Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Arithmetic of Greed 2: Killing the Future

Perhaps the thing that riles me the most about the SFMTA's new Medallion Deform Plan is their cowardly and dishonest refusal to admit that they intend to KILL the WAITING LIST. 

I mean, as if these guys would shakedown everyone else in the business and let drivers earn medallions without paying for them.  As if the the MTA would reward cab drivers merely for the decades of service that they've given the public. As if the MTA would keep the City's commitment to these drivers. As if the MTA would consider fairness and compassion more import than a quick buck.

Actually, the MTA would make money even if they did give the medallions away for "free." It would just take a little time - but not too much. Most of the people on the top of the list are in their 60's or 70's. Their medallions would probably be turned around and transferred fairly quickly.

Let's do the Math (click "Read more" below):

A. Under the Pilot Plan

Using the formula that Director Chris Hayashi spent a year negotiating with the taxi drivers, medallion holders, cab company owners and - YES - the SFMTA, the figures would look like this:

If 500 "earned" medallions were given out and then sold for $250,000 with a 15% cut:

The MTA would make 250,000 x .15 = 37,500 per medallion x 500 = $18,750,000.

It might take five or ten years but this isn't too bad a profit for an agency that has spent absolutely nothing on an investment.

B. Under the MTA's Deform Plan

At 50% of $300,000:

The MTA would grasp 300,000 x .50 = 150,000 x 500 = $75,000,000

A pretty penny but clearly not enough for the mountebanks at the MTA.

C. Under the MTA's Current Total Ripoff Plan.

The MTA would purloin 300,000 x 500 = $150 million.

The Drivers on the List would get:

Under Plan A:

$200,000 per medallion. Nice piece of change. Takes the pressure off. Combined with savings and a little luck might just let a dude retire.

 200,000 x 500 = $100 million for a the lot.

Under Plan B:

$150,000. Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick but not enough to live on for very long. Many drivers would continue working for years longer than they should, possibly endangering both themselves and the public in the process. 

Under Plan C:

The drivers get nada, nyet, nada, zip, squat, ZERO.

 The average annual income in San Francisco is about $62,500. Cab drivers make about $25,000 a year. Very few would be able to save money in this town. The people on the Waiting List have planned on their medallion income or transfer fee to help them retire. 

By taking the medallions, the SFMTA, is condemning these workers to an old age without hope.

$150,000,000!  The SFMTA wouldn't be the first organization to push other people into poverty for that kind of coin.

By the way ...

Who gets 50% for brokering a financial transaction?

If other Cities get 5% from a sale of a medallion and the local sales tax = 8.5%, who gets 50%?

The only people I can think of are loan sharks and Mafioso. Is there anyone out there more knowledgeable on this subject than I?


  1. I believe that most Cab drivers are good hard working honest people who deserve better than this. I just looked up the the word "venal" in the dictionary and it means, bent, amoral, buyable, concienceless, corrupt, crooked, dishonest, double dealing, immoral, mercenary, on the take, padded, unethical, unprincipled, unprofessional, unscrupulous, and to add my own two pence worth its also a sin and its cruel, come on good people stand up UNITE do not let this evil triumph.

  2. cruel leadership (SFMTA) begets disgust. paul harting

  3. Human nature recoils at futile effort--Seneca

  4. Man shall be judged by controversy and challenge not comfort and convenience-- King. RISE UP GOOD PEOPLE, RISE UP.