Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sellers and Buyers

The MTA could begin selling medallions as early as the week of May 24, 2010.

Director Christiane Hayashi has finally hired two experienced investigators and Taxi Services will be able to process 12 medallions a week.

When the participation deadline of May 14th passes, Hayashi will try matching buyers to sellers. If, for instance, she receives 300 requests to sell, she will find 300 buyers for the medallions. These buyers will be chosen on the basis of their order on the Waiting List.

This would be in addition to the 20 0r 30 revoked medallions that the MTA will be selling outright. So, in this example, there would be 320 or 330 buyers and 300 sellers aside from the MTA. Logically, the MTA medallions will be sold first.

Once the buyers are selected, the game will change from seniority to a race. It will work something like this:
  • On May 17th, Chris Hayashi will send letters out to potential sellers (making certain that they do want to sell) and buyers.
  • They will be given 45 days to respond but ... the first people to get their paperwork in will be the first sellers and buyers.
  • All qualified sellers and buyers who return their paperwork within the 45 day deadline will be able to sell or buy taxis but on a last come, last served basis. Even if the Pilot Plan ends, they will still be able to sell.
Potential Buyers will be required to jump through the following hoops:
  1. Drivers will have to prove that they have a down payment and show the source of the funds. Hayashi doesn't want loan sharks or other dubious characters lending drivers money.
  2. Drivers will need to get their waybills and other necessary documents together and bring them to Taxi Services.
  3. The MTA has to okay the buyer.
  4. The drivers then need to qualify for a loan from a qualified lender.
The four credit unions brought together by Chris Hayashi (the San Francisco Federal Credit Union, the Montauk Credit Union from New York City, the San Francisco Police Credit Union and the San Francisco Fire Credit Union) have already set standards for loans to drivers and will be able to process them quickly.

The qualifications that the credit unions are looking for are:
  • Two years worth of tax returns.
  • No current or recent bankruptcies or other horrible credit.
  • No conviction for fraud, etc
  • A good credit rating could be helpful.
I'm going to be interviewing one of the SF Federal Credit Union officers next week to get more details on how they decide whether a driver would qualify or not. I'm unsure, for instance, if no credit history would disqualify a person for a loan. This is a cash business and there must be many drivers (like myself before I got my medallion) who pay cash for everything but are very responsible individuals.

Rebecca Lytle, the Vice President of Lending at SFFCU, said that the medallion itself secures the loan.

Director Hayashi said there was a company named HSM that would help potential buyers organize their waybills, otherwise help the drives prove that they met the necessary qualifications or help drivers with financial problems. HSM can be reached at: 415-431-7655 or

Hayashi also said that Taxi Services would no doubt be making mistakes in the process because it was the first time they'd ever done anything like this. She said that it would be, "A learning opportunity for everybody."

In addition, Hayashi wanted to emphasize that drivers who are turned down for loans will keep their position on The List and remain eligible for a medallion ala Prop-K. She continues to guarantee that this list will move faster than it ever has before.

Given her achievements over the last year, who would bet against her?


  1. Ed,

    I don't see any mention of giving one medallion out for every one offered for sale. Is that still part of the program? Will the medallion waiting list start moving again?


  2. Hugh,

    I'm not exactly certain. At the meeting Hayashi said that they had recently given 10 medallions out to drivers on the list and the MTA needed it's money by June 30th. She said that she had about 20 medallion in her drawer (so to speak) and that she would sell these for the MTA.

    She also in the process of revoking 40 medallions. She indicated that after June 30th she would even the "one-one score"

  3. I interviewed Director Hayashi on the subject and she confirmed what I said in my previous comment.

    She added that, putting out medallions on a strict one-one basis isn't necessarily practical. For instance, instead of giving 10 medallions to The List last month, she would only have put out one and then would have had to wait until she sold a medallion until she could add another to the list.

    In order to keep her commitment to the MTA (a part of the Pilot Plan), she needs to sell the 20 medallions that she had now.

    "After July 1st," she said, "the number will begin to balance out. At the end of the day we will have given 60 medallions to The List for the 60 we sell."