SF eliminates renewal fees for taxi medallion holders

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay -excerpt


Taxis in North Beach photo by Zrants

Transferable taxi medallion holders will no longer have to pay an annual renewal fee starting July 1 as a way to help medallion holders during the current hard economic times of the taxi industry.

Congratulations to all the taxi drivers who have put in a lot of energy to get his done. A well-deserved break.

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SFMTA approves restrictions on taxi medallions

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

Vocal city cab drivers clapped, cheered and gave the rare “thank you” to San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board members Tuesday after they unanimously approved an amendment prohibiting any party other than a medallion holder or taxi company to operate a medallion, and postponed gate-fee increases for six months.
The item on medallions — permits that allow a cab to operate — had been an issue for several decades but has become a larger problem in the past 10 years as medallion leasing rapidly spread as a new business model. It created an industry of medallion brokers who illegally carried out color scheme functions without permits or oversight and took in profits, said Chris Hayashi, deputy director of SFMTA’s Taxis and Accessible Services Division… (more)

RELATED:
Color Wars: Curbing the Underground Taxi Market

San Francisco Taxi Drivers Need Your Support!

worleygig.com – excerpt

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. flypr@flypr.net

 

Local Cabbies Worry Taxis Will Become San Francisco’s Next Endangered Species

By Coburn Palmer : sfweekly.com/thesnitch – excerpt

It was an unusual sight outside City Hall today — empty cabs and lots of them!
If you’ve visited San Francisco for even a few hours on a Saturday night, then you already know how irksome it is to try and track down a taxi. Well, driving a taxi is no walk in the park either. Cabbies gathered today outside City Hall to honk away their own frustrations about the most controversial issue plaguing that community: taxi medallions.
The drivers’ complaints specifically target the SFMTA’s policy of selling permits, also known as medallions, for $300,000, on top of charging drivers to process credit cards from fares. In addition, the SFMTA is ignoring the recommendations of the Taxi Advisory Council, drivers claim… (more)

SFMTA ruling might cost cabbies

By: Will Reisman : SFExaminer.com – excerpt

A controversial proposal to reform how The City issues its taxi operating permits will be up for approval today, despite the recent mass resignations from an industry advisory board.
For the past two years, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which regulates cabs in The City, has run a pilot program that allows cabbies to sell their medallions for $250,000 to prospective drivers…
The SFMTA has now offered up a full-time replacement program.
“For 34 years, there was a written promise that if you were a good boy and waited your turn, you’d get a medallion,” said Rich Hybels, owner of Metro Cab. “Now, the SFMTA is using the plan solely to suck money out of the industry.”
Under the new program, the cost of purchasing taxi medallions would increase to $300,000 and the minimum age for selling one would be reduced from 65 to 60. But the major sticking point for the industry is the SFMTA’s plan to collect a 50 percent transfer fee from the sales, up from the pilot program’s 15 percent.
Hybels is one of seven members of The City’s Taxi Advisory Council — established to inform the SFMTA board of directors about industry recommendations — who resigned from the 14-person body in protest of the proposal. The council made a unanimous recommendation that the SFMTA should receive no profits from medallion sales. Hybels said the SFMTA refused to consider the recommendation.
“While it’s disappointing that these individuals stepped down on the eve of such an important discussion, we will continue to work with the industry as we improve taxi service, conditions for our drivers and the overall transportation network,” said SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose.
Athan Rebelos, the general manager at DeSoto Cab, said the $300,000 price tag is a reasonable rate. But he said the 50 percent transfer fee to the SFMTA is too high.
“Nobody should be paying a tax that high,” Rebelos said. “This proposal seemed to come completely out of left field.”
Malcolm Heinicke, an SFMTA board member, said medallions are public assets and money from sales should benefit the public. Heinicke said the agency has partnered with a credit union to finance loans so drivers can afford to purchase medallions.
Along with taking a cut from driver-to-driver medallion sales, the SFMTA also has sold medallions directly to drivers in the past two years, making more than $20 million. And an additional $3.1 million has been diverted to a cabdrivers fund. However, Hybels said, the agency hasn’t made efforts to curb illegal taxis.
The SFMTA board of directors is scheduled to vote on the proposal today. If approved, the agency projects to receive $14 million from medallion sales over the next two years.
(more)

Aside from the 50% tax which the SFMTA seems to think is a reasonable rate, the math is highly suspicious. How can they claim to make $20 million dollars over the past two years at 250K per medallion, but expect to make only $14 million dollars over the next two years after increasing the price to 300K per medallion? What is the point in raising the costs if they expect lower profits?

What is NOT a public asset? This is one of those terms we are hearing constantly now whenever the SFMTA wants to impose a new tax, fee, or fine.

BMW moves into parking, car-sharing

Posted By: Michael Cabanatuan : SFGate: City Insider – excerpt

BMW is shifting into a higher gear in San Francisco, drifting away from simply selling fancy and pricey cars.
Now you can pay BMW to borrow a car to run an errand across town or to find and reserve a parking space.
At a press conference in front of City Hall, BMW officials joined Mayor Ed Lee and city environmental officials to announce two new programs that aim to establish the German luxury car-maker’s credentials as a company that supports sustainability as well to broaden its reach into other parts of the transportation market.
The car-sharing program, known as DriveNow, allows people who enroll to use BMW’s 70-car fleet of  ActivE all-electric cars, now parked at 14 locations around the city. The cars cost $12 for the first half hour and 32 cents for each additional minute….
(more)

Are public streets and taxi medallions really the property of the SFMTA, to be sold as commodities to the highest bidder? What next? A space at the beach where you can stand to see the sunset? We need a serious discussion about the concept of the public commons.

SFMTA drives boost to cab-permit cost

By: Will Reisman : SFExaminer – excerpt

Proposal: The SFMTA is considering increasing the cost of taxi medallions.
The permits needed to operate taxis will cost more to purchase and will generate extra income for The City under a new plan by San Francisco’s transportation agency.
Holders of taxi medallions can operate cabs or lease out their vehicles to other drivers while still collecting a slice of the profits. Until 2010, the only way to obtain a medallion was to keep your name on a waiting list, but the permit could take decades to arrive.
For the past two years, cabdrivers have been able to skip ahead of a waiting list and purchase a taxi medallion for $250,000 as part of a pilot program. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which regulates cabs, also took a 15 percent transfer fee for medallion sales.
Now, the SFMTA wants to increase the cost of medallion sales to $300,000 and collect a 50 percent transfer fee. The minimum age for selling medallions would also be reduced, from 65 to 60. The proposal is projected to generate
$14 million for the agency over the next two years…
“The medallions are a public asset,” said Rose. “They should be managed in a way that benefits the public.”…
(more)