SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – San Francisco’s effort to increase the number of taxis on city streets has created a new problem – a shortage of drivers.

According to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, all taxi companies are reporting a shortage of drivers, due in part to growing competition from for-hire transportation services, like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, but also because the city added plenty of new taxi medallions in 2013.

“Each medallion needs four or five other drivers to use that medallion, so that takes more drivers away from the pool,” said San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman Paul Rose.

As a temporary fix, the SFMTA is waiving the $155.50 new driver permit application fee until the end of March.

New taxi driver permit applicants still have to pay for private taxi school and the cost of their LiveScan criminal background check and 10-year DMV history.

Rose said that many current taxi drivers are switching over and joining ride-share companies.

“In talking with the taxi companies, this is one thing we can do to make it easier to allow drivers to be a part of the San Francisco taxi system,” he said.

The waiver would be in effect retroactively from December 18, 2013 and is in effect until March 31, 2014.


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