Requested Changes to Taxi Reform Item

October 22, 2014

In the next few weeks the Council will be considering amendments to San Diego Council Policy No. 500-02 and other general issues regarding San Diego's taxicab industry. This item was heard at the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee on September 18, 2014.

Two changes or clarifications are necessary to achieve the benefits of the policy shift:

1. Reduce Qualified Driver Experience from Five Years to Six Months

The Proposal currently states that in order to become a qualified driver for purposes of applying for a taxicab permit per Council Policy 500-02, applicants must: "Provide evidence of at least five years' experience driving a taxicab or managing a demand responsive transportation service, or similar service oriented business."

Requiring five years of taxicab experience before a driver can apply for his or her own permit perpetuates the leased-driver system this cap-lifting proposal is designed to address. Recent technology changes such as the widespread use of satellite navigation systems and lower experience qualifications for joining a transportation network company, such as Uber, Lyft, Sidecar make this high level of experience an unnecessary barrier to entry the taxi market. This requirement should be changed to a six month qualification. Instituting a six-month requirement avoids this delay while still mandating that applicants gain the necessary knowledge and skills before they can receive a permit. Cmmcil Policy 500-02 should be changed to: "Provide evidence of at least six-months' experience driving a taxicab, transportation network vehicle, charter party carrier services, or similar service oriented transportation or managing a demand responsive transportation service, or similar service oriented business."

2. Clarify that Permit Application does not require US Citizenship

Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) currently uses a permit application form which states that the applicant must submit "Valid proof of citizenship or documents that establish permanent residency in the U.S." This requirement is not found in MTS' codified Ordinance No. 11 (as amended through November 15, 2012), nor in the City Council's Council Policy 500-02, nor in the San Diego County Code of Regulatory Ordinances (Chapter 3. Taxicabs and Taxicabs Operations).

The San Diego County Sheriffs Department application for taxicab driver's identification card requirements is "Proof of US Citizenship or Valid Alien Registration Card." As part of our action on this issue, the Council should direct MTS to revise its form to clarify that requirement so it is consistent with the Sheriffs Department requirement for drivers. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services I-9 form should be the legal requirement for both taxicab permit holders and taxicab drivers.

Thank you for bringing this item forward and for your consideration of this amendment and clarification.

David Alvarez with District 80 residents


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