Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tariq Mehmood Stages Bitch-In at the SFMTA

Cab driver Tariq Mehmood (photo) doesn't like Director of Taxi Services, Christiane Hayashi. There are two reasons for this: 

1. Hayashi closed the Waiting List to new applicants last year in order to protect the seniority of long time drivers who had not put their names on the list before. Although Mehmood has driven for many years, he never put his name on the list but would be relatively low in seniority. He wanted to jump on the List before it closed and didn't get the chance - meaning that it will be a long time before Tariq will be eligible to own a cab. 
2. She neglected to put Mehmood on the Taxi Advisory Council.

Mehmood has repeatedly and bitterly complained about these things at  numerous SFMTA Board meetings. Last December he tried to make a major issue out of people waiting in line to renew their A-Cards - a problem that Hayashi had already solved as well as she could and one that won't be a problem in the future.

Yesterday, Mehmood finally had his moment in the sun when he led of group of angry, largely misinformed drivers on a rant against credit card charges, electronic waybills and in-cab video cameras.

Although the drivers raised some valid issues that should be considered, the tone of the protest was decidedly irrational and hostile.

At one point, trying to respond to a surge of shouting drivers led by Mehmood, Hayashi backed up against a railing. If she had fallen over the railing, she could have dropped one story and been seriously injured, if not killed.

The irony is that Hayashi has tried to put the back seat terminals and the video camera in for the purpose of helping some of the very drivers who were harassing her.
  • Almost half the drivers in San Francisco are already being illegally charged 5% to 10% by Checker Cab, Royal Cab and Town Taxi others. The back seat terminals are intended to put an end to this.
  • The PIM's in question are designed to prompt customers to tip large. Hayashi has seen studies showing that passengers who use these units tip 30% more than normal. That is - drivers should make more even after paying the 5% than they would make without the terminals.
  • The in-cab video cameras are there to protect the drivers.
The fact is that Chris Hayashi is the biggest driver advocate around. She has written and had legislation passed making tipping and other corrupt taxi company practices illegal. She has written and had legislation passed that will allow Taxi Services to effectively fight illegal limos and taxis for the first time. And, after more than a year of pusing for them, she has finally gotten a couple of investigators to sic on the bad guys.

I would also like to point out for the umteenth time that the Drivers Fund wouldn't exist and the Waiting List would no longer exist had it not been for Hayashi's lobbying on their behalf. Indeed, I doubt that the Pilot Plan would exist had it not been for her extraordinary intelligence, dedication and negotiating skills. 

One other thing - these protesting drivers - many of whom have never been seen at a meeting before - seemed to be thought of the real cab drivers of San Francisco by Malcolm Heinicke. Yet this was clearly an ambush designed by Mehmood and fueled with misinformation and half truths.

How did these guys become more real than those of us who've taken the trouble to be at the various meeting and actually study the text of the proposals in question?

Do they really represent us? Or, do they just fit the "cabbie" stereotype of being loud, unthinking and out of control? 


  1. Bitching about Hybrids? How silly. They pay for half the gas a Crown Vic driver pays and if they own it it pays for itself easily.
    As far as I'm concerned they can pull that credit card crap out tomorrow cuz it's nothing but a gigantic headache. If they don't realize they lose loads without it fine by me. Can you believe people are actually dumb enough to turn down loads because they will only get %95 of the money?

  2. I don't think the drivers should threaten anyone but what little I know about the electronic waybill sounds invasive, what next W-2 tax forms at the window, and it sounds like it could eventually lead to some type of centralization of taxi industry like acutally working for sfmta sounds far fetched I know, and as far as the camera on you all day long terrible just terrible. I guess bank tellers work all day like that too, the camera has the ability to mic your conversations I heard china was doing this in their cabs..all depressing stuff.

  3. The Credit Card charge, even when illegal, is the least of the drivers' economic concerns. Enforcing the anti-tipping law is much more economically significant. Tariq's priorities are way off.
    Drivers who are tipping easily $10-$15 a shift (and in extremes as much as $30-$50 for a cab) are now complaining about the $5, if that, which they are paying for credit cards.
    I agree with blogger Ed Healy, Tariq's maneuver is an ambush, and I say it's over a marginal issue.
    It's probably more to the point to say that Tariq is jealous of not being on the TAC. I think it is far more significant that the Union is not on the TAC. Is Tariq unconcerned about this?
    Chris Hayashi is an important stabilizing agent in the SF cab industry and does many times more good than the few peccadilloes she may commit. And that is NOT to say that there are any such small mistakes here on her part in the current situation! Carry on Chris, we know you are the best!

  4. The blogger has reached every limit of non-sense. I don't think anyone waste one second
    on this blogger. He needs sensativity training
    about talking so bad on these foreigner working
    their ass in this industry. This is super serious situation and wait when the protest will flood the city hall. There is too much to say, but I have no time for this kind of blogger. The blogger do have a history not to post comments which goes against him.

  5. Name one driver that has benefited from the "Drivers Fund"? So far, its all about how much can the MTA can take from the taxi biz. Have you driven a cab lately? Its so crammed with carp that I don't think you would fit in a hybrid; at least not sos two people can sit in back. You're mad because drivers are not supposed talk at the MTA but at the the "Town Halls" and the TCA,which are dominated by expert blowhard ringers hand-picked by the MTA. Hayashi gets paid a LOT to be the "taxi drivers biggest advocate" to make a lot of paper but getting little if any actual results.
    Stop BSing the BS'ers, Ed!

  6. Hi Tariq,

    1. No one has benefited from the Drive's Fund yet because it hasn't been used yet. In the future it will be used and then drivers will benefit.

    2. If it was all about how much the MTA can raise, there would not be a driver"s fund and the MTA would get 20% of every sale instead of 15%.

    3. You don't like hybrids? Do think if would be better for everyone to driver a Grand Marque and pay $30 to $40 more a shift for gas.

    4. Actually, I driver a Ford Fushion and can take 5 people if I want to break the law.

    6. Hayshi is paid well (but not particularly well for a lawyer) and has passed laws against tipping and illegal limos among other things. She has lacked the investigators necessary to enforce these laws. It took a year of fighting just to get two investigators. They'll start busting heads soon.
    6. About 75 senior drivers have been able to sell their taxis so far and the same number of people have been able to buy them. I would call that a result.

  7. One more thing Tariq,

    If you and your misinformed friends had been protesting the lack of personnel that Taxi Services has to enforce the laws, they would already have been busting illegal limos and cabs for a long time now.

  8. Crocker amazon, I did not posted comments about
    drivers fund or other which you addressed
    to my name. Do you see me in the dream too.
    I hope that I am not scaring you in the dream. Tariq

  9. My apologies,

    It just sounded like you.

    Whatever - I my arguments effectively trumped whoever did write it.

    I can't imagine being scared of you and my dreams are usually about women who are- needless to say - much better looking.


  10. All you have to do is get every single driver to stop working for one day! That would be a stop to all the madness. Drivers do not need dispatch companies anymore with the invention of new technology. Drivers needed dispatch companies when the system were so expensive. Now you can get rides cheaper and faster and safer. Give the riders a reason to have to not call a dispatch company. STOP DRIVING for the dispatches! Then the dispatch company will have to say there are no cabs and thus the rider will have to find a new way to get a ride. I.e They go to the internet.

    Just Google Taxi in your area and see what comes up and go with them.