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

Taxi Committee

Regular Meeting Minutes

Monday, November 30, 2009, 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

SFMTA CAC members, not on this committee, but also present:  Sue Vaughan

2. Adopt minutes of October 26, 2009: 

Item #4 was continued.

3. Report of the chairman:  Steve Ferrario

No report.

4. Report on Taxi Industry reform options  (Discussion/Action) Chris Hayashi

Chris Hayashi, deputy director of Taxis, stated that goals should be developed for the following subjects:

1) Service and safety for the public

2) Driver quality of life

3) Business stability

4) City revenue

5) Entrance strategy

6) Exit strategy

7) Representation

Taxi town hall discussions on reform options for medallions focused transferability and seniority.  Staff is researching local lenders about financing.  The waiting period is approaching 30 years.  Some people from the public and the taxi industry are in favor of overhauling Proposition K.  Some are in favor of retaining some of its elements.  People agree that applicants should meet a driving requirement to qualify and maintain a driving requirement following receipt.  Some feel that the driving requirement should be relaxed over time.  People feel that medallion holders should be drivers, not companies.  Medallions should be limited to one permit per person. 

Ms. Hayashi added that drivers expressed interest in establishing a hardship fund for drivers without medallions.  Revenue ideas for the city are: a user charge on medallions, a stock option plan for employees to acquire medallions and a dollar tax added per fare.  A presentation of reform options will be presented to the SFMTA Board in January.  

Steve Ferrario stated that the CAC wanted to weigh in on proposals before they are presented to the SFMTA Board.

5. Public Comment  

Martin Smith stated that voters made the driving requirement a law in 2002.  Drivers signed up on the list, waited and received their medallions.  The majority of people who did not sign up had their chance. 

Jim Gillespie stated that he was in favor of a combination of both transferability and seniority.  Transferability gives waiting drivers a chance to own medallions sooner.  Transferability provides an exit strategy to elderly medallion holders.  More medallions are needed in San Francisco. 

Frank Fahey stated that he was one of many drivers who were not aware of the list.  Once he signed up, he received his medallion.  Some drivers are not interested in getting on the list.  Taxi companies and radio services need to be factored into the taxi equation.

Hansu Kim stated that the industry knows what needs to be done, but it does not have representation.  Entry and exit is a problem.  Elderly people, who should not be driving, want to keep their medallions.  Medallions are valuable, but the city gives them away.  Drivers are better off purchasing medallions because the list takes so long.  Sell medallions to drivers not companies. 

Barry Korengold stated that he was against transferability.  The list moves slowly because there are people holding onto medallions who should not have them.  People at the top of the list will be disabled or not be alive long enough to pay off their medallions.  Medallion holders waiting on the list should not be penalized into giving up their medallions when their health goes bad.  If there is a form of transferability, consider a limited number of medallions transferred at a fixed price.  Most drivers cannot afford to pay $300,000. 

Laurie Graham stated that she holds a medallion, but she does not own it.  She holds shares in a taxi company, which is her incentive to provide good customer service.   

Michael Spain stated that the city should auction medallions to drivers.  Other cities have had no problem with financing availability.  Historically, fixed pricing never worked anywhere.  An open auction allows people to see bidding levels.  Auction proceeds should go to the city.  Veteran drivers could be rewarded with credits toward a medallion purchase. 

Carl Macmurdo stated that one of the tragedies of Proposition K is that people are not allowed to build equity.  After years of waiting, people who have become disabled or died would get nothing.  An equity building process should be put in place.  

Tara Housman stated that proceeds from medallion sales should be funneled to a fund for drivers to address inequities.  Proposition K is open to interpretation.

David Troutman suggested reading Proposition K.

Mark Gruberg stated that the proposed transfer scheme would hurt both the people on the list and the elderly.  For revenue, the city can charge rent or franchise fees on medallions.  It is not fair to take money from an industry with problems. 

6. Schedule upcoming meetings and agenda items (Discussion)

Next regular meeting:  January 11, 2010, at 4:30 p.m.
1 South Van Ness Avenue, Conference Room 3075

7. Adjournment:  The meeting was adjourned at 5:38 p.m.

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

Accessible meeting policy – One South Van Ness Avenue

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