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Thursday, April 5, 2012

THE SF METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AGENCY MUST IMPROVE ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE TAXI DRIVERS - NOW.

It is simply wrong - plain wrong to continue to do "injustice" to the TAXI community and to the  MUNI operators.


Once the taxi drivers - who work very hard had their own Taxi Commission.


Then, the politicians decided to put the Taxi Commission under the failing, stumbling, weak, inept, shallow - Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) - besides doing harm to the Taxi drivers - much harm in done to the MUNI operators.


Let me state from the onset that the former  head of the MTA - Nathaniel Ford who was the Director of the MTA - did not do a good job - he left the MTA in a very bad shape.


Let me also categorically state that the present Director of the MTA - Mr. Ed Reiskin is a decent man.


When he was appointed to the MTA - he came into a  a very, very difficult job.


He had to fix the many problems that he has inherited - and so far he has been doing a great job.


As I stated many times - I support him - simply because without him - I know for sure - the entire MTA operation - would be in a far greater - mess.


Right now; the MUNI operators - better known as the MUNI drivers are hurting. They are hurting bad and they have been communicating with me for the longest time ever.


I can go to a time when I used to have regular conversations with the local MUNI superintendents Johnson, Green, Carillo and others.


The two tier MUNI system that favors those who are in the old system and looks down on those in the modern system - linked to salaries, benefits, and so on - is pathetic.


Some where along the line the MUNI Union leaders sold out - yes, they sold out their members.


The  MUNI drivers are suspect of the Union leaders - who make deals behind close doors. They did this at one time with Mayor Willie L.Borwn Jr. and sold out their Union sisters and brothers.


Since then the Union leaders have been selling out to the failing Management and the MTA.


As it is the MUNI system is in shambles - it has NOT kept up with the times.


We have software on our MUNI system that is not compatible, we can communication systems in the year 2012 that need an upgrade - the money is there but it is taking forever to fix the entire system.


Again and again drab, shallow, inept politicians the likes of Aaron Peskin and others have ruined the little semblance the MUNI had in previous years.


Now, MUNI is teetering - stumbling - and walking on some weak crutches.


Why did the MTA favor taking under its wing the Taxi Commission and the many added responsibilities dealing with the Taxi Drivers?


It is like the blind leading the blind - the ones that think they know; little - pretending to know it all.


Now, the MTA wants to sell 500 medallions and deprive those Taxi drivers that are on the waiting list. Why?


These medallions if there is any semblance should be given to those of the long waiting list. This is the least the MTA can do right - keep the promise made and curtail their desire to get - greedy.


How greedy can MTA management and the MTA Commission get - sucking the blood of the hard working Taxi drivers?


These medallions that many Taxi drivers have been waiting for years - some as many as 30 years plus - must be honored and respected.


Please, do not fail the Taxi Drivers - because if you do MTA - you will suffer the consequences.


Again and again some astute Taxi Drivers have clearly stated that the MTA Commission has no clue what they are doing.


 The Taxi drivers preferred working with the SF Police Department before this drastic change - working with MTA.


When it came with their dealing at the SF Airport and in other matters - under the old system the Taxi drivers felt comfortable.


However, again and again when the question about the medallions comes up - there is deft silence on the part of the MTA Commission. Why?


Now, we learn some SF Supervisors and one in particular from District 4 - met with the Taxi Drivers - promising to help the Taxi drivers.


Then, after getting donations that should have gone towards her campaign coffers - no help was forth coming.


To make matters worse - these campaign donations are not reflected on her campaign books. Time will tell.


The Taxi Drivers are hurting - with many fake Airport Vans and limousines without permits - making trips with passengers; stealing fares from the legal Taxi drivers and depriving the Taxi drivers of their daily bread. 


There is no constant and standard enforcement from the MTA to stop the illegal plying by Airport Vans and limousines without permits - and this is not right.


It is totally uncalled for - to hear and witness Taxi drivers getting a heart attack and dying - from after affects - working hard and making no money.


Suffering from acute stress, getting a stroke, forcing these once hardworking Taxi drivers - to live a  sad life; dependent on others, in misery - that of an indigent which really speaking should not be their plight.


I am calling on Mayor Ed Lee to look into this situation.


This is a very serious situation that can be fixed.


If we allow it to fester - it will be a disgrace and this selling of medallions, constant dictation from the MTA without meaningful dialog - is totally uncalled for.


One thing, we must all remember - we are a City that has compassion. The City and County of San Francisco.


Only the best of the best have compassion - because when you have compassion - you are human. The minute you have no heart - than everything goes down the drain.


Mr. Ed Reiskin you are a fair minded person, you can work with upper management and with Mrs Bose - to bring about some pertinent change.


Do not permit - some in the Management and the MTA Commission to take you for a ride. This is not fair.


I was present at the last MTA Commission meeting - and heard the deliberations. I spoke some and you cannot much - within the two minutes given


We just cannot paint a rosy picture - using Power Point Presentation - and think that - some one can bluff all the people - all the time.


The MUNI operators are a key factor in any equation that helps run the MUNI system.


They are human beings - and unless they the MUNI operators are made whole, taken care of - there is no room for improvement and service to the public that is decent and accommodating.


Right now the MUNI operators are hurting.


The many MUNI drivers who were given early retirement left a vacuum.


As the new drivers come - within months they cannot cope with the stress - the constant changes - and most of all the lack of support.


Take it from one that has been monitoring every aspect of MUNI - I have taken Public Transportation for the longest time. I count many MUNI operators as my very good friends.


The Mayor Ed Lee will support you Mr. Ed Reiskin - do the right thing.


Stop this nonsense of selling medallions - to make some extra money. Put the Taxi Operation on track - with fair play, standards, accountability and transparency.


It is a shame that the Taxi Drivers have no benefits. No pension, to health benefits, and so on.


The benefit of the medallion is something they treasure - and when it come time to hand over the wheel - when they can do longer drive. The Taxi drivers can sell their medallions - and have some little money for their retirement. That is only fair.


We can do better on this one - the City still has some fairness - the leadership must step up.


Right now Mr. Ed Reiskin and Mayor Ed Lee - two Eds can do it - right. Aho.