SFMTA and taxi drivers and owners haven’t been getting along all that well lately. Though after months of delays, the SFMTA finally voted in favor of increasing cab fares but also increased the number of cabs, dismaying some drivers. Now drivers worry that the SFMTA is going after another bit of their money, this time by trying to dip their hand into the backseat ad revenue pot.
As first noted by Taxi Town, then followed up on in a report in the Ex, in an interagency memo from March, SFMTA officials have been in discussion on how the agency might seek a cut of revenues from ads that will appear on the cabs’ new backseat credit card terminals.
90 percent of profits from those ads are supposed to go to cab companies, and the other 10% is supposed to go the the cab Driver’s Fund.
Reports Taxi Town, In the email discussion, Bose asks “Who negotiated the 90%-10% split and under what authority?” Following up, she asks “Why isn’t the MTA getting a portion of the ad revenue?”
According to the Ex, while SFMTA Taxi Director Christiane Hayashi “said it wasn’t appropriate for the SFMTA to seek a share of the ad gains…she said the SFMTA could ask for a slice if it were to take a bigger role in future ad negotiations.”
SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose tells the Ex that at present, the MTA “has no current plans to seek any cab company profits.”
But cab drivers aren’t so sure: Mark Gruberg, spokesman of the United Taxicab Workers tells the Ex “Since the MTA has taken over regulation of cabs, they’ve treated the industry like a cash cow. Any move they make must be tainted by the suspicion that they’re doing it for the money.”