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March 27, 2013: PFHT Board Meeting Minutes

Regulatory Division Header

PRIVATE FOR-HIRE TRANSPORTATION

BOARD OF REVIEW

Minutes for March 27, 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, Tony Tabrizi, 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

 

Motion to add 10 cent taximeter increase and taxi companies separating Tri-Met SAT charges from Visa charges.  Add these items to the Agenda following the SAT regulations: Hiatt

Seconded by: Case

Passed Unanimously

 

Motion to add discussion of taxi permit fee increase: Entler

Seconded by: Case

Passed Unanimously

 

Motion to accept agenda as amended: Corona

Seconded by: Hyatt

Passed Unanimously

 

3. Approval of Minutes for January 30, 2013 Board Meeting

 

Motion to approve minutes of January 30, 2013 Board Meeting: Corona

Seconded by: Rinard

Bauhs referred to page 10 of the minutes just prior to number 9.  Approval of minutes duplicated.  Approval of minutes already mentioned on page 1.  Remove motion to defer approval of minutes from page 10 since it is already stated on page 1. Coronaand Rinard accepted the amendment.

Passed Unanimously

4. Supervisor’s Report

 

Dufay stated that there will be increased enforcement during the prom season.  He said that he has a list of prom locations and dates and will be out enforcing as well as Parking Enforcement and Portland Police.  Dufay stated that unpermitted companies will be caught if they operate inPortlandduring prom season.  Approximately 24 unpaid civil penalties have been turned over to a collection agency.

Some unpermitted operators advertise that they are a member of the National Limousine Association when they are not.  Dufay is reporting these cases to the NLA.  In addition, there have been some unpermitted operators advertising that they are permitted with the City ofPortlandand Dufay has been following up on these as well. 

There have been a couple requests for exemptions from our regulation submitted by companies based inWashington.  Their exemption requests were based on interstate commerce laws.  We have not found grounds to approve these requests.  The basis for exemption criteria is very narrow.  Dufay suggested that anyone seeking an exemption consider consulting with an attorney, draw up specific reason for exemption request and we will review.  Simply citing the Ride Act is not enough. 

Hiatt asked for an update with the investigation of Island Coach regarding leasing permits to drivers.  Butlerstated that the investigation is still in progress.  We will likely be coming forward with some additional regulation in the town car industry that will better manage the issue of companies renting the permits out to the drivers.  Proposals for these regulations are being drafted.

 

 5.     Actions on Applications for Relief from the Moratorium

 

 Portland Eco Towncar

Applicant moved out of state

 

A1 Diamond Limousine

Hassan Al-Zubaidy

Al-Zubaidy states he has a 14 passenger van that he would like to use to service a contract with a travel agent that requests a van.  He also has a contract with BLS Limousine inNew Yorkas an affiliate.  He currently has two vehicles permitted; a town car and an SUV.  He would use the van to transport larger groups.  He owns all three vehicles.

Case asked what type of van.  Al-Zubaidy stated a ’05 Chevy van. 

Dufay asked if this would be used as on demand or by reservation only.  Al-Zubaidy stated reservation only.

Entler questioned if it is a shuttle application.  Although it says shuttle on the recommendation paperwork, this is a typo, it should read executive sedan.

Putman: Any correspondence from BLS inNew York?  Al-Zubaidy stated he has a verbal contract with BLS.  He does have emails between them. 

Entler: Original recommendation suggests denial based on no unique service proposed or insufficient evidence of unmet demand.

Hiatt: Confirmed with Al-Zubaidy that although it appears to indicate in his application that he has a contract, there is no written contract, just verbal.

Butlerasked if this van would be used instead of another vehicle.  Al-Zubaidy stated he is the only driver and only has one vehicle in service at a time.  He plans to hire another driver if he is granted the permit.

Bauhs also noted the application states they have a contract but there is no written contract.

Tabrizi:  What happens if we approve this permit and the contract is cancelled?  Butler stated that although the Board could stipulate that the permit is granted as long as there is a contract.  However, it is not possible to enforce.

Motion to deny the application:Putman

Seconded by: Hiatt

Passed Unanimously

 

Butler suggested that Al-Zubaidy provide better documentation such as written contacts and specific dates and time of requests for that service.  Butler offered Al-Zubaidy come to our office and we can provide additional guidance and criteria.

 

Case: Suggested that Al-Zubaidy have option of replacing his existing town car or SUV permit with the van.

 

American Shuttle, LLC

Nawzad Zangana

Zangana has vehicles currently operating in Beaverton and Hillsboro.  He would like to be able to pick up customers at Airport.  He currently picks up his customers at the Airport using a permitted White Van Shuttle.  He drives for White Van Shuttle.  His company has existed for about a year. 

Coronaasked how many rides he is getting with American Shuttle.  Zangana stated it is seasonal and said it’s about 200-250 a month. 

Bauhs: What unique niche do you fill in the industry?  Zangana says he offers nothing unique. 

Butler: What is the effect of picking up customers using White Van Shuttle?  He says he doesn’t get the recognition.  He is building another person’s company with his service.

Bauhs: If you have your own company and you are no longer be operating the White Van Shuttle, would White Van be giving up one of their permits?  Zangana says he doesn’t want White Van’s permit, he wants his own.

Hiatt: Does White Van allow you to advertise American Shuttle when driving for them?  Do the customers call White Van on the return trip?  Zangana says they call American Shuttle for both he just uses the permitted vehicle with White Van Shuttle signage to pick up at the airport.  

Butlerasked if he has any vehicles operating with American Shuttle signage.  Zangana stated yes, he has two.

Hiatt: What is the financial arrangement?  Do you pay White Van to pick up passengers at the Airport?  Zangana says he works on commission with White Van.  He also transports White Van customers. 

Butlerasked if he carries insurance on the White Van vehicle.  Zangana stated no, White Van carries the insurance.

Motion to reaffirm the denial of American Shuttle, LLC: Hiatt

Seconded by: Foster

Bauhs stated according to the previous meeting minutes there were questions regarding the driver/company relationship with White Van Shuttle.

Discussion of whether approval of the application from the previous meeting was contingent on outcome of investigation of driver/company relationship with Island Coach and White Van Shuttle.

Putman advised Zangana that there is the ability to reapply in 6 months.  We are trying to correct the issues.  It will not always be corrected on the first application.  There may be an opportunity to obtain the permits you seek. 

Motions carries-1 Nay. 

 

Beaverton Shuttle

Owner was sick and had to leave.

 

BJ Express

Bonso Jara

Jara has worked for three different transportation companies; Beza, Mojo’s and now Broadway Cab as an SAT driver.  He wants his own company and create a job for another person (driver) like himself.  He wants to better provide for his family.  He has other non transportation companies in Portland.  He used to work at Intel and has contacts there that would utilize his shuttle if he is approved.  He also has talked to folks at DHS.

Rinard: Would the school transportation be on a fixed route and schedule?  Jara said no, they would be separate rides.  Butler informed Jara that the service he described is not shuttle service according to City Code. 

Hiatt: She gets rides for DHS; however, she does not believe they utilize shuttles.

Jara said that he is looking to establish a transportation company so later he can be eligible for a contract with Tri-Met.

Tabrizi said that perhaps shuttles could be utilized for SAT trips during down time at the Airport. 

Hiatt: Suggested Jara have a more defined business concept. 

Motion to confirm denial of application:Entler

Seconded by: Hiatt

Passed Unanimously

Concord Towncar

Faruq Gardi

Gardi has been driving a town car since 2006 and has had his own company since 2009.  He generates a lot of business from his website.  He is getting many requests for larger parties and shuttle service.  They would like a cheaper price.  He currently has one vehicle and would like to permit a van he owns for reservation only service.

Ochosa: Do you have any numbers regarding the number of customers you are losing a day due to not having the van permitted?  Gardi says it has been approximately 1 or 2 rides a day.

Bauhs: First item of criteria for these applications is evidence of increased demand for service.  Although we don’t have any information in front of us, he has indicated he is losing business. 

Butler:  Although initially we did recommend denial, after further review and discussion with Mr. Gardi demand has been better demonstrated and looks more favorably on the application.

Motion to overturn previous denial decision and approve the application: Corona

Seconded by: Hiatt

Motion does not carry, Ochosa and Tabrizi abstained, 6 nays and 3 yays

Loyal Shuttle

Dilshad Yousif

Has 13 years experience in for hire transportation driver experience.  He has worked in Portland for Isis Towncar since approximately 2009.  He is requesting one permit to support his family.  He has a website he will utilize.  He is requesting a “private” shuttle permit, not a shared ride.  Yousif was informed that would not be a shuttle permit.  He currently has an agreement with Isis Towncar to transport his Loyal Shuttle customers using a permitted Isis Towncar vehicle.  Yousif was advised that advertising using a company name of an unpermitted company is a violation of City Code. 

Motion to reaffirm denial of the application: Hiatt

Seconded by:Bauhs

Passed Unanimously

 

Putman suggested that we should send a letter to the companies regarding the prohibition of renting the permit to the driver and allowing other, non permitted entities, to operate under their permit.  Doing so could result in the revocation of their permits.

Mushtaq Khan

Cousin of Khan appeared.  Butler stated that we will not be hearing this without the owner present.

Narroway Transportation

Not present, previous denial stands

Oregon Trail

Aleksiy Podlinov

Podlinov stated that he would like to introduce extra services to his customers.  He would also like to provide a discount for those with disabilities and veterans.  He would have flat screen TVs in the vehicle which would show different places to visit in Portland.  He is currently working for Green Cab SAT.  In the past he has worked as a shuttle driver for a year.  He would like to provide better service to visitors of Portland.  He does plan on operating in the on demand line at the Airport.  There were questions regarding his rates.  He explained that he has a formula to price each zip code.  He was using Green Shuttle’s formula.  It’s based on City Code requirements of 35% less than taxi rates for shuttles.

Motion to reaffirm permit application denial:Putman

Seconded by:Entler

Passed unanimously

 

Motion to change order of agenda to address items 5-9 together in an abbreviated manner, take a short break, then cover the remaining items: Putman

Seconded by: Corona

Passed Unanimously

6.      Report on Cell Phone Legislation, Broadway Appeal to City Council, Code Hearings Officer Decision on DKKR dba: Five Star Limousine, Oregon Limousine Association Meeting and Administrative Rule Change Testimony Meeting Announcement

Cell phone legislation.  There is a bill that has passed the Senate and going to the House which would exempt taxi drivers from the hands free driving law.  This would allow taxi drivers to talk on their cell phone while driving customers.  The City strongly opposes such legislation and all are encouraged to share their voice to their local representatives regarding this.

City Council unanimously voted to deny Broadway Cab’s appeal of the PFHT Board’s decisions on the recent applications for additional taxi permits.

The Code Hearings Officer has confirmed:  the City’s authority to regulate vehicles which are also regulated by ODOT and/or FMCSA, our penalties are under the jurisdiction of the Code Hearings Officer, upheld our penalties, and confirmed that Kathleen Butler and Frank Dufay are not acting as attorneys when appearing before the Board.

The Oregon Limousine Association met with City of Portland and ODOT officials at the MAC Club.  It was great to have the companies organized and provided a great forum for understanding of City and DOT regulations.

The report provided to City Council regarding the progress of taxi industry reforms was distributed to the Board.  It also contains a proposed schedule for addressing the issues we will be taking on.

Butler officially announced the proposed change to Administrative Rule 16.40.190-02 related to Safety Certificates.  This rule currently states that any certified ASE Master mechanic may perform the mechanical inspection.  The proposed amended language will state that any City of Portland City Fleet ASE Master mechanic may perform the mechanical inspection.  At the meeting the Board will take testimony regarding this proposed rule change.  The meeting will be held onApril 24, 2013at 3pm in the same room as this meeting.  At that meeting, the Board has the option to approve the rule, amend the rule or not act on the rule.  More details will be provided at that meeting regarding the specifics.  We are working to schedule a tour of CityFleet facilities for the Board.

**BREAK**

                  

7. Actions on Applications for Relief from the Moratorium-cont.

 

River Towncar

Salih Khoshnaw

 

Khoshnaw has worked for Eagle Shuttle for about a year.  He gets a percentage of the fares from Eagle.  He uses a vehicle that he owns.

 

Motion to reaffirm previous denial of this application: Putman

Seconded by: Case

Passed Unanimously

           

Tigard Airport Shuttle

Bakhtyar Khoshnaw

Khoshnaw has worked for Eagle Shuttle for three years.  He uses a vehicle that he owns.  He also has two additional vehicles that can use used should he be granted permits.  He gets 3-5 fares from Eagle Shuttle per day as well as his own customers.

Motion to reaffirm the previous denial of this application: Hiatt

Seconded by: Corona

Passed Unanimously

Westside Ride

Perry Mastrud

Mastrud currently works for Americab out in Beaverton.  He has brought a list of customers.  He provides good service and reliability. He states he has a well thought out business plan.

Motion to reaffirm the previous denial of this application: Putman

Seconded by: Tabrizi

Corona stated that providing the documentation such as the business plan would be very helpful.  Corona also informed Mastrud that he is eligible to reapply in April.  Hiatt suggested identifying the niche in the market that his company would fill.

Passed Unanimously

Willamette Express

Samson Atsbeha

Atsbeha is requesting the permit back that he lost due to not renewing within 30 days after the permit expiration.  He stated the vehicle was in the shop.  He currently has two permitted vehicles, a ‘08 Sienna and a ’07 Chrysler.  He has been operating since 1998.  He lost his third permit in approximately 2010.  He was not aware of the rule stating that a permit was abandoned by not renewing after 30 days after expiration. 

Case would vote to deny the permit since he waited so long to address the issue. 

Quorum lost.  Although no vote, there appeared to be consensus of the Board that their decision would be to reaffirm the previous denial.

 

Rose Shuttle

Ghambar Mohammed

 

Mohammed was given the opportunity to speak although the related investigation is not complete.  He would like the opportunity to have his own business.  Mohammed stated that he has spent thousands of dollars on advertising to build his business and is concerned that he has put in all this work and money and will not be approved for his permit.  He has donated free rides for non profits and offers his customers online reservations.  He feels that the Island Coach investigation should not affect the Board’s decision on his application. 

Tabrizi suggested that more guidance be given to shuttle companies on how to legally have compensation agreements with their drivers.  He also suggested the length of time they have been permitted as a driver in Portland be considered in making a decision regarding their application.

8. Board Member Comments

 

Hiatt discussed concerns regarding the drivers’ lack of input on the decision to increase the meter rate as allowed by City Code to $2.60/mile.  Many drivers have expressed concern regarding this.  She submitted a letter to the Board addressed to Raye Miles expressing these concerns and requesting action to be taken.  There was a discussion regarding what is best for the drivers.  One thought expressed is that it is not necessarily better for the drivers to increase the meter rate.  In fact, having a lower rate may draw more customers.

Hiatt also has had drivers come to her with concerns regarding the delay in being able to collect credit card payments.  This has to do with SAT trip funds and credit card payments being processed in the same batch.  SAT trip funds take longer than credit card transactions.  Hiatt contends that if these two types of payments would be processed separately at least the credit card payments could get to the drivers in a more timely way.  It was stated that there is no Code authority to direct companies currently.  It is something we can look at best practice and incorporate that in our performance standards for cab companies.

Entler brought up permit fees for LPT vehicles being adjusted as well as some confusion on what the permit fee should be for additional taxi permits approved by the Board for existing companies.  He also mentioned that there has been some confusion on the percentage of wheelchair vehicles required for taxi companies.  Butler stated that the number of wheelchair vehicles for the additional permits is stipulated in the recommendations.  She also stated the permit fee for the additional permits is prorated at a rate of $600/12 months.

All remaining items will be postponed until our May meeting on May 29th.  The Board will reconvene on April 24th to discuss the proposed Administrative Rule Change and Rose Shuttle’s application.

 

Meeting was adjourned at approximately 4:45pm.  The next meeting will be on Wednesday, May 29, 2013.

Minutes submitted by: 

Patrick Kramer, Regulatory Program Specialist

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