SFMTA's Taxi Reform Plan Incites Shouting Match Among Cabbies

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You don't want to upset taxi drivers
Impassioned cabbies gathered at a town hall meeting yesterday afternoon to express their skepticism about the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's ideas for reforming the city's taxi industry.

But that skepticism quickly turned into heated shouting after the transit agency unveiled its plans for an electronic waybill system, which would essentially be used to track each driver and provide details of the trips.

And when the meeting got too tense, other attendees broke up the shouting and reminded the drivers to "behave like gentlemen."

The SFMTA's proposal is to hire more drivers and use an electronic waybill system, which would help the agency determine pertinent information, such as how long taxis are empty.

But the idea made drivers feel worried that their personal information could be hacked.

Many cabbies said they think San Francisco's taxi service could be easily improved without a waybill. If the SFMTA created a centralized dispatch system and cracked down on fraudulent, unlicensed drivers, the system would run more efficiently, they say.

Cabbies pointed out that there are a few bad seeds ruining it for the group. Yet SFMTA says cracking down on unlicensed drivers isn't as easy as it seems. "It's very difficult to control," SFMTA taxi director Christiane Hayashi says.

The SFMTA's other proposal -- to hire 25 operators and give 25 medallions to those on a waiting list for years -- was met with less anger, as the city has not sold a medallion since 2009. There are currently 1,500 medallion holders who can lease their cars to other drivers. 

Another Taxi Town Hall meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, at 1 South Van Ness Ave. from 1 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m.

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Taxi drivers are the last of Americas legally exploited laborers. Tenant drivers in closed markets where the owners dont compete with lower rents for the best drivers.Only by enforcing equal protection of the labor laws can any city improve its taxi industry.A 40 hour work week with an hourly wage keeps the drivers eyes focused on the road for safe driving. That's all the stress a safe driver needs to think about behind the wheel with your kids in back.A free open availability of Taxi owner/operators licenses is the best way to get the best taxi fleet in any city. A City gets its license authoruity from a principle in law known as Police Power.Police Power is to secure public safety ONLY. It is abused in the taxi Industry when Citys close the number of licenses to enable cab Companys to charge exhoritant rent to the drivers or force them to buy at exorbitant prices their taxis. That is the inalienable right to Freedom and Independence as Americans. Its not free but its not to be bought and sold either. Thats Police Power economics and it never works anywhere except to feed corruption and enable the incompetent to thrive. The current system of tenant labor in closed markets is medieval feudalism.The rule of Justice must come with the rule of Law to the taxi industry and every driver must get paid an hourly wage or be allowed to own and operate their own taxi in an open market.24 years I drove, owned, dispatched and wrenched taxis (all the way to Daytona pit row while studying Aviation Maintenance) in Columbus.The closed license system of labor tenancy doesnt work for public safety or the welfare of the best brightest cab drivers. I drove 24 years and never had a chargable accident and avoided hundreds by being hyper vigilant.Putting PTS to good use.Don tell an American Veteran he cant own his own taxi in his own home town in a free and open market. Yeah I'm talking to you.

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