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SFMTA Taxi Services
Taxi Advisory Council
Monday, March 28, 2011
2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room
One South Van Ness Avenue
PRESENT: Timothy Ajaegbu, Jim Gillespie, Laurie Graham, John Han, Dan Hinds, Richard Hybels, David Khan, Barry Korengold, John Lazar, Carl Macmurdo, William Minikel, William Mounsey, Athan Rebelos, Chris Sweis,
ABSENT: Dmitry Nazarov
STAFF IN ATTENDANCE: Christiane Hayashi – Deputy Director/Council Liaison
1. Call to order: Chair Sweis called the meeting to order at 1:13 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: March 14, 2011
Mr. Korengold motioned to approve the minutes for March 14, 2011. Ms. Graham seconded the motion.
On motion to approve the March 14, 2011 minutes.
Motion Passed Unanimously
5. Public Comment
Mr. Lee said that cab companies are greedy.
Mr. Mcdowel said that this board should take up meter increase for next meeting.
Mr. Rathbone said he wanted to talk about the driver fund. Says maybe the fund should help out a disabled cab driver in need right now.
Mr. Lincon said he appreciates the work put into this pilot program. He said he can’t understand how anyone can be against it.
Mr. Kim said that the cab companies that serve the neighborhoods are going to lose medallions to long term leases which in exchange will hurt the gas and gates operations that work to help get services out to community.
6. Report of the Council Liaison (Discussion only)
Ms. Christiane Hayashi updated. She said no square one presentation.
a. Staff Update
Presentation by Square (www.squareup.com)
b. Regulatory Reform Update
c. Taxi Medallion Sales Pilot Program Update
Mr. Michael Harris updated. Referred everyone to handout.
Mr. Kim wants to point out that this list is closed off now and there are some new drivers who are still interested in buying. We need to give these drivers some opportunity to buy.
Ms. ? said her understanding was that when the list got exhausted they were going to go to a seniority type of list.
Ms. Hayashi said that seniority list is in the regulation today.
Mr. Lee said MTA is making it hard for hard working drivers to buy a medallion.
Chair Sweis closed public comment.
7. Rough Draft of TAC Pilot Program Report (Discussion and Possible Action)
Chair Sweis said last week he put together this report with some edits from council members. He said some which are positive and some that may not be looked as positive. He said there are two reports to view one by Barry Korengold and one put together by Chris Sweis amended by 3 other council members.
Mr. Hayashi said there should be two reports to view today which are different from the first version at the last minute.
Mr. Sweis said that the interim report was emailed last week and available online to view.
Mr. Lazar said these reports need to be given to council members with enough time to review.
Mr. Sweis said he doesn’t want to get caught up with the wording of the report but discuss some of the issues with the pilot program.
Mr. Han said that he is affected by the cab companies saying that the sales switching over to color affiliates is minor enough that they can absorb this. He questions that when the pilot program expands will it then affect the cab companies gas and gate.
Chair Sweis said they spoke about this in the last meeting.
Mr. Han wants to add that into the report.
Mr. Sweis said he doesn’t want to get into the minor things in this report.
Mr. Rebelos said they really need to focus on this report. He said it’s been distributed appropriately we need to deal with it.
Chair Sweis said what they need to ask themselves is what is wrong and right with the pilot program itself. And is the pilot program the future of the cab industry. Is this the method that needs to go forward and how do we expand it.
Mr. Hinds motioned that pilot program continue after the end date for over 70 and disabled. He also said that there not be a cut off date for application.
Mr. Gillespie said that he wants to wait for this faze to be over before deciding to continue program.
Chair Sweis clarified motion by Mr. Hinds. To Re open opportunity to sell and keep it open to anyone who qualifies.
Mr. Macmurdo wanted to know when they would present something to the board.
Mr. Korengold said there is a difference with continuing the program for sellers?
He said we have not talked about alternatives. Program is not even half way through and it’s too soon to make a recommendation at this time.
Mr. Hinds motioned to re-open the opportunity to sell to anyone who is 70 years of age or older or who is disabled and cannot fulfill their driving requirement.
Ms. Phitiou said she says it’s a good motion and continue program.
Mr. said that he doesn’t want to hear people’s feelings on whether they like the program or not he wants to hear them say what they think works and doesn’t work.
Mr. ? said disabled drivers who can prove it should be able to sell they’re medallions. He also said a person who has not been fulfilling driver requirements should not be allowed to sell.
Mr. Kim said that this is also opportunity for folks to buy and really own a piece of this industry. Hopefully this is supported.
Ms. Rua said that almost everyone here has a medallion or is on the list to receive or buy a medallion. There is one group of people missing and not being represented and that is people who are not on the list. This program needs to evaluate the basic idea of this program.
Ms. Phitiou said that this vote is good and it should be looked at carefully.
Ms. Speaglman said that everyone should be considered.
Chair Sweis Closed Public comment
Mr. Ajaegbu said they should continue the pilot program as it is then evaluate.
Mr. Han said that letting everyone sell takes the program to the second faze. He said allowing or opening it up to faze two is pretty much ending the pilot program.
Mr. Mounsey said he was told he would get a medallion…(inaudible)
Mr. Korengold said it’s too premature to move forward. After other alternatives are discussed then maybe we can revisit letting 70’s or older sell.
Mr. Rebelos said we should move to the vote everyone knows where we stand around the table.
Ms. Hayashi explained that people will continue to qualify as time goes by. She said people will continue to come into the program and will be allowed to sell when they reach age 70 or become disabled.
Mr. Minikel wanted clarification of the implications of opening the application process.
Mr. Hinds said it does concern him that people in this room keep saying they need more time. One thing they could do is have a taxi town hall meeting discussing the possibility to expand this program. He said that as a council they need to state they’re position on the pilot program.
Mr. Hinds withdrew the motion.
Ms. Hayashi said that they need to start making decisions on how this report needs to be structured.
Chair Sweis called a 5 minute break.
Chair Sweis said that we need to view or look at suggestions not motions on the pilot program. Recommendations people may have about the pilot program.
Mr. Han said that there should be a cap on how many sold medallions so we can consider that the end of the pilot program then we can write a recommendation based on that.
Mr. Mounsey said that eventually after the end of this program all medallions are going to be sold and there will no longer be gas and gate drivers.
Mr. Ajaegbu said that we should let medallion holders be like business people. He said that medallion holders should be able to sell whenever they want.
Mr. Khan said that people who buy they’re medallion should be able to sell at anytime since they invested in the medallion in the first place.
Chair Sweis asked for any other suggestions or recommendations from the board. He asked to list what’s wrong with the program and how to fix those problems.
Mr. Goldstein said that there has to be a fair way to have an opportunity to get a medallion. He said a seniority list is a universally accepted way of creating a list.
Mr. Hinds said it seems that as a board they should require folks to have a good knowledge of the city. He also said that service is not exceptional in the city because of drivers who have little knowledge of city.
Mr. Han said that he supports adding knowledge test as a criteria to qualify for purchasing a medallion.
Mr. Minikel said one prime thing wrong with the program is that it does not honor the earned list. He said you have more drivers on the street that don’t know the streets.
Mr. Khan said that earned medallions should not be sold regardless of how old they are it should go back to the city. Anyone who gets and earned medallion needs to give it back to the city so it makes the earned list move. Limit the number of Long Term Leases by the companies will also prevent conflict with the Gas and gate part of the business.
Mr. Mounsey said they should sell the medallions the city said they were going to sell then reach that goal and stop the program.
Mr. Rebelos said that he is not comfortable with the second round of testing to earn your medallions. It doesn’t make sense to take the test when you earn a medallion you should be tested when you first become a driver.
Mr. Minikel said there needs to be buyout option.
Mr. Ajaegbu said he wants to know if current buyers are able to sell they're medallions.
Ms. Hayashi said that the answer is they could turn around and sell it. She said because this question has not been addressed it should. The medallion will continue to be transferable until the MTA buys it back.
Mr. Gillespie said that it’s starting to have an impact on gas and gate medallions. He said some medallions should be branded as gas and gate because of his concern of how many gas and gate medallions are out there.
Mr. Goldstein said that the ratio needs to change on the list instead of 1:1 it should be 2:1 from buying to giving to the list. There should be a driving requirement for someone buying a medallion to at least 2-3 years of driving gas and gate. When a medallion holder gets out of the driving requirement that medallion should become a gate and gas medallion.
Mr. Hinds said that there should be a requirement to get on the wait list. The knowledge test or standard of knowing the city should have occurred before getting on the list.
Mr. Han said that he understands that 20 medallions have gone to long term leases and this is affecting him as a driver because they don’t enough gas and gate medallions.
Mr. Gillespie said that having people take an exam to get a medallion is highly important.
Mr. Rebelos said that he wants remind the council that we need to think about the sustainability of the cab companies.
Chair Sweis said that he would like to talk about the impact on permit holders that are selling.
Ms. Terra said that these items need to be further discussed in maybe a couple meeting from now when they can entertain any other ideas.
Mr. Rathbone said the reason everyone is here is to come up with a good way to move medallions. He said that coming up with a way to get rid of a medallion when you have reached a certain age is a good idea anything to move the medallions.
Mr. Lee said that you have to let people sell they’re medallions and people buy.
Mr. Toranto said he is pleased to hear diverse opinions at this council. He said he is concerned with service. It’s important for any new medallion holder to have a test to demonstrate that they know the city and know their job. He said raising the standards with these valuable permits is essential.
Mr. Marcoo said that the knowledge thing is important. He said there needs to be change to make the list move faster.
Mr. Healy said that he thinks people should be tested. He said they probably should test them periodically.
Ms. Lula said that a knowledge test is very much in order. Since medallion holders are suppose to be seasoned taxi drivers they should have certain knowledge before they get a medallion. She suggested that if you put out any new medallions that an outside survey should determine how many medallions are issued.
Ms. Maguire said that Mr. Kim’s idea was good having new medallion holders stay as gas and gate for 3 years so they can get experience. The pool of sellers will dwindle and it seems like a good idea to reopen the list.
Mr. Korengold said he likes the idea of a lottery for a few people that qualify. He said if all the medallions become transferable the wait will be the same. He said he doesn’t think the SFMTA should sell medallions out right that the 60 should be it.
Mr. Minikel said that mandatory if you buy it you have to sell it when you turn 70.
8. Council Members requests for information [Discussion only]
Mr. Minikel said he wants to know how much a medallion seller gets when he sells the medallion and all fees are paid (taxes). How much would someone walk away with if they amount is 200,000.
Chair Sweis asked for the fees (MTA) involved when you sell a medallion.
Ms. Hayashi said 50,000.
Mr. Ajaegbu said he wants to know when the meter increase will take place.
Ms. Hayashi said they are currently drafting an rfp for meter increases. She will continue to update through the staff report.
Mr. Korengold said that now that more medallions have been sold he wanted to know how many medallion purchasers made balloon payments.
Ms. Hayashi referred him to the Credit union for that answer.
Mr. Han said he would like to know about the bike lane enforcement and wants to be kept updated.
Ms. Hayashi said that it is a top priority for taxi services to pull that draft training bulletin to light.
Mr. Mounsey said he wanted to know what the progress was with making the illegal limos regulated.
Ms. Hayashi said that when two more investigators come on they can start issuing citations.
Mr. Lee said why can’t San Francisco compare fleet medallions to New York.
Mr. Goldstein said there are reports in the files already regarding gas and gate. He says he urges everyone to come to the next SFMTA board meeting.
9. Schedule upcoming calendar items [Discussion and Action]
Continuation of review of pilot report
Chair Sweis Closed meeting by standing vote.
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned by standing vote at 4:46 p.m.
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