Thursday, June 28, 2012

Best PracticesTaxi Study by Hara & Associates

Yesterday I met with Dr. Dan Hara (photo) and his associate Penina Coppersmith to discuss ways to improve the taxicab business in San Francisco. There is a listing of the potential interview topics that they are using at the end of this post.

I don't know how many people they intend to talk to or how the interviewees were chosen but I think they want as a wide a spectrum of the industry as possible. Non-medallion holder driver and TAC member, Tone Lee, was interviewed just before me.

 Dr. Hara said that they also intended to run their own studies. They have done projects like this in fourteen cites over the last twenty years. Dr. Hara emphasized that their report would suggest the best practices from the standpoint of service.

I brought out my old saw about how company corruption has been bringing down the business by rewarding the most corrupt drivers and companies instead of the best; and putting potentially unqualified and dangerous drivers on the street.

I also came out in favor of changing from a gate & gas to a split meter system as a way to drastically improve both radio service and company quality. This would force companies to actually engage in the business of picking up cab customers instead of leasing out vehicles.

I have written about this before more than once. But, my previous efforts to bring an end to leasing did little except label me as a crank. However, this idea should be getting more traction since the most successful dispatching company in San Francisco, Uber LIMO, uses a split meter instead of a leasing model.

Other things I favored:
  1. Open Taxi Access or linking all the dispatchings systems in the city together onto one grid. 
  2. Better driver training.
  3. More regulators for enforcement against illegal limos and illegal taxi company practices.
  4. Issuing more Single Operator Permits instead of full time cabs.
Dr. Hara said that they should have the study finished sometime in September.

To see the Best Practices Topics click below.


  1. Johnny walker sez,

    Sorry Healy, the cab companies, SFMTA and medallion owners are too set in

    Their ways and more likely than not, change their ways before it's too late.

    Uber is to taxi and limo companies like craigslist was to print media, by the time

    Print media had figured it out, it was too late, so in my opinion taxi companies

    Two years too late to the party and they along with the SFMTA have burned their

    Bridges with too many gas and gate drivers, who by joining Uber, set their own

    Hours, make more money and are truly.............independent contractors, immune

    To the dog and pony like atmosphere exhibited by aforementioned parties.

    However, I wish you the best of luck with your endeavors, even though it Will

    Ultimately be fruitless

    Have a nice day!

  2. Hi Johnny Walker,

    I'm kind of curious about your attitude. The ones most damaged by by your projection of the future will be the non-medallion cab drivers.

    Why are you gloating about that?

    I think the ones most affected will the fools who rush out and buy limos or hybrids. Uber is clearly exploiting them by encouraging far too many of them to invest their own money in a situation with over-supply of competition. Even now they are mostly competing against each other and not cabs. What happens to them if Uber sweet-talk sanother 1,500 of them to buy cars? Where is the business going to come from?

    As for me, I'm going to be a winner no matter what happens. My hand is all aces. All my days are nice.

    Ed Healy

  3. Johnny walker sez,

    Well first of all, as to paragraph one, medallion owners will ultimately be damaged by uber, the gas and gate drivers will jump ship
    for better pay and more independence, this means more Independence as apposed to the master and servant mentality put forth by SFMTA and taxi management with the tacit approval of the passive medallion owner community who actions or lack thereof, will contribute to the downward deflationary spiral as inefficient cab service, based on a broken business model loses increasing market share to uber and services like them.
    This means three things 1) less money driving a cab 2) the value of medallions will plummet as prospective purchasers realize, it s bad business to buy a 250k medallion, based on a broken business model, that has declining revenue stream and, 3) this ultimately cab companies faced with the prospect of idled cabs and fewer drivers, will renegotiate monthly stipends with owners to a LOWER amount this in turn will force owners to downsize their lifestyle and drive more for much less, gee Ed that sounds like the life of. Gas an gate driver, won't that be "nice" Ed?

    As to paragraph 2, Ed, denial is not a river in Egypt.

    As to paragraph 3, Ed, uber does not operate on the gas and gate model, so they will regulate the amount of vehicles they out into service, unlike the SFMTA and cab companies, who if in a panic flood the streets with more cab s to compete with uber, will merely hasten their demise exponentially based on their broken business model and by the way Ed word on the street is THOUSANDS of people as it stand right no have signed up for uber x.

    So in conclusion Ed I hope your " winning " " aces " " in the coming weeks and months hold, an your days continue to be " nice ".

  4. So Ed,

    What's hayashi going to do now, shut uber out of SFO? Oops she tried and that did not last for long, kind of like yellow attempting to shut out square, it will not work, once again the business model is broken, kind of like humpty dumpty.
    You can mock and criticize my comments all you like Ed, but the result will be the same, uber and dispatch companies like them can and will continue to take away business from taxis because, let's face it, dispatch sucks and passengers would much rather be picked up in 5, rather than 45 minutes.
    This really all started with airport shuttles and because taxi management refused to change their ways, it created a vacuum in
    which uber stepped into and now there's no going back, it's called progress Ed so enjoy It while you can.

    Johnny walker

  5. You seem to have missed the point on Uber's business model. They are investing no money what-so-ever in expanding their fleet. They have an app. All the money for the limos not to mention the insurance (if any) is being paid for their suckers ... er ... drivers.

    There is a limited pool of business and 3,000 vehicles would far exceed the amount of dispatch business in the city - at least 90 or 95 percent of the time. So, what these limos or x's or whatever are doing is competing against each other for calls on Uber's App. This works great for Uber but most of these drivers are likely to end up in the red.

    Once again ... we'll make it simple for you. Uber is signing up all these limos (at no cost to themselves) in order to speed up their Aps performance . The more liimos they have on the street, the faster the service - at least to a point. But this speed depends upon having an excess of limos on the street at all times.

    Personally, I think the city is already over-saturated. It's why these limos are racing me down the street for flags and paying doorman extortion fees to get rides that should go to us. So most of these people lining up to spend money to get a limo job are going to get burned.

    Sounds like you've actually bought one of these limos? Sucker born every minute, huh Johnny?

  6. No actually they do have overhead, albeit lower than taxi companies, the also have something else, it's called INCENTIVE and MARKETING, something that the SFMTA and taxi management are lacking in, and yes, drivers have to, buy their own vehicles, pay their own insurance, and provide their own TCP license. Uber makes their money via a 20% cut, if uber does not preform they get no cut, and guess what Ed that's where MARKETING comes in, but, if you had even bothered to do your homework Ed, you would have known this, after all it's not rocket science, you're just a bitter, broke down old glue horse who senses the good old days are coming to and end, and the time to downsize your lifestyle might be coming sooner than you think ... Johnny Walker

  7. Much of what you say about marketing is to the point and, indeed, both the companies and the MTA should be paying attention.

    On the other hand, there is only so much business out there and playing flags both remains illegal and will be increasing punished as the MTA beefs up its enforcement.

    What are these poor suckers who buy hybrids going do when the winter sets in? feed on each other.

    I'm not bitter. I hold all Aces and eat very good meals with charming company.


  8. Ed, with all due respect

    You have once again FAILED to do your homework in checking the fundamentals of uber, uber has been in the city for 2 years and

    Fom what I understand, drivers revenue has been steadily increasing.

    In response to your comment about limos taking flags, the lions share of these town cars are either pre 2007 or too beat up to pass

    User's visual inspection but that is the least of gas and gate drivers problems.

    Driver's in addition to losing market share to airport shuttles are now faced with the prospect of uber and uber X.

    What if for example uber X matches sf taxi pricing, do you think passengers would rather get in a dirty unkempt vehicle with 150k on

    The odometer OR a newer Prius with driver/owner who has INCENTIVE, you see Ed , as long as drivers are treated like serfs and

    Passengers are exposed to terrible dispatch and poorly maintained vehicles uber will continue to thrive while cab companies, the

    SFMTA will continue their slide into the dustbin of irrelevancy, do to their corruption, short sightedness and stupidity kind of like what

    Happen to newsprint when craigslist came along, I mean taxi cabs will still exist but will either be driven by medallion owners or

    Unionized drivers.

    The best days as a medallion driver are over.........................Ed

    Johnny walker

  9. In continuation of yesterday's post Ed, I would like to say this, I do not belong to OR have affiliated with with uber YET but as a

    Gas and gate driver, why should continue to spend in excess of 25k a year on gates, gas, tip outs to dispatchers gasmen and

    Mechanics and then have to put up with company attitude, credit card charges, wait time when in less than year by driving for uber

    I can pay off the car and for the following four I can reap profit and have tons of write offs?

    Tell me Ed would you faced in the same position as me jump the taxi titanic and work WITH uber or AT a taxi company and

    Continue to put up with the aforementioned bs?

    We all know Ed, that once again the gas and gate is a failed business model, a scam the only works if you have enough ignorant

    Drivers willing to go along with this risk reward model whereas drivers assume all the risk ( tickets, accidents, injuries, ect) and the

    Owners, taxi mgt and SFMTA are assured all the rewards ( 250k sales, 5% credit card charges, monthly stipends, half gates healt

    Insurance plum shifts ect,)

    Now if the pool of ignorant drivers was smaller would the rewards be the same, it is doubtful and what if there were no drivers, I'm

    Sure this scheme would collapse and lawsuits would abound in federal court, but by then it would be too late of course.

    As I have mentioned in previous posts it really does not matter what SFMTA does at this point it is too late, even though the barn

    Doors have been closed, the horses ran off to parts unknown, so enjoy the party while you can Ed.

    Johnny walker

    P.s all info about uber is in the public domain, so go do your homework.

  10. i pretty much agree with what you say about the gates and gas. I've been trying to talk the SFMTA into forcing a split on the meter for over 3 years. They won't listen for reasons that Athan Rebelos mentioned on SF taxi.

    However, your analysis of Uber as the driver's savior is wacked. For instance, You say,

    "Ed, uber does not operate on the gas and gate model, so they will regulate the amount of vehicles they put out into service..."

    Well ... regulating the amount of vehicles on the street would make sense IF Uber owned the vehicles. They don't. Their business plan is to have YOU buy the cars. In fact, their apparent sign up of 2,000 drivers shows that they have no intention of limiting the people using their the number of people using their Aps - regardless of the amount of business they have. They obviously plan to keep their response time up by over-saturating the market.

    As I said the drivers are competing against each other more than they are taxicabs.

    In addition, have you noticed that none of their limos have Uber written on them? This is clearly to avoid any kind of liability in case of accidents. In short, all bad things will all go on the driver.

    As for INCENTIVE??? I can't see the difference between driving a cab or a limo. You start out in the hole and don't make money unless you work in either case. Of course you are in more of a hole with Uber because you have to buy, maintain, pay for the insurance etc which a gate and gas driver doesn't have to pay.

    There are other questions: what do you drive if the car breaks down? What do you driver while the car is being repaired?

    Drivers on gates and gas don't accept all the risk. Accidents and repairs are on the company ... I shouldn't have to go through all this ... you should know it.

    Uber is very smart. They are selling you a dream of independence but it their own dream. You would be responsible for everything and they are responsible for nothing. They aren't even responsible for workers comp. But if you hired another driver - you would be.

    If they really are talking 2,000 of you into buying these cars, you'll be lucky to pay off the loan at all much less in a year.

    Uber is playing on the desperate dreams of underpaid drivers ... and they're talking you in paying for everything - while they pay for nothing. They aren't regulated. They can change the rules any time. Today 20%. Tomorrow 40%. Why not? Once you buy the car. You have to pay for it. In fact, when you calculate the price of the cars etc you're paying about 50% or 60% already.

    Or, do you think Uber is so honest and upstanding that they'll do everything by the Good BooK? Their own business is based on cleverly violating laws.

    I am enjoying the party. When it ends, I'll cash out way ahead. And why shouldn't I? I've put 28 years into this business. How long have you been working?

  11. Hi Johnny Walker,

    For a moment I thought that you were going to discuss things like an intelligent adult. Unfortunately you've reverted to form. This means that I'm going to have to moderate all the comments again.


  12. As independent contractors, drivers can work for any service they want to, including uber, if drivers want to hire they can, if not the

    Will not, if uber wants to put out 200 or 2000, I'm sure they will do so when the time is right as to not effect drivers wage loss, but

    Really the point is drivers will be free of taxi politics and truly independent to do as they choose and have to put up with taxi

    Management telling them they are independent contractors while treating them like employees.

  13. Hi Walker,

    Your faith in Uber is enduring. The whole point of asking for all you people to buy cars is too maximize their profits. In what kind of dream is it that they care about your wage loss? You're simply trading one set of bastards for another.

    You're not truly independent unless you have legitimate business. What Uber is offering you is the right to become an illegal cab at about 10 times the cost than if you did it yourself.


  14. Will the last person viewing this blog please turn off the lights for it's operator has lost the argument

  15. Let me get this straight. Healy gets a cheque for 2500 dollors a month. Walker gets nothing. Healy can eat at Harahs steak house any time he wants, Walker eats garbage at Mc Donalds, Healy can go to China a couple of times a year, Walker goes nowhere. If you ask me Healy has the icing on the cake and the cream of the crop. The likes of Walker and Memoud are just angry jealous people.

  16. No Doug Hansen, I'm not jealous,

    I have just like many others, have come to the realization the game is rigged and will never change and you know what, I'm ok with

    That, however I'm also ok with the fact it will eventually collapse and you know what Hansen, that makes me happy.

    Johnny walker

  17. Your a walking contradiction Walker, You created two sentences in the first sentence you said the game is rigged and would never change. In the second sentence you said its a fact that it will eventually collapse. It seems to me that your happy your a bitter angry man, Walker. Why would u want people to loose there cheques and there lively hood. Have a good shift Walker.

  18. Actually my cheque is for 2200 a month. This is because I work for Green which does not allow tipping and treats the drivers well.

    I rarely eat steak. I prefer Asian and Mexican food which is better tasting, healthier and costs about the same price as the garbage at McDonalds.

    I personally have trouble finding myself cast as the villain. I spent over 20 years paying gates & gas before I earned my medallion. I spent most those years driving bad shifts because I wouldn't tip the dispatchers what they thought I should give them. I was fired at least once and probably twice for trying to form unions.

    Since I've had the medallion I've fought for medical benefits and/or retirement for all drivers.

    When the pilot plan was created I argued (successfully) for a Drivers Fund to be used for non-medallion drivers and a continuation of the Waiting list so that drivers could continue to get earned medallions. I also originated the idea of a flat rate of $250,000 for a medallion sale instead of open auctions -which would have financially crippled the drivers buying the medallions.

    I've attempted to do real politics - that is to say - to get the best possible outcome from real situations; as opposed to impossible outcomes from onanistic fantasies.

    People like Memoud, aside from his nasty person attacks, was making a big noise about trivial issues and Mr. Walker appears to wax and wan between impossible day dreams and delusions of destruction. When a system collapses the people at the bottom get buried with the most bricks.

    I've got nothing to be ashamed of and might even have done a little good.

    I didn't take a vacation for twenty years before i got my medallion. I think I've earned a few trips.

    As they say in China, Yilu Pingan

    Or, as they put it in Mexico where part of my family is from, Vaya con Dios

    Have a safe journey, Go with God.

  19. Well Ed
    Since you now are censoring your comments page, it just goes to show exactly how hollow your comments
    Are to my facts, it's no wonder you are so ill relevant now, oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

    Johnny Walker

  20. You know perfectly well why I've censoring my comments, Johnny Walker, since you are the one who send me a comment with personal insults and an obscenity. I deleted your second comment simply because it was repetitious and boring.

    For a few posts you sounded like an intelligent, thoughtful person but appear to have shot your mental wad and have reverted to form.

    I don't like pre-reading comments but childish people like you make it necessary.

    In any case, this subject seems pretty much exhausted. Uber will either triumph or not. We shall see. In either case - I'm still holding Aces.


  21. If I could add one final note to Walker, there is nothing more pathetic, sad and cowardly than expressing ones views and opinions ( as daft as they may be ) and then going and running behind anonymity.

  22. I am happy you are holding aces, my gut feeling is uber and uber type technologies, side car is one i have heard of and many more to come will cut into the cab business by about 25%..the main weakness these new types of limos have is liability, cabs have like million dollar policies these things have god knows what, but that also puts them at a competitive advantage..its like the technology got ahead of the rules...

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