Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Reward for Playing by the Rules?

Brian Rosen is fifty-two and has followed all the rules. He's done everything that he was supposed to do to "earn" a taxi medallion.

Rosen's been driving cab five shifts a week (2,000 to 2,500 hours a year) for almost twenty years. He takes a lot of dispatched calls, knows the city, rides for orders in the neighborhoods, has a good driving record, accepts credit cards and treats his customers well.

He's also one of the few cab drivers who has health insurance. He pays $854 per month for a policy with a $2,950 deductible.

 Brian put his name on the Waiting List in 1993 and he's currently number 38.

If the SFMTA Board had not replaced K with the Pilot Plan two years ago, he would almost certainly hold a medallion by now.

If the rules of the Pilot Plan had stayed in effect, he would almost certainly be a medallion holder soon. The Plan called for one newly issued or re-issued medallion to be given to the List for every medallion put up for sale. Whenever the city put more cabs on the street, he would have received a medallion.

If the Taxi Services Staff Recommendations worked out by Director Christiane Hayashi in May 2012 (calling for one medallion issued to the List for every permit issued or medallion sold by the MTA) were to take effect, he would certainly get a medallion soon.

But, if the SFMTA's current proposal (based on a plan of MTA Board Director Malcom Heinicke that was rejected by a Charter Amendment reform group in 2007) is passed by the MTA Board, there is no mention of the commitment previously made by the city under every other plan to reward drivers like Brian for playing by the rules.

"I'm very concerned," Mr. Rosen told me stoically. "The anxiety I feel is very frustrating."


  1. Your post about Brian Rosen cuts to the quick, Ed Healy. Brian is the face of this attack on reasonably minded industry members who've worked hard these last years to achieve a fair plan. It must be defeated. paul harting

  2. Brian deserves a medallion and what the SFMTA wants to do is pathetic and criminal. There are of course many other drivers for whom such an action would be a blatant injustice. The SFMTA is trying to simply and suddenly put aside the City's decades-long policy of rewarding drivers with earned medallions, BUT THIS IS A CHANGE THAT CANNOT BE MADE OVERNIGHT OR EVEN OVER A PERIOD OF YEARS. Every single driver who has played by the rules AND worked all along should be considered for a medallion before any such major structural changes in taxi policy are even contemplated. And any thought of paying people who don't drive for their pre-Proposition K medallions is completely unethical, and obviously the result of "back room deals."

    We really are in a dark time now, with government becoming the worst of the bad guys, completely fraudulent morally, absolutely specious in its statements about the need to serve the public, utterly unconcerned ethically, behaving like a Third-World country... and I apologize to Third-World countries everywhere for the comparison.

  3. The un-replied to email I sent to Heinicke

    One of my guys is #1 on the list. Another is #50. Please don't pass something that will deny them the one step up they will ever get as a cab driver. These are very decent guys that never do anything wrong in contrast to many cab drivers.
    You correctly made the point that Med. Holders would have had nothing before the Pilot program but in this case they would have had something before the Program. Not to mention had they known they could have bought long ago. Now what? They are just out?


  4. So Ed, is that it for the people on the list, no more earned medallions for anyone. Im confused apart from everything else. your answer is apreciated. Thank you.

  5. Hi Doug,

    It's still up in the air. I'll be addressing the subject in my next few posts.

  6. Boy, that Malcolm A. Heinicke is a slippery one!