Sunday, August 5, 2012

The City vs the Cab Drivers: Now!

How rapidly the past becomes the future. Yesterday morning I wrote a post about a bleak moment in our recent past and today I find that it could become tomorrow's reality. The SFMTA has a new proposal.

It appears that Director Malcom Heinicke has convinced his colleagues that he is an expert on the taxicab business and they have taken in his gab hook, line and sinker.

Certainly, I doubt that anyone else on the MTA Board is cold enough to come up with a scheme like this.

Philosophically, the plan holds that public needs are more important those of any individual - especially if said individual drives a taxi. ("The city needs money, driver, and we volunteer YOU to foot the bill.") If enacted, the proposed legislation (on rough calculation) would result in the transfer of $100 million to $200 million from taxicab drivers to the SFMTA over a period of time - maybe more ... probably more.

I haven't gone through the specifics yet but in general the Medallion Reform Proposal would:

  • Increase the transfer fee to the MTA from the sale of a taxi from 15% to 30% while increasing the price to $300,000.
  • Allow Pre-K medallion holders to sell ... er ... I guess the world is "surrender" (as if the drivers had stolen the medallions when, of course, it's the MTA that wants something for nothing). Anyway, the "holders" can "surrender" their medallions to the MTA for $150,000 as opposed to selling them for $200,000 as they could have under the Pilot Plan.
  • Force Post-K medallion holders to "surrender" their medallions to MTA for $150,000 instead of selling them for $200,000 as they could have under the Pilot Plan.
  • Allow the MTA to turn around and sell the same medallions for which they had just paid $150,000 - for $300,000.
  • Leave the drivers on the Waiting List who have worked the job hard and served the public well for fifteen or twenty years, who have followed all the rules and were promised a medallion if they did so, who have chosen to drive cabs instead of doing other jobs or following other careers,  hundreds of whom are over sixty waiting for - NOTHING.
Maybe this should be re-named Medallion Deform.

There will be two Town Hall Meeting to discuss the particulars of this moral and political abortion on: 

Tuesday, August 7 at #1 South Van Ness, 2nd floor Atrium from 1:30pm - 4:30pm  & 5 pm - 8pm.

The following items will be on the agenda for the August 21, 2012 SFMTA Board Meeting, meaning that nothing we say at the Town Hall meeting is expected to have any effect. Talk about transparency, huh!

24K   View   Download  
72K   View   Download 

To Brad Newsham,

Sorry, Brad, if I said anything unkind. 


  1. Ed..

    You are "out the door", ? So, you have had it, no?

    Getting out while you can...

    Would you not think an affiliation with a real Union would work?

  2. I think I'm still driving but I did sell the medallion.

    I spent 5 years trying to connect with real unions back in the 80's but they weren't interested. There is a law saying that independent contractors can't organize and they having enough trouble keeping the unions that they legally already had.

    I actually found some of the union people both ignorant and hostile. One union rep - a girl just out of college - started yelling at me when I told her we needed legal help. She refused to give me a referral and said that we should learn how to talk to the companies using an "I'm OK,You're OK" approach. I kid you not.

    I also gave a paper helpful in a suit to a "Left-wing" lawyer. When I got fired sometime later, I went to see the attorney and he claimed he'd never seen me before.

    I think that the unions during that period were on the run and had to scap the bottom of the barrel to find people to work for them.

    There are so many different interests in the cab business that it's almost impossible to organize them.

    Tariq actually might have been a start if he hadn't been obsessed with attacking Hayashi. Aside from being insane, it turned off all the drivers who rightly liked her.