Legacy Luxor Cab

In a sign of the times with a side of irony, the Luxor Cab Company, which has operated in San Francisco since 1928, has applied for Legacy Business status and a grant from the city.

From the Planning Department’s summary of the business and application (which it’s recommending be approved):

Luxor Cab Co. is an independently-owned cab company providing transportation services to all people, with a special emphasis on senior and disabled residents, since 1928. Its location has changed several times over the years but it has operated 24 hours a day, every day of the year, for 88 years. Its office and garage has been located at 2230 Jerrold Avenue between Toland Street and Napolean Street in the southeast quadrant of the city since 1995.

More than 100 individual taxicab medallion holders are currently affiliated with Luxor and the company prides itself on its providing a living wage to all of its employees and maintaining a fully-insured fleet of 162 cabs. Luxor Cab Co. is the largest provider of ramp taxi service for wheelchair users and the largest provider of paratransit rides, a subsidized taxi transportation service for seniors and disabled people, in the city.

The company is owned by a group of shareholders rather than a single owner and is known for its distinctive shield-like logo on the sides of its taxicabs.

Other recent applicants for Legacy Business grants include Sam Wo at 713 Clay Street; Anchor Oyster Bar at 579 Castro; EROS: The Center for Safe Sex at 2051 Market Street; Papenhausen Hardware at 32 West Portal Avenue; and City Lights Bookstore at 261 Columbus Avenue, all of which are being recommended to be recommended for approval by San Francisco’s Historic Preservation Commission next week.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by formerly%whatever

    Your tax dollars at work.

    • Posted by ess

      I can only think this will persist the dumb medallion system, but hey, props to them for finding a way through the system. You pays your money, you takes your chances. A deal’s a deal. Plus they’re legit old.

  2. Posted by sethgreen

    denied. SF taxis have failed for many years to provide any level of service, clean cars nor do they provide anything more than an antiqued method of controlling the number of taxis on the road. Remember what it was like to call a taxi in the 90s and have them never show up? Good riddens.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      I definitely remember. What a nightmare

    • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

      Equally bad was waiting in the cab line at SFO for 45 minutes after a long flight while one taxi arrived every 4-5 minutes – then spending $50 for the ride home in a smoky cab with a rude driver. Even worse at LAX. Regulatory capture at its worst.

      Took 4 Ubers yesterday on a quick business trip — each was great, and half the price of a cab so I saved about $90 in a day (well, my client saved it).

      • Posted by really?

        Yeah, and how you had to guide these guys step by step anywhere you wanted to go. Good times!

        • Posted by R

          Yeah, if only there were some kind of mapping and navigation software to help with that!

    • Posted by redseca2

      My personal low point in spring 1999, after getting in the taxi outside my home on upper Ashbury Street:
      “Yes, we would like to go to SFO, international departures”.
      “Very good sir, and what sir, is SFO?”
      “The airport”
      “As yes, sir, and where is that?”
      Like going anywhere from SF, by motorcycle, car, boat or plane, the first 15 miles is always the hardest.

      • Posted by ess

        For a while there, I’d say the early 2000s, taxi drivers got D U M. It was noticeable. In the 90s (and sometimes now) there were still lots of hacker drivers.

  3. Posted by Notcom

    What exactly are they seeking to get out of this? I thought the main benefit (of the program) was a rent subsidy, but there’s no mention in the article that their rent is an issue.

    • Posted by Sabbie

      “Legacy businesses will be eligible for a yearly grant based on number of employees ($500 per employee, with a cap of 100 employees).

      Property owners who extend ten year or longer leases to Legacy Businesses will be eligible for a yearly grant ($4.50 per square foot per, with a cap of 5,000 square feet).”

      They want your tax dollars, because they finally got beat by the competition, after decades of milking their crooked crony medallion system monopoly, and providing pathetic Soviet-era taxi “service” to the long suffering residents of SF.

      • Posted by lemon obrien

        what a racket

      • Posted by Notcom

        Well , yes, but what I’m getting at is I don’t see how the amounts involved help very much with whatever issue(s) they have (presumably few people use them now); if the medallion holders aren’t employees – which I assume they’re not since that’s what’s implied by having a medallion – then the cap will be the mechanics, dispatchers, etc – i.e. the cast of “Taxi” that didn’t drive – and if the (“more than 100”) holders ARE employees then they’ve exceeded the 100-employee limit in the Act.

        • Posted by soccermom

          The point is not the taxis, the point is the votes that accrue to political champions of such “legacy businesses.”

      • Posted by Chris

        Even if they have a 100 employees, and the actual cab drivers are usually classified as independent contractors and not employees, it would only mean $50K a year. While I suppose it would be a nice little taxpayer-provider tidbit, it is not anywhere near enough to prop up a failing business model.

        That said, I agree this whole “legacy business” program is idiotic. I am very fond of long-time local businesses (and often sad and annoyed when a favorite closes). But, I believe all businesses have a natural lifespan, and when their customer base can no longer support them, they should go out of business. Unfortunately, SF voters, probably many who were ill-informed and just reacting to the emotional appeal of the “legacy business” ballot title, voted for this nonsense. So, either we need to get the program repealed (which I would vote for), or just live with it.

  4. Posted by formerly%whatever

    I would nominate a securities trading firm at the Pacific Exchange, but unfortunately it’s too late as they’re extinct. I think you had to have own or rent seat (medallion?) to trade. Quite certain that many of the traders made a fairly decent wage. They were also independently owned and provided trading services for all, including widows and orphans (this I made up). They worked out of a landmark building downtown at 301 Pine St.

  5. Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

    Don’t confuse being history with being legacy.

  6. Posted by BayviewRising

    Screw them. They were one of the most vociferous complainers to the MTA (who ultimately threatened lawsuits that shut us down) for an “uber-like” company I started 3 years before Uber existed. We even pivoted our business model from a gypsy cab service (which is what Uber is) to a legacy dispatch service to appease the entrenched interests just to have them complain louder. Good riddance. Die.

  7. Posted by CheetoBandito

    I nominate Wells Fargo.

  8. Posted by mjtowns

    Well, I must say, the PR writing for this appeal was beautifully written and made me feel nostalgic. Until I woke up and realized what a horrible transport system it is. Rude service, dirty cars, unreliable dispatchers and arrival times. Good riddance. We are finally no longer held hostage from an antiquated system.

    By the way, speaking of antiquated systems, let’s remove the exclusive taxi lanes & left turn lanes for the taxis and keep them for the buses..

  9. Posted by Hunter

    Yes plz! I don’t get why taxis are considered “public transit” when they’re typically ferrying a single rider. Make them turn off Market Street just like all the other private vehicles.

  10. Posted by SF_Landlord

    I knew this legacy business status thing was a complete ridiculous waste of resources.

  11. Posted by redseca2

    Le Video on 9th missed being a legacy business by only a year.

    The former horse stables at the end of my block missed being a legacy business by only a century.

    Is there a typewriter repair shop we can make a legacy business?

  12. Posted by SFRealist

    It’s rare to see a business fail specifically because it provided terrible customer service. I think that’s why we’re all delighted at what’s happening to the taxi companies.

  13. Posted by Sara Short

    San Francisco stupidity in action…. No wonder the streets are full of human feces.

  14. Posted by Barb

    Jeez. What ignorance and arrogance! Wonder how many of your readers every ran a business in SF. You couldn’t get a cab because the City wouldn’t allow the Cab Company’s to put any more cabs on the street! And the City regulations choked the Cab business.

    We’re talking about real taxi drivers who actually live and work in the City! UBER drivers come from as far away as LA to drive in SF. That’s why out streets are clogged with drivers not knowing where the hell they are! At least Luxor Cab is still picking up the Seniors and Disabled. Good for you Luxor Cab!

    • Posted by Sabbie

      Barb, it was the taxi medallion holders themselves who lobbied the commission to keep more cabs off the street. They falsely thought it would drive down their wages due competition, even though the cab companies knew that better taxi service would increase business. Lots of the medallion holders were not even driving like they were supposed to under the law, but just renting out the medallion, so of course they wanted to keep the monopoly going.

      • Posted by Barb

        You’re right Sabbie. But the mess originally began when City politicians naively thought they could do a better job running the taxi business than the Cab Companies

    • Posted by BTinSF

      Sabbie is exactly right. The restriction on numbers of medallions (and therefore cabs) was something the cab companies themselves and existing medallion holders very much lobbied for (and paid for in political contributions). They have no one to blame but themselves for their fate.

      • Posted by Barb

        Please read Sabbie’s answer again.
        Sabbie does not blame the cab companies.

    • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

      OK, Barb. We get it. You love the cab companies. You probably are one, but I obviously can’t prove that. The point is, if people loved cabs they wouldn’t be going extinct. It’s not the City’s fault because it’s not only in SF or even only in the US that this is happening. They brought 100% of their misery on themselves by treating their paying customers with unfathomable contempt. They had a monopoly and we were their hostages. Well, unfortunately most of us don’t suffer from the Stockholm Syndrome. I will both dance and defecate (in that order) on the graves of all SF cab companies, unfortunately Schadenfreude is poor compensation for the many years of infuriatingly horrendous service I endured.

      • Posted by Barb

        No I don’t work for any Cab companies and never have. You did make me laugh which is always nice. But I have lived in SF for 46 years and worked professionally as a transportation and land use planner. This will be my last post on this subject. I enjoyed the discussion!

  15. Posted by BTinSF

    I am appalled at the notion that taxpayer dollars would be used to subsidize a failing private business like this unless at the very least said taxpayers share proportionately in the profits of the business (in other words, they are actually buying equity). Unbenownst to us, do we also own stables, buggy whip manufacturers and other obsolete companies? Anyone have a link to the comprehensive list of companes feeding at this trough and by how much?

  16. Posted by Harvey

    i thought the big payoff for achieving a “legacy business” status, was a sort of rent control for commercial enterprises; expecially making it very hard to evict, or even raise the rent for a legacy business once their lease was up?

    • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

      No – it’s just a grant program. Money to the business ($500/employee each year), and money to the landlord if it agrees to keep renting to the business for 10+ years. Your tax dollars at work.

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