Mayor Menino Releases Taxi Consultant Report
Short- & long-term recommendations aim to improve consumer & driver experience
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For Immediate Release
October 24, 2013
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Press.Office@cityofboston.gov

Mayor Thomas M. Menino today released a Taxi Consultant Report – commissioned by the City of Boston and prepared by independent consultant Nelson\Nygaard – which provides both short- and long-term recommendations to improve the operations and regulations of the City’s taxi system. The Mayor announced today he would adopt the recommendation to form a Taxi Advisory Committee, as well as take immediate steps on the compliance and regular inspection of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs). The Hackney Unit continues to move forward with the report’s recommendation to implement a policy of universal receipts for drivers.

“In April, I committed to a sweeping review of our city’s taxi industry,” Mayor Menino said. “Our priority is the safety of our taxi drivers and the consumers that use their service. This report looks at where the City of Boston needs to be headed when it comes to the future of our Hackney Division and this rapidly changing industry.”

The report combines both substantial data analysis, as well as qualitative analysis through stakeholder interviews and surveys. For example, Nelson\Nygaard consulting team conducted in-person or telephone interviews with a wide range of stakeholders; obtained service and financial data from taxi trips and dispatch, and conducted a paper and online survey that sought taxi driver perspectives. The team also completed an analysis of existing policies and handbooks.

The comprehensive review analyzed several issues and potential changes to the taxi industry, including: Demand for and availability of taxis in all neighborhoods; demand for and availability of taxis during late evening hours; discriminatory practices; the relationship between radio associations, medallion owners, and taxi drivers; treatment of taxi drivers; and oversight and enforcement of taxi regulations.

In the coming days, Mayor Menino will adopt the report’s recommendation to create an independent Taxi Advisory Committee to review the report’s short- and long-term recommendations, seek suggestions from the taxi industry and stakeholders for policy revisions and additions, and make recommendations to the Boston Police Department and next administration based on its findings. The Committee will be comprised of representatives from the following groups:

  • Shift drivers
  • Large medallion owners
  • Small medallion owners
  • Radio associations
  • United Steelworkers – Boston Taxi Drivers Association
  • City of Boston Transportation Department
  • City of Boston Commission for Elder Affairs
  • City of Boston Commission for Persons with Disabilities
  • City of Boston Office of Neighborhood Services
  • Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau/Massachusetts Convention Center Authority
  • Massport
  • MASCO
  • MBTA Accessibility Office
  • City of Boston Onein3
  • Transportation Network Companies
  • Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

The Mayor has also directed the Hackney Unit to immediately enforce the report’s recommendation that any Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) entering taxi service must first pass an initial inspection, and annual inspections, to ensure it is fully compliant with all City specifications for accessibility. The City will also implement a rating system for usability of WAV service.

The report details several short-term recommendations in the following areas:

  • Oversight Infrastructure:
  • Keep regulatory oversight with BPD – for now
  • Place a BPD Officer in charge of the Hackney Unit
  • Add a Lieutenant to the Hackney Unit
  • Maintain leadership continuity
  • Establish a Taxi Advisory Committee
  • Outsourcing Functions:
  • Transfer dispute resolution functions to a city ombudsman and taxi appeals board
  • Transfer lost and found item management to radio associations
  • Outsource taxi driver training
  • Outsource vehicle inspections
  • Better monitor complaints through monthly reports
  • Current Policies:
  • Clarify policy governing vehicle age
  • Improve communication of $2.25 taxi pool fee to customers
  • Better define Logan Airport destination vs. East Boston destinations
  • Improve communication of $6.00 large vehicle charge to customers
  • New Visitor/Customer Information:
  • Make taxi rates more accessible to customers
  • Provide information at airport
  • Create a public education campaign
  • New and Revised Policies:
  • Require radio associations to provide reports and data
  • Create a new license for Transportation Network Companies
  • Provide lease and shift drivers with driver receipts
  • Offer driver education/awareness programming
  • Reduce the new car premium
  • Upgrade WAVs
  • Enforce progressive fines or impoundment for illegal pouching
  • Automate the senior taxi coupon program and eliminate driver fees for voucher processing
  • Eliminate processing fees for radio association vouchers
  • Consider setting a cap on credit card processing fees
  • Create a map or list of public rest rooms for drivers
  • Consider incentives for drivers to take dispatch calls
  • Consider peak period far surcharges
  • Explore alternatives for a flat fare from Logan Airport
  • Taxi stand expansion, improvements and advertising
  • Implement an annual process to review meter rates and medallion supply
  • Funnel taxi fines to a new fund dedicated to testing new incentives

Long-term recommendations include changes to the taxi infrastructure and oversight

  • Allow for extended vehicle usage
  • Consider centralization of radio dispatch functions
  • Implement one paint scheme
  • Explore creation of an independent taxi and livery department or commission
  • Establish regulations for oversight of livery operators
  • Review alternative strategies based on ongoing analysis

 

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