Saturday, November 9, 2013

TPAC's appeal of the September 2013 CPUC ruling on TNC's

The Taxicab Paratransit Association of California has filed an appeal,
requesting the California Public Utility Commission to reconsider its
recent ruling which legitimizes the activities of so-called Transportation
Network Companies including Lyft, Sidecar, and Uber X. Here is the link to
TPAC's appeal.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fw: Municipal Transportation Agency - Oct 15th, 2013 meeting

Linked below is the October 15 sfmta board hearing. Three items are
Item # 14, "Meter Gate Report," is from 58:45 - 2:03:26. It consists of
presentations by industry consultant Dr. Dan Hara and Chris Hayashi,
followed by public comment. There are many excellent speeches. The Board
approves the item otherwise, but did delay until April 1, 2014,
implementation of raising the allowable gate fee by $9.75 per shift.
Item # 15, "Medallion Leasing TC Amendment," is from 2:59:18 - 3:22:18.
Its intention is to curtail medallion brokering by unauthorized parties.
Item # 9, "General Public Comment," has a number of taxi speakers
(3:33:33 - 3:55:10).

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The September 19 CPUC meeting video is linked below. Archive Video Part 1 has all the relevant information.
From 04:12 - 38:35, almost all speeches are made either by TNC drivers and customers, or taxi industry representatives.
Pro-taxi speakers include Charles M. from Senior Action Network (12:55), Jim Gillespie (14:14), Martin Kazinski (17:45), Hansu Kim (22:02), Ben Valis (23:17), Trevor Johnson (25:52), Zachariah (26:35), Ed Healy (28:55), Dave Schneider (30:10), Ron Walter (31:40), Mary McGuire (32:52), Bart Goldstein (34:14), and Robert Cesana (35:45).
At 39:55, the Commissioners make comments and then vote unanimous approval. The item ends at 59:04, shortly after president Peevey laughingly remarks, "Bon Voyage. Farewell."
I viewed the proceedings from an overflow room with 100 Lyft supporters who reacted to the approval vote as though they had won the Powerball Lotto. It was a very surreal experience, stuck in Geek Central, the audience roaring approval at their colleagues' speeches, actively hissing at Mary McGuire's remarks.
Although uncertain, I believe the new rules will be effective in about three or four months. Apparently, CPUC has 45 days to establish TNC application forms and procedures, followed by a 60-day window for TNC applications. One silver lining is that some of the unfair competitive advantages which TNC's have been utilizing the past fourteen months have now been replaced by insurance and other requirements that will increase their costs.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Marcelo Fonseca's letter regarding California Public Utilities Commission's proposed decision on TNCs

From: Marcelo Fonseca
To: Medallion Holders Network New Infotaxi
Sent: Tuesday, September 03, 2013 11:44 AM
Subject: [infotaxi] CPUC - Proposed Decision on TNCs

Governor Jerry Brown
Senator Leland Yee
Senator Mark Leno
Senator Jerry Hill
Senator Mark DeSaulnier
Assembly Member Paul Fong
Assembly Member Philip Ting
Assembly Member Kevin Mullin
Speaker Pro Tempore Nora Campos
Assembly Member Richard Gordon

CPUC Public Advisor
President Michael Peevey
ALJ Robert Mason III

The CPUC will vote on a proposed decision from President-Commissioner
Michael Peevey and ALJ Robert Mason this coming Sep 5th. This proposed
decision is regarding the rule-making process on the
New-Online-Enabled-Transportation-Services like Uber, Lyft and SideCar, now
referred to as TNCs, Transportation-Network-Companies.

As a full-time San Francisco taxi driver for almost 25 years, I would like
to say that this rule-making process, from the very beginning, was
structured to provide cover for the approval of these services. The Safety &
Enforcement Division (SED) prematurely approved TNC's misleading operations,
unfairly competing with an already established taxi industry. An open entry
for TCP licenses allowed everybody and their brother to start driving for a
living, turning San Francisco into a small town where TNC drivers and taxi
drivers fight over dwindling fares, posing great danger to the public.

A new category of public transportation, with light regulatory treatment has
been given to Uber, Lyft and SideCar without any justification. The use of
smartphone applications, which cab companies already have, seems to be the
reason for the CPUC to propose regulations in a significantly and
fundamentally different manner from taxis.

The CPUC has failed to recognize the true nature of the TNC's operations and
the true nature of their business models as TNCs use contract language that
essentially requires all passengers and drivers to "waive all claims".

This proposed decision to use drivers without commercial licenses in private
cars, less regulated than carriers using professional drivers and commercial
vehicles should not be accepted. It contradicts the Commission's mandate to
protect the public. This segment on KTVU - Channel 2 News has been aired
over and over again, showing how the public is at danger when unmarked
vehicles roam the streets soliciting rides with impunity.

For the CPUC to exercise jurisdiction over Uber, Lyft and SideCar, operating
in San Francisco as taxis, the Commission should not grant these tech-cab
companies any special privileges nor any special treatments. To protect the
public's welfare, jointly with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation
Agency (SFMTA), the CPUC should require all TNCs to comply with the same
rules and regulations taxis must follow.

If you read this commentary by Attorney Veena Dubal, a doctoral candidate in
the jurisprudence and social policy program at UC Berkeley, you will agree
that this particular proposed decision by the CPUC has to be rejected.

When we taxi drivers, residents of California, feel pushed out of work
unfairly and illegally by a silly pink moustache and a simple phone app, it
is natural to commiserate with the frustration of our fellow driver Trevor
Johnson from the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association (SFCDA) shown in this
NBC report. (

When we taxi drivers read articles about legislators moving to rein in the
CPUC, where lawmakers refer to the Commission as a "FIEFDOM", ...
...and even more so, when taxi drivers become aware of President Peevey's
travels, being wined and dined on lobbyists dimes,
we become pessimistic about a fair ruling on the TNCs and we see our trust
in our elected/appointed officials totally undermined.

In the middle of this crisis, as we still wait for answers about the San
Mateo Bridge limousine fire that killed five young women, we just hope the
CPUC will not rush to vote in this proposed decision that will leave Uber,
Lyft and SideCar to govern themselves.

Questionable enough, our very own San Francisco Mayor, Mr. Ed Lee has
endorsed the bandit tech-cab companies, facilitating unfair competition and
driving the San Francisco taxi industry into to dire straits. Sadly enough,
our City Attorney's Office and our Board of Supervisors have been silent on
the issue.

In the taxi industry we have always feared the City of San Francisco and the
State of California becoming too vulnerable and too susceptible to Silicon
Valley's money. As law and order collapse on the streets of San Francisco
with the influx of bandit-tech-cabs, one can easily presume that cab
drivers' fears are becoming cab drivers' worse nightmares.

I urge you to look into this proposed decision with all of your resources.
Public safety and the livelihoods of thousands of taxi drivers should not be
jeopardized by the CPUC's favoritism in this ruling on Uber, Lyft and

Thank you very much for your consideration of this matter.

Marcelo Fonseca
24-year career cab driver

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fw: Municipal Transportation Agency - Aug 20th, 2013

The sfmta board hearing from August 20 is linked below. The time
markings of taxi-related material are as follows:
Under item# 7, Director's report, Ed Reiskin summarizes the CPUC
rule-making developments (28:18 - 39:52).
Some of the public comment on item 7 is from taxi members (Barry
Taranto, then Hansu Kim from 48:05 - 52:40; Tariq Mehmood, then Tone Lee
from 1:01:50 - 1:06:18; Bill Mounsey from 1:08:22 - 1:10:32).
Many of the speakers under item # 9, general public comment, were
non-taxi, but some were from taxi (Bill Mounsey 1:14:20 - 1:16:30; Barry
Taranto, then Hansu Kim 1:31:00 - 1:35:20; Tariq Mehmood, then Tone Lee
1:39:32 - 1:43:45; Emil Lawrence, then Barry Korengold 1:48:44 - 1:53:12).
Consent calendar item # 10.11 contained a controversial proposal to
require annual training henceforth for all taxi drivers (2:08:56 -
2:38:11). Chris Hayashi makes explanatory comments, ten public speakers
weigh in, then the board has a brief discussion and approves the

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fw: Board of Appeals - Aug 14th, 2013

From 05:14 - 38:10 on the link below, the Board of Appeals considered a
proposed Memorandum of Understanding last night between BOA and SFMTA
defining the conditions and inclusion of future appeals by taxicab permit
holders. Director Chris Hayashi made a presentation, five industry members
made speeches, and then all five BOA Board members stated that they were
opposed to the MOU.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fw: Municipal Transportation Agency Meeting - June 18th, 2013

The June 18 sfmta board hearing is linked below. Taxi speakers under
general public comment are Hansu Kim (31:04 - 33:18), Emil Lawrence
(37:49 -
40:00), and Mary McGuire (40:19 - 42:12). From 43:16 - 44:24, there is a
discussion between deputy city attorney, Mariam Morley, and Director
Heinicke, who made a query regarding the anticipated time frame for a
decision by the CPUC in their current rulemaking process regarding Uber,
Lyft, et al.
Item # 12, from 1:37:50 - 1:51:18, pertains to minor Transportation Code
amendments involving medallion transfer fees and contributions to the
drivers' fund. Hansu Kim (1:38:40 - 1:40:40), Mary McGuire ( 1:40:48 -
1:43:05), and Tone Lee (1:43:10 - 1:45:15) speak. The final six minutes of
the session involve an approval vote, a question by Director Heinicke, and
response from Chris Hayashi updating the drivers' fund status.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Fw: Municipal Transportation Agency meeting dated February 5, 2013

The sfmta board meeting from today is linked below. Under general public
comment from 49:12 - 1:01:42, there are five taxi speakers --- Mark
Ed Healy, Carl Macmurdo, Mary McGuire, and Barry Korengold --- and a brief
board discussion.