A Union Cab rides down Market Street. The company has lost its color scheme permit, which is a key component for its operation. (Photo courtesy Anthony Nachor)

Union Cab’s loss of color scheme marks closure of another SF taxi company

Another San Francisco taxi company is fading away.

Union Cab, a small San Francisco-based taxi company, lost its color scheme permit on Sunday, according to a city advisory obtained by the San Francisco Examiner.

Such a permit is key for a taxi company to operate. According to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, many of Union Cab’s 37 or so medallion-holding drivers have already left for other cab companies.

The company is only the latest to face woes in an era where ride-hail services like Uber and Lyft have gained dominance.

Another small taxi company, San Francisco Green Cab, launched a GoFundMe donation campaign to save its operations on Sept. 4. So far, it has only raised $1,920 of its $30,000 goal. In April, the largest taxi company in The City, Yellow Cab Co-Op, sold to a competitor for $810,000 after filing for bankruptcy.

Union Cab could not be reached for comment.

The advisory obtained by the Examiner warns taxi industry professionals that Union Cab’s color scheme permit expired Oct. 1, and that beginning Oct. 2, any Union Cab taxis seen operating will be fined $5,000.

Union Cab failed to pay a $344,000 fine by the SFMTA for not being affiliated with a dispatch service, according to the agency, which resulted in their color scheme permit not being renewed.

“It was a five-month investigation taxi services did into this matter,” said Kate Toran, head of taxi services at the SFMTA.

After the investigation, Union Cab appealed, which was overseen by a neutral hearing officer between SFMTA taxi services and Union Cab, Toran said. That appeal lost.

The SFMTA will not issue a new permit until Union Cab pays its fine, Toran said, though that outcome is unlikely.

“We’ve talked to the permit holder, and he stated clearly he was not intending and could not pay that amount,” she said.

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