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Rules and Regulations Subcommittee


July 21, 2008 at 10:30am

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place               

Room 408


Present:  Breslin, Oneto, Gillespie

Absent:   None

Called meeting at 10:41 am

1.      Call to Order/Roll Call : Quorum

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

·         Carl Macmurdo: When proposals are made in the draft and they show up in supporting docs, there are no revisions being made. The same documents are being submitted.

·         Com Breslin: We are aware of the changes especially about the Color Scheme Standards.

·         Dir Thigpen: We are well aware of all the changes.  The memo you have here is the same one from the last agenda, because I did not have time to make the changes and I apologize.

·         Jane Bolig: I am very concerned that when we get debit cards that we will all incur bills like Luxor’s.  In 1998, companies were able to charge drivers for the cost. But then a law was passed that we could not. It’s costing Luxor an extra five bucks a shift.  I hope that we can consider some way that companies can be reimbursed.  We can think of regulation that some way can help and work with companies and drivers to improve service.

·         Com Breslin: Normally charges are passed through in their contract laborers.

·         Dir Thigpen: In New York they are allowed to charge up to 5%.

3.      Adoption of Minutes from the July 1,2008 Subcommittee Meeting [ACTION] :

·         Adopted without objection


4.      Consideration of 2008 Color Scheme Standards: Proposed Rules 4.A.13 and 5.A.10, Amendments to MPC § 1125; and Proposed 2008 Color Scheme Standards Regulations (see Explanatory Documents for Proposed Amendments) [ACTION]:

·         Dir Thigpen: Took the word bona fide out, determined that the manager would not have to be a Medallion Holder. 

·         Com Oneto: Reads Resolutions (from supporting docs).

·         Com Breslin: Penalties apply to the Color Schemes?

·         Dir Thigpen: It’s outlined in the Color Scheme section.

·         Jim Gillespie: The wording regarding “in the last 5 years shall be revoked” should say shall or may.  Saying may usually give latitude.  I wish there was some latitude to evaluate the situation.

·         Com Breslin: What if there permit is revoked due to the driving requirement?

·         Com Gillespie: Can it say “except with approval”.

Credit Cards:

·         Com Gillespie: As far as putting this into a rule right now?

·         Com Breslin: We have had people speak in the past should we have people come again?

·         Dir Thigpen: For the paratransit debit card program they just released the RFP for the actual equipment.  That is covering everyone except for Yellow and Luxor.  This will be released as early as 2009.

·         Com Gillespie: It’s all going to be well on its way within the next 6 months.   Companies will have to make an additional investment into credit card systems due to paratransit.  You have to make additional contacts with those accepting credit card companies.

·         Dir Thigpen: It’s being handled by MTA so it’s difficult.  What will happen is that everyone can get a merchant services account. That merchant account needs to be set up individually. I would like to see MTA try to get a discount and get a wireless provider for the whole industry which would be less costly.

·         Com Oneto: In response to your request Com Breslin, if Dir Thigpen will just give us the rest of the timeline that MTA has. 

·         Com Gillespie: There is a sheet with proposed timelines.

·         Com Oneto: I’m more considering what’s actually going to happen.

·         Com Breslin: I’m okay with taking this off of our proposed standards. I don’t want to wait until everything is done to start thinking about credit cards.

·         Dir Thigpen: Assuming that the merger is approved, we can produce a final state of the industry report which will include recommendations, if you wanted to.

·         Com Breslin: Is it appropriate to talk about the companies who are currently taking credit cards?

·         Com Gillespie: It was a specific decision not to charge driver credit card fees because drivers would be discouraged to take them. It wasn’t all about paratransit.

·         Com Breslin: Let’s not change anything at any time.

·         Com Gillespie: I would run it by the Mayor before any changes are to be made.

Public Comment:

·         Charles Rathbone: Luxor does 20k in credit cards per day.  Folks that are refusing credit cards will do the same foot dragging when the debit card system begins. Why don’t you make a timeline on this?  When I got my medallion in 1997 I set up a merchant account, it’s not that big of a deal.

·         Com Breslin: That is a concern, the timeline of MTA. 

·         Chris Sweis: Royal Taxi; in regards to credit card fees, they are independent brokers so they can charge fares to the passengers up to 10%.  It should be the responsibility of the driver who accepts the credit cards.

·         Carl Macmurdo: The issue of the credit card got caught up in the paratranist. Ten years later if the debit card system goes through, the add one system will make it work.

·         Dan Hinds: I’m really excited about this speaking for National/Veterans only.  I think that the companies will be able to negotiate with the vendors if we all use the same companies.  Every driver in the city should have this.   This is a win for the companies as well and it’s a huge plus.

·         Jane Bolig: Sometimes we need regulations that are preemptive and reactive. It’s seems to me that the companies that don’t have credit cards want to get them.  We should get a very simple survey from companies and implementation of debit cards. Again, I think you want as few regulations as we actually need. 

·         Com Breslin: We will put this on hold.  I like the idea of the survey.  I hope all the companies will follow the system.

·         Com Oneto: I would like to request that the debit/credit discussion goes to the full commission.

·         Dir Thigpen: Yes, you can do that.

Financial Statements; MPC 1137:

·         Dir Thigpen: The people are required to file these and the Controller reviews them to determine the gate fees and meter rates.  The controller relies on that data in order to do their reports.  A lot of time people don’t turn in these reports on time and the commission spends a lot of time chasing after these people.  These reports are totally confidential.  They are due by March 1st. We send out a courtesy notice letting them know. MPC 1137 was amended by Sean Elsbernd in 2006. 

·         Com Breslin: Its Paul’s question about why we are noting the MPC 1137.

·         Dir Thigpen: That section is the reason they are filing it.

·         Com Gillespie: If it’s already on the books it’s required by the company.

·         Com Oneto: Prop K; Section 6; maintaining financial accounting records (reads).

·         Dir Thigpen: This section that Com Benjamin wanted was to make sure that people were filing them and on time.  

·         Com Breslin: In accordance with the MPC, why don’t we put “in accordance with the Controllers office” we can make it simpler and tell them exactly what we are looking for.

Public Comment:

·         Jane Bolig: If you re-state a rule you don’t make it stronger.  An abstract of all the MPC’s related to taxis.

·         Com Breslin: To me it’s not duplicating its consolidating.

·         Jane Bolig: How do you take this rule and apply it to the taxi industry?

·         Com Gillespie: My thought was that we moved away from this and we were going to consider these individually.

·         Com Breslin: I thought we were taking them individually to determine what the Color Scheme needs but after were adding them up all together.

·         Com Oneto: I thought we were taking them as individual items. The Color Schemes had to pass them by 80%.

·         Com Gillespie: All Color Schemes have to be in 100% compliance with all the Rules and Regulations.  We set standards for Color Schemes, I do not agree with the 80%, I believe we approve a Color Scheme or not.

·         Com Oneto: If you remember, my number was 95%.

·         Com Gillespie: We were going to set standards for transfers.

·         Com Breslin: What you want deleted is Color Schemes cannot accept transfer without being in compliance with all the color scheme standards.

·         Com Oneto: If a Color Scheme is not complying they should not reap the benefits.

·         Com Gillespie: We need a level playing field with a higher standard.

·         Com Breslin: Take public comment on; all the standards or a percentage, tied to permit transfers.

·         Nick Sweis: I think we should look at the rules and put a list of rules that has to be in compliance prior to it being established. I been in the business since 1983 and it’s hard. 

·         Charles Rathbone: Paul has gone right to the issue here. The Taxi Commission does not have adequate enforcement tools.  This proposal gives the commission an effective enforcement tool.

·         Carl Macmurdo: I agree with what Paul said.  If the Color Schemes are not following rules the Medallion Holders should not be restricted.  There should also be fines. There should be more direct discipline for violations.

·         Jane Bolig: I can’t imagine a company knowing which 80% it would be able to pass. I can’t imagine a company that would be dumb enough to come into 80% compliance and let the other 20% go.

·         Com Gillespie: There is an audit checklist that our investigators use.

·         Com Breslin: Why would you want to send a permit to a company that is not in compliance? We are taking the choice to disregard the regulation.

·         Dir Thigpen: People can leave the Color Scheme but none can go in.  My office is currently in the process to revise the audit checklist.

·         Chris Sweis: I agree with Paul having 100% compliance.  Freezing Color Scheme changes does makes more work for the commission office.

·         Com Oneto: I want everyone to understand that if a Color Scheme has an issue and the Medallion Holder wants to leave, they can. As far as our audit, I have a question, are some of these already on the audit?

·         Dir Thigpen: Gas& Gate and managers, those are new. The Color Scheme will fill out an annual survey and then the Executive Director will sit down with the Color Scheme owner and look at those issues to give that person a chance to come into compliance.

·         Com Oneto: Could the audit have an A&B list?

·         Dir Thigpen: Yes.

·         Com Oneto: I am in agreement with 100% compliance but I still think that you have to have steps of discipline .I think we have to have this as an immediate penalty. 

·         Com Gillespie: The idea of the Color Scheme audit; maybe we in the committee can review the audit checklist and it would be good to put in the commissioners packet next time.

·         Com Breslin: We are not saying its okay to not being in compliance.

·         Com Oneto: I’m not saying that this audit or the next audit; we give them 2 weeks at a time and then if they don’t come into compliance they are gone. If we were to request these things to be audited can we tie that date into April 15th?

·         Dir Thigpen: People file extensions and corporate taxes aren’t due until October.  A good time for it is prior to July 1st. A good time would probably be June 1st. Would you like me for the next meeting to bring the past audit sheet and then bring back a draft of a new audit sheet and then a draft of a tier 1 and tier 2 system?

·         Com Oneto: That would be fine.

·         Com Gillespie: Is there anyone who has not filed a financial statement?

·         Dir Thigpen: No, they are all in.

·         Com Breslin: Public comment, none. We are going to strike that from the list.

·         Com Oneto: We are talking about a big financial responsibility.  The first penalty is at the beginning then you have 6 months.

·         Com Breslin: We need to get some information from the State Workers Compensation board.  The long term leases.

·         Com Gillespie: I think the Workers Compensation requirement needs one meeting just on that.  It may include MTA and the City Attorney’s office.  I think there would have to be legislation.

·         Com Breslin: If we are going to say that we are going to separate this out, I would like to take public comment on it because we agendized it.

·         Com Oneto: I think we do need a full meeting for Workers Compensation.

·         Com Breslin: We are going to continue item number 5 and then go back to item number 4.

·         Com Oneto: Operations Standards 6B

·         Dir Thigpen: That was discussed at the commission meeting in January and February.

·         Com Oneto: I’m in favor of 100 percent, you don’t have to be in the ramp business but you should have at least10.

·         Dir Thigpen: That is ready and has been discussed multiple times and is ready to go forward into a resolution.  My only thing about putting it on the commission is the time we have at the meeting.

·         Com Oneto: I’m requesting to put it on the calendar.

·         Dir Thigpen: Alright, I will draft that resolution.

·         Com Gillespie:  Do you want to talk about minimum size? It would make sense to consider it at a full commission.

·         Com Breslin: It makes sense to make a recommendation to the full commission.

·         Com Gillespie: We are not in agreement with this bullet point that you must have 5 medallions

Public Comment:

·         Charles Rathbone: Regarding the 5 cabs, I don’t think that’s necessary.  If you are making them affiliate them with a dispatch service. Ramp taxis should be a requirement of Color Schemes.

·         Com Oneto: Every company should have ramps?

·         Charles Rathbone: Yes.

·         Com Gillespie: But you have endorsed keeping a company with less than 5 cabs?

·         Charles Rathbone: It should be an essential requirement.

·         Jane Bolig: It’s unfortunate that a representative from Arrow cab is not here.  The 100 cab requirement would put them out of service as a dispatch company. You have two classes of dispatch service which is a single company and then a dispatch that has many Color Schemes.

·         Com Gillespie: How many do they have?

·         Jane Bolig: I think they have about 60.

·         Com Gillespie: Couldn’t Arrow consolidate.

·         Jane Bolig: The customer should be able to call the company they want and receive the cab they requested.   Do you want to all of a sudden put a company out of business?

·         Com Gillespie: Preventing the city from flooding with more cabs because they don’t have a good dispatch service. 

·         Jane Bolig: How you apply it to the reality is what concerns me. It would have to either go out of business or find 35 or 40 other Color Scheme people to include in their dispatch service. How can we conform to the existing reality? Don’t punish the competent ones. I think ramps are and have been a separate class of vehicle. People don’t take these into Gas & Gates because of the extraordinary cost.

·         Dan Hinds: Arrow is an excellent dispatch. There is a critical mass here.  You should be careful about punishing people. We have roughly 120 ramp vans and they should be tied together to have one integrated dispatch.  All these cabs should be on the same kind of dispatch.

·         Nick Sweis: A lot of the companies that don’t have a good dispatch don’t care about picking up orders.   Companies need to have at least 25 cabs. Some cabs only go to the airport and back to the city and don’t want dispatched calls. If you have less than 25 medallions or less than 50 you have to be with another radio dispatch.  10 ramp taxis is not enough for one company.  I’d like to get more ramp taxis but I can’t force people to come to my company.

Public Comment Closed.

·         Com Gillespie: I still support this minimum size. If we put this on the agenda, I hope we can have a memo that shows which companies would be affected.

·         Dir Thigpen: A lot of things that go on the commission agenda went on that way because there was no staff. 

·         Com Oneto: I think we need to set a minimum for the ramp medallions because I want to make it a little more accommodating to those people who need to get those vehicles.  Right now they have to spread there phone calls around too much. I think having fewer dispatching companies is a good thing because there will be less numbers to remember. I’m not in favor of a minimum in a Color Scheme.

·         Com Breslin: Paul and Oneto are not in favor of a minimum. I think we can make a recommendation to the commission to not have a minimum.  If we have no minimum, we can have limitless numbers of Color Schemes out there. But this will be confusing for the public.

·         Dir Thigpen: You can put a moratorium on the new Color Schemes to say “in the next 6 months we will not approve any Color Schemes”

·         Com Breslin: Passing score of 80% is on hold until we review the audit checklist. 

·         Com Gillespie: Maybe we can have a brief discussion of what the 1099 is.

·         Dir Thigpen: To put it on the agenda for the rules?

·         Com Gillespie: Yes

·         Carl Macmurdo: I was confused about 80%. Any Color Scheme who doesn’t comply cannot accept any transfers for the next year?

·         Com Breslin: The 80% does apply to the annual audit checklist.

·         Com Gillespie: Henry Epstein’s had a write up on workers compensation.

·         Dir Thigpen: What is the goal of this workers compensation discussion? We have the posting requirement and 1147.4 which says you have to have insurance that complies with the state laws.

·         Com Gillespie: Do you think we have enough information on workers compensation?

·         Tom Owen: It’s not clear but it may be as far as it can go.  It’s a very fact intensive determination.

·         Dir Thigpen: If your goal is to have everyone covered by workers compensation then one problem we are facing is that it does not cover single shift Medallion Holders.

·         Com Gillespie: I want a situation where everyone is covered.

·         Dir Thigpen: It’s adequate except for the single shift Medallion Holders.

·         Com Oneto: I have a problem with single shift because that is not what Prop K intended.

·         Com Breslin: We are going to meet again.

·         Dir Thigpen: The items I am sending to the full commission; resolution regarding dispatch.  I will look into getting information regarding workers compensation and then a decision would be made. Rules Committee: Gas and gates vs. Long Term leasing; Audit worksheet.


5.      Adjournment, 12:38pm.



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