The United Taxi Workers of San Diego met with Assistant Chief Boyd Long to develop a relationship between the SDPD, UTWSD and the taxi drivers of the city of San Diego.
Mikaiil briefed Assistant Chief Long on the mission of UTW, our association with theERC, and some of the issues that drivers face. Chief Long was briefed on the medallion system and the lease system. We discussed over-ticketing by SDPD with regard to MTS violations.MTS violations being issued by SDPD include the 12-foot rule, the trip sheet requirement and the ID badge requirement. Chief Long said he is going to bring these issues to his meeting with regional captains next week.
Mikaill informed Chief Long that over 150 experienced drivers have lost their jobs because of the over ticketing and a new insurance carrier. Tickets that did not used to count as points have now affected driver’s abilities to work. Chief Long was concerned about the ability for drivers to continue to work and believes that the drivers are an important part of the economy in San Diego.
UTW brought up the policing of the TCP’s downtown including the implementation of the San Diego County Task Force’s recommendations for policing party buses. Chief Long acknowledged this problem and told us that this is becoming a larger issue and getting more attention.
Mikaiil also brought up the possibility of using Red Zones on the side of the road as a place to pick up and drop off passengers. He proposed a 30 second or so time limit in these areas to conduct business. This would help to ease congestion on major roads, like 5th avenue, as well as to reduce ticketing for blocking traffic. Also related to this issue are reduced tips or passengers skipping out on fares because they have to be dropped off far away from their desired location. Red Zone usage for cabs could alleviate these problems. UTW agreed to research how other cities use red zones or deal with double parking and traffic congestion for picking up and dropping off. Also we all agreed instead of ticketing the police to issue warning.
Prior to the meeting Chief Long expressed interest in a partnership between UTW, taxi drivers and SDPD. He wants to be able to broadcast information to the drivers in a given area about crimes in progress or other information. The system could work both ways were taxi drivers could report crimes, suspicious activity or abandoned vehicles. Chief Long mentioned the NIXLE system and how it can get drivers information from the police. UTW brought information about similar systems from around the country, including Denver, Chicago, New York and other cities around the country.
Chief Long and UTWSD agreed to investigate how other cities run this program and to begin a similar program here. United Taxi Workers is going to contact taxi organizations in participating cities to evaluate the feasibility of implementing the program here in San Diego.
Finally both UTWSD and The chief agreed to change the perception between drivers and Police by doing so we made a commitment to work together and the chief request our monthly meeting to come and talk to the drivers, and UTWSD will continue to discuss their member’s traffic laws and co-operation with the police. We can all better serve our blessed community.