Friday, December 7, 2012

Ramp Medallions & Leased Permits

The MTA held Town Hall Meetings last week Lead by Director Chris Hayashi concerning Ramp Medallions, the MTA's leased permits (8,000 series) and leasing in general.

The chart on the left shows the options open to Ramp Medallion Holders (RMH's).

1. They can keep their Ramps which are worth about $2000 per month subject to driving requirements.
2. Depending up their positions on the List they can buy a regular Medallion;
a. If they are in the top 200 to 300, they can buy the $150,000 medallions and end up with $90,000 before taxes if they transfer the medallion immediately.
b. They can buy the $300,000 medallions which they can sell for a profit of $240,000 before taxes.
3. If they are over 60 years of age or disabled, they can trade the Ramp for a "Surrender" medallion which would give them $200,000 before taxes.

The probability of the Ramps only going to a few companies like Luxor and Desoto was put forward as a possibility because they are the companies that fill most ramp orders anyway. I wasn't at the afternoon session but Marty Smith of Luxor reportedly offered to take all the Ramps off the City's hands for nothing. Desoto countered by offering to buy them all.

Director Hayashi discussed various ways to motivate the Ramp drivers to pick up more rides including paying the drivers extra for pickups or making them employees thus giving them benefits.

I mentioned that being employees would enable companies to send the Ramp drivers on orders insuring that most of the customers would be picked up. Desoto manager Athan Rebelos countered by saying that Las Vegas drivers are all employees and they don't pick up all the calls. But he and I have been having this discussion for years. Hint: I'm right.

The MTA's Leased Permits

They are a numbers of rumors going around about these permits. Having processed similar rumors for the 3 year life of my blog, I think you could get a better handle on what's going on in the taxi business by randomly asking the first 12 year old you see walking down the street.

Of course Jim Gillespie of Yellow Cab should know what he's talking about, and I'm sure he does, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he's going to tell us. Nor does it mean that he necessarily understands what's happening.

At the TH meeting, Gillespie said the he no trouble filling his night shifts but he couldn't fill the day shifts because day drivers need the airport to make a living. His solution would be to the allow the 8,000 series to pick up at SFO.

Greg Cochran, who does the hiring at Desoto Cab, seems to have a better take on the situation. Contrary to rumor, by the way, Desoto has been filling its shifts with the 8,000's and otherwise. In fact, I couldn't get out last night.

 Desoto still has a large number of the new permits on the way and Mr. Cochran does think that it will take some time before all the shifts will be filled. He pointed out to me that over 600 new shifts have been created and thinks it will probably take until late spring or early summer before the companies are flush.

There are possible influences as well:

  1. Many drivers have gone to Uber because they have been able to get better situations over there then they were getting at companies like Yellow.
  2. If you include the S series around 800 new shifts have been created.
  3. There will soon be over be over 1,700 taxis on the street when we are already into winter with the seasonal drop off of business.
  4. Drivers now have real choices for the first time in years and will naturally gravitate toward the companies that treat the them best. There is a good possibility that Yellow Cab won't act as a magnet for many of these drivers.
One hot rumor on the mail sites is that Royal Cab couldn't fill its shifts and had turned the 8,000 series permits back to the MTA.

I called Chris Sweis of Royal this morning and he said that he'd been filling his 8,000 shifts for two months. The rumor he'd heard was that Desoto and Luxor couldn't fill their shifts and didn't want the permits.

You can check out Luxor for yourself.


  1. Ed, thanks for your coverage of the happenings of the cab industry. I think giving ramp medallion holders a way out is smart. Either by buying them out at $200,000 or by allowing them to trade the ramp medallion for payment towards a sedan medallion. Due to the cost of maintaining the ramp vehicle, it makes sense for a company to operate the ramp without having to pay a medallion holder a fee to do so. Obviously Luxor and DeSoto are interested in serving the Para-transit community. Have them split the ramp program for a fee. I do not support a one company handles all approach to the ramp program. I also do not support every cab company needs a ramp cab approach either. The ramp riders should have a VERY short list of numbers that they rely on for service.

    I want to mention here that the SFMTA sent out an e-mail this afternoon announcing another Town Hall meeting on Tuesday Dec 11 at 1:30-4:30 and 5:00-8:00. In addition to further discussion of Ramp Medallions, they announced "Implementation of Drug Testing Policy". Some of the members of our industry will be indignant at the suggestion of Drug Testing. When you read the supporting documentation; "Each driver will pay approximately $125.00 a year to be in the program". Essentially drivers are paying an additional 128% above the normal A-card fee for another program. I assume a lot of drivers will have an issue with this proposal. The document also states, "If a driver refuses to participate in this program, he or she will not be eligible to drive a taxi." I assume the program is required by state or federal law. Let the debate begin at.... mark!

    1. Drug test that you have to pay for? already $75 for business tax, $97 for A-card, wow..I can pass drug test don't really like it on grounds of freedom but many people can't pass drug test, industry already hard up for drivers , guess this will lead to more empty shifts at cab companies..I like it...

  2. Drug testing has been law for years but MTA has ignored it. Try ignoring one of their f*ucking rules some time.
    This industry is in a total shambles led by an incompetent.

  3. Anybody know how long cocaine and grass stay in the system. Thank you

    1. 3 days for coke and 30 for pot.

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