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SFO Taxi Pick-Up Rules Update 10.27.20

Effective Date
Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - 9:00am
News categories
Taxi Industry

The taxi pick-up rules at SFO have been updated. Starting December 1, 2020, only Purchased medallions will have access to perform pick-ups at SFO (see attached memo).

As you likely recall, the original proposal for the SFO rules was to prohibit all medallion types except Purchased medallions from picking up at SFO. Based on industry feedback, a compromise solution was developed to prioritize Purchased medallion holders while still allowing for Post-K medallions to pick-up at SFO. Under Phase 1 of the SFO rules, which have  been in effect since February 1, 2019, Purchased medallions have expedited pick-up access at SFO, Post-K medallions have standard access and Corporate, Pre-K and 8000-series medallions are prohibited from picking up at SFO. All wheelchair accessible ramp taxis have expedited access to SFO and as an incentive, have the opportunity to earn access to the short line based on the number of wheelchair trips provided.

As you know, the San Francisco Taxi industry has been severely impacted by Covid-19, with trips down on average about 80%. Due to the major drop in air travel, taxi trips from SFO have decreased 95%. Since the emergency was declared in San Francisco in February 2020, there continues to be foreclosures of Purchased medallions, and while SFMTA has requested the San Francisco Federal Credit Union to continue its loan forbearance program beyond the original two-month period (April-May), it has declined to do so. Additionally, the Board of Supervisors has also been very concerned about Purchased medallion holders, and it passed a resolution urging the Credit Union to extend the medallion loan forbearance program, which also did not result in an extension. 

There have been 49 medallion loan foreclosures between July and October 2020. SFMTA is deeply concerned and disappointed that the Credit Union has refused to continue its loan forbearance program to mitigate the drastic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on taxi drivers’ income. Purchased medallion holders have stuck by their loans and continued to make payments to the Credit Union through all the difficulties of the past years.

In order to provide additional support to Purchased medallion holders, starting December 1, 2020, only Purchased medallions and ramp taxis will be allowed to pick-up at SFO

Please also find the final quarterly report tracking outcomes related to the first year of implementation of taxi pick-up rules at SFO.

SFMTA has provided support to Purchased medallion holders through a variety of additional targeted reforms, including:

  • Eliminate driving requirement
  • Eliminate retransfer fee
  • Eliminate medallion renewal fees
  • Allow Purchased medallions to be operated after a revocation or death of a Purchased medallion holder
  • Remove restrictions on the types of entities that can purchase a medallion
  • Allow up to 50 Purchased medallions to be held by one entity

SFMTA is also working diligently to support the entire taxi industry, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a summary of these efforts:

  • Establish Essential Trip Card (ETC) program to provide discounted taxi trips for seniors and people with disabilities who would have otherwise taken the trip on Muni. Over 2,600 riders are currently signed up for this program and over 12,000 trips provided thus far.
  • Post promotional video of ETC program.
  • Support the Department of Environment’s Essential Worker Ride Home program, which provides subsidized taxi trips for essential workers. SFMTA worked with the Transportation Authority and the Department of Environment staff to identify $447,000 in funding that was reprogrammed to support this important program.
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) kits that include sanitizing fluid, paper towels, nitrile gloves, and face masks for taxi drivers. 
  • Train taxi company representatives and posted training video on proper cleaning procedures.
  • Require that taxis be sanitized after each passenger trip and followed up with enforcement activities to ensure compliance.
  • Procure and distributed clear plastic shields for vehicles at no charge to taxi companies. This plastic shield adds a layer of protection for both the driver and passenger. 
  • Publicize the benefits of taking taxis via Blog Post.
  • Every Day Heroes: Taxi Driver Corey Lamb.
  • Increase the per vehicle rebate up to $7,700 in the SFMTA’s Clean Air Taxi program and expand eligibility to used vehicles. Over 96% vehicles in the taxi fleet are low-emission and play a critical role in meeting the City’s ambitious climate goal of 80% of trips taken by sustainable means of travel by 2030.
  • Taxis are included in the expansion of the network of permanent transit only lanes, which will allow taxis to provide more efficient service to customers.
  • Included taxis in the emergency order for Temporary Transit Only Lanes currently being implemented.
  • Launch pre-pilot to test concept of using taxis to provide work-related trips for city employees to replace non-revenue vehicle trips.
  • Distribute face mask stickers to inform passengers that they must wear a face mask while riding in a taxi.
  • Reprogram approximately $240,000 for a taxi marketing campaign, which will be developed in fall/winter and is intended to provide sustained value over time, and the funding will be leveraged by SFMTA’s in-house marketing talent, access to on-board advertising, and public service announcements.
  • SFMTA will now pay the $600 cost of the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) evaluation for taxi drivers who failed the drug test as part of the driver permit renewal process.
  • Temporarily suspended the Post-K full-time driving requirement.
  • Temporarily modified the insurance requirements for a twelve-month period.
  • Published an interactive map of the transit-only (red) lanes, which will have a layer showing which red lanes specifically allow taxis to operate in. This useful tool will show taxi drivers and potential riders how they are able to bypass normal vehicle restrictions with exclusive access to these lanes across the city.
  • Provided information relevant to the taxi industry regarding Covid-19 crisis resources, CARES Act benefits, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
  • Request San Francisco Federal Credit Union both establish and then extend a loan forbearance  program for taxi medallion holders.