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January 30, 2013: PFHT Board Meeting Minutes

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PRIVATE FOR-HIRE TRANSPORTATION

BOARD OF REVIEW

Minutes for January 30, 2013 Board Meeting

 

1.    Call to Order

Time: 1:30pm

 

Roll Call

Present: Ryan Hashagen, John Case, Kirk Foster, Steve Entler, Brenda Hiatt, Ramon Corona, Gail Bauhs, Veronica Rinard, Jon Putman, Al Ochosa, Kathleen Butler, Frank Dufay, and Patrick Kramer

Others/Audience: The list of other attendees is available from the Revenue Bureau.

2.     Agenda

 

Suggested to change number 8 since it is to be discussed at next Company Standing Committee Meeting, and the Board approved.  Entler commented that this item would not even come up if the permit fee increases had not been exclusively directed at taxi companies instead of all for-hire companies.

Butler noted that the fee increase for LPTs will also be considered.

 

Motion to move consideration of previous meeting minutes to next Board Meeting: Bauhs

Seconded:Entler

Approval of the minutes was scheduled for the March meeting in order to give Board members more time for review.

Passed Unanimously

 

Motion to accept changes to agenda: Bauhs

Seconded: Hiatt

 

Passed Unanimously

 

3.      Welcome Newly Seated Board Members

 

Butler took a moment to welcome newly elected Taxi Driver Representative Brenda Hiatt as well as reelected Limousine Company Representative John Case, and reappointed representatives Gail Bauhs (Tri Met Representative) and Veronica Rinard (Tourism Representative) respectively.

 

 4.     Public Comment

 

There was no public comment.

5.      Actions on Applications for Relief from the Moratorium

  • PortlandEco Towncar

Request: 1 Executive Sedan permit

Applicant not present

Motion to Deny: Entler

Seconded by: Corona

Dufay indicated a need for hybrid luxury transportation options.  The applicant provided a robust business plan and research on the vehicle.  The business plan was confidential and for that reason was not included in the information the Board received.  Bauhs stated that in her experience there are folks who use Towncar transportation who prefer and ask for a hybrid vehicle.  There currently is not any available.  Hiatt stated that enforcement of these vehicles needs to be strengthened prior to issuing permits to this industry.  Rinard concurred that green and sustainable are part ofPortland’s culture and there is interest from a marketing standpoint in the sustainable tourism industry. 

Board members expressed concern that the applicant was not here.  (Similar concerns were expressed for each applicant not present.)

Motion Carries. 

  • A1 Diamond Limousine & Towncar

Request: 1 Executive Sedan permit

Applicant not present

Motion to Deny: Entler

Seconded by: Putman

Motion Carries

  • American Shuttle LLC

Request: 2 Shuttle permits

Applicant not present.  The applicant’s brother Sami Hassan spoke in his behalf.  Applicant has been a driver for White Van Shuttle.

Motion to Deny: Entler

Seconded by: Putman

Motion Carries

  • A Portland Shuttle Service

Requested: 2 Shuttle permits

Applicant, Muther Barakayee, present.  He has received several awards for good service and has been in the business for several years.  He has many clients from Nike and Intel.  Currently has 1 permit.  Driver came forward in support of this applicant.  He, who currently works for Tee to Green and his ex wife who drives for White Van Shuttle will drive the vehicles.  Rinard asked if they are having to turn down calls.  A Portland Shuttle has been turning the extra calls over to the two drivers from existing companies.

Motion to approve and take 1 permit each away from White Van Shuttle and Tee to Green: Entler

Seconded by:Putman

Hiatt would be inclined to be in favor of approving one additional permit and reassess in 6 months.  Entler indicated that he is concerned the business is just being taken from on company to another with no shown increase in demand.  Entler asked to describe their operations.  Applicant responded: 80% to/from Airport, all are by reservation only outside the Airport.  Entler said that is encroaching on taxi business.  Shuttle should be to and from airport only.

Entler withdraws motion.

Motion to deny: Entler

Seconded by: Putman

Corona felt that the application needed to be more clear about where the business is coming from.  Barakayee provided trips that have been turned over to other companies.

Motion does not carry

Motion to grant one permit and reassess in 6 months: Hiatt

Seconded: Ochosa

Motion Carries

  • Ary LLC

Request: 1 shuttle permit

Applicant stated that he was thankful for the opportunity and that this is very important for him to support his family

Motion to Deny: Hiatt

Seconded by: Entler

Motion Carries

  • Beaverton Shuttle

Requested: Shuttle permit (unknown number of permits requested)

Applicant not present

Motion to Deny: Hiatt

Seconded by:Corona

Motion Carries

  • BJ Express

 Request: 1 Shuttle permit

Applicant not present

 

Motion to Deny: Hiatt

Seconded by: Putman

Motion Carries

  • Concord Towncar

Requested: 1 Shuttle permit

Applicant not present

 

Motion to Deny:Corona

Seconded by: Bauhs

Motion Carries- 1 abstention

  • Loyal Shuttle

Requested: 1 Shuttle Permit

Applicant not present


Motion to Deny: Corona

Seconded by: Bauhs

Motion Carries

  • Mushtaq Khan

Requested: 1 Shuttle Permit

Applicant not present due to sickness

 

Motion to Deny: Hiatt

Seconded by: Corona

Motion Carries

  • Narroway Transportation, Inc.

Requested: 1 Executive Sedan permit

Applicant not present

 

Motion to Deny: Entler

Seconded by:  Bauhs

Motion Carries

  • Oregon Trail

Requested: 1 Shuttle permit

Applicant not present

Motion to Deny: Bauhs

Seconded by: Hiatt

Motion Carries

  • River Towncar & Airport Shuttle LLC

Requested: 2 Shuttle permits

Applicant not present

Motion to Deny:Ochosa

Seconded by: Corona

Motion Carries

  • Rose Shuttle

Requested: 2 Shuttle permits

 

Ghambar Mohammed present.  Working for more than 3 years for Island Coach.  Had been sitting in the line at the Airport for 7 or 8 hours when he started.  Now, he has built own website, business has been growing and has many of his own customers.  He plans to use minivans.  He does not pay a fee to Island Coach.  He pays for the insurance.  They do not give him reservations.  Most shuttle drivers own their own vehicles.  There is no code requirement currently for company to own the vehicles.

Motion to Direct the Revenue Bureau to investigate the permit utilization of Island Coach and report findings back to the Board.  Rose Shuttle’s request will be reconsidered after this report is reviewed by the Board: Case

Seconded by:Putman

Entler stated the City’s report shows decreased demand for shuttles.  Bauhs said there should be a workable and streamlined process for allowing decrease of permits for one company to issue to another.  Bauhs would like a date set for the report coming back. Butlerstated the next meeting will be in March.

Motion Carries-1 abstention

  • Simon Towncar Service

Requested: 2 Towncar Permits

 

Applicant states that his target market is Chinese visitors looking for luxury transportation.  Simon shared information indicating a large growth in Chinese tourism.  He has been driving a shuttle for 2 years.  Hiatt asked what part of the demand could not be serviced by existing permitted vehicles?  Simon stated that Chinese tourists have a language barrier with other providers. Simon speaks Chinese, English, Cantonese and Mandarin.  Case attested to the fact that he knows from his experience that the demand is real from that section of tourists.

Motion to approve: Case

Seconded by: Bauhs

 

Entler stated there is no mention of Portland in the demand info, just Oregon.  Simon stated that Portland is the biggest city and is a main attraction.  He works for Island Coach currently.  Rinard stated that Portland has the International Airport and most international visitors include Portland in their trip.  Hiatt said she would be more inclined to approve one permit instead of two to be able to access how one permit is working out before issuing another.  Putman suggested we may treat them the same as Rose Shuttle since they are both from Island Coach.  Bauhs said the difference between those two applications is that Simon has a unique service he is proposing.  Simon said that the reason he is asking two is to be able to handle a larger party.  He has a second driver in mind who also speaks Chinese. 

 

Butler added that we could put a condition on the second permit being that it can only be used while servicing a large group using both vehicles in the same trip.  Case stated he feels a strong demand necessitating 2 permits unconditionally.

 

Motion Passes- 1 abstention

  • Tigard Airport Shuttle

Requested: 2 Shuttle Permits

Applicant not present

 

Motion to Deny: Putman

Seconded by: Hashagan

Motion Carries

  • TJW Transportation

Requested: 1 Towncar Permit

Applicant present: Travis Wilson

Travis has been in the business since ’96 working for various shuttle companies over the years.  Since 2009/2010 he has been independently operating outside of Portland.  He said this is due to being tired of paying $700 for use of the other company’s permit.  He said he has worked for Raja Tours, White Van Shuttle, Ready Ride and Island Coach.  He wants a permit to be able to pickup up his existing customers from the Airport.  He currently turns Airport pickup calls over to Simon.  He operates on a reservation only basis providing exceptional service.  He concentrates his business in the outer metro area around Sherwood.  Has a recommendation from Raja Tours who he has previously worked for.

Recommendation to deny had to do with lack of information regarding demand for service.  This application was on the border.  Many letters of recommendation were included and the service being provided is primarily in the Sherwood area. 

Hiatt stated that she would also like to add the companies Mr. Wilson mentioned that he worked for who charged him for use of the permit.

Motion to Approve: Case

Seconded by: Ochosa

Motion Carries

  • Westside Ride LLC

Applicant not present

Requested: 1 Shuttle Permit

Motion to Deny: Hashagan

Seconded by: Putman

Motion Carries

  • Willamette Express

Requested: 1 Shuttle Permit

Applicant not present

Ochosa wanted to confirm that this was an application to get back a vehicle permit that was abandoned due to non renewal.  It is believed this occurred a couple years ago.  Code says that a permit is considered abandoned if not renewed within 30 days of permit expiration.

 

Motion to Deny: Hashagan

Seconded by: Entler

Motion Carries-1 abstention

  • Taxi Permit Applications for Brian’s Taxi Service, Broadway Cab LLC, PDX Yellow Cab, Portland Taxi Cab Company, Sassy’s Cab Co and Yellow Cab Taxi Company.

The Board will be voting on these applications although we recognize that discussions during the process of considering the previous taxi applications have indicated no further taxi permits should be considered until a review of the results of the previous taxi permit approvals is complete.

 

Motion to deny Brian’s Taxi Service, Broadway Cab LLC, PDX Yellow Cab, Portland Taxi Cab Company, Sassy’s Cab Co and Yellow Cab Taxi Company: Entler

Seconded by: Corona

 

It was noted that it is not the intention of this vote to preclude the Board from considering conversion of SAT permits to taxi permits.

 

Motion Carries

 

**Break**

 

6.     Shuttle Regulations

 

In September 2011 the Board voted to approve the recommendations to take care of some of the shuttle issues.  Page 3 of the recommendation: Fares not regulated, primarily NOT shared ride, fixed route and scheduled service best model for downtown, and some shuttle company owners are leasing their permits, shuttle operations need to be clearly defined, market saturated, log requirement needs to be added.  We were directed by the Board to bring back Code language that incorporates the approved recommendations.  Proposed code language was summarized and the issue it addresses was identified.

Dufay said that the requirement for log books will be helpful in enforcement activities.  Kramer added that the displaying of rates help inform the customer.  Often when shuttles operate on demand downtown they charge executive sedan rates.  Rates posted may help deter that activity.

Entler stated the shared ride language says “may” not must.  He suggested saying they must offer low cost shared ride options.  Reservation only seems same as Executive Sedan service. It was agreed that the Airport as the final destination should be added to the code language. 

Foster stated that if a van has 3 people in it the ride would end up being above taxi rates.  Butler stated that the per-person will only apply to downtown.  Other rates will be determined by distance traveled.  Hiatt added that she feels that logs would not be a reliable enforcement tool since people will make  sure whatever is written in their logs is compliant with code.  Butler said that although there may at times be ways to get around our requirements it takes a conscious decision on their part to do so and the fines are substantially higher than in the past.  The logs are still just one tool we have.  Log requirement language will be updated to be clarified to differentiate taxi logs requirements from LPT.

Tesfaye Aleme asked that luggage charges be considered.  It may be difficult to display rates in vehicles due to so many location options.  Also, customer impact of shared ride should be considered.  Customers are not used to extra stops along the way.

7.     SAT Regulations

 

We have run out of time to sufficiently cover the subject.  It was agreed that we would have two SAT subcommittee meetings, one during the day and one in the evening, just to allow attendance by those who cannot make it during the day.  The Board will receive a report on the subcommittee meetings at the next Board meeting.

  

8.     Staff Update: Management of Entertainment District Trips

 

Dufay reported on Entertainment District.  He stated overall it’s working well but there is a shortage of taxicabs in line.  PBOT will be improving signage.  He has not heard any complaints from the limousine or Towncar operators.  Hashagan said it’s a work in progress.  He feels it’s a much safer environment.  Entler says there has always been a shortage of cabs during that time.  His superintendents take issue with no transportation providers being involved in the decision.  Hiatt said she has heard positive things regarding safety.  However, drivers would like more ability to provide feedback.  Perhaps Police could send out notices to taxi companies with a public comment period.  Greg Ross, Operation Manager for Portland Taxi, said it seems like a lack of drivers in the queue.  Teal Abel, New Rose City Cab, stated that signage seemed lacking.  Cab drivers were not sure where to go.  Also, no sign for where people should wait for a taxi.  Hashagan, may consider making SW 4thto be a PFHT loading zone. 

Dufay stated KATU will have a report at 6pm on Thursday night about illegal operators.  He believes this will focus on the requirement of permits and safeguards regulations bring.  27 accounts have been turned over to Revenue Bureau’s delinquent account section for unpaid violations.  Seven of those accounts have been resolved and 20 will be sent to outside collection agency.  We have had several code hearings and have won all but one.  A resolution to penalties issued to Five Star Limousine are still pending but their permits have been revoked by us and DOT has also revoked their operating authority.   A Writ of Review has been filed regarding decision by the Board and Council to issue new company permits.  Broadway Cab has submitted an appeal to City Council regarding taxi permit issuance to existing companies as well as the denial of their application.  Council can decide to hear the appeal or not.

Police have cited those without permits.  The extreme measure of towing will be held for those who are repeat offenders.

There has been discussion regarding an alarm on the emergency exits of party buses and other vehicle so equipped.  The Regulatory Division will be discussing this issue further with ODOT.

Radio Cab sent introductory legislation for standard requirements for all private for-hire transportation in the State. 

Dufay stated the camera replacements are almost complete.  Taxi companies have a deadline of tomorrow to submit paperwork for all the replacements.  Butler added that we need to receive the camera replacement info the day it gets done in order for us to document what camera is in each vehicle.

Motion to defer approval of minutes to next meeting: Bauhs

Seconded by: Entler

Passed Unanimously

 

9.      Board Member Comments/Announcements

 

Possibility of February meeting discussed due to amount of issues for Board to discuss.

 

10.                         Adjourn

Motion to Adjourn: Entler

Seconded by: Ochosa.

Passed Unanimously 

Meeting was adjourned at approximately 4:30pm.  The next meeting will be on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

Minutes submitted by: 

Patrick Kramer, Regulatory Program Specialist

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