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tv   [untitled]    June 5, 2012 9:30pm-10:00pm PDT

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approving taxi service. with that, i will ask for a brief overview of item 11. we will also ask the co-chair to come up and give some comments, and then turn it back to you. chairperson nolan: thank you. good afternoon. >> could a afternoon. -- good afternoon. thank you. i did in denver to be as comprehensive, concise, and complete in the written materials presented to you, and i know a lot of people want to be heard today, and you may have direct questions. rather than elaborate on what you already read, i would like to know if you have any questions of me, and i would like to turn it over to the industry for their feedback. >> thank you, deputy director.
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as i suspect you are well aware, several of us have received several communications over the last few days since this item went in. this came as a shock to some. they did not feel the issue was properly vented, particularly some of our cab companies. i thought maybe it would be appropriate, because i suspect some of them want to speak to that, for you to give us your response to that view so we have some flavor of that. i might say to the folks that are going to respond to this that i would urge you to not spend all of your time speaking to just the procedure. if there are merits or problems you have with this proposal, address those. director, before we heard some of these comments, i thought it would only be fair to give you a chance to address whether you think they have any validity. >> thank you.
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i think director reiskin said it well. there has been a lot of discussion of this over the past two years. it resulted in a staff pilot program under board oversight and supervision during october of 2010. here we are in the spring of 2012 and meeting to resolve these credit-card issues. it was never a complete solution. it was always kind of a band-aid or lifesaver solution under circumstances that existed at that time. the discussion is a matter of public record over the last two years. i would very much appreciate hearing from the industry there positive and constructive suggestions as to what would be a better policy. i hope we will hear about that today.
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>> i would suggest we defer further questions until we hear from the public. chairperson nolan: what we are doing now is just item 11. after we finish that, we can consider whether to groups some of the rest of them together. secretary boomer: [names are read] chairperson nolan: good afternoon. >> i do have problems with procedure and the way this was put before us, but i will address myself to the issue. credit cards. what we have is a reduction of the credit card charge from 5% to 3.5% and some other changes. this is better than it was before, but only by comparison. if you take away somebody's loaf
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and give a piece of in back to them, they are not really going to thank you for that. these are charges that should be borne by taxi companies. i cannot tell you how many times -- virtually every passenger who gets into my cab asks me if i will take a credit card. by now, virtually nobody should be asking that question. maybe out-of-towners', but certainly these costs should be invisible to the passenger and the driver. the way to do that is to place them upon the taxi company, as green tab does right now. by doing that, you are going to get a much higher number of credit cards taken. you will have fewer disputes with passengers. you are going to enhance driver safety. the more cash to get out of the
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cab, the safer the drivers are. the costs companies would have to bear our ordinary costs of providing taxi service, of doing business. if they feel their overall costs are too high and they cannot make a reasonable profit, they can ask for a date increase. this is the way this should be done, and i urge you to go in that direction. director bridges: -- secretary boomer: charles rathbone? >> i am here on behalf of wilshire cab company. i would like to address the change which allows a driver to bypass the installed credit card equipment in the cab. the driver can use square or some other smartphone app. however, this section does not
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give the customer any choice in the matter. it is entirely driver discretion. what if the customer does not want to pay on the driver's smartphone? perhaps the customer is concerned the smartphone might have viruses or some other malware. the cab company software is resistant to tampering. please include in section 1125 b five that the choice of payment is up to the customer and not the driver, and require their be signs in the cab advising the customer of that. lastly, some kind of penalty for a driver who intends to coerce a passenger into using the hand- held device. speaking personally as somebody who uses cabs as a main means of transportation, i really do not like to have to hand my card
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over to the driver for him to process on his hand-held machine when there is a perfectly good machine in the back where i construct the card myself. drivers can be in system that you not use the cab company equipment. you guys required us to install that. it was a considerable expense. at the very least, the passenger should have the choice to use that. thank you very much. >> good afternoon. and wanted to weigh in on credit cards. my passengers love using credit cards. i use the tax equipment when i do aspects of my business, and i used square.
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the equipment in taxi equipment is official. they get a receipt right away. i do not know exactly how the square park works. i think that what we need is more continuity. you are going to accept credit cards. there are fees associated, because i am a merchant. if we worked in san francisco, we are required to do so. the equipment that is provided -- i do not like touching people's credit cards. it takes a little bit more time. 45 seconds, and we are moving on. that is really important. i appreciate the reduction in the percentage cost i have to pay, but i accept there is a cost. i do not know whether 5% is
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appropriate. i am not really worried about 5 cents on the dollar in my business. i provide a service that usually takes care of me with the tip. i think most cabdrivers to provide good service and people are willing to throw extra on if they know there is a fee. they will take care of you. that is just my opinion. thank you. >> do you find there is an increase or change in the level of gratuities on credit card transaction? or is the gratuity the same? >> $18 ride, the have two 20's in their pocket, they will give me a 20 and walk away. the credit card, they will give more. >> good afternoon. i am in favor of item 11. the credit card transactions are
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not part of the cab company operations. cab companies do not have any financial motivation. they do not have anything to gain from participating in the use of credit cards. the bad guy or the banks, who are dictating policy to all of us. i hope that if you vote in favor of 11, as i hope you do, that you will not consider that the necessary final solution to the problem. a better solution would be for the cab companies to finally agree about operations, and get the local laws to allow for some sort of situation similar to what exists in las vegas. while on the subject, i think it should be said that have companies want more medallions at all times, because there is a
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ceiling on their profits. i think they would be more involved with were some with systems in all caps. after much cost, time, and effort, we were able to put it in all taxis. that was based on a 5% fee to the driver. we do not charge the companies. the third property -- the third party processes that, and we facilitate it for the drivers. guaranteeing a payment of two --
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up to $50 by the drivers -- this was all based on a 5% fee, which is appropriate. we are told this will be dropped to 3.5%. the contractual relationship is going to have to change, or we will bear the responsibility of that 1.5%. you made a drastic major increase. part of the justification was to more than make up for the charges. credit card charges about $6 to $7 a have this imposition on us on l
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choice of how they want to pay. there is equipment in the vehicle. there needs to be consistency for the passengers. the passenger should come first. thank you. secretary boomer: [names are read] >> i have been a taxicab driver for 23 years. i thought all of the items would be together. i had so much i wanted to say. i will say this about the credit card. the fee should not be charged to the drivers. even the board of supervisors think it should not be charged to the cab drivers. we pay a fee of $25 a year to the city of san francisco.
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only the market can force us. maybe muni can start taking credit cards for their ride. people love to use that. people go to starbucks and use it for $1.50 coffee. they like to use their credit card, because they get more points using the credit card. maybe muni can consider also starting to take credit cards. that is one thing. i think cabdriver's should not pay for the credit card. -- i think cabdrivers should not pay for the credit card. let the market force us to take the credit card.
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>> good afternoon. my name is domenic rodriguez. i think since we are in munich, i should put a bus -- in muni, i should put a taxi light on top of a bus so i can take more customers. if the companies are not generating money, maybe they should charge 50 cents to go to the bathroom from each driver. i think this is the whole problem. i had a situation where the driver had cardboard saying "cash only." he said he refused to take credit cards. i was stuck with a passenger to
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take care of. this is the issue. every time that companies complain they are broke -- you know how much they make for a medallion? $2,000. secretary boomer: [names are read] >> members of the board, i am with laxer -- luxor cab company. let me remind you that among other cab companies we requested a waiver in consideration of increasing credit card charges. can we get it up real big? essentially, when we requested a
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waiver, staff requested the cab companies to submit a package that included a number of bundled services. the cab companies could not be the merchant of record. we would require backseat monitors, charge no more than 6%, and had to put together a fundamental planform for the collection of electronic waybills. we received a waiver, signed a 66% contract, and put together a package of services. this proposal breaks apart a bundle of services that luxor and other cab companies will be able to negotiate. it provides consumer protection for the card user, the customer. it provides the platform for collecting electronic waybills.
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it provides the opportunity to provide backseat monitors. we are being a little bit penny wise, pound foolish. this covers a variety of bundled services. this seems to suggest unbundling the credit card fee. we think this is on wise. what you want to look that is the bundling of services that provide consumer protection. chairperson nolan: good afternoon, mr. lawrence. >> good afternoon. i would like to bring up the issue of the 3.5% to 5%.
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we ought to start subtracting 5% out of your paycheck every month. everytime we deposit it, we get 5% for the taxi industry. whether it is 3.5% or 05%, in a couple of years it will be 12% or 15%. you are ripping off the taxi driver, forcing him to take credit cards. you are forcing the population to use credit cards when they can use cash. how about stopping on the corner for a $4 credit charge when the traffic is low? with a policeman behind you, a woman hands you a credit card. i have 15 badges in my hand. here is a mastercard. it takes 4.5 minutes to do it. [)s0ñ forcing taxes drivers to do. it is like removing the benches
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and the trash cans and having the population at large through a crash in the street because there are less trash cans. taxi drivers are small businesses. you do not understand that. a taxi medallion holder does not make what a junior clerk makes at city hall. no benefits, medical, dental, or otherwise. but you want to strangle them with another feed by forcing a population to give you a credit card at 2:00 in the morning, half of them drunk. you do not know what you are doing. the taxi drivers know where you are doing. i thank you for your time on this issue. [applause] >> the first thing most
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passengers say when they get into my cab is, "can i use my credit card?" they are anxious. they are nervous about that. there is always a sense of relief. many of them, the large percentage of them, say, "the last cabdriver would not take my credit card." what has been established is that the first interaction between a customer -- a driver and passenger is fraught with anxiety. i think it is proper for a regulatory body to address that. it should be invisible. it should be built into the rate structure that when you pay it does not come out of the cab driver's bottom line. it should come through the company. however it gets paid, it should come through the company.
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if you are interested in the customer, you will address that. >> i am a san francisco cab driver. i support this item, the way it is written. thank you for listening to cabdrivers' protesting in the past about 5% being excessive. in a perfect world, philosophically, i believe cabdrivers in san francisco should not have to pay any credit card fee, unless you own the tab -- the steering light, etc., and are paying all the expenses, setting your own schedules. when you do not have a right to do that, and you have to run everything through a cab
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company, i think it is wrong. as a compromise, i will go out on a limb and say i support this item. i think that is a fair compromise in the real world. i know a lot of cabdrivers disagree. that is just my opinion. i think whoever wrote this tried very hard to come up with a solution that takes both sides of the issue. i think the cab drivers should have the option to have their square unit. i have plenty of passengers. i do not have a smartphone yet, but when i do i will download square. i have passengers telling me to download square. maybe some people are saying that you have to surrender your card to the driver, but my experience is it is no big deal. passengers are encouraging people like me to have a
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smartphone and download square. every experience is different. my tips do not change between cash and credit cards. i get cheap tips or great chips -- tips whether it is cash or credit. [laughter] >> i am the phantom photographer. i think it is basically good, the 3.5%. this is closer to the actual costs. i would probably be on the side of the companies, if they want
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to promise never to push for a gate increase. i would say 5% would be fine. but of course that is not going to happen. they will be pushing for a date increase regardless. i think 3.5% is fair. i will make myself unpopular with the drivers by saying the ones who are not taking the credit cards should be taking credit cards, for numerous reasons. if there were taking credit cards, even with a 5% fee, they would probably be maki 10% to 20% more each day. they get bigger tips for taking credit cards. furthermore, there is what is described as a big space ship to and our problems. uber takes credit cards. i think it is good as it is
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written. thank you. there is at least one cab company out there which has a yellow coat -- a yellow color on it which is still hitting drivers with bogus charges. i think most companies have stopped it, but i think regulation is in order to make sure the drivers are treated fairly. thank you very much. chairperson nolan: good afternoon, mr. snyder. >> good afternoon, members of the board. there are a lot of things i understand, and sometimes i do not understand, as old as i am. one is i have some idea of the concept of public convenience and necessity, a public utility
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that applies to taxicab operations. speaking of the real world, we live in san francisco, and there is a concept behind the livable wages ordinance. most cabdrivers in san francisco, aside from a medallion holders, are probably the working poor. if they make $25,000 a year, it might be good. $25,000 a year in san francisco is considered low wage or poverty. the mta made fair is free for school kids.
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-- fares free for school kids. i wonder why you have to charge cabdrivers' for every transaction. it should not be anything. who can least afford it, the working poor or the cab company? you might want to defer this a little bit so there can be a suggestion to pcn later in the year. perhaps we can think this out a little better. thank you for your time. >> good afternoon. you have seen what action was going on outside. director heinicke, please leave
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this job. you have failed this entire system. let us get back to the points. $104 for a 10 hour shift. that covers insurance, credit card fees, everything. half the money goes to the medallion holder. the collect only 1500. now it is a $3,000 check from the cab companies. cab company ponies are sitting in warm taxi houses. drivers are sitting in a dirty, ugly place. 2% fees -- why 3% or 4%? the staff sitting in the cab company office -- why do we give them the $104 feedbacks