratio, statistics. 

Ms. Bolig asked do you think you will get more sellers over 70 if you raise the sale price.

Mr. Harris said that rumor is that price will go up and that’s why some medallion holders over 70 hold out.

Mr. Lazar said on bicycle issue he said he spoke to Neil Pattel.  He is telling him that parking is going to be difficult on Market Street to drop off because of poles that will be placed there.  He asked if this was true.

Ms. Hayashi said Neil is the one that called her regarding bicycle coalition.  She spoke about the construction of the bicycle lane and access for taxi vehicles.  She discussed safe ways the taxi driver can enter lane.

She also said she is advocating taxi service be door to door the way it should be.

Mr. Lazar said they should open up the sales program to everyone.  He also said the airport is very busy and b4 pulling out 3rd lot figure out when it’s a slower time.  He also asked how many companies are charging 5 percent.

Ms. Hayashi said most cab companies are.  She said National is in full implementation.  Other companies have and its confidential enforcement information. 

Mr. Lazar asked why it was confidential taxi advisory board should know this.

Ms. Hayashi said because investigations are confidential.  And asked would you like a list of the companies that have received citations and the citation amounts?

Mr. Lazar said yes he would.

Ms. Hayashi said OK I will bring to the next meeting.  

Mr. Macmurdo said that the airport idea would not work the suggestion is counter productive.  He said micro-managing this issue will not work.  He said he agrees with Mr. Harris that there is a surplus of medallion buyers and shortage of sellers.  He is unclear when this should be implementing after the pilot program is over or maybe written in the report as a recommendation.

Mr. Mounsey said that as a representative of people on the list waiting for medallions he now sees a flaw in selling and giving away.  Everyone who gets old is now selling there is no giving away anymore.  He doesn’t see the list moving at all.  He feels like he has been on this list for 15 years with no movement.   

Mr. Nazarov said that free medallion list is not moving that’s why he put himself on the list to buy.  He also said there should not be an age limit to sell. 

Public Comment:

Mr. Lee said that medallion seller’s age should not be regulated.  He said you need peak time taxis in San Francisco.

Mr. Vitka said that regarding the closure of 3rd lot as a dispatcher he always gets request to send more cabs to airport.  He doesn’t want to put that notice out on the radio because that would mean less cabs would be in the neighborhoods. 

Mr. Rathport said that he is very supportive of staff cleaning up the leases.  He also wanted to comment on Mr. Harris comment about the age 60 staff report he says the board should be the ones bringing this topic up and tackling it. 

Mr. Gruberg said that it’s a bad idea to sell if your age 60.  It’s not within scope of pilot program.

Mr. Healy said he thinks the airport closure is a bad idea.  The better solution is to give additional charge for radio calls to neighborhoods.  (Audio change) 


7. Chair and Co-Chair Vote (Discussion and Possible Action)

Board discussed postponing vote until after the report has been generated.

Public Comment:

Mr. Lee said it’s not very important who is chair or vice chair.

Mr. Charles said he wants to get age, potential buyers topics on the agendas.

Mr. Hinds motioned to vote for Chair and Vice Chair immediately following the report first meeting in April.  Mr. Han seconded the motion. 

On the motion to vote for Chair and Vice Chair immediately following the report on the first meeting in April.

Ayes:  Jane Bolig; Jim Gillespie; Laurie Graham; John Han; Dan Hinds; David Khan; Barry Korengold; John Lazar; Carl Macmurdo; Dmitry Nazarov; Athan Rebelos; Chris Sweis

Nayes: William Mounsey

Absent: Timothy Ajaegbu; William Minikel

Motion passed

8.  Approval of letters regarding the PC & N study, illegal vehicle enforcement and taxicab safety (Discussion and Possible Action)

Chair Sweis began to review letters.  He read with the letter to supervisors. 

Mr. Hinds said letter was good wants to consider adding “needed city revenues”

Board went over the wording in the letter read out loud by Chair Sweis. 

Mr. Khan said he wants to include wording public safety.

Mr. Korengold said he has problem with including city revenue in the letter. 

Ms. Bolig said she wanted to change wording in second paragraph.  For those that want more details this is just an overview of why this is important to the industry.  Said this letter is good as it is. 

Public Comment:

Mr. Lee said this letter is not enough everyone should show up in person to board of supervisors meeting.  Said politicians have too many letters to read.  

Mr. Gruberg said that more revenue in more medallions should not be encouraged. 

Mr. Sun said that there should be clarification in this letter regarding the function of this board regarding the specific points on handling the medallion sales. 

Mr. Healy said letter is excellent it is straight to the point.  With some wording change send out ASAP.

Mr. Kim said this is an excellent letter.  He also said that illegal cabs need to be addressed.  

Public comment closed by chair Sweis

Mr. Macmurdo motioned to send out the letter as soon as possible with minor changes at the chairs discretion.  Mr. Han seconds.

On the motion to send out the letter as soon as possible with minor changes at the chairs discretion.

Ayes:  Jane Bolig; Jim Gillespie; Laurie Graham; John Han; Dan Hinds; David Khan; Barry Korengold; John Lazar; Carl Macmurdo;  Dmitry Nazarov; Athan Rebelos; Chris Sweis;  William Mounsey

Absent: Timothy Ajaegbu; William Minikel

Motion Passed Unanimously

Chair Sweis read second letter to Board of SFMTA.                       

Mr. Korengold said that the meter increase does not need a pc & n study.                         

Mr. Macmurdo discussed the letter and said that he does not want to include meter rates.

Mr. Rebelos also asked what the alternative to getting a meter increase is.

Mr. Gillespie said that the projection is by end of year for final report.  There should still go ahead with Pc & N for general purposes of industry this will affect other things.   

Chair Sweis asked Mr. Murray clarification of procedure to exam and get a meter increase.

Mr. Murray said it’s up to MTA board to make that decision and they would want rational on why increase is necessary. 

Ms. Bolig asked if they could go to controller’s office and ask to do mini survey to increase but also go ahead with RFP.

Chair Sweis asked if board wanted to change the letter to take out the meter rate all together.   

Mr. Gillespie went over the wording in the letter.

Mr. Rebelos also went over the wording in the letter. 

Chair Sweis said he thinks what they all agree on is that completing pcn&n and getting the meter increase can be addressed separately and simultaneously.  Strike that sentence from this letter.  We can work on meter increase separately with staff.  

Mr. Gillespie moved to approve with corrections. Motion seconded by Mr. Macmurdo.

Public Comment:

Mr. Lee said that timing needs to be good to change meter increase. 

Mr. Gruberg wants to support letter with proposed changes. 

Mr. Macnab said everyone agrees there needs to be a meter increase but hopes that Ms. Hayashi is in agreement to go to controller’s office. 

Mr. Murray said Ms. Hayashi is definitely in support of meter increase.

Mr. Hines said some wording in the letter should be changed.

Mr. Kim said that everything needs to be based on factual evidence.  Don’t make this a political process.

On motion to approve letter as corrected.

Ayes:  Jane Bolig; Jim Gillespie; Laurie Graham; John Han; Dan Hinds; David Khan; Barry Korengold; John Lazar; Carl Macmurdo; Dmitry Nazarov; Athan Rebelos; Chris Sweis;  William Mounsey

Absent: Timothy Ajaegbu; William Minikel

Motion Passed Unanimously

9.   Recommendations regarding Open Taxi Access (Discussion and       Possible Action)

Chair Sweis talked about the presentation given a few weeks back.  It has been turned into an RFP.  He said point of discussion is to recommend or not.

Mr. Lazar wants to know if they can view RFP before it goes out.

Chair Sweis said his thought is that they need to view RFP before they can form an opinion on OTA.

Mr. Khan said he would like OTA publicly known so that everyone can use it. 

Mr. Han said that generally speaking most riders don’t care what company they get in.  They just want a taxi cab show up and OTA makes this happen. 

Chair Sweis moves this agenda item to another meeting.

Public Comment:

Mr. Rathbone said this subject is of great interest to the public but it’s in the wrong forum.  He said this should be market driven and not a cent from public funds should be used. 

Mr. Son said it’s wise to table this matter.  He said it would be wise to ask the MTA specifically what needs to be looked at in this system and will public funds be used.

Mr. Gruberg said that the idea to have the industry provide some money for this techno ledge is wise.  He is all for this idea.

Mr. Healy said that this system is very good for the drivers and for the people.  

Mr. Williams said that this system is great and his clients love it.

Mr. Kim said that he thinks the industry should support OTA.  He says that the technology is coming and if it’s coming for free we should be embracing it and supporting.  It will benefit everyone. 

Ms. Graffis said that this is a wonderful idea.  This would give you the advantage of not having to put more cabs out there but utilizing them better.

Mr. Lee said that technology will help a little bit only.  He said that he doesn’t need technology when there are many clients on the street waiting for a cab.  If he has loyal clients he doesn’t want them taken away by this technology. 

Mr. Walpurt said the idea of OTA is not to support Cabulus but to support all of the ways that you can find a cab whether it’s on other websites.  It’s about keeping it open and letting Cabulus and Taxi Magic compete on a higher level. 

Chair Sweis Closed Public Comment:

10.  Council Members requests for information [Discussion only]

Ms. Graham said she wants to see the MTA website updated. She said she would like to see updated Data on website.

Mr. Gillespie said that they get a medallion status report but that it’s never discussed.  He asked whether discussion of medallion pilot program should be a regular item on the calendar. 

Chair Weis said that he agreed that discussion of medallion program as a regular agenda item.  He said that once more people have participated in the program than we can have coherent discussions regarding experience and real stats. 

Mr. Khan said it’s the same discussion every time.  He said there should be a survey from the sellers and buyers then discuss those surveys.

Mr. Korengold said he wants to know what recommendations are being made on Camera law and status reports of California camera laws. 

Mr. Rebelos said that he was wondering if a ratio was developed to determine the price of medallions.  He wanted to know if he could get a report on that.

Mr. Harris said that is impossible because the price is set.

Public Comment

11. Schedule upcoming calendar items [Discussion and Action]           

Chair Sweis said he would like to spend next meeting focusing on rough draft of the report.

Mr. Hinds said he is concerned with the way the process is going.  He said things are happening in the industry that impacts medallion sales.  He said if we don’t address these issues because we are in this pilot program faze we are actually harming ourselves and people on the list.  He said that right now we are not giving any answers to people who want them.            

Mr. Gillspie said that he agrees with Mr. Hinds but says he is unsure we can give people answers to they’re question because they are still only in faze one.   He said he sees March 31 report is more of a progress report his assumption was that by summer report will then cover an evaluation.

Ms. Hayashi said to consider this report to be a way to educate the board on some of the issues in the industry.  How the industry has changed over the years for example the gas and gate vs. the long term lease.  This in of itself would be a good piece of information to have. 

Mr. Han said he doesn’t know if it’s too soon to draw conclusions.  Maybe but he does say it’s irresponsible to push the illegal cab issue without having a solution.

Mr. Mounsey said that by the time they sell all the medallions they want to sell they will recommend to sell even more this will make the list not move at all.           

Mr. Macmurdo said he wants to bring up that on the current agendas there should be detail oriented topics.  He wants to ask next meeting on priority topics and what agenda items should look like.

Mr. Rebelos said that their report should be on 50 medallion transfers.  Its not a final report but he thinks that they can come up with a report. 

Mr. Mounsey said they should generate a report after these sales then stop selling medallions all together.  At this rate he said he will never get a medallion.           

Mr. Korengold said that they need to start discussing recommendations. 

Ms. Bolig said that this is not just an opportunity to report on the sales program but to educate the board on the industry.

Chair Sweis said next agenda item will be rough draft of the report to the MTA board.

Public Comment:

Mr. Lee said that peak time cabs needs to be addressed.    

Chair Sweis Closed public comment 

ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting was adjourned by standing vote at 3:57 p.m.

ABSENT:  Timothy Ajaegbu, William Minikel



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