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Central Dispatch, Green Taxi Fleet
Mayor Gavin Newsom has challenged the Taxi Commission and taxi industry
to create a centralized dispatch system, and called for conversion of
the entire taxi fleet to environmentally friendly vehicles by 2011. The
ideas were contained in the mayor's State of the City address, delivered
Oct. 26 at Phillip Burton High School.
Newsom devoted considerable time to taxi issues in the speech, discussing
cab service in the context of San Francisco's transit first policy. “I
think we can all agree that the more people who get out of their cars
and use alternative transit - the better this city is going to be for
everyone,” he said. “Another way of doing this is to have
safe, reliable and affordable taxi service.”
The mayor said he had written the Taxi Commission asking that all new
taxis accept credit cards and be equipped with Global Positioning System
(GPS) technology. He called GPS “the first step we must take to
make a centralized dispatch system a reality.”
Newsom noted that San Francisco has “the second highest number of
alternative fuel cabs in the nation - but we can do better.”
The mayor directed the commission to work with other transit agencies
to expand taxi stands to all major transit hubs and neighborhoods in the
He asked the Taxi Commission to require a Taxi Rider's Bill of Rights
to be posted in every cab, with complaints and compliments to be directed
to the city's projected 311 call center number.
The mayor called the 25-cent meter increase that went into effect Nov.
1 “a mistake," noting that San Francisco taxi fares are among
the highest in the nation. “But if taking a taxi is going to cost
you more,” he said, “then at least we should make it easier
for people to find one.”
of Mayor's Taxi Proposals in State of City Address
I think we can all agree that the more people who get out of their
cars and use alternative transit - the better this city is going
to be for everyone.
Another way of doing this is to have safe, reliable and affordable
Recent legislation passed by the Board makes San Francisco
one of the most expensive cities in the country to take a taxi.
The reality is, when people know they can get a taxi in a
pinch - it keeps them from using their car for short trips.
But if taking a taxi is going to cost you more - something
that I continue to believe was a mistake - then at least we should
make it easier for people to find one.
Customer service in the taxi industry is simply behind the times.
We are one of the most technologically-advanced cities in the world,
yet taxis are still being dispatched by radio.
We are a transit first city, but not when getting a taxi
means being placed on hold for ten minutes before even talking to
For the taxi industry to survive - and for San Franciscans
to get the best service possible - we must move this industry -
into this century.
I challenge the Taxi Commission and its industry partners
to create a centralized dispatch system available online and by
This idea was first proposed by our new Executive Director
of the Taxi Commission in 1999 and 7 years later we are still debating
it… It's time has come.
Another idea whose time has come - is a substantial expansion
of taxi stands.
Anyone that's been to the Caltrain station at Fourth and
Townsend, knows the importance of taxi stands.
So I am directing the Taxi Commission and the MTA, in coordination
with, AC Transit, BART and our other transit partners to install
taxi stands at every major transit hub in the city - not just downtown.
Recognizing that there are peak hours of need in our neighborhoods
- we will also create a comprehensive system of taxi stands throughout
What's more, I am asking the Taxi Commission to require that
a Taxi Rider's Bill of Rights be posted in every cab, with complaints
and compliments directed to our new 311 call center.
… More on that later…
Now - I recognize that as Mayor I cannot simply wave my hand
and make it so… but today I sent a letter to the Taxi Commission
asking that they require all new taxis to accept credit cards -
and be GPS enabled.
Why GPS? Well…
GPS, is the first step we must take in order
to make a centralized dispatch system a reality.
I have also directed the Taxi Commission to continue the transition
of our entire taxi fleet to hybrid, alternative-fuel and other green
vehicles, so that by 2011 - in just four years - every cab in San
Francisco will be clean.
Incidentally, we have the second highest number of alternative fuel
cabs in the nation - but we can do better.
As we clean and green our taxi fleet we must also make an investment
in a cleaner and greener San Francisco.