- It puts the enforcement of specific laws concerning the taxicab business under the San Francisco Transportation Code.
- It creates a class of misdemeanors.
- It clarifies and describes various violations of the law.
I intended to do a summary of the ordinance but the Director has already done it far better than a humble cab driver like myself could hope to do, so I'll simply copy her prose for you.
The proposed ordinance would grant express authority to Taxi Services’ field enforcement staff the ability to enforce specified parking regulations. Such authority would also support their ability to tow illegally parked vehicles in violation of those sections in accordance with state laws.
The proposed ordinance would move several existing misdemeanors from the Police Code to the
Transportation Code: § 7.3.8 (to knowingly make false statement or conceal information in connection
with a motor vehicle for hire permit); § 7.3.9 (to refuse to pay the legal taxi fare), § 7.3.10(a) (for a Driver to overcharge a passenger); § 7.3.5(a) (to drive or operate a taxi on City streets without a permit).
The proposed ordinance would newly create the following misdemeanors in the Transportation Code:
o § 7.3.5(b): To operate an unpermitted dispatch service or color scheme.
o § 7.3.5(c): To drive a taxi without a permit or to allow a person without a permit to drive a taxi vehicle.
o § 7.3.6(b): For any person, and for any person or business acting in concert with that person, to take
payments for the purpose of referring passengers.
o § 7.3.7: For any permit holder to solicit or accept payments or gifts from drivers in exchange for
dispatch calls, shifts, vehicles or assignments.
o § 7.3.10(b): For any permit holder to charge drivers except such charges to drivers that are authorized
in Division II of the regulations.
o § 7.3.10(a): For a taxi driver to charge more than the legal rate of fare.
Mas Dinero Por Citations
The ordinance allows police to issue misdemeanor citations to illegal limos and taxis for $2,500 for a a first offense and $5,000 for a second. This is up from the current charge of $165.
Taxi investigators for the SFMTA already have the ability to issue "administrative" citations to limos and taxis for $5,000.
Administrative Enforcement vs Criminal Enforcement
This is an important distinction because administrative laws allow SFMTA investigators to issue fines without having to go to court. This is similar to the fines that investigators can level against restaurants for sanitary violations or bars for allowing underage drinking.
To tell the truth, I'd never heard of this field of law until I talked with Director Hayashi. Yesterday I tuned on Law and Order as a break from writing and there stood Lt. Anita Van Buren threatening to bust a bunch of militia types for carrying rifles in NYC under "Administrative Code No ...." It seemed effective. They dispersed.
Administrative fines should greatly enhance the ability of the SFMTA to go after and penalize illegal taxis and limos, doormen soliciting tips and the hotels where they work as well as others violators of the misdemeanors listed above.
If this ordinance is okayed by the SFMTA it will go to the Board of Supervisors for final approval.