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SFMTA Taxi Services

Taxi Advisory Council


Monday, December 13, 2010
2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room
1 South Van Ness Avenue



PRESENT:      T. Ajaegbu; J. Bolig; L. Graham; J. Han; D. Hinds; D. Khan; B.

Korengold; J. Lazar; C. Macmurdo; W. Minikel; D. Nazarov; A. Rebelos; C. Sweis

ABSENT:         J. Gillespie; W. Mounsey

STAFF IN ATTENDANCE:  Christiane Hayashi – Deputy Director/Council Liaison

1. Call to order:  CSweis called the meeitng to order at 1:07 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:  November 22, 2010

L. Graham motioned to approve the minutes.  W. Minikel seconded the motion.

On motion to approve the minutes for November 22, 2010.

AYES:             T. Ajaegbu; J. Bolig; L. Graham; J. Han; D. Hinds; D. Khan; B. Korengold; J. Lazar; C. Macmurdo; W. Minikel;D. Nazarov; A. Rebelos; C. Sweis    

ABSENT:        J. Gillespie; W. Mounsey

No public comment.

5. Public Comment

B. Migdal said there has only been one increase in the last 11 years.  San Francisco is the second most expensive t city in the country.  There was a meter increase scheduled in 2008 but it never happened.  He wanted to know what the status is of the meter increase and if the Controller was going to do a report on the meter increase.

M. Gruberg agreed with B. Midgal’s comment.  This is a way drivers can bring in extra earnings.  There have been a few gate increases and gas price has gone up since then.  He said this is a disgrace and neglect of the drivers to let this go on for such a long time. 

W. Hollis said the new A-Card looks like an ID badge that you have to clip on your pocket yet it has personal information on it which makes the driver a prime target for identity theft.  He said if we are going to throw out the tin badge, what do we replace them with.

T. Lee suggested that we allow drivers to renew their A-Card every 2 or 3 years. 

F. Fahy commented that taxi drivers are getting citations for not turning in their rosters.  He said each time a company makes a violation, a fine should be sent rather than letting them collect and sending a large bill.

B. Taranto said he is concerned over the lack of information about announcements about the taxi industry.  He said these items should be posted ahead of time and not hidden from the public.

6. Report of the Council Liaison (Discussion only)

    • a. Staff Update

J. Murray provided a staff update.  He responded to W. Hollis’ comment and said the Taxi Services has revised the new A-Card format which no longer includes the date of birth and we removed the word “CDL”.  He also explained that taxi drivers should still wear the metal badge and the new A-Card is to be placed inside your wallet.  He said the SFMTA is reviewing a different renewal schedule for A-Card permits.  He said if taxi drivers do not feel comfortable with the new A-Card they could come in and obtain one with the new format.

    • b. Taxi Medallion Sales Pilot Program Update

M. Harris provided a Taxi Medallion Sales Program Update.  He said we are looking at closing a total of 34 sales by December 31.

    • c. Regulatory Reform Update

J. Murray provided a handout for the Regulatory Reform update and informed the members that the handout for vehicle requirements will be discussed at the next TAC meeting.  He discussed the bike lane regulations regarding pickup and drop off on a bike lane.  He said there will be some items regarding security cameras and taxis discussed in the near future.  He said pre-arranged taxi rides will also be reviewed.

J. Han asked if the State can clarify the crosswalks and take into consideration bus zones and handicap zones.

B. Korengold said he does not even know where to go get the ID card that goes on the dash.  He asked if they could get a list letting drivers know where to get a new color scheme/photo card.

A. Rebelos asked about the taxi and ramp equipment.  He asked if the Braille display is different from what we used to have.

J. Murray asked that all comments and changes for the new vehicle requirements be emailed to the Taxi Services as we will not be discussing this item at this meeting.

D. Khan suggested that the number decal should be made from reflective material.

J. Lazar said any business that received credit card charges, they need to report it to the Federal government and beginning July 1 each color scheme must provide a 1099 K.  He asked if the A-Card renewal process could be speeded up.

J. Bolig said she is offended that she is being charged $22 more for A-Card renewal and has to wait in line.  She asked if cab companies will be included in discussions about bike lane issues.

B. Korengold said there are a couple companies who are still using the audio with the security camera and staff should advise companies to post signs or turn off the audio.

Public Comment

T. Lee said he uses the bike lane to drop off passengers because if they do not pull over far enough then the taxi passenger may get hit by another car.  He said he would rather get a ticket for dropping off in the bike lane than put his passenger in danger.  He said the SFMTA should have DPT to help enforce limousines at hotels.

M. Gruberg agreed with L. Graham.  He also agreed with J. Bolig’s comment about the bike lanes.  He said he would like to see the City allow the San Francisco taxi industry set up their own regulations for drug testing for cab drivers.

B. Migdal asked what the point of the GPS is and asked how it protects the driver’s safety.  He said the regulations are not helping the industry get better and it is designed solely to create a larger bureaucracy.

B. Taranto said he agrees with everything J. Bolig said.  He said it is important for this group to understand that there is a lack of information given to the public.  He said that J. Murray is not at the ISCOTT meetings and we need to get people to these meetings.  He hopes taxis will soon be allowed to use the carpool lane on the bridge.

P. Witt said traffic needs to be coordinated with cab drivers.  He said the $22 increase on the A-Card is ridiculous.  He said this council is supposed to be focused on the Medallion Sales Pilot Program and he feels the customer and driver results should be looked at.

E. Healy said others should be courteous and not talk when other people are talking.  He said the meetings are inadequate.  He said there should be town hall meetings to deal with some of these discussions.    

W. Hollis agreed with E. Healy.  He said the focus for the security camera was to protect the drivers.  Now the focus has shifted to the concern of the company owners protecting their assets.    


C. Sweis switched Item 8 with Item 7.

7. Discuss and finalize the lender experience with the Medallion Sales Pilot Program.  (Discussion and Possible Action)

R. Lytle, Vice President, San Francisco Federal Credit Union, said there have not been enough completed medallion sales to provide a proper report on the lender experience.  She said we have been successful at closing sales.  She said their biggest issue is the standardization of the lease agreement.

Public Comment

T. Lee congratulated the Taxi Services on the Medallion Sales Pilot Program.  He said in less than one year, they have gone through 50 medallion sales and they are learning about our industry.  He said the pilot program is good and we should   expand it to the rest of the industry.

M. Spain said he would like to be the sole lender for this program.  He asked how much experience the lender needs to make an opinion about the program. 

M. Gruberg wanted to know how many medallions have been sold and how many of those will be gates and gas.  He asked there are safe guards to make sure that drivers do not have silent partnerships with other parties to purchase medallions.

F. Fahy said it appears you cannot be a gas and gates driver to buy a medallion.     

B. Taranto said he agrees with M. Spain.  He said the report that came from the lender has not been approved by staff.  He said it is important that staff look at this because it is a staff issue. 

E. Healy said medallion sales applicants have a choice of being gas and gate or owner operators.  He said that there is only one lender because a year ago C. Hayashi had a meeting and only three lenders showed up.  He said the lender is not trying to hide anything.  He said the lease should be standardized.  

C. Sweis closed public comment. 

8. Discuss and finalize the impact of the Medallion Sales Pilot Program on Color Schemes. (Discussion and Possible Action)

C. Sweis gave a summary from the previous meeting.  He said there is a trend of buyers going into an affiliate agreement with companies. 

D. Hinds said there are a number of medallion holders that are aging.  He said we should try and mitigate the impact of the medallion moving from one company to another. 

A. Rebelos agreed with D. Hinds and said the smaller the company, the more exaggerated that number will seem.  He said it is more likely that a larger company has more people on the medallion list compared to a larger company. 

A. Rebelos said he wants to see how many medallions move to another company due to a sale.  He said we need to consider parallel rules to create fleet medallions or additional medallions to stabilize cab companies.

T. Ajaegbu said he understands that smaller companies are afraid if medallions are sold, they will go out of business.  He said there should be a cap so smaller companies cannot lose more than 20 medallions. 

J. Han said the sales program is adding a dynamic where companies are competing to retain medallions.  He wanted to know what kind of movement has already occurred with the medallions that have been sold.

W. Minikel said change happens and there will be a constant flux in everything we do.  If we are going to assist companies who lose medallions then maybe companies should support drivers on a slow night. 

J. Lazar said if the gas and gates price is not competitive then we will have a problem.  He said the medallions that were sold and went to Luxor came back as affiliates and they had to shuffle people around to help those who lost their jobs because of it.

C. Macmurdo said in the future, MTA can control the pricing of medallions and have certain pricing for each lease type. 

J. Bolig said if you effect one part of the industry you will effect the other part. 

C. Sweis continued Item 7 to the next meeting.

Public Comment

T. Lee said he picked up a customer last week who said there were 40 people waiting at Fisherman’s Wharf for a cab.  They shared a limousine ride to Moscone Center for $130 because they could not find a cab.  He said gates should be going up. 

M. Spain asked how we can discuss the impact when we have not discussed it enough.  He said this is an issue of watching bigger companies taking medallions from smaller companies.  He said we wasted time on this item and we should have waited six or eight months later to see what the impact has been. 

B. Taranto said C. Sweis has done a wonderful job of reigning in the discussion and said some of the comments are very valuable.  The report cannot be finalized because they need two pieces of information, what is the relationship between the medallion holder and the company and how many companies lost medallions versus gained medallions.  He said peak time permits is part of this discussion and it may be a way of compensating companies that lose medallions.  He said the smaller companies would go out of business anyway because if the medallion holder doesn’t sell, they would die anyway so the company would lose the medallion.

E. Healy said there are a lot of people having trouble making money as it is.  He said an automatic assumption of putting more cabs on the street will not work.  He said there should be some way of studying how much business there is before putting more cabs out. 

C. Sweis closed public comment.

9. Council Members requests for information [Discussion only]

J. Bolig asked for a timer with warning a bell.  She said she previously asked that people on the waiting list be allowed to participate in the Key Personnel program and she wants to know what has happened with that recommendation.

J. Han asked if he can get the ration of how many buyers are going to color scheme affiliates versus gate and gas.

C. Sweis asked if we could include a column for last week’s figures on the Medallion Sales Pilot Program report.

B. Korengold said he wants to know how many buyers have had to use balloon payments.  He wanted to know what new legislation the SFMTA will propose for the use of security cameras.

C. Sweis asked that the survey be distributed to the Council.

Public Comment

B. Taranto said you need to know what the loan arrangements are in order to evaluate the program. 

C. Sweis closed public comment.

10. Schedule upcoming calendar items [Discussion and Action]

C. Sweis wanted to continue Item 7 to the next meeting.

J. Han said we should discuss the impact of the medallion sale on drivers.

B. Korengold said we should discuss the effect on drivers on the waiting list and he wanted to discuss the impact of the two year driving requirement.

C. Sweis said to add the following items to the next agenda:  Item 7 and

D. Hinds motioned to add the following items on the next agenda:  continuation of Item 7 and discussion of the impact of the pilot program on the drivers and drivers on the waiting list.  L. Graham seconded the motion.

AYES:             T. Ajaegbu; J. Bolig; L. Graham; J. Han; D. Hinds; B.

Korengold; C. Macmurdo; W. Minikel; D. Nazarov; A. Rebelos; C. Sweis    

ABSENT:        J. Gillespie; D. Khan; J. Lazar; W. Mounsey

ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting was adjourned by standing vote at 4:43 p.m.


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