Posts Tagged ‘taxicab’

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener’s Thoughts on Increasing Taxicab Medallions in San Francisco are Utterly Laughable

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012


The idea of adding cabs to city streets has long been opposed by many taxi drivers, who say competition is already fierce enough for a job that has never offered a lucrative payday. Wiener said the hearings can address those concerns. He wants to convince drivers that more cabs will increase their earnings, since passengers will be more willing to call on taxis if they believe service is reliable.”

The idea that increasing the number of medallions would increase the earnings of existing drivers* is utterly laughable.

The lazy sit-around-all-day cabdrivers** of San Francisco:

Ergo, one is forced to assume that Supervisor Wiener isn’t talking to the drivers, oh no. He is actually addressing the people who would otherwise feel sorry for the drivers.

It’s unfathomable that he would actually believe what he’s talking about, so that means he’s lying. (It’d be like Hitler telling the Cossacks how great Operation Barbarossa is going to work out for them.)

Just saying.

*It’s not impossible to observe a network effect or something like that in some systems (like when a Starbucks moves in next door to your existing coffee shop, for example), but it _is_ impossible for an increase in medallions, by itself, to increase the earnings of existing San Francisco cabbies.  

**The other place to look for lazy cabdrivers is at SFO – hundreds of them lazing about smoking cigarettes and playing card games and complaining about how little money they’re making.*** Most hacks in SF aren’t lazy like that. Most hacks drive around looking for fares and, for that reason, end up making more money. 

***Back in the day, there was a hotel sitting on SFO property so driving there from Terminal 3 would take one minute literally. It was a three dollar fare. The airport would allow the returning driver to cut to the front of the line in this situation, but that generally would not make up for the loss of the driver waiting more than an hour for a one-minute ride. Faced with this situation, some of the drivers would pop the trunk, take out your bags and drive off in a huff. Truth. 

Know Your Illegal Taxi Drivers of San Francisco: Typically, They Have Large, Black, Lincoln Town Cars

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Just as politics is the reason why the feds are about to spend a billion dollars on the oh-my-God-wouldn’t-we-be-better-off-without-it Central Subway, politics is the reason why it’s hard to get a taxi cab in San Francisco.

I mean, what kind of world do you want to live in – one where we have a lower number of higher-paid drivers or a larger number lower-paid drivers? (That’s a political question, of course.)

For whatever reason, it’s relatively easy to catch a cab at certain times and relatively hard at others. That’s the system we’ve had, that’s what’s been chosen.

And that means it’s awfully tempting for illegal cab drivers to hit the streets during the busier times.

As here, at the foot of California Street, right near the foot of Market, right in the Financial District in front of the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero. See? A quick price quote/negotiation convo and then she hopped in:

Click to expand

Do you think this woman would have preferred to take her taxi ride in a taxi? Probably as it would have been much cheaper, but she didn’t really have all that much of a choice.

Do you think the SFPD generally knows what’s going on here. Sure, but they don’t really want to deal with this sitch.

Now, how about making money instead of spending it this coming New Years Eve? Simply rent a car and then drive it around all night taking people where they want to go. You’ll see thousands of people waving their arms around all over the City, so you’ll have no problem finding customers. Be sure to quote an outrageous amount when they ask you, “How much?”

As long as you don’t get in an accident, and don’t get pulled over by the police, and don’t run into a few other hazards I can think of, you should be good to go. (But if the cops figure out what you’re doing and they’re motivated to throw the book at you for not having permits and stickers on the outside of your car and whole bunch of other stuff, then you’ll be in trouble with a capital “T.” That’s just one reason why I don’t recommend you to do anything like this.)

Such is the state of San Francisco taxi driving.

As it is, as it was, and as it shall ever be…

Taxi Trilogy: New York City Pulls Ahead of San Francisco Again! Like, Where’s OUR Taxi of Tomorrow?

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Oh well. I guess we’ll have to make do with taxis of today, or, indeed, taxis of yesterday.

Oh well.

Yep, it’s pretty much a Nissan minivan, but it’s been made all special as a taxi. See?

Click to expand

Thanks, NYC, for showing us the way to The Future…

Oh, and there are some more taxi cab service meetings skedded for the 415, or something:

SFMTA Announces Second Round of Taxi Town Hall Meetings
Agency to discuss electronic waybills at meetings in early June

San Francisco—The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all surface transportation in the City, including the Municipal Railway (Muni) and the regulation of taxis, today announced that it will host a series of town hall meetings on two topics:

1. Using electronic waybills for San Francisco taxis: whether the SFMTA should require electronic reporting based on GPS data instead of the paper trip records currently used by taxi drivers.

2. Peak time taxi permits: whether a new type of permit should be issued for part-time operation of vehicles to increase service during “peak” periods of high demand.

All industry professionals as well as taxi customers are encouraged to attend.

Wednesday, June 1
First meeting: 1 to 4 p.m.
Second meeting: 6 to 9 p.m.

Monday, June 6
First meeting: 1 to 4 p.m.
Second meeting: 6 to 9 p.m.

Wednesday, June 8
First meeting: 1 to 4 p.m.
Second meeting: 6 to 9 p.m.

The first four sessions on June 1 and June 6 will address the use of electronic waybills in San Francisco taxis and peak time taxis; the final two sessions on June 8 will review and summarize input from the previous meetings. Staff will then present a recommendation based on this input to the SFMTA Board of Directors at a future Board meeting.

more – more – more

All meetings will be held at the following location:

1 South Van Ness Avenue
2nd Floor, Atrium

Nearby Muni Routes: 6, 9, 14, 47, 49, 71, F Market, Metro—Van Ness Station

In addition to the town hall meetings, those interested may attend the Taxi
Advisory Council (TAC) meeting at 1 p.m. held on the second and third Monday
of each month at the same location.

The SFMTA will be conducting regular taxi town hall meetings at least once a
month to seek input from all interested parties on ways to improve the taxi
industry. The topics to be discussed at these meetings will be posted in advance
at the SFMTA Web site.

The SFMTA encourages all San Francisco residents and visitors to always hire a San Francisco taxi. Legitimate local taxis are easy to spot by the label “San Francisco Taxicab” on the side and rear of each vehicle as well as by the prominent display of the taxi medallion and the driver’s identification. By choosing a San Francisco taxi, customers are assured that they will have a safe ride in a vehicle that has received regular inspections and is properly insured. Customers have the added benefit of knowing that they are supporting their local taxi drivers.

All customer complaints should be reported to 311. For more information about San Francisco taxis, please visit

Established by voter proposition in 1999, the SFMTA, a department of the City and County of San Francisco, oversees the Municipal Railway (Muni), parking and traffic and taxis. With five modes of transit, Muni has approximately 700,000 passenger boardings each day. Over 35,000 extra vehicles enter San Francisco on any given business day, and rely on the SFMTA to keep the flow of cars, transit vehicles, taxis, delivery trucks, pedestrians and bicycles moving smoothly through the streets.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
One South Van Ness Avenue, Seventh Fl. San Francisco, CA 94103 | Tel: 415.701.4500 | Fax: 415.701.4430 |

Nat Ford Presides Over San Francisco’s First Taxi Medallion Sale – #354 Goes for Quarter-Mil

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Here’s what you need to know about San Francisco raising money through the sale of taxi medallions – it’s not going so hot so far.

In any event, the City’s first taxi medallion sale in recent San Francisco history was celebrated at City Hall today.

Nat Ford engages the crowd:

Handing over a $250,000 piece of aluminum:

Carl Macmurdo, President of the Medallion Holders Association, was on hand with his terrific suit. Keep up with his organization here.

On It Goes

Attention San Francisco: A Gas-Powered Toyota Prius Taxi is Not an Alternative Fuel Vehicle

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

The Question of the Day is whether a car powered by regular old gasoline is an alternative fuel vehicle. Let’s go to the source, and let’s leave out the ifs, ands, or buts while we’re at it: 

Hybrid electric vehicles such as the Toyota Prius are not actually alternative fuel vehicles…”

So, now you’re up to speed when you read the latest Governing By Press Release press release below.

No Aaron, don’t put plain old gasoline into daddy’s anthropomorphic Prius, put in the alternative fuel instead:

via Goldberg

Now, when you want to abuse the English language, the proper way to do it is explicitly, the way they do it on Wikipedia. Or, indeed, the way the Feds do it when they define Canadian-made cars as “American” cars.

“Canada is considered to be part of the United States when determining the “domestic” content of cars. Let’s see what U.S. Code TITLE 49 > SUBTITLE VI > PART C > CHAPTER 323 > § 32304 Passenger motor vehicle country of origin ­labeling has to say:

“6. ‘foreign content’ means passenger motor vehicle equipment that is not of United States/Canadian origin.”

See? That’s how you show you know what you’re doing. That’s the way you do it.

Time for some remedial reading – how about Physics for Future Presidents instead of yet another damn poetry book? (You might not agree with everything in there and you might not enjoy the process, but you’d be a better person for it. This is not to say that a manager needs to spend all his or her time on the gritty nitty, but investing a few hours, a few days or so, well that’d be nice.)

Just saying.

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,'” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t – till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!'”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument,'” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again.
“They’ve a temper, some of them – particularly verbs, they’re the proudest – adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs – however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”

Leaving you with the News of the Day:


San Francisco, CA— Mayor Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco Municipal
Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the Department of the Environment joined
the San Francisco taxi industry today to announce that 57 percent of the
taxi fleet is comprised of hybrid or compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.
There are 788 alternative fuel vehicles out of a total of 1,378 eligible
vehicles. The CNG vehicles account for 131 of those and the hybrids account
for 657.
“The clean taxi program shows that aggressive action is possible at the
local level to make major reductions in carbon emissions,” said Mayor
Newsom. “Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to bringing these
emissions to zero.”
In addition, less than two years after the City passed a law requiring taxi
companies to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20 percent from
1990 levels by 2012, emissions from San Francisco taxis are now at 12
percent of 1990 levels. With only 8 percent in reductions remaining, the
taxi companies are now more than halfway in meeting the 20 percent required
by the legislation.
Phasing in hybrid electric and compressed natural gas (CNG) taxis into the
taxi fleet has resulted in roughly 35,000 tons of GHG emissions savings
each year, which is the same as reducing fuel consumption by 2.9 million
gallons per year. That is equivalent to taking 4,700 regular passenger cars
off of the road, or saving roughly $9.5 million dollars annually in fuel
“The SFMTA is proud to continue the work begun by the industry and the Taxi
Commission,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO.
“This collaboration is an important part of creating a comprehensive
transportation system that is environmentally sustainable.”
This number of alternative fuel vehicles continues to rise because the
hybrid and CNG vehicles, while contributing to cleaner air for San
Francisco, are also very popular with taxi drivers. Although the fee
charged to a taxi driver to take out an alternative fuel vehicle is a bit
higher at $104.50 per 10-hour shift instead of $96.50 for a gasoline fueled
vehicle, the savings in fuel costs are substantial. For example, gasoline
for one shift is approximately $28 to $35, whereas filling up a hybrid
vehicle after a shift costs about half of that, around $15.  The hybrid
vehicles provide an additional economic benefit to taxi companies in that
they require less time and money for brake repairs. San Francisco’s hills
require the Crown Victoria taxis to have their brakes changed about once a
month. Hybrids can go six to eight months on a single set of brakes.
The gradual and flexible nature of the clean taxi program facilitated its
success. The program was accompanied by economic incentives from the City
to vehicle purchasers in the form of grant subsidies and gate fee increases
for alternative fuel vehicles. The SFMTA has continued the work of the
former Taxi Commission in coordination with the Department of the
Environment to encourage companies to purchase alternative fuel vehicles by
providing a Clean Air Taxi Grant incentive. Grants of $2,000 per new
alternative fuel vehicle are available to purchasers on a first come-first
served basis. The SFMTA merged with the Taxi Commission in March 2009 and
will oversee the ongoing upgrade of the San Francisco taxi fleet.
“Innovative solutions like the clean taxi program will keep San Francisco
beautiful,” said David Assmann, SF Environment Acting Director. “By working
in concert with the industry, San Francisco has created a program that gets
San Francisco currently has 1,474 taxis in service. Of these, 96 are ramp
taxi vehicles that are not subject to clean air vehicle requirements due to
the lack of good alternative fuel wheelchair accessible vans available on
the market. San Francisco taxi vehicles typically have about a four year
useful life and must be taken out of service once they have reached 350,000
The clean taxi ordinance was drafted in 2007 and originally published as
Police Code Section 1135.3.  The SFMTA re-enacted the requirement as
Transportation Code, Division II, Sections 1106(m) (emissions reductions)
and 1114(e)(9)(A) (annual reporting requirement). The next report from taxi
companies on their plans for vehicle upgrades going forward is due June 1.

San Francisco Taxi Drivers Rally at City Hall to Oppose Changes to Medallion System

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar addressed a crowd of about 100 or so cab drivers (if you include those who were circling City Hall in their taxis) yesterday. They were all there to oppose changes to the Proposition K method of distributing taxi medallions.

This issue is getting national attention, so read all about it. And listen about these matters as well, courtesy of this radio Forum from Michael Krasny.

Driver Yvonne from Brazil has been supporting three kids by driving in San Francisco the past 15 years. She doesn’t cotton to anyone changing the rules after such a long wait:

The Asian Law Caucus and United Taxicab Workers helped to organize this pre-hearing rally:

The famous letter signed by Mayor Gavin Newsom:

“Respect voters’ wishes on Prop K”

To Be Continued…

Happy Holidays from San Francisco’s Taxi Drivers

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

The cab with the most elaborate decoration this year:

Click to expand.

It’s needs a little something more, though. How about a pair of antlers next year?