San Francisco may slash the number of available taxi medallions — which dictates the number of cabs — by one-third, in a bid to “reinvigorate” the industry.
That’s one of a number of major recommendations released Wednesday from a respected taxi-industry consultant commissioned by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which regulates taxis but not ride-hails like Uber and Lyft.
It’s those tech titans that have the taxi industry and SFMTA concerned, as the old guard of drivers-for-hire lose significant ground in nearly every respect: There are twelve times more ride-hail trips across The City than taxi trips, according to city data, including lucrative rides to and from the San Francisco International Airport. To revitalize the industry in 2017 the SFMTA commissioned taxi industry expert Bruce Schaller, principal of Schaller Consulting, to analyze trends in San Francisco — and recommend a way out.
“How does the MTA as a regulator help the taxi industry innovate and step up?” Kate Toran, head of taxi services at SFMTA, told reporters in a press briefing Wednesday. That, she said, is the crux of this report… (more)
Another major taxi company has been sold in The City, and will soon become part of a taxi consolidation that hopes to boost the industry citywide.
Formed in 1928, Luxor Cab Co. was officially enshrined in San Francisco’s historical lexicon as a legacy business in 2016. Now, one of its competitors, Citywide Taxi, is in the process of purchasing the assets of the historic company in a bid to reclaim some of the business lost to tech rivals Uber and Lyft, leadership at both companies confirmed to the San Francisco Examiner…
The merger would solidify Yellow Cab’s position as the largest taxi company in San Francisco. The next largest competitor, Flywheel Taxi, has a fleet of 239 cabs, according to the SFMTA.
The history of taxis in San Francisco should make for interesting reading someday. We need to see a complete review and history of the disastrous medallion program, including, who suggested it, who promoted to it, and who approved it.
A year after The City started running “Know What You’re Getting Into” ads on Muni buses listing the advantages of riding traditional taxis over ride service upstarts, the cab industry continues to suffer the greatest shortage of drivers on the streets in at least a half-dozen years.
San Francisco’s taxi industry has lost “a tremendous amount” of business to transportation network companies — Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and similar mobile-app-based services — and the number of cabdrivers has continued to decline, according to Chris Hayashi, who said she has never seen the driver numbers so low in the six years she has managed taxis for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
The ad campaign contained the familiar “taxi” sign atop cabs and included a checklist of attributes that differentiate taxis from the newfangled ride services, such as drivers with extensive training, proper insurance and a formal dispute-resolution process… (more)
Why doesn’t the SFMTA just give the Taxi business back to the Taxi companies that ran it for decades with less problems than they have now? Clearly this is not a top priority item and the Taxis might figure it out on their own.
I tried to catch a cab on 2nd Street in front of the ballpark and could not figure out which ones were available. there is no system that I could see and I have no idea where the cab stands are. Neither do most of the tourists.
Indie Cab Drivers Need Show Of Numbers…
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has usurped rights to medallions (i.e. cab permits issued by the City). MTA has announced the cancellation of the medallion waiting list system effectively shutting out cab drivers who in San Francisco are forced to operate as independent businesses, but who are subject to restrictions and regulations unheard of in other industries including double taxation
Under Prop K taxi medallions were non-transferable. They were issued exclusively to cab drivers who put their names on a waiting list. For cabbies medallion ownership brings significant advantages including choice of company to work for, shift scheduling and increased income (non-medallion cab driver income in San Francisco is approximately $20,000 a year including tips). Prop K allowed drivers who could never have afforded the purchase of a medallion to obtain one and to thereby have their own stake in the taxi industry. For the public this type of medallion system means a more experienced workforce, driving safer vehicles
Currently about 1,400 drivers are on the medallion waiting list. Drivers like San Francisco native Iza Pardiñas, one of very few women cabbies in the City, have waited 16 years or more for a medallion (she is #246 on the list). Like Pardiñas, most drivers have little or no savings and cannot afford to buy medallions which now cost $300,000 per an MTA ruling in August (and will soon be sold for $400,000 or more)… (more)
Cab driver advocate Mark Gruberg and SF cab driver Iza Pardiñas are available for interviews, please contact Fly PR for details: T. 323-667-1344 E. firstname.lastname@example.org
Community taxi apps seem like a good idea — but they’re going to put people out of work… Yeah, the shared economy. Yeah, high tech. Yeah, there’s an app for that. Yeah, the San Francisco cab industry is screwed up and you can never get a cab when you need one.
But that’s not an excuse for the city to stand by and allow a whole cottage industry of unregulated, unlicensed cabs hit the streets, using a business model that everyone knows is fake and undermining decades of painstakingly crafted rules that govern this critical part of the city’s transportation infrastructure.
Over the past year, at least five new companies have opened that offer what the taxi industry offers — rides around the city for money. They do it in a cool new way — you send a message from your phone requesting a ride, you follow where the driver is with a GPS app, and when you get to the destination, you make a “voluntary” payment through a Pal-Pal-style system… (more)
Despite a din of protests from cabdrivers, a new plan for how The City administers taxi operating permits was approved Tuesday.
For decades, drivers have been able to bide their time on a lengthy waiting list to obtain a taxi medallion, a permit that can be leased out to other cabbies. As part of a pilot project that’s been running for the past two years, drivers with $250,000 have been able to jump to the top of the list to purchase a medallion…
“I’m incredibly disappointed,” said Tara Housman, one of seven members of an industry advisory council who resigned in protest of the plan. “This is a kick in the teeth to every driver on the waiting list.”
Originally, the SFMTA wanted to collect a 50 percent fee for all medallions purchased and a 30 percent fee for all transfers, but those numbers were amended down to 33 percent and 20 percent, respectively. The SFMTA said the program will give aging drivers a meaningful exit strategy — the minimum age for selling a medallion was reduced from 65 to 60 — and provide public funds for transportation initiatives, including improvements to the taxi industry… (more)
About one-third of The City’s cabs were either idled or operated illegally Wednesday after more than 500 were abruptly left without sufficient insurance.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency requires that every taxi carry a $1 million liability coverage plan to operate.
On Tuesday, Dmitry Erenkov, the insurance broker for about 525 taxis — many serving smaller companies — revealed that he could not find an insurer to cover that plan, which lapsed at midnight. Calls to Erenkov’s office were not returned.
Made aware of the impending expiration, the SFMTA sent a bulletin to taxi drivers Tuesday afternoon ordering them not to operate unless they carried the $1 million insurance policy. Failure to comply would result in
suspensions or fines…
Rose said his agency’s cab enforcement unit will patrol The City in search of cabs without valid insurance…
“We were completely blindsided by this,” Gruberg said. “The whole thing is a huge mess. Pulling 500 cabs off the street will certainly not help the public.”
Bob Planthold, an activist for disability rights in San Francisco, said many paratransit passengers will be left out in the cold by the policy lapse, which could have been avoided by better coordination between the SFMTA and the taxi industry…