A little background…..
The Taxicab Advisory Committee (TAC) was established in September of 1994 to provide feedback and direction to the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) board for action on the taxicab industry’s concerns. Since March 2010, UTWSD members and its dedicated staff have pushed to improve the taxicab industry by restructuring a board no longer reflective of the industry, by challenging current MTS oversight and enforcement and by protecting drivers from unfair practices and illegal competition. Without adequate representative or a proper forum to air grievances and be heard, drivers would continue to be harassed during shifts and retaliated against for speaking up.
On June 23rd of 2011, MTS held a joint meeting of the board of directors to discuss what entity would best fill the seat vacated by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. With only one driver amongst the residual sixteen members (nine of which could qualify as owners or permit-holders), TAC was and would remain ill-staffed to represent driver issues if it were not for UTWSD’s efforts and Ms. Marti Emerald’s recognition of the existing imbalance between owner representation and driver representation. Her motion, vocal support from others such as Tony Young and UTWSD’s arguments made a resounding impact and forced the MTS to confront the issue.
As a result of MTS’s desire for more feedback, the agenda item was docketed for discussion at the next TAC and the San Diego Public Safety and Neighborhood Services (PSNS) Committee meetings before July 14th of 2011, when MTS would docket the item with an expansive scope to allow the board of directors to take any action necessary regarding TAC membership composition. Despite a setback after some existing TAC members stonewalled UTWSD and other concerned citizens from speaking during public comment at the TAC meeting, the UTWSD went on to gain momentum in its mission by earning a three-to-one win from the PSNS committee for equal representation. A city Council Meeting victory followed, where Ms. Sherri Lightner, Mr. Todd Gloria, Mr. Tony Young and Ms. Marti Emerald were instrumental in explaining the idea behind equal representation, how drivers had a unique set of interests not being protected by owners, and how every other revision had been carried through with little rationale or no explanation.
Victory at the TAC!
The message resounded through to July 14th of 2011, where the MTS Board voted 8 to 2 to equalize the Committee by having fiver owners and five drivers on the TAC Board. This is an enormous victory for taxi drivers everywhere! We hope to build on this victory and ensure that drivers voices and issues are heard! Congratulations to everyone who worked on this campaign and thank you to all our supporters.
The Road Ahead….
Our next step is to ensure that drivers, whether they are voting or running in this momentous election, will NOT be retaliated against or intimidated from voicing themselves and that we have the highest driver voter turnout possible. We hope this election will serve as a way for drivers to get involved and exercise their rights to vote for changes that affect the industry they work so hard in.
If you would like to get involved please Contact Us. Thank you so much!