Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hayashi's Almost Final Stew - Maybe

Calling it "hybrid, experimental and transitional," Taxi Director Chris Hayashi presented yet another version of her taxi reform plan at the Town Hall Meetings yesterday. In fact, the plan was so transitional that she changed a section of it during the break between the afternoon and evening sessions.

Her reasoning behind this approach is that no one really knows what effect any change in Prop-K would really have.

"Some people claim that selling medallions would be great," said Hayashi, "others claim it would be a disaster." Her plan therefore is set up to find out what effects various reform ideas would really have.

She suggests\ed that the experiment would last a year and be evaluated by "wise" people belonging to the taxi industry. The hyper-democratic Hayashi said this industry oversight would consist of anybody in the taxi industry who wanted to participate. "If necessary," she said, "I'll find a bigger room."

The plan in outline:

Most of the 1500 Medallions would be treated the same as they are currently treated:
  • The List would continue to operate as it does now eventually to be replaced by an A-card seniority system when, and if, it can be exhausted.
  • People on the list, on a first come first serve basis, would offered the choice between getting a medallion the traditional way or buying a medallion at a fixed price.
  • Hayashi promised to speed up the list: by taking corporate medallions away from the companies, aggressively weeding out the chaff and taking medallion away from people holding them fraudulently.
217 medallion holders over 70 years of age would be given the choice to keep working or sell their medallions:
  • This number would be kept small in order to study the effect that his would have the industry.

Medallions would be sold at a fixed price.
  • The selling price probably would be between $200,000 and $300,000, depending upon financing terms available.
  • The price would be determined party by the average driver's ability to pay and partly by the probability of a medallion holder selling it.
  • These medallions would be offered to driver's on The List by seniority. If a driver wanted to wait to get a medallion ala Prop-K, the fixed price medallion would be offered to the next driver on the list.
  • There would be a 20% transfer fee.
  • 15% would go to the city
  • 5% would go to a driver's fund.
  • The City could buy back the medallions over time if the experiment didn't pan out - maybe?
  • A monthly payment option in terms of annuities might be available in order to avoid a lump sum.
A retirement that had been part of the plan has been withdrawn but might be included in a different form later:

The City would sell 60 medallions outright and keep the money:
  • This falls in the category of last but not least. Of course the motivation for "reforming" Prop K comes from the Powers-that-be's desire to extort money money for the Crown - er, City.
  • This sale supposedly would be a one time thing .
  • For every medallion put up for sale one would go to a person on The List. That is - 60 of 120 would be given out ala Prop_k.
  • One to the list, one to the City.
  • These would NOT be new issues.
  • These medallions would come from medallions backlogged from the changeover to the MTA, turned in corporate medallions and revoked medallions.
  • Director Hayashi says that she will have 90 medallions ready to go soon and will no trouble finding another 30.
  • The City would earn between $12 million and $18 million - depending upon the fixed sale price.
The City's sale of medallions would go on at the concurrently with the fixed price sale of aging driver's medallions.

A lot more could said about all this - and soon will.

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