SFMTA Announces First Taxi Medallion Sale
Release date: 8/4/10
*** Press Release ***
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) today announced the first sale under the taxi medallion sale pilot program adopted by the Board of Directors in February. The short-term pilot program will allow the SFMTA to assist current medallion holders who wish to retire but cannot due to the driving requirement and to test the feasibility of medallion sales as a possible modification to the current Proposition K system. As a pilot, the program will not preclude other reform options for the long term and will not affect qualified drivers currently on the medallion waiting list who do not want to buy a medallion. SFMTA staff has worked with the taxi companies and drivers of San Francisco over several months of meetings to discuss and form the comprehensive regulations and policies required to implement this program.
“Taxis are a vital part of San Francisco’s transportation system,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., Executive Director/CEO. “The SFMTA taxi staff has worked diligently with the industry to create this complex and innovative program that will serve both taxi drivers and the City well.”
Under the pilot program, only certain medallions can be sold: those held by individuals 70 years old or older or who are permanently disabled and cannot fulfill the driving requirement. While no medallion holder is required to sell, only those who elect to participate in the pilot program have the option to sell at this time. The other set of medallions being sold are those in the possession of the SFMTA due to the death of a medallion holder or through revocation proceedings. The price for a medallion is $250,000.
The medallion buyers are subject to the same rules as other current medallion holders, such as the full-time driving requirement and driving a San Francisco taxi for at least four of the past five years. Under the pilot program, available medallions are offered to qualified buyers in the order of seniority on the waiting list and after that in order of the driver A-Card permit seniority. The decision to buy is voluntary, but interested buyers had to notify the SFMTA of their interest in participating in the pilot.
To date, two prospective buyers have been assigned SFMTA-held medallions and 15 sellers and buyers have been approved and matched for sales. As part of each transaction, the medallion seller pays a transfer fee from the sale proceeds, 15 percent of which goes to the SFMTA and five percent to a Driver Fund. For each sale of the SFMTA-held medallions, the Agency receives $237,000 and the fund $12,500. For the other sales, the SFMTA receives $37,500 and the fund again receives $12,500.
During the pilot program, for every medallion it sells the SFMTA will also issue one to a taxi medallion waiting list applicant using the same procedure that existed prior to the sale pilot. The SFMTA has offered 18 medallions to the waiting list, pending qualification. The SFMTA will not issue any new medallions during the pilot program above the currently authorized 1,500 medallions.
The SFMTA has created a program that seeks to meet the needs of the taxi industry, individual drivers and the City. Strong support was needed from the Agency’s financial partners, the San Francisco Federal Credit Union and Montauk Credit Union of New York, NY, to craft such a solution. Both institutions serve as the qualified lenders for the pilot.
A taxi industry advisory group made up of industry representatives, including non-medallion-holding drivers, will monitor this pilot program and make recommendations to the Board of Directors at the end of this calendar year about long-term options for taxi medallion reform.
Since assuming the regulation of the City’s taxis in March 2009, the SFMTA has continued to focus on collaborating with drivers and companies to prioritize public service and public safety. The SFMTA reminds San Francisco residents and visitors to use only real San Francisco taxis. For more information, please visit www.sfmta.com/taxis.
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