Thursday, January 12, 2012

Two More Plans

Charles Rathbone of Luxor Cab came up with another outline for a plan.

He started out by stating that the Medallion Sales Pilot Program has been an unqualified success. He claimed:
  • It has benefited both sellers and buyers.
  • It has given drivers on the waiting list two options instead of one: they can now buy or wait for a medallion to become available.
Rathbone wants to see;

 A Permanent Medallion Sales Problem

1. All medallion holders would be able to sell.
     a. Purchasers would initially come from the waiting list.
     b. At some point all drivers with five years of experience would become qualified to buy.

2. Several hundred medallions would be given to drivers on the waiting list.
     a. Charles envisions about 75 medallion a year being released.
     b. The list would eventually end.
3. The MTA would lease a certain number of "non-medallion permits" to "full-service color schemes."
     a. Rathbone tried very hard to avoid using the phrase but they would be "fleet taxis."
     b. He would probably define a "full-service color scheme" as Luxor, Yellow and Desoto cabs.
     c. The fleet taxis would be leased for periods of three or so years.
     d. The leases could be withdrawn if it was determined that there were too many cabs.

Service and Fairness ...

... is the the title that Rua Graffis, long time driver and United Taxicab Workers perpetrator, gave to her  conception of the future.

Graffis's plan is 11 pages of single-spaced type long and could only be briefly summarized during the TAC discussion. I'd like to do it more justice here but I'm going to China next week and need all my spare time to improve my primitive language skills.

So all I can do is list some main ideas and ask some question.

By the way, this points out another problem with the TAC. The council simply does not have the time delve deeply into complicated ideas and issues.

Rua's Plan.

There would be several different types of medallions.

  1. 100 corporate Ramp Medallions
  2. 800 Master (K) Medallions driven by gates and gas drivers.
  3. 800 Master (K) Medallions driven by Medallion holders.
  4. 186 Transferable Medallions.
  5. Pre-K = 300 now but the category would gradually disappear as the holders died off and their medallions went to make up part of ...
  6. 2000 Single Operator Medallions (returned K's).
Medallions would no longer be sold and all drivers from the various categories would pay amounts ranging from $750 per year to $6,000 per year into a Drivers fund.

The fund would be used for the retirement of all cab drivers.

What strikes me are the numbers. Potentially there could be almost 4,000 cabs on the street at the same time. This many taxis could turn a Friday night in October into a February Sunday morning. Coming from a woman who began her political career fighting against Mayor Diane Feinstein's attempt to add 289 cabs for the 1984 Democratic Convention, this raises nothing but question marks in my mind.

Ms. Graffis said that she wasn't good at numbers and at the end of her essay wrote, "Great care must be taken only to add medallions when there is a documented need. This is of particular concern since ..." the MTA which "... controls the number of cabs ... seeks money from the industry for its budget."

Rua wants the money that would go to loan companies to instead to into the Driver's Fund and retirement programs; and the Single Operator Permits would theoretically be driven only when it's busy. However,  the sheer volume of taxis that Rua envisions throws out any kind of rational thought for me. Except for New Year's Eve, these aren't figures that belong in San Francisco.

Or, maybe she simply expects all the K medallions to eventually become Single operator Medallions. It's hard to say.

Maybe this conundrum will be cleared up with a careful reading of her monograph. I'll tackle it on the return flight. Unless you were at the meeting, I'm not sure where you can get ahold of a copy. You  might be able to get more information by clicking on this UTW link.

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