You have a 7pm reservation with friends across town in the Mission. It’s 6:30 and you know MUNI won’t get you there in less than an hour, so you have to cab it. You walk to the nearest busy street and hold your hand out for what seems like forever as you walk toward your destination. 30 minutes later you’re pissed as you finally get in a cab and arrive late.
We’ve all been there. Obviously, there aren’t enough cabs during peak times. My unofficial intuition says peak times could be considered Thursday – Saturday nights from 5pm to 2am. What’s the solution?
Some have suggested we simply issue more medallions, putting more cabs on the road at all times of the day. Unfortunately, while that helps with peak times, it also makes it nearly impossible to make a living during non-peak shifts. It’s tough enough to find fares on Sunday mornings with 1,500 cabs on the road. With 2,000 it’d be nearly impossible to make any money. Difficulty in making money during these shifts = low pay for drivers = poor quality (dangerous, unreliable) service.
So, why don’t we issue “peak medallions“? This simple concept is a winner. Peak medallions work permit operation of let’s say 500 additional cabs during designated peak times.
Everyone is a winner with peak medallions. 500 additional cab drivers can make money during these lucrative shifts. Thousands of stranded City residents will now have a solution that helps them get to their destinations safely and quickly.
Of course, solutions are never simple with City government. Normal medallions are issued to individuals. But, no individual would want a peak-only medallion, its potential lease revenue is too low compared to a regular unlimited medallion. The best solution is to issue these medallions directly to proven, competent dispatch cab companies such as Yellow, Luxor or DeSoto (to name a few). Not only do they have the infrastructure to handle additional dispatch needs, they have significantly large spare fleets that can absorb additional medallions during peak periods.
Let’s stop talking about this and start implementing now.
PS. Discussion is more in line with 100 additional peak cabs, not 500. I’m not convinced 100 additional would be sufficient.