SAN FRANCISCO—On Tuesday, September 4, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors  approved a plan that will issue up to 200 temporary full-time permits to taxi companies to improve the city’s taxi service.

Photo courtesy of CCW Lawyers.

A news release from the agency, which oversees all transportation in the city including the Municipal Railway, indicates the three-year permits will be leased directly to the taxi companies for $1900 per month.   Officials expect the lease terms to create an incentive to respond to radio calls for service, as well as allow the SFMTA the flexibility to terminate the permits based on performance or demand.   The new permits will also require that vehicles be hybrid, electric, compressed natural gas, or other low emission alternative fuel vehicles.

Tom Nolan, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said in a statement the permits will improve taxi service.

“This plan will put hundreds of new taxis on San Francisco streets,” said Nolan. “One of the most common complaints we hear as a board is that it can be difficult to find a taxi. This plan is not the final step, but a significant one, that will help improve service for those who live, work and visit San Francisco.”

According to a survey conducted by the San Francisco Department of Taxicab Detail in 2000, San Franciscans had about a 40 percent chance of getting a taxi to service a dispatch call.   There are currently 1,535 taxis authorized to operate full-time meaning they work two ten-hour shifts, every day of the year.

The SFMTA is expected to make up to $4.6 million in additional revenue as part of the plan.

By Damian Kelly