United Taxicab Workers
United To Win
MTA to Take Over Taxi Regulation
Merger Plan Guarantees
Second-Class Status for Drivers;
By Bud Hazelkorn
“Don’t tell your parents you’re a cab driver. You’ll just embarrass them.”
— Off. Paul Makaveckas, SFPD Taxi Detail, Taxi Class Instructor
A resolution approved by the Board of Supervisors last May promised that "MTA is to present to the Government Audit and Oversight Committee within 180 days its plan to transfer the Taxi Commission to the MTA."
Where the MTA Merger Stands
On Nov. 25, The Board of Supervisors gave initial approval to legislation dissolving the Taxi Commission and transferring its powers to the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA). The vote was unanimous.
Final approval by the Board was expected to take place Dec. 9. The mayor supports the move and is expected to sign it into law.
Under the legislation, the MTA would take over taxi regulation on March 1. It would have full authority over taxi matters, including gates and meter rates. It would also have the power to overturn Proposition K of 1978, which prescribes how and to whom medallions are issued.
Smoking in Cabs May Soon Be Illegal
The Board of Supervisors is set to act on a proposed ordinance that would ban all smoking in cabs. Supervisor Sophie Maxwell is sponsoring the measure, which was approved in committee on Nov. 20.
Current law prohibits drivers from smoking in cabs while passengers are present. Passengers are prohibited from smoking only if the driver displays a “no smoking” sign or symbol in the cab and calls it to the passenger's attention before he or she enters the cab.
The proposed ordinance would prohibit smoking in cabs by both drivers and passengers at all times, whether or not the cab is in service. The driver would have the right to refuse service to passengers who refuse to obey the smoking ban.
In public testimony, non-smoking advocates told the Board's City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee that toxic substances in cigarette smoke can permeate vehicle upholstery and expose passengers to health risks over long periods of time.
Other provisions of the proposed ordinance expand a prohibition against distribution in public places of tobacco products or coupons for tobacco products. The expanded ban would prohibit distribution in public places of promotional items that can be exchanged for tobacco products and merchandise that advertises those products.
The board was expected to vote on the measure at its Dec. 9 meeting. If it is approved at two successive meetings and signed by the mayor, it would take effect early next year.
Fleet Falls Short in First Report On Clean Air Taxi Program
The first quarterly report on the city's Clean Air Taxi Program shows that the fleet as a whole has some catching up to do to meet mandated emissions standards.
The Taxi Commission meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 6:30 p.m., in room 400 of City Hall. Special meetings may be scheduled as needed. The following is a summary of significant commission proceedings at recent meetings:
The airport plans to crack down on the misuse of Smart Cards. Sgt. Reynolds of the Taxi Detail has informed the Taxi Commission that administrative and criminal sanctions will be applied against drivers using Smart Cards not their own. Found Smart Cards must be returned to the airport.
The Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) has issued its 2007 Collision Report, containing a listing of the city's most dangerous intersections for injury collisions. Market Street tops the list, with four intersections among the top 11. The worst intersection is Market and Gough, With nine injury collisions in 2007. The most improved is Oak and Octavia, with seven injury collisions in 2007, down from 14 in 2006.
Source: Municipal Transportation Agency, 2007 Collision Report, October 14, 2008
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