The online Cabspotting project of the Exploratorium traces San Francisco's taxi cabs in real time as they travel throughout the Bay Area. The patterns traced by each cab create a living and always-changing map of city life. This map hints at economic, social, and cultural trends that are otherwise invisible. The Exploratorium has invited artists and researchers to use this information to reveal these "Invisible Dynamics."
Recent documents - See also the Taxi-Library Regulation page
- Summary judgement regarding disabled medallion holders in US District Court, June 2008, affirming the City of San Francisco's policy that driving is an Essential Eligibility Requirement that does not violate a disabled medallion holder's rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The decision was appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circut. Documents relating to the case may be found on the website of the Medallion Holders Association.
- An Overview of the San Francisco Taxi Industry and Proposition K prepared November 2007 by Heidi Machen and Jordanna Thigpen for the Taxi Commission's working group on Charter Reform. (2MB pdf)
- San Francisco's Taxi Dispatch Service: Improving Reliability and Response from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, May 2007 report suggesting a surcharge on dispatch orders. (2.7 megabyte PDF)
- The Taxi Industry Report is an August 2006 analysis of rates, gate fees and business conditions by the San Francisco Controller, with recommendations for increases.
- The San Francisco Taxicab Industry: An Equity Analysis June 2006 report from the Goldman Institute, University of California at Berkeley, recommending the sale of taxi medallions in San Francisco.
- Establishing a San Francisco Taxi Driver Health Care Coverage Program: Administration, Cost, and Funding Options. March 2006 report from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, 110 pages, 726KB pdf, complete with detailed actuarial analysis. An existing city-sponsored San Francisco Health Plan is proposed as the administrator. Drivers would pay $80 a month plus modest co-pays for services. The report examines funding options for the rest of the estimated $9-16 million annual cost.
- Taxicab Industry Report - May 2007 Review of taxicab industry with recommendations on taxicab rates of fare and gate fees due to the proposed addition of 50 taxi medallions (25 ramp and 25 CNG/Alternative fuel)
- Taxicab Industry Report - August 2006, a review of the taxicab industry with recommendations on taxicab rates of fare and gate fees. (302 KB)
- 2005 Taxi Commission Survey Report - February 8, 2006, summary report of the results of the Taxi Commission Survey conducted by the Controller's Office in October/November 2005. (140 KB)
- Taxicab Industry Report with Addendum - December 2005, a review of the taxicab industry with recommendations on taxicab rates of fare and gate fees. (140 KB)
- Taxi Driver Survey Summary Findings - April 2004, descriptive statistics of San Francisco's taxi driver population that can be used by policymakers and other interested parties. (6.5 MB)
- San Francisco Taxi Drivers Health Benefits Report - October 2003. This report was prepared in response to Ordinance Number 228-02, which requires the Controller to submit a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors by October 1, 2003 for enactment of a program that would make health insurance or health benefits available to all taxi drivers. (816 KB)
- Taxicab Industry Long-Term Lease Report - October 2003, Controller's report to the Board of Supervisors regarding long-term lease fee caps. (1.8 MB)
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.
- Proposition J of June 1978 competed with Prop K but lost. Proposition K of June 1978 won with almost 51% of the vote (80,570 yes and 77,481 no votes). These documents include the official ballot statements and the published arguments pro-and-con. See also the complete legal text of Propositions J and K.
- Proposition M of November 1979 sought to restore transferability of permits. This document includes the official ballot statement and the published arguments pro-and-con. See also the complete legal text of the proposition.
- Proposition P of November 1981 sought to repeal Prop K and transfer regulation to the Board of Supervisors. This document includes the official ballot statement and the published arguments pro-and-con. See also the complete legal text of the proposition.
- Proposition P of November 1988 sought to repeal Prop K, but would have retained key elements such as non-transferability of permits. This document includes the official ballot statement and the complete legal text. See also the paid arguments pro-and-con that were published along with the proposition.
- Proposition Y of November 1993 sought, among other things, to increase the number of permits and add new types of permits. This document contains the ballot statement, the arguments pro-and-con, and the complete legal text.
- Proposition I of November 1995 was a bid by United Taxicab Workers to place a limit on cab rental fees (gate control) and to establish a centralized dispatch system. This document contains the ballot statement and the arguments pro-and-con. See also the complete legal text of the measure.
Courtesy of Dennis Kiernan. See a larger version of this campaign ad.
- Proposition J of November 1996 would have allowed the sale of permits, established gate control and limited permits to drivers with at least five years experience. It would also have allowed for a type of part-time permit. This document includes the ballot statement, the arguments pro-and-con, and the complete legal text. (1.25MB)
- Proposition D of November 1998 established the Taxi Commission. It was the only taxi-related ballot measure to pass after Prop K in 1978. This document includes the ballot statement, the arguments pro-and-con, and the complete legal text.
- Proposition M of November 2000 would have authorized the issuance of various kinds of special purpose taxi permits, and allow them to be issued to more than a single individual. Prop M would also have set 800 hours as an annual driving or operating requirement. This document includes the ballot statement, the arguments pro-and-con, and the complete legal text. (1.2MB)
Courtesy of Dennis Kiernan. See a
larger version of this campaign ad.
- Proposition N of November 2003 was a bid by PDA (now known as the Medallion Holders Association) to prevent revocation of permits due to disability. This document includes the ballot statement, the arguments pro-and-con, and the complete legal text. (3.9MB)
The measure relates to the Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees the Municipal Railway and the Department of Parking and Traffic. It contains the following section, which provides a framework for revamping taxi regulation in San Francisco.
"The Board of Supervisors shall have the power, by ordinance, to abolish the Taxi Commission created in Section 4.133, and to transfer the powers and duties of that commission to the Agency under the direction of the Director of Transportation or his or her designee the Board of Directors. In order to fully integrate taxi-related functions into the Agency should such a transfer occur, the Agency shall have the same exclusive authority over taxi-related functions and taxi-related fares, fees, charges, budgets, and personnel that it has over the Municipal Railway and parking and traffic fares, fees, charges, budgets, and personnel. Once adopted, Agency regulations shall thereafter supercede all previously-adopted ordinances governing motor vehicles for hire that conflict with or duplicate such regulations."
The transfer to the MTA from the Taxi Commission happened in March 2009. Regulation moved into the hands of the Municpal Transportation Agency's Division of Taxis and Accessible Services. Numerous substantive changes have followed, notably a pilot program for the sale and transfer of taxicab medallions.
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