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Rules and Regulations Subcommittee


June 10, 2008 at 10:30am

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place               

Room 408

Present:  Breslin, Oneto, Gillespie

Absent:   None

Called meeting at 10:46 am

1.       Call to Order/Roll Call : Quorum

  • Com Breslin: I would like to change the order of the items on the Agenda; 5 is time sensitive so 5 first then 4.

2.      General Public Comment (Please limit public comment to items not on the agenda)

  • Jim Gillespie: I am personally perturbed about the agenda because the rules committee is supposed to discuss rules. This is the same agenda item as the Taxi Commission regular meeting. 
  • Com Breslin:  We don’t look to take action tonight.
  • Carl Macmurdo: I am confused about the charge of this committee.  I thought we were supposed to make amendments to the rule changes not policy decisions.
  • Com Breslin: These are very much policy matters. We are more open ended than the rule book.
  • Mark Gruberg: This should receive greater liberation and attention instead of going straight to the commission tonight.
  • Com Breslin: If people cannot come together this evening, can we have an extension?
  • Dir Thigpen: No, Clean Air Taxi takes affect on July 1st and we need to have rules prior to that time. We really need to have the program in place so it’s fully operational and functional by July 1st. 
  • Wesley Hollis: Security cameras; specified the requirements.  I noticed the final specification won’t be posted until July.  Are they going to be in the Rules and Regulations or Police Code? 
  • Marty Smith: I think the specifications have to be up to 25 megabytes.
  • Dir Thigpen: The specifications will not be released until July.  Everyone with Raywood has to replace their cameras.  We are in the process of ordering laptops and we will be testing the cameras.

3.      Adoption of Minutes from the April 10, 2008 Subcommittee Meeting:

Public Comment:

  • Ray Slone: The minutes do not reflect that I talked about the legality of dispatch and being able to regulate that.
  • Dir Thigpen: We will review the tape.
  1. Consideration of Clean Air Taxi Program: Proposed Amendments to Rules 4.A.6, and Sections 5.D and 5.G, Proposed Deletion of Rules 4.A.8, 5.B.1, 5.B.3, and 5.B.8 of the Rules and Regulations (see Explanatory Documents for Proposed Amendments) [ACTION]
  • Dir Thigpen: We developed this program for an incentive.  On April 1st; the 1st Green Vehicle Guide was released. On April 7th surcharges for gates took effect.  On May 1st, we released sample fleet conversion plans and sent two reminders. Only two companies did not comply but they are now in compliance.  July 1st, this takes effect and the proposed procedures will follow.  Comfort has two ramp cabs so technically he is exempt, so I will remove his fine.  What we proposed is that right now the way that you are introducing vehicles to the fleet is by bringing it to GTU.  Some people are taking decals and transponders out of the cars on the lot and bringing them to inspection and that has led to some problems and will no longer be able to happen.  All we are asking is that you fill out the vehicle form and we will fax it to GTU and Dan from GTU will fax it back to us.  As far as rule changes, some of the rules don’t need to be in there. If section 5D and 5C, 4A8, 5B1, 5B3, 5B8, and 4A6 will be amended to sections. 
  • Pres Gillespie: Talk about the penalty structure.
  • Dir Thigpen: If the vehicle introduction forms are not filled out and they take initiative to remove transponders from another vehicle we have a problem and at that point will asses the penalties.  We will conduct 4 surprise inspections.  We will inspect in the city and at the airport. If we find vehicles that have not submitted the form we will asses penalties.  Proposed on a size basis; we would asses penalty 1A or 1B.  All cars would then come back in for inspection within 6 months.  If at the time of inspection or during the surprise inspection; 2nd violation 2A or 2B.  Then the fleet would have to come in for inspection. Then 3A or 3B will be assessed.  If their not in compliance it will lead to revocation. This is a priority for the Mayor, Taxi Commission, Board of Supervisors and the people of the City and County of San Francisco.
  • Dir Thigpen: Section 5D spares, 5G covers inspections.  We just got rid of them and put a whole new section in. Deletion 4A8, 5B1, 5B3, 5B8, 5D and 5G. In place of those we get these fresh sections. 4A6 is amended to state that all inspections shall be conducted in accordance with the Color Scheme section.
  • Pres Gillespie: In the end it’s the responsibility of the Color Scheme to make sure they are in compliance with the rules.
  • Dir Thigpen: June 2nd the proposals were noticed. The rule book references the commission or its designee which in this case is GTU. So what they say goes. If that section remains the same, we don’t need to spell out the administrative process.
  • Com Breslin: 15D as far as the spare vehicles, 6 model years or earlier?
  • Dir Thigpen: The amended version states that. My job is simply to report so I’m not offering my opinion.
  • Com Breslin: 5G4, Jan 09, 5 model years.
  • Dir Thigpen: I should look more closely into ramps but we can explore that once we get to that section
  • Pres Gillespie: Section 6, salvage that’s new?
  • Dir Thigpen: Yes that’s new, it was asked of me to include it in the discussion.
  • Pres Gillespe: I’m for the idea of salvage but I would change the language to say “no vehicles may be placed into service" I’m a little skeptical about taking vehicles out of service.
  • Dir Thigpen: That would make sense so it wouldn’t require anyone to scrap anything.
  • Com Breslin: Do you have an opinion about the language.
  • Tom Owen: Since your adopting a formal process; placed into service will be fine.

Public Comment:

  • Ralph Machovsky: Vehicles purchased that are not in service but are registered under the Color Schemes name and they are salvage will they be able to put in service at a later date.  They were purchased for future Medallion Holders.
  • Pres Gillespie: Salvage does not kick in until January 2009.
  • Dir Thigpen: Rather than making a rule for one person. You and I can work individually prior to July 1st.
  • Ralph Machovsky: If it’s registered by a certain date to a Color Scheme.
  • Marty Smith: Talk about spares; right now they don’t have to be compliant at this point. By 2011 all fleets will be compliant. 
  • Rich Hybels: I knew I was going to hear the word safety. All 28 million vehicle accidents caused by mechanical failure are .008.  I also bought some hybrids that are salvage. I don’t know anybody that has an accident caused by mechanical failure. I’m so upset. I have 2002 vehicles with 100k miles that have to be put out of service in January.
  • Pres Gillespie: In the age section we are changing, 8 models year, to 5 model years may serve.
  • Dir Thigpen: You still have to set an outer limit as far as serving.
  • Rich Hybels: The year a car was made is meaningless.
  • Pres Gillespie: If we change this to say; placed into service. After Jan 2009 you cannot "place into service" a vehicle that exceeds the model years in the rules.
  • Rich Hybels: Salvage vehicles are not dangerous.
  • Com Breslin: I don’t see the word safety in here.
  • Rich Hybels: GTU has a problem with salvage vehicles.
  • Com Breslin: Taxis that have been purchased under our existing rules aren’t discarded.
  • Charles Rathbone: Generally this is about upgrading the fleets, that’s fine. Specifics of 5D1; new language that would be a six model year has been changed to earlier. 5D3; spare vehicle operated more than 3 days.  We will be sending paperwork.
  • Dir Thigpen: Right now this is already in affect for ramps.
  • Com Breslin: Continuous?
  • Dir Thigpen: I have to think about that, Charles raised a good point. Policy behind this particular rule is to make sure that two vehicles aren’t being operated at the same time.
  • Charles Rathbone: I have a problem with the 8 year old vehicles. I think that people should get rid of these very old taxis. I know that salvage means that there are two different vehicles that have been cut in half and put together and as a consumer I do not want to get into that type of vehicle. Lastly penalties, it’s ok to have them. First offense 1B, restricting airport decal for 6 months. So for small companies this is not equitable. I don’t think that one car in the fleet can put the whole fleet out of compliance.
  • Jim Gillespie: I don’t have a problem with the penalty.  The problem is with the airport restriction (privileges) you affect people. I have some concerns about making that a penalty. Regarding spares; my concern is if we are making it too restrictive for company’s financial budget.  Salvage vehicle; I don’t want to be in a cab that is welded together. Yellow cab bought a 2008 Nissan Altima hybrid 124 miles salvage title. I think GTU should inspect and then pass on.  Failing inspections; 5G8-if a vehicle is not back in service within 30 days it should be permanently out of service. I’ve seen some vehicles that have been in accidents that take a month and a half to repair which makes them permanently out of service.
  • Unknown: A spare with 50k miles to covert to regular cab, can it be put into service?
  • Dir Thigpen: Anything that is status quote that has already been inspected or approved can come back at that point. You would be allowed to do that. The anticipation is that you show intent for future vehicles, I will approve it.
  • Dan Hinds: I’m not sure what the problems are with the rules in place right now. I don’t see why we have to change from 8 years? Spare cabs usage; if we understood the problem, we can contribute to the solution. It’s seems like a top down approach. The penalties are extraordinary. I’m a little concerned about the way the penalties are set up. Fake medallions: serious problem running a spare with a fake medallion in which I support severe penalty for. Parts aren’t always available and the right parts aren’t always sent, these things happen.
  • Ralph: The spares should be checked every 6 months at GTU. We have spares with 200k miles. Can a car be put on stand by for a future permit?
  • Dir Thigpen: You will be eligible for emergency circumstances.
  • Mark Gruberg: This is agendized as consideration of the Clean Air Taxi program. I don’t see the urgency to go forward with this. I say take your time with this. There are other problems I can for see in this, we have a vehicle we cannot employ as a regular taxi we have to take it out of service and after 30 days we have to sell it off to another company. It’s not flexible.
  • Jane Bolig: I think operationally cab companies are in the position of having a spare as a more acceptable vehicle. I was wondering if the schedule of fines to apply it to limos, pirates and out of town vehicles. They should be subject to these fines as well. What are your standards for small, medium and large companies?
  • Dir Thigpen: 1-30 small, 30-75 medium and 75+ is large. 
  • Jane Bolig: What if your car got totaled and it’s not available. 200K miles, where did that vehicle come from? Why would be place another burden on GTU if they are short staffed by adding inspections. Salvage: there are vehicles that have nothing more than cosmetic reasons.
  • Pres Gillespie: Who is a salvaged vehicle designated by?
  • Pres Gillespie: We can have a whole other inspection for salvage vehicles.
  • Dir Thigpen: I can look into the salvage and check with insurance and DMV and come back with more information.
  • Pres Gillespie: To implement Clean Air Taxi.
  • Dir Thigpen: Existing rules state; should be inspected by Commission or its designee. Rules need to be changed and the penalties need to be adopted.
  • Gratchia: I would urge you to not punish the companies for the vehicles that they already purchased.  Find some language to give opportunity in emergency situations or out of service cabs to have an extension. I hope the political games will stop somewhere. When you change rules you harm cab drivers. I’ll appreciate if you give room for cab drivers to move around.
  • Pres Gillespie:  I would like to get Color Scheme standards in.
  • Com Breslin: We can have public comment on Color Scheme standards tonight.
  • Marty Smith: If I do 3 years at 70k miles it comes out to 34 tons a year.
  • Pres Gillespie: We have to determine what an average taxi does. It may come a time in the future that a car gets 25 miles per gallon.
  • Com Oneto: We have to make sure it’s consistent to where we brought it from.
  • Marty Smith: Salvage vehicles; maybe it should be put before the commission.
  • Roger Cardenas: Regular vehicles go to GTU for inspections.  On salvage it has to go to inspections by Highway Patrol and then the documents are turned into DMV and then they inspect the vehicle. If it’s out of state they check it more thoroughly than a regular car. Commercial vehicles have higher standards than a regular vehicle.
  • Com Breslin: Dir Thigpen is going to get us all the different check points of what the salvage vehicle goes through.
  • Welsey Hollis: I am amazed at some of these rule changes that are being proposed. Referring to 1-3 cab companies. Rules regarding spares and age limitations.  And once again we are totally ignored. Small companies cannot afford to buy 30k cars. If you force us to retire cars we can’t afford it will put us out of business due to these rules.
  • Com Oneto: Housekeeping; page two, once approval provided and submitted to GTU, request sections, what about long term lease and the driver who owns the vehicle?
  • Dir Thigpen: We need to make sure there is a clear line of communication. I don’t think its fair to Color Schemes that long term lease bring the car down to the inspection.   We need to ensure that we are making rules properly. Currently brokers are going to GTU and having cars approved.
  • Com Oneto: Proposed penalty structure. 38 tons per vehicle; don’t you have to set the percentage by the year?
  • Dir Thigpen: The way we interpret it is each vehicle counts towards the average. I will look at the plan prior to approval or denial. We are not going to look at a percentage.
  • Com Oneto: Second violation language needs to be changed to; "companies can’t receive a medallion"...they shouldn’t be able to receive. On the service years we can set a declining standard...7(2009), 6 (2010), 5 (2011). No spare over 60k miles can be put into service.
  • Com Breslin: Any ways to bullet point the issues for the commission tonight?
  • Pres Gillespie: We will have a full hearing tonight.
  • Dir Thigpen: I can draft bullet points for tonight.
  • Pres Gillespie: Agenda item 4 for next meeting

6.  Adjournment 12:38pm.



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