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City and County of San Francisco
Municipal Transportation Agency
Citizens’ Advisory Council

Taxi Committee


Monday, January 11, at 4:30 p.m.
1 South Van Ness Avenue, Conference Room 3074
San Francisco, California

1. Call to Order / Roll Call  
Chairman Steve Ferrario called the meeting to order at 4:30 p.m. 

Taxi Committee Members present at Roll Call:  Mary Burns, Steve Ferrario, Griffith Humphrey and Ruth Wheeler

Taxi Committee Members absent:  None

2. Adopt Minutes of October 26 and November 30, 2009: 
On motion to adopt the minutes of October 26: Adopted
Ayes – Burns, Ferrario, Humphrey and Wheeler

On motion to adopt the minutes of November 30: Adopted
Ayes – Burns, Ferrario, Humphrey and Wheeler

3. Report of the Chairman:  Steve Ferrario

No report.

4. Report on Taxi Industry Reform Options (Discussion/Action) Chris Hayashi

Chris Hayashi, deputy director, Taxi Services, stated that the proposal of the Taxi Industry Reform is being reviewed by Executive Director/CEO Nathaniel Ford.  The medallion list was closed to new applicants in December 2009 to wait for policy guidance from the SFMTA Board.  A short-term pilot program is being developed to provide medallion holders of a certain age the opportunity to sell their medallions.  This plan is reversible and can be modified.  Ms. Hayashi stated that the plan also included a one-time project for direct sale of medallions that the SFMTA has on hand.  Medallion sales would be controlled by the SFMTA.  Medallion holders would be subject to the Proposition K driving requirement.  From the proceeds of the sale, a 15% transfer fee would go to the city and a 5% transfer fee would go towards a fund for drivers.  Staff recommends establishing a taxi industry advisory group to monitor developments for long-term solutions.  This advisory group would not replace or reduce the CAC’s jurisdiction. 

5. Public Comment:

John Han stated that he is not in favor of unrestricted auctions.  Medallions should be sold to working drivers by seniority.  Medallions sold to a free market would create an underclass.

Dan Hines stated that Ms. Hayashi’s proposal was constructive.  Medallions should be for working drivers.  Driving until you drop dead is unsafe and insane.

Jane Bolig stated that the system should not be allowed to stay as is.  The plan is short-term and needed.   

Tara Housman stated that the drivers fund should be larger.  There should be provisions to prevent the SFMTA from issuing medallions to plug a budget hole.

Hansu Kim stated that Ms. Hayashi developed a smart plan with ideas taken from the town hall meetings.  If the plan doesn’t work, it can be changed.  Elderly drivers are a concern.  There is distrust in the industry as to what the SFMTA will do.

Dave Barrough stated that the SFMTA needs to give attention to driver working conditions.  Service reliability, phone orders and improvements to radio service is urgent.  Elderly drivers who are not on the list need a way to retire.  Selling medallions is a distraction that underlines the moral authority, regulatory and legal authority of the SFMTA.

Francoise Spiegelman stated that taxi income is failing.  She expressed concerned that once a medallion is sold, it is gone. 

Barry Korengold stated that the plan seems rushed, and it is designed to get money for the SFMTA instead of doing the right thing for the industry.  Many concerns remain unanswered:  the down-payment, affordable loans and whether drivers will be eligible for a loan.  The plan is not a temporary solution because medallion sales will be permanent.

Michael Spain stated that the draft did not address corporate permit holders.  He was concerned that the SFMTA would revoke some of the corporate permits in order to provide them to drivers on the list.  The scheme to transfer permits, as a social reform of the industry, is appalling.  He also stated after months of town hall meetings, there should be some documents to vote on.  

Charles Rathbone urged the Taxi Committee to give a green light on the proposal.  It will provide options and supports the city and the industry.

Carl Macmurdo stated that he was supportive.   Transferability provides a retirement strategy for the elderly and medallions for drivers.  Transferability is popular among cities, and San Francisco needs money.

Michael Satee stated that he has no knowledge, expertise or interest in medallions. 

Patrick McCallum asked if the proceeds from medallion sales would go exclusively to working drivers.

Ruach Graffis stated that selling medallions is not the sole solution for a retirement plan.  The SFMTA has the authority to require medallion holders to pay fees.

Mark Gruberg stated that the industry is being asked to support something that is not in final form.  Available medallions should be reissued.

Tariq Mehmood stated that medallions will only be sold to people on the list, but Ms. Hayashi closed the list to new applicants.  She should have given people notice.    

Richard Moles stated that it is good for drivers to have medallions.

Jessie Talboa stated that, after 10 years on the list, he is number 300.

6. Committee Members’ Questions/Information Requests (Discussion) 

7. Schedule Upcoming Meetings and Agenda Items (Discussion/Action)

Chairman Ferrario stated that he would schedule a special meeting to review options for taxi reform.

8. Adjournment:  The meeting was adjourned at 5:52 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by:
Debra J. Reed
SFMTA CAC - Secretary

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