The SFMTA now is proposing that several different classes of taxis be added to the cab fleet. (See Photo.)
Peak Time and Single Operator Permits dominated the discussions during the sessions I attended so let me deal with the other permits first.
2 Electric Vehicles have been given in a grant to Yellow Cab to operate as fleet medallions. They will not be used until two battery changing stations have been set up in San Francisco.
These are not to be confused with the 25 electric vehicles that will be given in a grant to the MTA at future time. I believe that these would be driven by Single Operators.
6 Ramp Medallions would also be added to the Ramp Taxi fleet. It's unclear as to which companies would get them.
50 New Full Time Medallions
- 25 going to the List.
- 25 to be sold by the MTA.
Peak Time Permits
I'm not going to spend much time on this - mostly because no one wants peak time cabs except for MTA Director Malcom Heinicke and Supervisor Scott Weiner.
- The Permits are supposed to be operated a maximum of 60 hours per week but the companies claim that they need 75 to 90 hours to make a profit.
- The companies want full time, not part time, medallions.
- Most drivers think that any permits given out should go to working taxi drivers, not the companies.
If Heinicke and the MTA put out Peak Time Permits, score one for Brad.
Single Operator Permits
This idea was much more popular at the meetings - certainly with the drivers. Many details were debated and argued with but an outline of the concept that most drivers found agreeable would go something like this.
- The 25 taxis would be operated a maximum of 60 hours per week.
- The driver would buy the vehicle and necessary insurance.
- The driver could decide what hours he or she wanted to work.
- He or she would have to join a dispatching service but would not be part of a color scheme.
- Electronic Waybills would be used to check on the time in service.
- The vehicles would be used primarily for neighborhood service and would not be able to pick up at SFO.
- Fees paid to the MTA would be reduced, or even taken away, if the driver took enough dispatched calls.
The basis for her estimate was an hourly gross of $30. But this is low for peak time hours and a meter increase would make a more realist estimate of around $40 per hour.
The details are up in the air but this seemed a much better option to the drivers at the Town Hall Meeting than the peak time permits.
Next: arguments for and against additional taxis.