Friday, May 13, 2011

Town Hall Meeting: Meter increase

Let me start by saying that I think that a meter increase will take place. It would have to be approved by the SFMTA Board but it appears as if they will approve a reasonable raise.

The only questions are: how much of an increase and how would such an increase be calculated.

The chart on the left was a working tool used to look at various possibilities.

Factors considered were:
  • The initial drop.
  • Distance and waiting time.
  • Radio dispatch fees.
  • Gas surcharge fees.
Needless to say that in four sessions there were an incredible number of suggestions. But, toward the end, the mood was summarized as K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid.

The feeling was against gas surcharges per se (visible surcharges that is) and, if there was a to be a radio dispatch fee, it should probably be a set price of maybe $2. At least that was my impression - a lot of people had a lot of different ideas.

Toward the end three main plans held sway or at least my attention:
  1. Christopher Fulkerson called for no increase in the drop and an additional 10 cents for every 1/5th of a mile which would bring the price to 55 cents every 1/5th of mile.
  2. Tariq Mehmood called for no increase in the drop, an additional 10 cents per 1/5 of a mile plus an another additional 10 cents per 1/5 of a mile for a gas surcharge which brings the price to 65 cents for every 1/5th of a mile.
  3. Tone Lee, on the other hand, wanted no increase in the drop but he only wanted an increase in the number of clicks from 5 to 6 per miles - meaning that there would be 45 cent for every 1/6th of mile.
I should say that there were quickie votes taken at both sessions and the Mehmood plan won by narrow margins in both cases. (Of course a nitpicker might point out that Mehmood had stacked the meeting with disciples so the votes were, shall we say, dubious). Nonetheless the powerful and great Tariq proclaimed this as THE DRIVER'S PLAN.

What we need is a quick comparison. 

 At current rates with a 3.10 drop and 45 cents per 1/5th of a mile. (Using calculations from the above chart as a starting point.)
  • A 3 miles ride with 3 minutes of waiting time = $10.75
  • A 13 mile SFO with 5 minutes of waiting time  = 34.15
Under the Fulkerson Plan with a 3.10 drop and 55 cents per 1/5th of mile. 
  • 3 mile ride = $12.45
  • 13 mile SFO = $41.05
Under the Tone Lee Plan with a 3.10 drop and 45 cent per 1/6th of a mile
  • 3 mile ride = $11.20
  • 13 mile SFO = $40.00
  • 3 mile ride = $13.75
  • 13 miles SFO = $47.15
Of course these are rough estimates.

  • Increasing the drop to 3.50 that would add 40 cents to these totals.
  • Deputy Director Hayashi wanted to add 75 cents as a gas/credit card surcharge.
  • A radio response fee would add $2.00 or $5.00 depending.

 The majestic Mehmood, realizing that a ride to SFO would be a tad high under THE DRIVER'S PLAN , declared that there shall be a flat rate to the airport of $40 from downtown and $45 from Fisherman's Wharf.

Faced with the criticism that THE DRIVER'S PLAN would lose business by making the rides too expensive in the outer areas of the city, no less a personage than the great and powerful Tariq Mehmood himself decreed that there shall also be flat rates from areas like the Excelsior, the Ingleside, Park Merced, the Outer Richmond and the Outer Sunset.

Although I have been told (both in person and with vague threats and obscenities sent as comments to my blog) by Tariq the Terrible and THE DRIVERS, that I am forbidden to speak, I will add my two cents anyway.

I think that something along the lines of either Tone Lee's or Fulkerson's plan will be adopted - possibly with a gas surcharge on the drop as long as it's kept under $4.00.

THE DRIVER'S PLAN is both too complicated and far too expensive. The burden of the cost would fall on people taking shorter rides - especially paratransit people. For that reason alone, the MTA almost certainly will not adopt it.

Deputy Director Hayashi said, that in the future, the cost-of-living need for a meter increase will be reviewed every two years so we won't have wait 9 years for the next raise.

Hayashi also said that she will advise the SFMTA Board NOT to allow the companies to increase the gate as a quid pro for relieving them of the credit card charges.


  1. Another idot blog. Shut this monkey blogs
    and go work for Desoto. How come you are in
    green cab or with Mark. You are the most anti-drivers person.

  2. I am not sure, but sfmta probably throw drivers a bone with fare increase while enacting electronic waybill.
    Already know drivers who want to quit because of electronic waybill
    I may cut back shifts because of electronic waybill.
    electronic waybill probably will be connected to the new health care plan the government is enacting in next few years where taxes and income are tied to the health plan.

  3. I oppose the meter increase because after that happens, the cab companies

    Will ask for a gate increase, this always happens

    Why not impose a 3.00 surcharge for credit card use instead as one of the

    Medallion drivers has thoughtfully suggested

    A meter increase would make sf the most expensive place to hail a taxi in

    The nation.

  4. Tone lee and Tariq is one group and they play
    cards in a smart way. U cnt' understand them.
    They meet several time a week for your info.