'Rates for Taxicabs and Sedans. The rates of fare for taxicabs and sedans shall be as follows: Fifty-five Cents (55c) for the first one-fifth mile or "flag": Ten Cents (10c) for each additional one-fifth mile or fraction thereof: Ten Cents (10c) for each one and one fourth minutes of waiting or traffic delay time.
Drivers of taxicabs and sedans shall keep an accurate waybill specifically setting forth the time of hire and discharge, the number of passengers, the origin and destination and the charges authorized and made for each trip.
(Amended Ord. 234-69; App, 4/18/69)'
The police report stated that Paul Stine's taxicab meter read $6.25 at exactly 10.46 pm. So using the taxicab meter charges above, we can backtrack and calculate the approximate pick-up point from the last known movements of Paul Stine heading back from San Francisco International Airport.
The time of the murder was specified as 9.55 pm, so by the time the meter was read at 10.46 pm, the meter had been running idle for 51 minutes. We know that it's 10c for each one and one fourth minutes (1.25) of waiting or traffic delay time. So we can discover the charge the idle taxicab ran up for these 51 minutes. (51 divided by 1.25) = 40.8. Multiplied by 10c = 4 dollars and 8 cents. The investigators deducted this from the $6.25 to give us $2.17. This calculation however, did not include any idle time en route from the proposed theater district to the intersection of Washington and Cherry. But we shall assume it negligible, as they have done.
We know it is 55c for the first one-fifth mile. So the taxicab meter would be operating effectively from $2.17 minus 55c thereafter ($2.17 minus 55c) = $1.62. So to calculate the distance traveled we have to use the taxicab meter charges of 10c for each additional one-fifth mile or fraction thereof.
$1.62 divided by 10c = 16.2 miles. But it is for one-fifth of a mile, so 16.2 divided by 5 = 3.24 miles traveling distance. But again, this is not factoring in any delays en route, in accordance with the History Channel calculations.
The crucial part is the 55c for the first one-fifth mile or "flag." The taxicab should be reading 55c after one-fifth of mile (0.2 miles) is achieved. Therefore, this should be added on to the 3.24 miles, to give us 3.44 miles traveling distance. This would, without any delays en route (not factored in by the History Channel), take us a little further away from Washington and Cherry.
The calculations to consider, is whether the taxicab meter started from 55c at the "flag" or 55c after one-fifth mile distance.
If it started at one-fifth distance, then without further idle time, as portrayed by the docudrama, the taxicab of Paul Stine would not have picked up Paul Stine at the intersection of Mason and Geary Streets, which is 3.0 miles from Washington and Cherry, assuming he traveled by the quickest and shortest route. The Westin St Francis Hotel in Union Square is approximately 3.1 miles.
But allowing for a small amount of idle time en route, possibly one or two minutes, we would have to deduct approximately 10 or 20 cents that was available for the taxicab to be in motion, thereby effectively reducing the distance traveled (one or two one-fifths of a mile). Going on the lower estimate, the distance traveled would therefore be closer to 3.24 miles again.
Without any or negligible idle time en route, the distance traveled would be 3.44 miles, based on a meter clocking up 55 cents after one-fifth mile distance. A distance of 3.4 miles east of Washington and Cherry, would take the taxicab into the Financial District of San Francisco. If Paul Stine had taken Highway 101 and Interstate 80 back from the San Francisco International Airport, he could have headed to this general area. Your opinions, or any corrections to this analysis would be welcome.