Photo: Required signage helps identify a licensed taxicab

Regulation of Taxicabs

Selected reading on public policy related to taxis and taxi-like services, and a section of links to taxi regulators, industry groups and similar sites.

2018 documents

2017 documents

Map of SF showing density of TNC activity

The interactive map accompanying the TNCs Today report shows pick-up and drop-off volumes throughout San Francisco.

California Public Utilities Commission

Throughout 2015-2017 the ongoing TNC proceeding at the California Public Utilities Commission continued to generate filings from dozens of interested parties. Among the hundreds of publicly accessible documents are exhaustive legal discussions of virtually every aspect of Transportation Network Company regulation. The documents are on the CPUC Documents Page for Proceeding R1212011.

2016 documents

2015 documents

Map of Safer Market Street shows turn restrictions at intersections

Red arrows indicate turn restrictions for private vehicles at intersections along San Francisco's pedestrian-friendly Safer Market Street, August 2015. Taxis retain full access to the busy thoroughfare along with buses, bikes and delivery trucks.

Poster says Watch For Me

July 2015 pedestrian safety campaign in Asheville, North Carolina.

2014 documents

Photo of California Assembly member Susan Bonilla

California Assembly Member Susan Bonilla became the object of negative political ads when she introduced legislation to establish insurance requirements for Uber. Governor Brown signed her legislation, Assembly Bill 2293, into law in September 2014.

In June 2014 the California Public Utilities Commission continued its attempt to regulate TNC "rideshares" by issuing Proposed Modifications which would have strengthened its previous insurance requirements. However the Proposed Modifications were weakened substantially in early July prior to a hearing, and then were not acted upon. The CPUC may revisit TNC insurance in August 2014. Before the July revisions, various parties to the proceeding filed comments and reply comments regarding TNC insurance.

The documents will eventually appear in their official formats under the Documents tab on the CPUC Proceeding Page.

Many states have issued formal notices warning about inadequate insurance in ride services such as those operated by Uber and Lyft. Click on the following links for twenty examples: California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.

The California Public Utilities Commission issued a Request for Comments on Proposed Modifications to its TNC insurance requirements and other changes on March 25, 2014. Among the responses delivered to the Proceeding Service List in early April are the Initial Comments of:

The documents along with expected Response Comments will eventually appear in their official formats under the Documents tab on the CPUC Proceeding Page.

2013 documents

Internet Advocacy ’Uber’ Alles: What Uber-Fans Accomplished in Boston & What It Means for Urban Democracy & Local Government. This insightful paper by Harvard law school student Molly Cohen is must-read for taxi industry participants who face organized social media campaigns by wealthy elites. Ms. Cohen presented her views at the October 2013 TLPA conference in Boston.

A night scene of a black town car and a yellow taxicab next to each other on a rain soaked street
- Digiart2001 | jason.kuffer | Flickr 2013

For-hire vehicles include limousines and taxicabs. Regulations for each are challenged by commercial "rideshares" and other taxi-like services that claim exemption from regulation.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine
June 11, 2013
Effectiveness of Taxicab Security Equipment in Reducing Driver Homicide Rates

Cammie K. Chaumont Menéndez, PhD, Harlan E. Amandus, PhD, Parisa Damadi, BS, Nan Wu, MS, Srinivas Konda, MPH, Scott A. Hendricks, MS

(Am J Prev Med 2013;45(1):1-8)

From page 5 of the article:

"These data support the hypothesis that installing cameras in taxicabs results in a reduction in citywide taxicab driver homicide rates post-installation (seven times lower homicide rate) and compared to cities with neither cameras nor partitions (three times lower homicide rate). The data do not support the hypothesis that cities with partitions installed in taxicabs experience lower taxicab driver homicide rates than cities with neither cameras nor partitions. This is the first study to methodically collect data from a nationally representative sample of the largest taxicab cities over a 15-year time span that allows for comparison of rates pre- and post-installation of cameras."

See also a related article by the same authors "Cities with camera-equipped taxicabs experience reduced taxicab driver homicide rates: United States, 1996 - 2010"

Two Lyft vehicles wait for fares at a San Francisco hotel

Unregulated Lyft "moustache cabs" wait for fares in front of licensed taxis at a San Francisco hotel.

The California Public Utilities Commission conducted a Rulemaking Proceeding on "Regulations Relating to Passenger Carriers, Ridesharing, and New Online-Enabled Transportation Services" from December 2012 to September 2013.

The process focused on public safety and innovation regarding companies such as Uber, Lyft, Tickengo (now Wingz), and Sidecar (now defunct). The Commission decided to create a new class of for-hire service called "Transportation Network Companies" and established rules on September 19, 2013.

Filings included the CPUC's Order Instituting Rulemaking and the formal comments of:

Many additional comments and replies from the various parties are available under the Documents tab on the Proceeding Details page of the CPUC web site.

Taxi with many screens installed for different hailing apps

Spoof of taxi hailing apps, many of which require a separate screen dedicated exclusively to that app.

2012 documents

If your minicab is not booked, it is just a strangers car

Graphic for the Cabwise app from Transport for London.

Sheree and William Kerner

"He's my best friend and he's my hero" said Sheree Kerner of her brother, New Orleans taxicab driver William L. Kerner IV. His death in a May 2011 robbery led to passage of SB 639 which elevated the killing of a taxicab driver to first-degree murder in Louisiana.

Reports of special interest from Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates

2011 documents

Meeting participants pose for a group photo
- UN Photo
Participants pose for a group photo at the Expert Group Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, May 2011, on the Greening of the Latin American Taxi Fleet.

Special Report: Greening Taxis in Latin America

Presentations from the Expert Group Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, May 2011 on Sustainable Urban Transport: Policy Options for Modernizing and Greening Taxi Fleets in Latin American Cities. The meeting generated a wealth of information from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador and Mexico. The presentations also cover a wide range of topics including electric taxis in China, solar-powered bicycle taxis in Germany, motorized rickshaws in India, and greening in California and Korea.

SF taxicab rates of fare September 2011

Rate of fare as displayed in San Francisco taxicabs, September 2011.

2010 documents

A woman passenger rides in a shared taxi. The taxi's windshield is damaged and the woman has an anxious expression on her face.
- UN Photo/Sophia Paris, March 2010, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Haiti "Cash for Work" Employee Relies on Tap-Tap Taxi -- A local supervisor for "Cash for Work", an initiative launched by the United Nations Development Programme in the aftermath of Haiti's earthquake, relies on a tap-tap, a shared taxi, to take her home from work. Haiti has an almost non-existent public transportation system. Many people depend on the privately-owned tap-taps for transportation even though they are often overloaded, mechanically unsound, and driven unsafely.

First medallion sale in San Francisco follwing a change in regulations.

Deputy Director of Taxi Services Chris Hayashi (left) and MTA Executive Director Nat Ford (right) look on as seller Mildred Megarity transfers her taxi medallion to buyer Ahmad Sidaoui on August 4, 2010. It was the first sale of a taxi medallion in San Francisco for 33 years. See more photos and a write-up on Ed Healy's blog. Photo courtesy of Ed Healy.

2009 documents

Seatbelt graphic

Seatbelt reminder from the City of Auburn in New South Wales

2008 documents

Brightly colored micro-taxi
- UN Photo/Mark Garten, November 2008 - Bogra, Bangladesh

Rural Development Programme Beneficiary -- A taxi entrepreneur and beneficiary of the Grameen Bank project for poverty eradication through micro credit lending, waits for a fare.

2007 documents

Controller Reports and Ballot Measures have played a large role in the San Francisco cab business between the late 1970s and 2017. Following are links to controller reports as well as summaries of eleven taxi-related matters that have been placed before the voters along with links to the full text of each.

campaign flyer

A 2000 campaign mailer - click here for a larger version.

San Francisco Ballot Measures 1978 - 2007

Taxi regulation in San Francisco was heavily influenced by a corporate meltdown in 1976 that led to a year of scarce taxi service and a controversial permit-trading deal in City Hall. See Taxis and SF Labor History for a brief summary of the crisis. In the wake of the crisis, a pair of competing taxi reform measures appeared on the ballot submitted to voters in 1978. Proposition K won with almost 51% of the vote. "Prop K" has shaped every aspect of the taxi business since that time.

The voters have been asked to revisit the issue numerous times since 1978. Propositions D in 1998 and A in 2007 won approval, while eight other propositions lost.

All the documents in this section are extracts from the ballot handbooks mailed to voters prior to the elections. They are in PDF format with file size under 1MB except as noted.

Chart showing the percentage of Yes votes for each measure

Chart showing the number of Yes votes for each measure

campaign flyer

Courtesy of Dennis Kiernan. See a larger version of this campaign ad.

campaign flyer

Courtesy of Dennis Kiernan. See a
larger version of this campaign ad.

political campaign poster

Reports of special interest from Schaller Consulting in NYC

These and others are available courtesy of Bruce Schaller at Taxi and Livery Papers and Reports

2006 documents

Lurid poster warning against unlicensed cabs

This attention-getting poster, issued by the South Somerset District Council, is part of a public safety campaign in England to warn cab users about the dangers of riding in unlicensed cabs during the 2006 holiday season. The national campaign is dubbed Taxiwise. The Mayor of London is leading the Cabwise program which facilitates getting a legal taxi or minicab with the help of text messaging. The Taxiwise and Cabwise programs are endorsed by celebrities and are receiving a high level of press attention throughout the UK.

2005 documents

Poster of women hailing for a cab used in the UK Taxiwise campaign

Birmingham UK public safety campaign

Photo: Citizens' Medal

Sheriff's Citizen's Medal awarded posthumously to Tuscon, Arizona taxicab driver Dawud Isa Abusida who lost his life when he stopped to assist an officer in trouble on August 10, 2005.

2004 documents

Prop N mailer

San Francisco voters received this campaign mailer regarding Proposition N of 2003, an unsuccessful initiative measure.

2003 documents

Photo of a minibus taxi

Minibus taxis are a key part of the South African transport system.

2002 documents

2001 documents

Regina ad from the 1930s

During the 1930s fierce competition drove down prices and resulted in flat rate fares like this one -- 25 cents to anyplace in Regina, Saskatchewan

2000 documents

pre-2000 documents

Journal of Transport Economics and Policy

These documents from the Journal of Transport Economics and Policy are available on the JTEP index and summary page of free articles through 1996. Many of the articles published in the journal are of special interest to readers with a strong background in math.

Photo of a PCO facility with cabs up on the lifts, by Terry Smythe

Taxi inspection facility of the Public Carriage Office, London.

Links to regulators, industry groups and similar sites

Map of secure and regular taxi stands

Classification of Regular and Secure Taxi Ranks in Sydney

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