Wednesday, June 15, 2011

TAC Proposes: 25 Single Operator, 25 to the List, Restart OTA

On Monday, June 13, 2011 the Taxi Advisory Council held its most productive meeting so far.

It started with the introduction a new councilor, Timothy Lapp (Photo front), who replaces Jim Gillespie as the Yellow Cab delegate. Tim and I started driving taxi on the same day almost 28 years ago. I know him as a creative person who has travelled widely in Europe and Asia with a definite mind of his own. I'm sure that he'll make great contributions to the council when he's not parroting his firm's propaganda - maybe even when he is.

Then, a ghost proposal popped up. At the Town Hall meetings (of which TAC was supposed to be an extension) Peak Time Permits had been given the thumbs down and left for dead by everyone. Yet, there they were back on the agenda under the new name of "Part Time Company Permits." They certainly couldn't be peak time because they could be operated up to 80 hours a week.

Veteran MTA watchers recognized this as the handiwork of Director Malcom Heinicke. Heinicke has occasionally spoken about "transparency" but appears to have only the vaguest idea of what the word means. For the director's elucidation allow me to include a few definitions from Wikipedia:

Transparency, as used in the humanities and in a social context more generally, implies openness, communication, and accountability. It is a metaphorical extension of the meaning a "transparent" object is one that can be seen through. Transparent procedures include open meetings ....

In politics, transparency is introduced as a means of holding public officials accountable and fighting corruption. When government meetings are open to the press and the public ... when laws, rules and decisions are open to discussion, they are seen as transparent and there is less opportunity for the authorities to abuse the system in their own interest.

In short, what's the point of putting us through 3 days of Town Hall meetings and then going back door to whimsically change what the drivers had decided upon? Did the director think we wouldn't notice?

Heinicke is in danger of turning all these meetings into the farce that Brad Newsham, Tariq Mehmood and others claim they are.

Whatever - the TAC didn't like the Heinicke Corporate Cabs any better than drivers liked Peak Time Permits at the Town Hall Meetings. Thumbs down once again!

Under the firm direction of Chair Chris Sweiss, the Taxi Advisory Council voted for:
  • 25 Single Operator Permits.
  • 2 Electric Vehicle (EV) permits.
  • 25 Medallions to the top of the Waiting List.
The council also decided to urge the MTA Board to work out various ways to improve service before arbitrarily adding cabs to the fleet

TAC then voted to advise the Board to re-issue a Request For Proposal (RFP) for Open Taxi Access (OTA). This would invite bidding from tech companies to build the Open Taxi Access Platform. This would be the first step to making OTA a reality.

TAC also voted to encourage all companies to take dispatched calls.

Speaking of Tariq Mehmood (And how can one not?) ... he showed up at TAC to tell everyone that he was going on strike because, at the last Town Hall meeting, he took 9 of his friends into another room where they agreed that the Single Operator Permits should be operated at fixed times.

Most of the people at that meeting appeared to prefer a more flexible schedule.

But Mehmood, the self-proclaimed "powerful and great" leader, declared that he was in the majority, that 80% of the drivers were behind him and that, if the permits were not operated at fixed times, he would strike.

There you have it! Talk about motivation! A "powerful and great" man's gotta do what he's gotta do.

The rest of the drivers at the Town Hall Meetings had pretty much agreed with TAC's recommendations.

The upshot is that the drivers should get a meter increase and (quid pro quo) 25 Single Operator cabs should be put out to work at peak times, 25 more taxis should be added to the fleet and a high-tec dispatching solution should link all the taxis in the city in one big network.

Hopefully this will help both the drivers and the public.

We'll see.


  1. ota would definitely help the public and the cab drivers out a lot, then less cabs would need to be added to improve customer service, something like 75-150 cabs plus a well thought out ota service should do the trick..
    this peer to peer relationship via the smart phone thing is coming whether the cab companies like it or not.
    on weekend nights it appears uber software already competing with cabs..

  2. Here we go with the Tariq thing again. Ed, you do a fine job of reporting the TAC's recommendations at the last meeting. You do quite an irresponsible job of slamming Tariq again with inaccurate reporting.

    BTW... before you go calling him my "hero" again, I am not defending a person, I'm protesting your blog based on the principles of journalism.

    In your essay, you seem to be alleging that Tariq stated his purposes for a strike to rest solely on set hours for single shift cabs. THIS IS FALSE.

    I however will not provide you with the luxury of free information. Get the facts yourself. Read a newspaper if you have to. If you were more responsible, you'd check to see if your statements are factual. One way to do that is to actually talk to the person you're reporting on, in this case Tariq. This is especially important in your case, as it seems apparent that you cannot accurately interpret someone's message when they speak at town hall meetings. But if you can't bring yourself to talk to someone who you don't like, like Tariq, even for the sake of providing accurate reporting, then why don't you cite a newspaper and reference their facts? The Examiner has reported what the motives are for a strike. Go read it.

    I'm afraid you'll probably go publishing that I'm defending Tariq and you'll sarcastically call him my "hero". If this is your method then it's not my credibility that's at stake, it's yours. I'm not writing this to protect any particular person. I'm writing this because there's a principle in journalism that requires accuracy in reporting, which you do not seem to respect.

  3. Hi John,

    I guess I did imply that that was the reason for him to strike? Or maybe I was implying that Tariq would use any reason to strike?

    In any I was accurately reporting his behavior at a meeting that you did not attend.

    I did not say that this only reason for striking. But he did threaten to strike if we (everyone else at the TH meet) did go along with his idea.

    Tariq refuses to talk to me by the way.

    Sorry for calling him your "hero."

    As for "slamming Tariq" ... when he stops slamming Hayashi, stops slandering people who think differently than he does and stops trying to bully people into accepting his ideas, I'll stop slamming him.


    But ... to the subject: Why do you want to strike?

  4. Ed I don't believe you ever said you were a professional journalist and therefore required to obey all laws and regualtions.
    And a newspaper is the last place I'd go for any reliable information.
    In many, many years I don't believe I've ever seen a newspaper report about the taxi industry that did no have a glaring error in it.

  5. Mr. Ed, Your blog is nothing but full of lies
    and attack on others. Who care who you are ?
    Ford is gone, Hayashi will go to. This was the
    taxi drivers who set the stage for Ford to leave
    so abruptly. Tariq is all of us Hero. No one
    could do what he proved it. You said Tariq is
    bitching. I do not know if he is bitching on a
    bitch or you are bitching on him. His decisions
    are made after he consult hundreds of people and
    several groups. You are sitting in a dark room
    using this blog to attack a leader and everyone
    knows that you are doing non-sense and together
    with you is Christopher. How many people Christopher or you brought with you in any meeting. Town hall meetings need few people.
    Citywide protest or strikes needs hundreds
    and they do come on his call. It is his call
    and we all are coming. You stated another blog
    that you know who wrote etc. How you can know
    when these are anonymous. If you know then
    how can be electronic waybill safe when christiane inspite of so-and-so statement will
    be able to see them.

  6. This summary of the situation is accurate in all matters of substance. I especially agree with the warning to the SFMTA that: "Heinicke is in danger of turning all these meetings into the farce that Brad Newsham, Tariq Mehmood and others claim they are."
    Proceeding from the sublime to the ridicuous, it is not true that the powerful and great leader, Tariq Mahmmod, had 6 people who agreed with him. He had 9 people who agreed with him. And he did not take this 9 as proof that only 80% of the industry is behind him. I do not think that at any time Mahmood conceeds so small a majority. He insists that his views represent 100% of the drivers. Statements of this kind always come as a surprise to people in the room.
    But again, Mahmood's warning is in order that the Town Hall meetings are a farce, a mere attempt by the MTA to manufacture consent. At the latest TAC meeting, Hayashi conceded, when asked point-blank why the summary she was submitting bore so little resemblance to the findings of the Town Hall meetings, that her bosses wanted the "findings" in the document she submitted - tacitly implying they did not want the findings in which the Town Hall meetings resulted.
    So it seems plausible that the MTA Board is now sweeping aside the wisdom and desires of every level of the industry, and rehearsing a retaliation against both the participants in the Town Hall meetings, and the TAC.
    What would be most interesting of all would be if the MTA were to opt for the GREATER number of medallions that Yellow says are called for. Then we could reasonably think, as we usually do, that Yellow is the worst culprit within the industry.

  7. Gee I wonder who could have written the above. Check the IP address Ed.
    Maybe TAriq does not know about IP address

  8. Hi Christopher,

    I agree that Tariq brought 9 people with him to the other room at the TH but at the TAC he forgot how many of his disciples had gone with him and claimed only 6.

    The figure of 80% comes from the "powerful and great" leader's own mouth.

    By the way, I got the expression "powerful and great leader" from an e-mail that Mehmood sent me. He was speaking about himself.

    I don't think that it's quite true that the MTA drastically changed the plan formed by the Town Hall Meetings. The only change that I noticed was the addition of the "Part Time Company" permits.

    Since the TAC voted this down, it should be interesting to see if Heinicke is arrogant and stupid enough to stick Peak Times once again into the final draft.

    I personally didn't think that anybody could make Tariq look good but Director Heinicke is trying his best to do so.

  9. Instead of critizing someone, try doing what he is doing. I envy his detication and efforts which I cannot afford to do. How long Tariq Mehmood missed work which is the income his family rely on. He is not a medallion holder and no extra income to rely on but still spending a lot of time and money to organise these drivers.
    I envy him for his efforts and dedications even if anyone thinks he is wrong.
    I will see you all on Tuesday.