TWO STATEMENTS TO THE BOARD
OF THE SAN FRANCISCO MUNICIPAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY
CF Speaks Our Against Peak Time Medallions, and Against SFMTA Misappropriation of Funds
March 1, 2011
(Slightly Paraphrased)

by Christopher Fulkerson

CF's Composition Desk
Christopher Fulkerson Speaks
Simulcast Imagery
CF Speaks against "Peak TIme" medallions
and against SFMTA Misappropriation of funds
Meeting of the SFMTA Board, March 1, 2011
Photograph and Image Title by Ed Healy

CLICK HERE to see the videotaped meeting at SF City Hall
CFs Statements are to Items 9 and 11 on the Agenda
CLICK HERE to read Michael Cabantuan's 3/2/2011 SF Chronicle Article, quoting from this statements by CF

CLICK HERE for the Video Archive of the SFMTA Board Meetings


Christopher Fulkerson's Statement on Agenda Item #9:

Thirty-five people were recently hurt in San Diego and there’s no sign yet that the proper conclusion will be drawn – to improve cab drivers’ work conditions, beginning with their quality of life.

You won’t even allow a penalty for vomiting.   Do you think it would effect your job performance to know there was always a plausible possibility that someone would barf into the chair next to you, and that that would cost you income?

When Luxor 107 got an especially bad barf job, the cab had to be sold due to your regulations against smell.    The company quietly absorbed the $20,000 loss. You have an officer standing by in case we speak out of turn.    We have people barfing.

We also deal with thieves, namely the cops, and yourselves.    Unlike any other citizens, we pay for our own prosecution – which is not infrequently quintuple billed.    You also make us pay for our transit competition.     But not all of us pay equally.    The poorest cab drivers are paying the most.

You are beating up on the little guys, rather than taxing the City’s rich, but I am extremely unhappy to know that your policies cause the drivers without medallions, the guys only a little smaller than little me, to pay for MTA service for non-cab customers.

You are doing this by selling work permits at prices that ignore worker’s needs.    You are even allowing loans with balloon payments.

You do this by stealing from the interim moneys paid out by drivers without medallions after a medallion has been discontinued and before it has been reissued.    By definition, it is the drivers without medallions who are paying that money.  

Your policy is stridently unfair and should be changed.   Go pick on someone your own size.

Statement on Agenda Item #11:

It is good to use political methods to solve merchant frustration.    It has been decades since major problems of merchant frustration have been consistently considered in the cab industry.    With the current designation of drivers as “Independent Contractors,” they are among the businessmen you are called upon to help.

It is wrong to use political methods to solve problems that are best solved using good business methods.   Issuing “peak time” medallions is just one more way of creating “designer medallions” without reference to the business situation.    “Peak time” medallions create, rather than solve, merchant frustration.

We are all supposed to know that business trends swing eternally between seller and consumer.    The relationship between profit and demand changes regularly – differently in different industries.    For example, in the farm industry the pendulum swing is according to harvests; it is annual.   If there are never times that favor the sellers, they will lose their incentive.    If there are never times that favor the consumer, they will cease to buy a given product or hire a given service.

In the cab industry, the pendulum swing is weekly.   Friday and Saturday nights are the only times reliably in the drivers’ favor.

Take away that incentive, and you are taking away the drivers’ profit.   That alone should recommend against “peak time” medallions.

It is also wrong to solve immediate problems without reference to problem situations that you yourselves have created.

Through medallion sales you are creating a new class of debt-ridden drivers.    Perhaps you are unaware of how we in the industry understand these drivers are to make ends meet: on both sides of the isle, we understand that they will have to work weekend nights.

If you issue special medallions to compete with these times, not only are you destroying the industry at large, which you don’t seem to care about, you are certainly being very short-sighted with the new class of needy that you have created.   These drivers are already dealing with loans the size of home loans in most places, on an income officially classed “lower income.”  

Please do not consider the insane political solution of a situation that can be solved in a business way.

I have written about this item in an essay I have published at my web site.   
To find it, just search for “Against Peak Time Medallions” by Christopher Fulkerson.

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First posted 1/18/2011.

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