SF eliminates renewal fees for taxi medallion holders

Transferable taxi medallion holders will no longer have to pay an annual renewal fee starting July 1 as a way to help medallion holders during the current hard economic times of the taxi industry.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors on Tuesday approved changes at its regular board meeting to help ease some of the costs for those that have transferable taxi medallions during a time when the taxi industry is facing stiff competition from companies like Uber and Lyft.

In a SFMTA report, there are currently 700 transferable medallion holders, 534 of which purchased a medallion at full price at $250,000 and 154 of them purchasing a medallion in the half price program at $125,000.

Kate Toran, SFMTA Director of Taxis and Accessible Services, said:

“We’re targeting this group because they’ve invested the most in the industry.”

The current annual renewal fee for transferable medallion holders is $1,134.

Holders of the transferable medallions also have a full-time driving requirement of 800 hours or 156 four-hour shifts per year, which limits the number of hours for outside work, said Toran.

A SFMTA staff report said that the transit agency over the last four years has tried to help taxi drivers during the tough economic times where Transportation Network Companies such as Uber and Lyft, have hurt the taxi industry.

The SFMTA had previously reduced fees for the annual renewal medallion fee for all holders during the 2014-2015 fiscal year and waiving the annual renewal fee during the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

David Smith, a taxi driver for Luxor cab who has taken out a loan to pay for the full-price of a medallion, said while this was a bandage over a bullet wound, he said he would be grateful for the elimination of the renewal fee especially during the tough economic times:

“We just can’t compete with predatory pricing, unlimited vehicles on the road.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this earlier stated that Luxor cab driver David Smith said “…this was a bandage over a bullet would.” It should read “…this was a bandage over a bullet wound.”