Photo: Jay M.

In a newsflash that will shock no one, a new study commissioned by the SFMTA says that the city could use 600 to 800 more cabs on the streets in the next few years.

The conclusion of the study pisses off local taxi companies and drivers who have fought long and hard to keep the number of medallions in the city low — the argument from them being that they can barely make a living on Mondays and Tuesdays as it is, and more cabs will only hurt them more. But continuing to have this provincial attitude toward the business has allowed Uber and Lyft to steal a huge chunk of their business, largely because their service generally sucks, and it is otherwise impossible to get home late at night on a weekend.

Chuck Nevius takes on the argument today, and it's a perfectly reasonable one. As the taxi expert who did the study, Dan Hara, explains, adding taxis should help all the drivers, because the more reliable and available the entire system becomes, the more people will use it.

Another recommendation is the creation of a central dispatch system that unites all the various cab companies, which we heard might be coming last month.

Pushback from the taxi lobby has kept the issuance of new medallions to a minimum, with the last round in the fall of 2012 being just 150 to 200 full- and part-time medallions.

One main problem here may be the winning back of loyalty from customers who now regularly spend $3 to $5 more to get a black-car ride home, and who have long been fed up with cabs that never show up after you call them. Also there's the problem of standing on a street corner in the rain at 7 p.m. hopelessly trying to find an available one. Fixing that problem isn't going to happen overnight.

Here's the draft of the report, if you want to read it all.


Previously: S.F. Cabs Often Refuse Fares, Endanger People, and Sometimes Have Bed Bugs

All previous taxi coverage on SFist.