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SFMTA Taxi Services
Taxi Advisory Council


Monday, August 8, 2011
2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room
One South Van Ness Avenue

PRESENT:      Tara Housman; Richard Hybels; Timothy Lapp; John Han; Dan Hinds; David Khan; Barry Korengold; John Lazar; Carl MacMurdo; William Minikel; William Mounsey; Tone Lee; Athan Rebelos; Ruach Graffis; Chris Sweis

ABSENT:         none

STAFF IN ATTENDANCE:  Christiane Hayashi Deputy Director Taxi Services

1. Call to order:  Chris Sweis called the meeting to order at 1:10 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:  July 25, 2011

Mr. Han said that he had been mistaken for Mr. Khan on the minutes for the last meeting.

Public Comment:

Mr. Maund said about the medallions….

Mr. Sweis interrupted and said this was time to comment on minutes only.

Mr. Healy said his name was spelled correctly.

Mr. Gruberg said there was incorrect statement in his public comment. 

Mr. Hayashi said that the minutes can be reviewed again and corrected. 

Public comment closed.

Mr. Sweis said he will not approve the minutes for this meeting will approve or review next meeting.

5. Public Comment

            Mr. Mehmood said he would like to know how many illegal cabs have been             removed by the investigators that are harassing the drivers around town.

            Mr. Maund said the people need more cabs in service during peak time.

            Mr. Healy said there are too many fees involved in being a driver.  He said the             illegal tipping should be an issue to address soon.

            Mr. Mao said he has been a driver sense 1982.  He said he would like more             information on peak time medallions.

Mr. Rathbone said a driver used a square devise and an incorrect charge             was made to a customer.  He said he took time to talk to the customer and could not do anything about it because it’s out of his hands.

            Mr. Malik said that drivers are paying high gate fees high gas fees and 5%             fees he said he urges this council to ask the board to raise the flag drop to $4.

            He said there should be updated information on the website regarding single             operator medallions. 

            Mr. Balkin said he is frustrated on the sales of medallions. 

            Mr. Quiah asked whether this is the time to ask a question regarding flag drop             rate.

6. Report of the Council Liaison (Discussion only)

    a. Staff Update- Jarvis Murray updated

       Mr. Murray went over Medallion Sales handout.

    b. Regulatory Reform Update

    c. Taxi Medallion Sales Pilot Program Update

Ms. Housman asked about medallion 406.  She asked how long does it take for a medallion to be reissued to the list after a medallion becomes available.

Mr. Murray said it takes a while.

Mr. Han asked when MTA might expect to finalize the criteria for single operator medallions.

Mr. Sweis reminded him this is time to discuss the staff report.

Public Comment

Mr. Rathbone said that on the medallion sales handout the people being tracked for movement on the list have moved significantly.  He said he doesn’t understand why people are complaining about movement on the list.

Mr. Gruberg said that these numbers are misconstrued.  He said the movement he sees sense back in January when the program began.

Mr. Malik said in his opinion the list is not moving. 

Public Comment Closed


7. Recommendation on how to eliminate medallion brokers and how to enforce them (Discussion and Possible Action)


            Mr. Mounsey asked is it legal to have the 4 layer leases.

            Mr. Sweis said a 3 layer lease is the rule.

            Mr. Murray said it’s hard to enforce sense they need to be caught in the act.              He said that they do need concrete evidence and not just word of mouth.

            Mr. Mounsey said it seems to him that it’s a catch 22.  Drivers want to work             and do not want to lose their jobs for telling on someone.

            Mr. Lazar said they are losing a lot of good gate drivers but that’s the way the             industry is right now.  He said a flyer should be giving out to the drivers             indicating how much they should be paying for a shift. 

            Mr. Lapp said that this creates a very uneven playing field.  He said the only             way you can possible contain it is by making the punishment as severe as             possible for medallion holders using brokers.  He said enforcing revocation             could be used as a deterrent.

Mr. Rebelos said that this industry was built around the gas and gate system.   He said that medallion holders that are not operating a medallion ethically should be addressed. 

Mr. Hybels said nobody likes brokers but companies accept this LTL with open arms. 

Ms. Graffis said that if someone brings a medallion and wants to run it as LTL the cab company should enforce and be more responsible than they are being now.  She said the driver should have to abide by rules one for example is making the cab be parked in the lot. 

Mr. Han said investigating illegal brokers should also be done by the new investigators. 

Mr. Khan said when he went to look for work at a cab company they told him there was no work.  He said he started to lease a cab from a broker and it was more expensive but he didn’t have to tip off the cashier etc.  He said brokers have been exploiting drivers more now. 

Mr. Lee said 60-70 percent of drivers are long term lease drivers.  He said cab companies should be more concerned on how cab drivers are leasing their vehicles. 

Mr. Hinds said there needs to be more medallion holder accountability.  He said they need to establish rules clearly that he needs to follow. 

Mr. Macmurdo said that if the purpose is to eliminate the brokers this should be led by the MTA.  He suggested designing sworn statement forms that the medallion holders and the color schemes have to answer on annual bases.  This would put the accountability on individuals to follow these rules.

Mr. Lazar said the medallion holders now days are dictate how the industry is run.  He said he doesn’t know what the answer is but he thinks the regulators should figure out a way to address this issue.

Mr. Rebelos said the medallion holder should be equally accountable as the color scheme for proper operation of the medallion. 

Mr. Hybels said that he doesn’t know how bad these companies really don’t want brokers using their cabs.  He said he has been able to regulate the way a medallion was operated. 

Mr. Mounsey said the companies are being lazy about enforcing these rules.  He said the cab companies need to be held accountable on enforcing the rules.

Ms. Housman said she thought there were rules that drivers need to come to the color scheme to change shifts.  He said if they are supposed to do this and the color scheme is supposed to know who drivers the vehicles they need to enforce the rules.

Mr. Han said the question is how are we going to get rid of these brokers. 

Mr. Lee said that the cab companies are the people who can regulate this issue not the drivers.

Mr. Sweis said he would like the council to brainstorm for solutions for the broker problem.  He said they create a fourth layer of leasing in the industry.  He asked if there were any solutions on getting rid of brokers.

Mr. Hinds said long term leases are a part of this industry.  He said they should come up with a way to manage them not necessary eliminate them.  He said the medallion holder accountability is going to part of the solution.  He said the long term leaser should be an active driver on that lease.   

Mr. Khan said he agrees with Mr. Hinds.  He said there is a lot of under the table payments taking place right now.  He said drivers are paying 130-160 dollars a shift.  He said instead of pointing fingers the cab companies need to open their books and find out who are the brokers in their companies. 

Mr. Hybels said there should be no affiliate charging more than what the companies are charging. 

Mr. Han said he agrees with Mr. Hybels.  He said all the rules that apply to gas and gate drivers should apply to LTL. 

Mr. Lapp said it would not be a bad idea that everyone who is driving a long term lease should have all this information and have to sign something official.

Mr. Lapp said the companies should have a record of the long term lease holders. 

Mr. Sweis said right now he will be writing down the several ideas that are being stated and that he will ask Ms. Hayashi which ideas are feasible.

Ms. Graffis said there should be a document that is mandated to be signed and it should be signed here at the MTA by the regulator.

Mr. Sweis said there should be stronger penalties established. 

Mr. Hayashi said the idea of mailing to all drivers can be done.  She said whistle blower support is not for our department to support this is up to the company to support and not blacklist.  She said penalties have been revised but she knows there could be more focus on this issue.  She said you can have penalties review at this meeting and have recommendations to staff come out of that.

Mr. Rebelos motioned to submit following recommendation to SFMTA board. 

The medallion holder shall be held equally accountable with the color scheme for operation and management of the medallion.

Information provided to drivers regarding the gate cap and whistle blower rights. 

Uniform gate fees for all cabs operating under the color scheme. 

Copies of all contracts between drivers, cab companies and medallion holders be provided to SFMTA and be kept updated on a monthly bases.

Mr. Hinds seconded.

The board discussed the motion. 

Public Comment

Ms. Murai said she had been confronted to lease out her medallion.  She said she declined because she knew the drivers are being treated unfairly.  She said she also agrees that medallion holders need to be held accountable. 

Mr. Migdal said revocation of medallions should be a consequence for not operating your medallion by the rules.  He said the uniform lease was a good idea and should be implemented. 

Mr. Healy said having the medallion holder ultimately responsible for everything seems very tedious.

Mr. Gruberg said Mr. Rebelos’s motion has some good points.  He said that the medallion holder and cab companies need to be held accountable for having a broker operate a cab.  He said a series of regulatory rules be implemented that color schemes and medallion holders need to follow certain provisions.  Some possible regulations that medallion holders and color schemes need to follow are:  Purchase cab responsibility, lease a cab to a driver, collect gates lease fees, manage maintenance of cab, arrange for or pay insurance for cab. 

Mr. Weiner said he is here in support to deny broker cabs denial to this business.  He said there should be a performance standard for LTL driver.  He said yellow cab was not the first one to start LTL and yellow cab was not the first to start affiliates.  He said it was simple a response to the industry to stay competitive.

Mr. Rathbone (inaudible) He said he thinks they should try to define what is legal and what the working models of the industry are.  He you should define precisely what you want.  

Mr. Malik said that state and federal law prohibits a driver to drive more than 10 hours.  He said that ten hours of actively is the rule not including breaks. 

Public Comment Closed

Mr. Rebelos wanted to change the gate schedule for each color scheme shall be applicable to every taxi operating under that color scheme.

Motion revised is:

Mr. Rebelos motioned to submit following recommendation to SFMTA board. 

The medallion holder shall be held equally accountable with the color scheme for operation and management of the medallion.

Information be provided by SFMTA to drivers advising them of gate caps and whistle blower rights. 

The gate schedule for each color scheme shall be applicable to every taxi operating under that color scheme

Copies of all contracts between permit holders, color schemes and drivers be provided to SFMTA and be kept updated as needed

Ayes: Tara Housman; Richard Hybels; Timothy Lapp; John Han; Dan Hinds; David Khan; Barry Korengold; John Lazar; Carl MacMurdo; William Minikel; William Mounsey; Athan Rebelos; Ruach Graffis; Chris Sweis

Nayes: Tone Lee

Motion Passed

8. Council Members requests for information [Discussion only]

            Mr. Sweis asked for information request.

Mr. Hybels said the website needs to be updated. 

Mr. Lazar wanted information on how single operator medallions will be operated.

No Public Comment

9. Schedule upcoming calendar items [Discussion and Action]

Mr. Macmrudo wanted to discuss to recommend to SFMTA to amend the transportation code to allow medallion holders age 60 and above or with disability a 30 day window to sign up to sell their medallion.

Mr. Sweis would like to discuss alternative plans to the pilot program as it stands.

Mr. Sweis took a show of hands on the next calendar item.

Alternative plans to medallion sales program on next agenda.

ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting was adjourned by standing vote at 3:39 p.m.


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