Friday, December 2, 2011

Deposits collected from taxi companies

Yesterday, though I was ill I walked over to city hall, SFMTA, and phoned the city attorneys office. I was told by Charles Bolton who works in Supervisor Jane Kims Office that he would call me back today. Surprise no call back from the Supervisors office regarding my issue, that I share with many in the taxi industry. I did leave a message at her office. I will let you know if I get a call in the future, but I can tell you it has been my experience that I am waiting for calls back from previous issues I brought to her office since she was elected.

I did however get an email back from the SFMTA investigator assigned to the case today. I will share it later.

Otherwise I have not heard back from Chris Hyashi regarding the obnoxious smelling cabs at National Cab Company.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Is it Illegal for taxi companies to collect deposits from drivers, and is there any enforcement.

On Wednesday November 30th, 2011, I sent an email over to the MTA Board of directors, Chris Hyashi Associate director of taxi services at SFMTA, The email was as follows:
I am seeking my 500.00 deposit back to me that I was forced to pay when I started working for National Cab Company in 2008. I would also like to see National Cab Company ordered to stop collecting Deposits from their drivers prior to start working. National cab company forces drivers to pay 5.00 per shift until they reach the 500.00 for a deposit. I paid this deposit and when I was fired after letting the general manager Jesus Portillo and Dan Hinds know that I have restrictions and became temporarily disabled because of a car accident that happened while I was driving a cab, they refused to give my 500.00 dollar deposit back to me.

I looked further into this matter and found that there was a court case in 1996 that prohibits cab companies in San Francisco in collecting a deposit from there drivers.

The 1996 ruling in Joseph Tracy vs. Yellow Cab barred cab companies from demanding security deposits from drivers. The order, issued by Judge William Cahill of the San Francisco Superior Court, "permanently enjoins the defendant [Yellow Cab], from classifying plaintiffs and similarly situated drivers as independent contractors for purpose of denying such drivers any benefit under California law with respect to workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, and paying a cash bond to defendants as a condition of driving a taxicab."

In addition National Cab Company refused to give me information and submit a claim to their Workers Compensation Carrier in 2009 and 2010 after accidents that were not my fault. There is a pattern where National Cab Company Dispatchers tells drivers that if they file a Workers Compensation Claim they will be fired! Workers Compensation information is not provided where it is accessible to the driver, and when you ask the company tells you that they do not have workers compensation.

Please advise if you can assist with what I consider a serious matter of workers compensation and unlawfully collecting deposits from drivers.

Today December 1st I decided to go over to city hall to find out who may help with this issue.

The first stop was at Supervisor Jane Kims Office. What a change when I walked through the front door. Everything looked so organized and nothing was hanging on the walls. I spoke with Charles Bolton who seemed very knowledgeable and willing to assist with this matter. He assured me he would make a call over to the SFMTA, I will be checking back Friday to see if that was done.

After I left Jane Kims office I walked over to the Mayor Ed Lees office and spoke with one of the desk clerks, who metioned I should go to the city attorneys office.

I did make it over to the city attorneys office where I was met with a friendly receptionist and knowledgeable too. I was placed in contact with Mariam Morley at the city attorneys office. I had a very interesting conversation with her over the phone. This is one of the reasons I found San Francisco a wonderful city for about 12 years now. People were friendly and helpful.

I then went over to the SFMTA and met with Eric Richholt, investigator for taxi services. He mentioned the issue had already been sent over to him. Eric and I spoke for a little while then he brought me to the class where Chris Hyashi was working with of new drivers and retraining. I had a brief moment to speak to her. I expressed once again to her about the deposits, odors and smells that are damaging to the drivers health by a lack of maintenance to the taxi vehicles.

The poor taxi drivers are low income individuals where every penny counts. Taxi drivers in San Francisco are under represented but yet millions are extracted from their pockets yearly through permits, fines, and tactics from cab companies.

Dean Clark
If you have anything you want to speak to me about regarding this issue please call me at
Phone 415-240-2433

1996 ruling in Joseph Tracy vs. Yellow Cab

The 1996 ruling in Joseph Tracy vs. Yellow Cab barred cab companies from demanding security deposits from drivers. The order, issued by Judge William Cahill of the San Francisco Superior Court, "permanently enjoins the defendant [Yellow Cab], from classifying plaintiffs and similarly situated drivers as independent contractors for purpose of denying such drivers any benefit under California law with respect to workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, and paying a cash bond to defendants as a condition of driving a taxicab."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

MTA Board approved the two taxi items on its agenda

Yesterday, the MTA Board approved the two taxi items on its agenda: an additional 40 cents on the flag drop, and 87 more cabs. As a result, a meter increase bringing the flag drop to $3.50 and the distance and waiting time to 55 cents a click should go into effect around the beginning of September. The new cabs will probably take longer, especially if there is an appeal to the Board of Appeals (which seems likely).
The cab decision was exactly as had been proposed: 25 full-time medallions to the list; 10 full-time medallions to be sold directly by the MTA; a trial program for 50 single-operator permits (which could, however, have two operators); and aqn experiment with 2 battery-switchable electric vehicles.
Cab companies were out in force opposing the proposal for more cabs. Not that they were trying to save their drivers from added competition -- quite the contrary. Yellow, Luxor and DeSoto management have been pushing for 500 more cabs, with the permits going to companies rather than drivers. They want to kill single-operator permits because they can't make money from them, and because the SOPs (?) stand in the way of the corporate medallions companies want.
In my mind, these part-time permits are far preferable to full-time medallions. They'll be on the streets only about 1/3 the time, so they won't be hurting drivers during the slowest hours. There are some controversial aspects to the idea, however. The permits are to go to the most senior drivers in the industry, circumventing the list. The hours of operation will be flexible, which will best serve the public, but enforcement may be a problem. Retirement for permit holders is an open question. And, most ominously, a monthly lease fee will be charged for the permits. The fee can be reduced or eliminated by taking dispatched orders, but it sets a bad precedent, and creates a swamp of micro-regulation where the MTA is going to have to count every dispatch call these cabs take (or, more likely, rely on someone else's count). Nonetheless, I still believe this is better than hundreds of full-time permits in company hands. It's a trial program, so if parts of it turn out to be unfair or unworkable, they could be changed. And if the whole idea turns out to be a bust, it will go away.
Also ominous is the direct sale of 10 medallions by the MTA. At $250,000 apiece, the agency will pocket $2,375,000, with the balance of $125,000 going to the Driver Fund. This is a brand new source of revenue for the MTA. Up to now, the agency has directly sold only existing medallions returned to it after death or revocation. In light of the MTA's chronic financial problems, these 10 new medallions are only a hint of what is likely to come -- unless we do something about it, which we must. The MTA has a conflict of interest between its regulatory duties and its financial interests that cannot be allowed to stand.
Although the hearing lasted over an hour, driver turnout was not as robust as at previous meetings. It seemed that about half the public speakers were from cab companies. Maybe fatigue has set in.
The vote of the Board approving the cab proposal was 6-1. The "no" vote was cast by former Taxi Commissioner Bruce Oka. It appears the cab companies convinced him to take their side.
MTA staff did not discuss credit cards or electronic waybills at the meeting.
Mark Gruberg
United Taxicab Workers

Friday, August 5, 2011

Support Taxi Drivers Pin - San Francisco Taxi Advocate

Support Taxi Drivers Pin - San Francisco Taxi Advocate

Thursday, July 14, 2011

This is Rich: The SFMTA Would Like Your 'Feedback' In Re: Nat Ford's Replacement

This is Rich: The SFMTA Would Like Your 'Feedback' In Re: Nat Ford's Replacement

muni-mess-t-shirt.jpg Former Muni executive director Nat Ford has finally left the building with his $384,000 golden parachute, and with this news we were both relieved and disgusted. Debra Johnson, meanwhile, who was formerly Director of Administration, Taxis and Accessible Services, is serving as interim executive director until a new hire is made by the SFMTA board, on a schedule they've yet to announce. But, trying to play nice given what horrible press they've gotten — and given, ahem, what a majorly mismanaged organization they are with trains that have a penchant for breaking down during rush hour a couple of times a week — they're seeking some public commentary at this time. In other words, you now have a chance to make your opinions heard, via a handy online survey, about who they should hire as the next person to direct the agency and incur our wrath.

The survey is here. It's entirely unclear how big an impact this survey will have or whether this is just them going through the motions before appointing Ed Reiskin to the job. And we just started taking the survey and we're already unleashing our anger in the write-in, "Other" option on the first question, which is "In your opinion, what is the single most important task for the new ED/CEO?", with choice A being "Maintain quality service."

To which we angrily reply, in D) Other : How can one "maintain quality service" when current service is so infrequently of any "quality." How about creating a higher standard of quality service, improving on-time performance, and eventually reaching that 85% on-time goal??

Yeah, anyway, it's better than attending a public meeting. Those things are horrible.