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Release date: April 16, 2013

*** Press Release ***

The Board of Directors of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which manages transportation in the city, including the regulation of taxis, today voted to approve staff recommendations to gradually increase the number of taxis in San Francisco and to further policies that will improve customer service and support taxi drivers. The staff recommendations were based on a report by Hara and Associates that studied taxicab supply and demand as well as best practices of taxi regulation.

“By following this measured approach, we can create a virtuous cycle,” said Tom Nolan, President of the Board of Directors. “As we increase the number of taxis, we can increase the perception that taxis are a reliable part of our transportation system, thereby increasing the demand.”

“We want to get taxis on the street to meet the demand that we know is out there,” said Ed Reiskin, Director of Transportation. “By setting an appropriate schedule for increasing taxis and the appropriate price for the permits, we can improve customer service for San Francisco residents and visitors and ensure a financially stable environment for taxi drivers.”

There are currently 1,735 taxis authorized to operate in San Francisco. The SFMTA is now authorized to add up to 120 new taxi permits or medallions this year and an additional 200 new permits in 2014. Permits issued under this new authorization will go to qualified applicants on the medallion waiting list to be operated as “gas and gates” medallions. Some could also be leased directly to drivers or to companies on a full- or part-time basis.

The Hara Report concluded that an additional 800 taxis could eventually be needed. As it is not possible to deploy a large number of taxis instantaneously, the SFMTA will implement a gradual increase of taxis.

Based on the consultant report, the prices of medallions have also been reduced: $250,000 for the fixed medallion transfer price and $125,000 for the reduced medallion transfer price. The $200,000 price for medallion surrenders will remain the same. The half price medallions were established last year to help the taxi drivers who have been on the waiting list the longest, including ramp taxi drivers, obtain a transferrable medallion. The medallion prices can change based on the consumer price index.

These new permits will continue San Francisco’s commitment to fostering the greenest taxi fleet in the U.S. All new taxi permits, whether transferred or leased, are required to be operated with an alternative fuel vehicle.

The SFMTA Taxi Services staff is developing other initiatives to encourage public confidence, including a public outreach campaign, improved taxi driver training, new universal taxi toplights and an information technology project to allow all taxis to be ‘e-hailed’ on any smart phone application that dispatches San Francisco taxis.

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