By Michael Cabanatuan : SFGate – excerpt
Catching a cab in San Francisco, the bane of many downtown workers, weekend revelers and tourists, will soon become a little easier.
The Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors decided Tuesday to put an additional 150 to 200 taxis on the streets over the next few months. The board, on a 6-0 vote, with Director Leona Bridges absent, approved the temporary full-time operating permits in an effort to improve the public’s chances of getting a taxi.
“One of the most common complaints we hear as a board is that it can be difficult to find a taxi,” said Tom Nolan, the board chairman. “This plan is not the final step, but a significant one, that will help improve service for those who live, work and visit San Francisco.”…
The additional cabs will begin hitting the streets in about 30 days, said Paul Rose, a spokesman for the agency, but it will take a few months for the companies to get enough vehicles and drivers for all of the extra permits. San Francisco currently has 1,535 taxis licensed to operate full time, which requires two 10-hours shifts daily…
Judging by the reaction of taxi drivers to this news, it is clear that the SFMTA does not support their interests. If they really supported taxis’ and their customers, they would not keep them out of the bus lanes. As we noted earlier, taxis and vanpools are part of the public transit system, and are supposed to share the transit lanes with the buses.