UBER KILLED San Fran Taxi Industry

The government controlled and regulated taxi industry in San Fran, like other cities are dead.  Deader than a door nail.  So, the government folks are regulating the taxi industry into giving up one third of the medallions (permits) to operate taxi’s.  This is a waste of time—the taxi’s are going away on their own—no business!

“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.”

Let the free market operate and government should fill the potholes and keep the people safe.  Period.

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Report recommends SF slash available taxis to save industry

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, SF Examiner,  5/2/18

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.

Schaller’s report makes recommendations including creating a new regulatory category for taxi companies that would allow them to directly manage taxi allocations to the San Francisco International Airport. Right now, Toran said, taxi drivers wait hours at SFO for a “golden goose” fare back to The City. Those taxis may better help the industry profit by circulating in The City more, Schaller’s report said.

The report also recommends SFMTA provide subsidies for taxi companies to purchase and maintain wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Notably, Uber and Lyft have been sued by local disability advocacy groups for not providing ramp-equipped vehicles for wheelchair access. Taxis do provide such ramp vehicles, but as the industry faces a driver shortage those trips have declined precipitously, even as demand remains high in the disability community.

Former owner of Luxor Cab, John Lazar, praised the move to boost ramp taxis

“It’s a gigantic hit if those things stop running,” he said. He’s said the lack of action to save them has been dispiriting. “No one cares if we stop picking up the people in wheelchairs, people who need ‘em.”

There are now 1,530 medallions in service, according to the SFMTA, used by 4,824 taxi drivers, some of whom rent from medallion owners. By contrast, city records have shown as many as 45,000 Uber and Lyft drivers who drive in San Francisco, though only around 6,000 drive in The City at any one time.

Schaller’s report found historically low earnings for local cab drivers due to an oversupply of taxis and a lack of demand for their services.

Only 17 percent of medallion-holders earn income that is “financially stable,” according to Schaller’s analysis. A decade ago, taxis were “routinely operated” 14 shifts a week, but today most San Francisco cabs are not used more than one shift per day.

There are a number of different types of medallions with different legal requirements attached to each, but essentially Schaller recommends revoking around 460 medallions including those issued before 1978, when they were freely awarded. Medallions issued by the SFMTA in 2010 and beyond were sold by the agency for $250,000 and would not be revoked. Some non-operational medallions would also be revoked.

Revoking some taxi medallions could “right-size the market,” Toran said.

Importantly, these are only recommendations so far. The SFMTA plans to take the proposals to taxi industry stakeholders in public meetings to vet the ideas, and bring some of the recommendations to the SFMTA Board of Directors for possible approval in “late summer,” Toran said.

Still, the recommendation was met with white-hot criticism from some long-time taxi industry professionals.

Carl Macmurdo, board member of the Medallion Holders Association, said cutting back medallions would be “ass-backwards.”

“People won’t be able to find (a cab) if they go out to find one,” he said.

Lazar, the former Luxor Cab owner, also himself owns a pre-1978 taxi medallion. He said revoking those medallions would hurt people on fixed incomes. Indeed, pre-1978 medallion holders are among the oldest people who own medallions, according to Schaller’s report, and on average are 74-years-old.

“Most of them are gonna die off anyway,” Lazar said.

 

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

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