Sunday, May 15, 2011

A lot of the cab drivers want to be separated from the SFMTA

In response to the article in the Examiner:

Dr Gonzo you are correct. A lot of the cab drivers want to be separated from the SFMTA, we can not achieve this without public support. Come join the protest planned at 12:00 noon on May 17th (Tuesday). As a cab driver I put in almost 66.00 in gas last night, when I started in 2004 the same car the gas would have cost 23.00. That's an increase out of my pocket of 43.00 just to drive people around the city per shift. In addition cab cab companies have received a few rental increases meaning more money in there pockets, and while SFMTA got 9 million and some change last year alone from the San Francisco Taxi Industry.

Let me respond to DRF, and Davidd8000. Both of you should maybe find alternate transportation methods (that in fact would lower our costs of operation). We do not have control over some of the issues you bring to light. In fact your ignorance of the issues are displayed in your comments. The SFMTA will continue to milk the drivers and passengers of money unless the public understands the issues and supports the drivers in their efforts. The drivers need the increase because we don't make a lot of money driving a cab and are for the city of San Francisco intention call us Independent contractors. There are existing charges the drivers pay that are no longer necessary by the cab companies. The cab drivers have asked for the removal of these charges but the SFMTA said it is hard to take back something they have given to the cab companies. If the charges I speak of were removed from the cab companies we might not need a drastic increase. The drivers are not the problem here folks. The greed of the SFMTA and the Cab Companies is overwhelming. But yet I see comments on here that indicate it is the drivers fault. The driver has no control over our rising costs. Maybe some frustration should be directed to the appropriate places.

As for tipping, people do not tip at appropriate levels here in San Francisco for the cab drivers. DRF if you would have been tipping in the first place because of the high gas prices we would not be asking for the increase!

Once again the SFMTA makes over 9 Million fromt he taxi industry and yet the San Francisco Taxi Drivers do not have:

Health Insurance


Safe work environments

Drivers in some cases are not covered by insurance while they drive and are excluded from the cab companies insurance including unisured motorist

SFMTA neglects enforcing we have air bags in taxi's to protect the driver and passengers.

The frustration should be directed at the SFMTA and Cab Companies for being so greedy!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

San Francisco Taxi Industry needs Safety Inspections of Taxi's

This is in response to the cab driver accident in San Diego. I think city Governments and the State of California needs to start looking at the practices of cab companies around the state and there local areas to ensure cab driver safety and passenger safety. I have driven a cab in San Francisco for many years and when I worked for Arrow Cab company a number of years ago when owned by Speck Cab Company. The brakes would fail, smell from burning oil would fill the cab and burn my chest. The City Governments and State Government has a responsibility to ensure our safety in the taxis instead of trying to blame the driver when an accident occurs. How about actually doing the safety checks on these taxi, and taking serious when a taxi driver reports a problem with a company when there is an issue with the car.

5% Credit Card Fees for San Francisco Taxi Drivers

San Francisco Cab Drivers on Slow nights average a take home wage of less than the minimum wage in San Francisco, but yet are asked to pay for the higher gas prices and now additional 5 % in credit card fees for transactions where the rider wants to use a credit card. The SFMTA at a town hall meeting wants to investigate passing the cost of credit card transactions to the customer, the driver, or the cab company. In the meanwhile when the SFMTA has brought in 9 million and some change from the taxi drivers in the last year. Why not have the SFMTA pay for the credit card fees, after all they mandated that San Francisco Taxis take credit cards in the first place. Just a thought.

Discussion At First SFMTA Taxi Town Hall Grows Heated

The first of several scheduled San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency taxi town hall meetings this week and next started heated as several dozen cab drivers, cab company owners and SFMTA officials discussed taxi issues from credit card fees to meter rate increases.

The meeting covered topics including use of credit cards in taxis, credit card transaction fees, implementation of backseat payment terminals in cabs, and fare increases.

The meeting focused on who should pay credit card fees, with SFMTA Deputy Director for Taxi Services Chris Hayashi outlining three options: cab drivers, cab companies, or passengers. Another key issue was the 5 percent credit card fee drivers are absorbing when passengers use plastic.

Hayashi said the SFMTA implemented the 5 percent credit card fee with a third party that processes the cards, VeriFone, as a driver protection. Drivers can hire their own merchant accounts, but the SFMTA wanted to prevent cab companies from directly collecting on any credit card fees, she said.

Hansu Kim, president and owner of DeSoto Cab Company, refuted claims that the cab companies are making money off advertisements on backseat credit card terminals.

Instead, he said his company has decided to use the backseat terminals to help drivers earn more tips with the credit card machine's tip prompter.

"I'm wary to eliminate something that could give drivers more money," Kim said.

Saam Aram, who has driven a cab for 20 years, passed out paperwork at the meeting proposing to form a new taxi commission that would end the SFMTA's involvement in taxi services in San Francisco, according to the group Cabbies Helping Cabbies.

"I've been coming to SFMTA meetings for over a year," Aram said.

"There has been no action."

Green Cab driver Brad Newsham spoke at the meeting, despite what he said was his frustration that the town hall meetings were being held too late in the decision-making process.

"(The credit card) policy went in effect some time in the past few weeks," Newsham said. "(SFMTA) should have the meeting before implementing the policy."

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

Join the discussion at :

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Message from Mark Gruberg UTW

The outrage over the MTA's decision to stick cab drivers with 5% processing fees for credit charges is enormous. 5% is far more than other vendors pay for this service, and basides, these charges should be the responsibility of cab companies, not drivers.

Drivers are also upset by the prospect of electronic waybills and moinitoring. Where will the information be stored? Who will have access to it? And for what purposes? What safeguards will be put in place to ensure the security of the information and the privacy of its contents? We've gotten no answers from Big Brother. But if this goes through, we know he'll be watching.

The enormous protest that took place at last week's MTA meeting -- drivers by the hundreds circling City Hall in a solid line around the block, and providing two hours of public comment -- shows that we are not going to take these decision lying down.

In response to the protests, the MTA has set up Town Hall meetings on May 10, 11 and 16. I've attached the schedule. (The issue of electronic waybills has been taken off the agenda for these meetings because, the MTA says, it will come up at a later time.) While it's likely that these meetings have been arranged to tap off some of the anger and give the impression that the MTA is listening, it's worthwhile to attend nonetheless, if only to keep up the pressure and continue to drive home our message.

The most important meeting, however, will be the MTA Board meeting of May 17. At that time, the Board will be taking up long-overdue meter increase as well as the credit card issue.

Except for one 25-cent hike in the flag drop a few years back, we haven't had a meter increase since January 2003 -- that is, in over eight years. In the meantime, gates, gas and the cost of living have all increased substantially. (Gas prices were $1.69 a gallon in January 2003!) Now, at last, they seem willing to go ahead with an increase, probably because they think it will cool drivers' anger and divert their attention from the other issues. We should have none of that. We deserve a meter increase AND relief from credit card charges AND excessive government intrusion into our workday (and worknight) lives. As many drivers said at the last hearing, if you're going to control us as if we are your employees, we want the rest of the package -- higher income, job benefits, better working conditions and a say over the terms of our employment.

The taxi portion of the MTA meeting is going to take place at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17, in City Hall, Room 400. EVERYBODY -- and I mean EVERYBODY -- must show up. We will be living with the decisions made at this meeting for years to come.

This is a defining moment in our industry and our jobs. Drivers are sick and tired of the second-hand treatment we get from our regulators, who see us mainly as cash cows for Muni's budget problems. It's time we fought back -- and NOW is the time.

I'm attaching a flyer about the upcoming meetings. Pass it on to other drivers. Post it at your garage. And above all, COME AND SPEAK YOUR MIND BEFORE THE MTA.

Mark Gruberg

United Taxicab Workers

a new TAXI COMMISION, ending SFMTA’S authority over taxi industry

This initiative measure will be submitted to the people in accordance with the
provisions of Article II, Section 8, of the California Constitution.
authority over taxi industry.
Section 1. Name: This act shall be known as the “TAXI INDUSTRY ACT OF 2011”.
Section 2. Findings, Intent and Purposes: This act, adopted by the people of the City
and County of San Francisco, makes the following Findings, Statement of Intent, and
A. Findings
1. In San Francisco, taxi industry (taxi companies and taxi drivers) are independent
and self-employed. They neither are a part of the government nor are they
government employees. Taxi industry is not treated as such by SFMTA.
2. No one is perfect that is why pencils have erasers. That is why we have
constitutional rights of privilege against self-incrimination. That is why no business
allows government to decide for them and control their every move. Taxi industry is
not treated as such by SFMTA.
3. Taxi industry, mostly, have requested not to have its personal information (and
customers’ personal information) collected in some computer(s). Other businesses
had, and have, this right but Taxi industry is not treated as such by SFMTA.
C. Purposes: To bring freedom, which any other industry enjoys, to San Francisco taxi
industry; this in turn benefits taxi riders.
B. Intent: To reform taxi industry laws in San Francisco by replacing SFMTA’s control over
taxi industry with the new Taxi Commission.
Section 3. Implement:
1. Be it enacted that, 60 days after the passage of this proposition, the SFMTA will cease
to exercise all regulatory functions pertaining to taxicabs in San Francisco. Oversight
and regulation of the taxi industry will fall under the jurisdiction of the newly instituted
Taxi Commission, which will have independence from the Mayor and from the
SFMTA, but will be accountable to the Board of Supervisors and voters of San
This initiative measure will be submitted to the people in accordance with the
provisions of Article II, Section 8, of the California Constitution.
2. All revenue, currently being collected and channeled to the city government by the
SFMTA, will instead be directed through the Taxi Commission. It is from this
money that Taxi Commission will be funded.
3. The Taxi Commission will consist of seven members: One appointed by the Mayor,
two appointed by the Board of Supervisors, one representative of senior
organizations, one representative of the taxicab companies, one taxi medallion
holder/driver, and one non-medallion holder driver. I do not know how the last four
should be chosen, but they should not be political appointees, nor should they stand
for election for a public office.
4. The Taxi Commissioners should serve for one six-year term, which is not
repeatable. The terms should be staggered so they do not all expire at once.
5. A member of the Taxi Commission cannot be removed except by the vote of seven
Supervisors and only for egregious criminality.
6. Members of the Taxi Commission will be paid an annual salary of $40,000. It is
assumed that membership on the Taxi Commission is not a full time job.
7. All other matters of substance, including medallions, transfers, rules and regulations,
fees, correcting past injustices, and everything else, is excluded from this Proposition
and will continue in force as it exists at present until addressed by the new Taxi
Because we start collecting signature starting June for submission to The Board of
Supervisors, please, by May 20, 2011, email any comments or suggestions to the
address below. We would email you back the final draft for your review and final

Friday, May 6, 2011

Responsibility of Equipment in San Francisco Taxi Cabs

I came into work today and had to sign a equipment responsibility sheet for the
Electronic Waybill equipment

I asked for a copy but could not get one. I drove 1167 tonight and look at the pics of the meter I had to work with. Missing a button and the cover on the top of the meter.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

November, 2011 Candidates Meet & Greet hosted by Central City Democrats and Tenant Rights Association PAC

Central City Democrats in partnership with Tenant Rights Association PAC is hosting a Meet and Greet with the Mayoral, City Attorney and Sheriff candidates seeking elective office on November 8th, 2011.

Come join us on Monday, May 16th


50 Mason Street
San Francisco, California

as we have the opportunity to talk face-to-face with the candidates.

Additional sponsors include:
Tenant Associations Coalition Political Action Committee (TAC PAC)

North of Market Business Association

San Francisco Taxi Advocates

Come join us at 50 Mason Social House were door prizes and refreshments will be provided.

For more information call (415) 339-8683.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

San Francisco Taxi Protest at City Hall Today

There were hundreds of taxi drivers showing up at the city hall today for a protest in room 400 over the 5% credit card fees being assessed when a driver takes a credit card as payment for a ride. Drivers are also concerned over electronic waybill machines being placed in their taxis. The electronic waybill machines have not been checked for radiation levels and could cause health issues for drivers if there is a long time exposure to this new equipment. Drivers are requesting an environmental study be done to ensure these machines are safe and would not have health risks for the driver.

In addition Dean Clark was there to speak about the importance of uninsured motorist coverage for drivers as a safety net if involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist. As many of you know Dean Clark was in an accident last year suffering injuries that are long lasting and permanent. The National Cab company who Dean Clark works for did not have uninsured motorist coverage, nor carried insurance for the driver at the time of the accident.

The SFMTA who has taken over the regulatory body of the taxi industry has been only focused on getting money and draining the pockets of San Francisco Taxi Drivers. The SFMTA should own up to the responsibility of ensuring public safety comes first to include the taxi driver and mandate that all cab companies insure their taxi drivers with full coverage insurance and to include uninsured motorist coverage insurance for every single taxi driver in San Francisco.

Lets Talk about Taxi Driver Issues

Lets Talk about Taxi Driver Issues

· Credit Card Fees

· Electronic Waybills

· Insurance

· Lack of support from SFMTA

Backyard Barbecue

May 8th, 2011

12:00 noon - 3:00 p.m.

at 345 Fulton Street (in Hayes Valley on Fulton between Franklin and Gough)

We will be having Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Pasta Salad, Fruit Salad, Mixed Green Salad.

I will have Soft drinks as well!

Its a great was for others to get to know one another in San Francisco.

If you have any questions please call me at 415-240-2433

Monday, May 2, 2011

5% fee for using 3rd party’s equipment/services? GPS based Electronic Waybill?

April 25, 2011
5% fee for using 3rd party’s equipment/services?
GPS based Electronic Waybill?
If drivers are self-employed, running their own business, then they should
choose their own service provider. Forcing a third party vendor on a business
owner goes against anti monopoly laws. If SFMTA wants to treat us like an
employee, then they should pay us like MUNI drivers. SFMTA cannot have it
both ways.
In addition, To Err Is Human and no Human are faultless. By GPS monitoring
every click and every move of the cab driver (unlike any other business), we
would be going against driver’s constitutional rights, the privilege against
self-incrimination. Look up the Fifth Amendment to the United States
Those claiming that by giving the 5% drivers would be making more on tips,
in essence are asking drivers to give cash for hope (over 3 million/year for a
hope). If this is such a good idea, let us have 5% from you in exchange for
The core arguments, by SFMTA, for having these third parties forced on
drivers are Waybills, Credit/Debit processing and computer records. Drivers
(running their own business) can do all by themselves. We use our own,
nationally recognize, venders to process the credit/debit cards at less than
2%, and we email our waybills to the email account that SFMTA opens for
each driver; and keep the original for our records. This way all the three
requirements are satisfied. In addition drivers’/passengers’ personal
information are safe guarded; all at a fraction of the costs. We know that
multi-billion dollars corporations, with best minds and cutting age technology
could not protect personal information. The reason is clear; technological
progress never is at its end; it is, and always will be, a work in progress.
Therefore, it is the best not to put it where someone along the way could tap
into it.
Saam Aryan, Cab driver