Wednesday, August 4, 2010

First San Francisco Medallion Sale in 33 Years

Flanked by Director Christiane Hayashi of Taxi Services and Executive Director Nat Ford of the SFMTA Board, Ahmad Sidaoui holds the medallion that he has just bought from Mildred Megarity.

Mrs. Megarity purchased the medallion in 1968 for $20,000 and she still has the original sales slip.

Mr. Sidaoui, who has driven cab in San Francisco since 1984, has been on The List for 14 years and was number 168 yesterday.

"I didn't know how long I'd have to wait to get a free medallion," Mr. Sidaoui told me. "It might be one year, might be five years, might be ten years ... so I jumped at the chance to get one now."

He said that he only put down five percent as down payment and described himself as "very, very happy."

Director Ford spoke about the sale as being an important step in integrating the taxi industry into the MTA. When asked about potential law suits he said, "We'll deal with that if it comes up."

Director Hayashi said that she had about 18 medallions that are basically processed and ready for sale. Overall she estimates that a total of 150 to 200 medallions will be sold during the Pilot Program including the 60 that she will sell outright for the MTA. On top of this, 60 medallions will also go to drivers who have earned them by staying on the Waiting List for a long, long time.

Rebecca Lytle, Vice President of Lending at the San Francisco Federal Credit Union, estimates that ten medallions will be sold within the next ten days and says, "Now that the program is official," sales will be processed more quickly.

Although the emphasis was supposed to be on the medallion sale, Carl Mcmurdo of the MHA upstaged the event with this suit.

Supposedly he bought it after seeing it in a performance of "No Exit" by Jean Paul Sartre six years ago and vowed never to wear it until a medallion was sold. An easy feat in my opinion.

A few more photos.

The man and woman on the ends are Steven Stapp President & CEO of the San Francisco Federal Credit Union and Rebecca Lytle.

And, finally, my shot of the people who are always forgotten at such ceremonies - the guys who did the work that brought the Pilot Program to fruition. 


  1. same day: gays win, chris hayashi wins, taxi industry wins. kudos all 'round
    paul harting

  2. Thank you so much for all the time and effort spent by everyone over the past 10 yrs in helping make this sale happen. WE ALL WON & my mom couldn't be happier. Melinda Megarity Murray, daughter of Mildred C. Megarity

  3. Thanks for the good word. I'm glad that I was able to help in my small way.

  4. Hi Crocker,
    Do you if there is an order in which the sales are being processed? Age of holder, number of medallion, first received or ?

  5. Hi Ed,

    I wish you had been at the August 13th taxi hearing today. That was a story to cover. Not one driver was approved for a chance at a permit. Not even Francoise Spiegelman who everybody knows is a driver. Her thousand of hours of waybills were ignored because Judge Epstein found one single waybill in which she failed to write in her pick-up and drop times. This obsession with hand written waybills must stop. They are an imperfect document never meant to decide the fate of drivers. They were created to be a record the police department could access in case there was a crime committed involving a driver or passenger. Now, people are going to be forced to hire lawyers to get redress. This should do a nice job of gumming up a system which should be running smoothly. Who thought we would ever miss the Taxi Commission? At least it had working drivers on it who decided our fate. I hope Directory Hyashi can talk some sense into these Judges. I'm sure this was never her intent.



  6. Hi Fred,

    At this point, I think it's first, come first serve.

    There are about 200 people eligible to sell because they were over 70 years old and sent in the proper papers that would allow them to sell. Taxi services then checked them out to see that everything was as it should be and send them another form. The drivers turning in the paperwork first will be processed first.

    In case of a tie, the person higher on the medallion list would go first.

    But everyone who completes the paperwork within 45 days will be eligible to sell. They don't have to rush. They just have to meet the deadline. Over 1,400 people want to buy the medallions.

    Does that clarify anything?

  7. Hi Erik,

    I did a little investigating on this. It turns out the Francoise didn't sign any of her waybills and apparently didn't total her time properly.

    But, you're right. This is nonsense. Francoise has worked from 1600 to 2300 hours for several years and the waybills prove it whether she signed them or not,

    My source tells me that she'll probably get her medallion next week after the judge makes her jump through a few more hoops.

    I send your comment on to Hayashi. I haven't heard from her yet but I don't think that this was what she had in mind when she set up the court.

    As soon as I get enough information I'll do a post on this.


  8. Hi Ed,
    It's great that you and your blog are providing a little justice in the system. Francoise deserves her medallion and you're an angel by being voice for her and others. It is highly appreciated I'm sure.

    As for my question about the order of sale, I was asking because I had read somewhere that SFMTA could only process 100 per year. I'm helping someone with this who is very old, and likely needs it sooner rather than later.


  9. Hi Fred,

    Director Hayashi did say that she is going to be trying to have the older, sick or handicapped medallion holders taken care of first.

    Your friend should contact Taxi Services and let them know his situation.

    I think that once they get a system down they will be able process medallions faster than that.