Saturday, December 12, 2009

Town Hall Meetings: Ruach Graffis

I first became politically involved with the UTW's Ruach Graffis during the cab driver's battle with Major Dianne Feinstein back in 1984.

Although I've disagreed more than I've agreed with her over the years (usually more about tactics than principles), I respect Rua's commitment to her ideals and her tireless devotion to improving the lot of the average driver. No one has spent more time attending the various meetings at City Hall than she has. She's spent more time there than the current mayor.

Ruach being Ruach, she has come up with unique taxi reform plan that she has put into a 14 page booklet titled Service and Fairness. Part philosophy and part history, it also contains a new and complex method of working the cab business in San Francisco that she says is modelled on the London system.

Ruach being Ruach, the plan is phantasmagorically complicated. There would be five different classes of drivers and at least twelve different conditions which would effect how cabs operate. I confess that I don't understand the plan. Ruach told me that it wasn't "brain surgery" but I know a little about the human brain and might actually do better with brain surgery. The best I can hope to do is pass on some of her thoughts:
  • There would be a drivers fund created that all five classes would contribute to.
  • She estimates that approximately $18,794,401 would be available for the fund after five years.
  • There would be disability and retirement programs.
  • Drivers would be able to pay for the right to retire by contributing to the fund.
  • One class of driver would be called a "working driver" and would have a special medallion and could drive a number of different vehicles. This is supposed to be like London.
  • These drivers would replace the long term leasers and, maybe even take radio calls.
  • This new class of driver would work when it was busy and take off when it was slow.
  • Driver earning would go up.
  • Medallion holders would have more flexibility.
  • Service would improve.
I don't have a clue as to how this would play out. I intend to re-read the plan in more detail: to study it and make notes etc etc. Maybe I'll have an eureka moment. But first I intend to warm up for the task by reviewing the Theory of Relativity.

Nice work Ruach. I'm in awe.

You can probably get a copy of the plan to read for yourself at:

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