Tuesday, May 24, 2011

500 Corporate Cabs? 500 More Taxis????

Rumors have been running rife about what actually happened at the Paratransit Coordinating Council (PCC) meeting on May 18, 2011.

The rumor that struck terror into the hearts of cab drivers on the waiting list was that the PCC had passed a resolution advising the Board of Supervisors to put 500 cabs on the street and give them to Yellow, Desoto and Luxor Cab companies.

To Rua Graffis (of the UTW and the PCC), who voted against the measure, this meant corporate cabs and the death of the Waiting List.

To Hansu Kim (manager of Desoto Cab) this was just a misunderstanding. According to him Yellow, Desoto and Luxor thought that they should have most of the ramp taxis given to them since their vehicles did all the paratransit pick ups in the city. That is to say, that they wanted any future ramp taxis that the city released given to them.

And, yes, Kim also wants more cabs on the street but he wants only to see a few released at a time. He also wants them to go to "qualified drivers" not to cab companies. He added that nobody would be stupid enough to call for corporate or fleet taxis in this political environment.

Hansu, however, was not at the council meeting. Athan Rebelos, his general manager at Desoto was.

Athan (photo) had a slightly different story.

 Rebelos, the indefatigable John Lazar of Luxor, and a Yellow Cab representative talked the PCC into advising the Board of Supervisors  to put 500 more cabs on the street. I would guess that they told the council that these 500 taxis would be sent out into the neighborhoods to pick up paratransit people instead of (as well all know) deadheading downtown and to the airport. Or not? (See a rebutal to this by Athan in a comment.)

In sum: the companies convinced the council to advise the Board of Supervisors to give Desoto, Yellow and Luxor cabs most future Ramp Taxis, and to add 500 regular cabs to the San Francisco fleet - bringing the total to 2,000 taxis.

These cabs would not go to corporations, they would go to individual drivers like they do now. As to whether these taxis would be given or sold to drivers on the Waiting List was not addressed.

 I called the PCC yesterday to clarify the matter and a representative told me that the Paratransit Coordinating Council had decided NOT to send any recommendation on at this time.

She said that a lot of people had been confused about the vote and that the PCC wanted to have another meeting on the subject before making any decisions.

The next PCC meeting is on June 22, 2011 at 10:30 am at 711 Eddy.


  1. A lot of this is inaccurate. I'm not on the PCC and never have been, Green Cab however is. I don't recall anyone "talking" the PCC into voting for 500 more cabs. The PCC motion as I recall was made by Stu and is "to draft a letter to board of Supervisors & the mayor to add more cabs and that ramp medallions be directed to companies that have worked with the Pcc". That is a far cry from the much hyped rumors that are spreading like wildfire.

  2. Hi Athan,

    Thanks for clearing that up.

    I guess Stu's motion must have come from a spontaneous insight or maybe in a dream. Maybe God talks to him.

    I've gotten the figure of 500 from a number of people.

    In any case, I be at the next meeting and should be able to report it more accurately.


  3. I doubt that Stu needs me to defend him but I suspect that Stu can think for himself...

  4. me and most of my friends stopped using cabs because there's just too few in the city. if i can never get a cab, i'll just bike.

  5. Dear Anonymous, Your concern can be addressed, but not as you recommend. You might like to know that the SFMTA is blocking your personal empowerment as your very own cab dispatcher by tabling the Open Taxi Access program, which was going to develop the Cabulous software into a dispatcher-on-steroids with which you could locate every cab in the City, like Google Maps with icons. You would be able to find the nearest cab anywhere and speak with the driver on the phone. Of course, the cab companies are blocking this application, and letting people like you do their politics for them, to convince the City that more medallions are needed. MORE CABS DOES NOT MEAN BETTER SERVICE, it only means more profits for the companies. Service does not begin until the passenger is in the cab, and it takes DISPATCH to do that! The SFMTA is only being asked for about 4% back of the ten million dollars they have gotten from the cab drivers - I said the cab drivers ALONE, not the companies. Your remark about there not being enough cabs is the type of thing that is being used by greedy companies and ignorant MTA Board members like Malcom Heinecke to hurt some very poor people, who live in seedy hotels, even in their own cars; the City is allowing the companies to disobey the law requiring these and all other drivers from even getting health care THEY HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR and for which they continue to pay. A cool million has been paid by these un-Medallioned drivers - the poorest of the poor, and though the City Attorney's Office has noticed the MTA that this leaves the MTA liable the MTA goes on doing it. The MTA is NOT SUPPOSED TO BE IN THE CAB BUSINESS. And they deflect the meaning of the word "service" into the expression of the supposed need for more cabs.

    To the Paratransit Coordinating Council: You made the right decision NOT to send any recommendation on at this time. The piecemeal approach to medallions keeps the companies competitive for your service, and allows the drivers to arise from wherever they may come. However, if you want to commit to the use of certain companies, I suggest you make them actually compete for this itself; this could lead to the award of a contract (which could be with multiple comanies), but you would have the opportunity to get them to sign on to your needs. (I don't recommend this.) On this point the only remark I think needs to be made is that Yellow is incompetent to compete here, as it is incompetent in almost all things. The very idea of its survival due to a flood of medallions is a horror!

  6. Just adding more cabs to the fleet when 90% of the radio calls are picked up by 4 dispatch companies is stupid.
    Hundreds of cabs that never pick up radio calls. Just imagine how many more customers we could have if they had any faith they would be picked up on a radio call.
    Stand on the corner of 24 and South Van Ness for example and watch how many empty cabs go by of all different companies.

  7. Oh, if only everyone would read and follow these rules! The world would be a better place.