Wednesday, September 19, 2012

MTA Permits Town Hall meeting

A Town Hall meeting was held last Week on Monday concerning the new permits leased by the MTA to the companies. It was led by Taxi Services personal Mike Harris (photo), Jarvis Murray and Scott Leon.

I'm going to China tomorrow and I'm pressed for time so I'm just going pass on some notes.

TAC member Carl Macmurdo said the MTA gave themselves medallions. 

Former TAC member Bill Mounsey (82 on the List) and driver Naim Malik strongly objected to giving out the permits instead of giving medallions to working drivers on the list.

Mike Harris said that he had talked to Director Reiskin and that the List had not been killed, implying that more cabs would go to the List. According to Harris, the permits are different than medallions in several ways.

The permits: are leased for a three year period, are restricted to gates & gas, can drop at SFO but can't pick up, cannot be leased and will have different numbers.

People at the meeting said that the way to guarantee that the cabs will be used properly would be to: look at actual figures - who buys the cab, who pays the insurance, who gets the gate payments, who pays the gates and where the shift changes are made - must be made at the company.

Tom Stanghellini of Luxor cab said that it would give the companies the chance to reward veteran drivers with good shifts. 

Allocation of the permits to the companies ...

will be on the basis of dispatching records and other factors. such as treatment of drivers would be used to decide how many cabs would be given to what companies. The discussion centered on dispatching records on Monday.

Harris emphasized that it was a preliminary draft and that the numbers could be changed.

At this point the 155 would be put out thus:

  • 50 to Luxor
  • 45 to Yellow
  • 35 to Desoto
  • 10 to Arrow/Checker
  • 5 to Comfort, Green, National
  • 0 to everyone else
Hansu Kim, owner of Desoto Cab strenuously objected to the fact that the statistics were self-reported. He said that there was no way Luxor should get 15 more cabs than Desoto. He said that Desoto was being audited by the City's controller and all other companies should do the same.

Jarvis Murray said that they would stay with self-reporting until electronic waybills because the norm.

Stanghellini said that Luxor had no objection to being audited.

A point of amusement is that Yellow Cab appears to have cost themselves 20 or 30 permits by deliberately giving poor service on the theory that this would give them more cabs

Richard Hybels was upset about getting none. "All my cabs are gates and gas and there's no tipping ," he said. "Some of these companies don't even have workers comp." In addition he said that the figures were wrong. He was listed as having 29 medallions when he only had 23.

Mark Gruberg of Green said that the pick ups that Green drivers make on Cabuolus weren't recorded in the stats and should be. Hybels could make the same complaint about Metro, which also uses Cabulous..

Hansu Kim said that the $1,900 per month that the MTA will charge to lease the permits was closer to a realist figure than the $2,500 that Med. Holders are getting now. Kim thinks that the numbers have artificial been driven up by brokers and illegal subleasing.

I suggested that the MTA should poll the drivers anonymously to find out which companies engaging in illegal practices like tipping.

This was met by great enthusiasm by ordinary drivers and total silence by company owners and stockholders.

Tom Stanghellini turned toward me and said something to the effect that nobody could find any tipping money in their office. He used different words but his meaning was, if people are tipping where is the money?

I mean he was looking at me when he said that as if to disprove that I ever put  the $20,000 that I put through Luxor's "Tipping Window" just like every other good Luxor smuc driver who wanted a decent shift and was stupid enough to stick around for ten years.

Well - you have me there Tom. I don't have a clue. On the other hand, a strip search by a good proctologist would probably turn something up resembling the truth. 

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