Wednesday, November 26, 2008

MTA to Regulate Taxi Industry

I've long complained about the sorry state of the taxi system here in San Francisco, having spent several Friday and Saturday nights having to walk to or from my destination because there were no cabs. According to this article in the examiner, the Board of Supervisors has voted to put the taxi industry under the supervision of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, and I say it's about damned time. While the MTA doesn't have the best track record in general, it's at least a recognition that taxis are part of the public transportation infrastructure, and need to be regulated as such.

My main hope is that they will finally bring some quantitative data to the decision-making process for putting more cabs on the street. Medallion holders have long resisted this because medallions have become a commodity resource that they control, and can profit from, but they have always held that more cabs mean less money for working cabbies. However, no one really knows what the size of the market is for taxi services, and we've relied for far too long on anecdotal information from people who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. My guess is that a study of the market would show that it's much, much larger than previously described, and more cabs won't mean fewer fares for those driving them.

No comments: