If anyone happened to be surprised by the SFMTA’s recent decision to limit the number of taxicabs allowed to work at SFO to only those with paid medallions and wanted to know how the transit agency could pit cab drivers against each other so easily, you wouldn’t have to look much farther than Powell and Post. Or Fourth and Market. Or Howard and Third. Or New Montgomery and Market.
At each of these locations you’ll find a hotel owned by the multinational hospitality company Marriott International. And, over the past three weeks, you’ll see two things that shouldn’t be happening simultaneously: workers on strike, and taxis in the hotel cabstands, waiting for fares.
Last Wednesday, after picking up Veterans 233 from the National yard, I head out into The City, making the usual rounds. I cruise through the Mission, drop down into SoMa, check on Caltrain and then meander up the Embarcadero to investigate the Ferry Building and downtown hotels.
In Union Square, the picketers outside the St. Francis have upped the ante, making a full-on ruckus outside the erstwhile opulent hotel. Besides the usual bullhorn-led chants, they’re stomping, banging, rattling and creating a spectacular percussive racket. It’s awe-inspiring. But then, spotting a bunch of cabs queued up along Powell Street, as if business as usual, I’m immediately disgusted by my fellow cab drivers.
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[photo by Douglas O’Connor]