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Taxi Driver Fund Update and Marketing Campaign: Feedback Welcome 9.14.2020

Effective Date
Monday, September 14, 2020 - 9:00am
News categories

Dear Taxi Industry Members,

Subject: Taxi Driver Fund Update and Marketing Campaign: Feedback Welcome

The SFMTA has completed the disbursement of the Taxi Driver Fund, which was established in 2010 to benefit taxi drivers, and will seek SFMTA Board approval to reprogram the remaining funds (approximately $250,000) to support the SF Taxi Industry through a marketing campaign. We anticipate that a marketing campaign will be particularly effective during this present moment as taxis have a higher level of safety and cleaning requirements, and Uber and Lyft have threatened to stop providing service in California. 

Staff anticipates seeking approval at the October 6th SFMTA Board meeting.   

Taxi Driver Fund Background

  • The Taxi Driver Fund was established in August 2010 specifically to benefit taxi drivers.
  • In 2017, one of the recommendations that the Driver Fund Advisory Panel made to the SFMTA was that a portion of the fund be used for a marketing campaign to broadly support the industry at large. At the time, that recommendation was considered but not acted upon because the Driver Fund was established specifically to support drivers, and staff received substantial taxi industry in-put regarding the need to directly target the funds to taxi drivers.
  • The disbursement plan that was approved by the SFMTA Board in 2017 more directly benefited taxi drivers. Specifically, on September 5, 2017, the SFMTA Board approved disbursement of the approximately $4.9 million in the fund to active taxi drivers by providing a cash payout based on seniority and to pay driver permit renewal fees for the subsequent two fiscal years.
  • Since November 2017, SFMTA disbursed $3.7M to 4,616 eligible drivers and waived 7,451 driver renewal fees for at a cost of $953,291.
  • The Taxi Driver Fund disbursement was closed in July 2020, and the remaining balance is approximately $250,000.
  • Now that the fund has been disbursed to drivers, and there are remaining funds, staff will request approval from the SFMTA Board to use remaining balance for a marketing campaign to support the taxi industry.

How do I participate in an SFMTA Board Meeting?

Members of the public are encouraged to participate remotely by watching the meeting at SF GovTV Regular SFMTA Board meetings and selected other meetings are broadcast on cable via SFGTV and streamed on the internet. Broadband service is recommended for access. The SFMTA is generally broadcast on SFGTV2, cable channel 78. If you want to ensure your comment on any item on the agenda is received by the Board in advance of the meeting, please send an email to MTABoard@sfmta.com by 5 pm on Monday, October 5 or call (415) 646-4470.


Next Steps:

We want to hear from you with ideas for the marketing campaign! We anticipate that the campaign will span a period of time and may include multiple venues, such as print, digital, social media, etc.  We are planning on holding an on-line input session with the taxi industry once we have approval from the SFMTA Board, but before that time, please feel free to email us at sftaxi@sfmta.com with suggestions on how to best convey messages about the benefits of taking a taxi, the qualities of our best drivers, customer service benefits, the long-standing commitment of the SF Taxi industry to serving seniors and people with disabilities, and so on!

SFMTA Support for the Taxi Industry:

SFMTA continues to provide significant support to the taxi industry, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, including:

    • Waived all taxi-related fees for the next two fiscal year.
    • Established 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 2,000 riders are currently signed up for this program and over 5,500 trips provided thus far. Posted promotional video of ETC program.
    • Supported the Department of Environment’s Essential Worker Ride Home program, which provides subsidized taxi trips for essential workers. Working with the Transportation Authority and the Department of Environment staff, MTA identified $447,000 in funding that was reprogrammed to support this important program.
    • Provided personal protective equipment (PPE) kits that include sanitizing fluid, paper towels, nitrile gloves, and face masks for taxi drivers. 
    • Trained taxi company representatives and posted training video on proper cleaning procedures.
    • Required that taxis be sanitized after each passenger trip and follow up with enforcement activities to ensure compliance.
    • Procured 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. 
    • Publicized the benefits of taking taxis via Blog Post.
    • Honored outstanding Every Day Heroes: Taxi Driver Corey Lamb.
    • Increased the per vehicle rebate up to $7,700 and used vehicles are now able to qualify in the SFMTA’s Clean Air Taxi program. Over 90% 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 transit only lanes, which will allow taxis to provide more efficient service to customers.
    • Launched pre-pilot to test concept of using taxis to provide work-related trips for city employees to replace non-revenue vehicle trips.
    • Distributed face mask stickers for taxis: 

Wearing face mask label