Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Municipal Transportation Agency hearing dated December 6, 2011

Here is the 12-06-11 sfmta board hearing link. Under general public comment (item 9), Charles Rathbone speaks from 46:02 - 48:00. Later, from 51:56 - 1:03:15, speakers are Laurie Graham, Peter Witt, Tariq Mehmood, Barry Taranto, and Steve Reimers.The Nygaard consultants' report on credit card fees, backseat terminals, and electronic waybills is item 16 from 1:38:45 - 3:02:10. Item 17, regarding Transportation Code amendments including eligibility for selling medallions when the application process briefly re-opens in the near future, is from 3:12:20 - 4:17:07. Although the Board voted to exclude pre-K participation at this time, it was explained that a permanent medallion system proposal is expected within three months, so that the Board did not want a large expansion of the pilot program in the interim.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Emailing the SFMTA board is the e-mail address for sending messages to the sfmta directors, including CEO Ed Reiskin, plus a few other sfmta officials. On December 6, the sfmta board will consider some taxi amendments, one of which will re-open the opportunity for medallion holders age 60 and above, or who are disabled, to sell their permits. Although not included in the original taxi advisory council recommendation, taxi staff has added a clause to disallow pre-K medallion holders from participating in the process. Just today, I learned that certain activists are now lobbying the sfmta directors also to raise the participation age from 60 up to 65 years old. My e-mail on the pre-K exclusionary clause is attached below. Likely, I will write a separate e-mail to explain why medallion holders in the 60-64 age range should be included. It will be helpful if our members who have strong feelings on these issues can e-mail the sfmta board with your opinions.
To: SFMTA Board
From: Carl Macmurdo
Date: November 4, 2011

Dear SFMTA Board members,

On December 6, you will consider proposed taxicab legislation for   inclusion into the Transportation Code. This e-mail requests an amendment to  one specific item.  On September 26, the taxi advisory council (TAC) passed a resolution by  a 9 to 5 vote recommending that sfmta re-open the process under the  medallion sales pilot program to allow medallion holders age 60 and above,  or with disabilities, a 30-day window to register as sellers. Subsequently, DTAS staff unilaterally added a clause which disallows participation by the   300 or so pre-K medallion holders. Staff's liaison stated that the same  public safety policy reason for needing an exit strategy for K (also known as post-K) medallion holders --- who have a driving requirement --- doesn't apply to the pre-K's, who are not obligated to drive. Although this point is accurate, it does not explain or justify why the pre-K's should be excluded.

Here are reasons for pre-K inclusion:

(1) More than 1,400 taxi drivers on the waiting list have registered to purchase taxi medallions at the set price of $250,000. Allowing the pool of interested pre-K medallion holders to participate might make 100 - 200 more medallions available, so that the aspirant buyers can begin building equity in their future. The Pilot is very successful. Why not allow willing sellers and buyers to match up?

(2) Each transfer will generate a $37,500 transfer fee to sfmta.

(3) Having younger, active drivers replace the already retired pre-K's who want to sell will revitalize the industry to an extent.

(4) Pre-K's were included in the first round of Pilot participation in 2010 and should continue to be eligible.

(5) The pre-K's bought their medallions prior to 1978 with the understanding their permits were transferable. Proposition K of 1978 abrogated the transferability aspect. It seems fair and equitable to offer this opportunity once again.

At the October 24 TAC meeting, a motion to remove the controversial clause added by DTAS staff failed by a 6 to 6 tie vote. Various speakers made vitriolic remarks, steeped in jealousy, about the pre-K's. In actuality, most pre-K's are former career taxi drivers who helped build the San Francisco taxi industry. A typical pre-K is more aptly described as "Gas and Gates Bill" than as Bill Gates.

Presently, the proposed legislation is Transportation Code Sec. 1116(a)(3): "Any Medallion Holder who is subject to the Full-Time Driving Requirement who has attained or will attain the age of 60 as of December 31, 2012."

My request is that you amend the proposed legislation by removing the phrase "who is subject to the Full-Time Driving Requirement." Otherwise, that clause effectively excludes pre-K medallion holders from the sales process.

The pre-K's should be included for the reasons stated above.

Thank you for your consideration.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

MTA board hearing dated October 18, 2011

The October 18 SFMTA Board hearing linked below has a segment from 00:46 - 4:28 wherein Bruce Oka asks for the next Board meeting agenda to include an item to allow older and disabled medallion holders to sell their medallions via a re-opening of the sellers' application process under the Medallion Sales Pilot Program. A brief discussion ensues. From 1:27:17 - 141:00, six taxi industry members speak under general public comment.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

MTA Board meeting dated September 20, 2011

The sfmta board meeting today is linked below. Under item # 7, from 3:30 - 9:00, a taxi driver receives an award for heroism. Under item # 9, general public comment, most speakers are from taxi (37:06 - 54:00 on the time bar).

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

MTA Board meeting September 6, 2011

The SFMTA Board meeting from September 6 is linked below. It was the initial hearing headed by new CEO Ed Reiskin, who replaced Nat Ford. Some taxi drivers spoke under earlier items, but item # 9, general public comment, consists mostly of taxi drivers and is located from 105:25 - 1:41:25 on the time bar.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

MTA meeting on August 2, 2011

At the SFMTA Board meeting on August 2, taxi drivers were granted a meter rate increase. Also, the Board
authorized 87 new medallions, fifty of which will be part-time single-user permits to be operated under a pilot
program. From 40:19 - 1:48:23 on the time bar, there are speakers and Board discussions on these items. Numerous taxi speakers also  participate in the general public comment item from 2:22:26 - 2:56:48.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

MTA board meeting of June 21, 2011

Linked below is the SFMTA Board meeting from earlier today. From 46:03 - 1:26:00 there are approximately thirty speakers under general public comment. All but three are from the taxi industry. There was a well-supported protest outside city hall from noon to 2 p.m., as taxi drivers circled around to demonstrate their opposition to back-seat terminals, electronic waybills, and 5% credit card fees.

Friday, May 20, 2011

SFMTA Meeting of May 17, 2011

   You can watch the meeting by clicking here:

   There are two taxi agenda topics. Item # 11 is a proposed meter increase, and item 12 is  an amendment to vacate the implementation date previously mandated for  electronic waybills. The items were heard together.
   From 12:27 - 34:00 , Nat Ford, Chris Hayashi, Chris Sweis, Sonali Bose, and the Board members address, explain, and discuss the topics. Many speakers from the taxi industry address the Board from 34:00 - 1:36:00. From 1:36: - 1:58:40, the Board has more discussion and holds a vote.
   The situation is a bit confusing. On Monday, May 16, the taxi advisory council (TAC) had approved an amended meter increase recommendation that was put before the Board yesterday. However, the original, non-amended proposal had been the version noticed for yesterday's hearing. Because of Sunshine Ordinance rules, the Board could not act on the flag drop aspect (which will make the drop $3.50, rather than the current $3.10 rate), but did approve the other meter raise components, which were identical in the original and amended versions (new rates of $2.75 per mile and $33 per minute for waiting time). The flag drop will be voted in on June 21.
   Director Jerry Lee wants the credit card processing fee controversy resolved and has requested that it be done on June 21 as well. Director Malcolm Heinicke wants a peak-time medallion program in operation as a condition of having the meter increase finalized on June 21. It is doubtful that this can be accomplished by that date, but hopefully there will be enough Board votes on June 21 to approve the meter increase regardless. That said, it seems obvious that the TAC will at least hold a debate in the interim on the peak-time issue and create movement of some kind towards designing a pilot program. Also, town hall meetings on three dates in early June will focus on this topic, along with discussions regarding electronic waybills.
   Under general public comment, item # 9, there are numerous taxi speakers, from 3:13:20 - 3:39:40.

SFMTA Meeting of May 3, 2011

     The SFMTA meeting held on Tuesday is linked below. Under item # 7, the executive director's report, CEO Nat Ford begins mentioning taxi issues at 16:05 on the time bar. From 20:04 - 1:49:12, approximately 80 taxi drivers make one-minute speeches. Reportedly, honking taxis circled city hall for hours as part of the overall protest action.
     Most speakers objected to electronic waybills as an intrusion of privacy, while arguing that implementation of the new waybill system might cause re-classification of taxi drivers as employees, rather than independent contractors. Speakers argued against the 5% credit card processing fees, although some of the drivers indicated that a lower rate of 2 or 3 per cent might be reasonable.
     General public comment is at the end of the tape, from 3:24:40 - 3:35:21 and consists mainly of a few taxi drivers addressing other industry issues.

SFMTA Meeting of April 19, 2011

     The April 19 MTA Board hearing is linked below. Under item # 7, the Executive Director's report, Nathaniel Ford discusses a Ramp Taxi incentive program, then comments on taxi concerns from the prior Board meeting regarding a meter and gate hearing, credit card processing fees, and electronic waybills. There is public comment on this item. The time frame for all of this is 19:56 - 34:30.
     There are no taxi items on the agenda, but four drivers speak under item # 9, general public comment, from 51:00 - 59:28.
     Item # 11, from 1:31:00 - 2:06:50 is not directly related to taxi but may have traffic impacts. It is a plan to re-design Hayes and Fell as two-ways streets in the areas of Market or Van Ness to Gough. Some drivers address the Board during the public comment phase.

SFMTA meeting of April 5, 2011

The SFMTA meeting is linked below. There were no taxi topics on the agenda, but twenty-five taxi drivers spoke under the general public comment item. A driver speaks from 32:06 - 34:10 on the time bar. Then, from 42:00 -1:28:30 all but one of the 25 speakers are taxi drivers. Most of the speeches pertain to the 5% credit card processing fees and the imminent electronic waybill system. From 1:28:31 - 1:38:48 the SFMTA Board directors discuss the public comment.

SFMTA meeting of March 2, 2011

The MTA Board hearing is linked below. There are five separate locations of relevant footage.

From 7:36-15:14, taxi services staff receives a group recognition award. Barry Taranto and Dave Schneider speak from 24:12-27:12 on this agenda item (#7, Executive Director's Report, which encompasses other topics as well.)

Under item #9, general public comment, three of the five speakers from 31:44-44:12 are taxi drivers (Christopher Fulkerson, B. Taranto, D.Schneider.)

Consent calendar item # 10.9, concerning administrative penalties for  taxi drivers, is addressed by two speakers from 1:04:11-1:08:27 (B. Taranto, Tara Housman.)

Item # 11 pertains to referring the MTA Board proposal for a peak time taxi medallion system to the taxi advisory council for input and feedback. The Board unanimously approved the referral resolution. Prior to comments by Directors Heinicke and Oka, there are eight speakers (C. Fulkerson, B. Taranto. D. Schneider, Ed Healy, Carl Macmurdo, Tone Lee, Peter Witt, and Mark Gruberg.) The footage is from 1:08:28-1:30:30.

Board of Supervisors meeting, March 2, 2011

Linked below is the March 2 full Board of Supervisors meeting The taxi item, # 34, was done in two segments, from 13:37-19:13 and later from 1:04:22-1:05:38. Supervisor Scott Wiener amended the proposal to disallow the implementation of certain fines against illegal operators. I am informed that the amendments will effectively minimize SFPD enforcement, but that SFMTA will still be hiring new investigators authorized to levy $5,000 administrative citations against illegal operators. Supervisor Wiener also introduced a resolution supporting SFMTA's push to create a peak-time, or part-time, medallion system.