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.