Paratransit Coordinating Council (PCC) > April 8, 2009, minutes
PCC Executive Committee Meeting
PCC Executive Committee Members Present: Cheryl Damico, Chair; Matthew Yamashita; Genya Ehrlich; Griff Humphrey; Ruth Lawner; Claudia Grubler; Jacy Cohen; Laurie Graham; John Lazar; Kaye Griffin; Yetta Miller; Russell Green; Gratchia Makarian; Benny Wong; Pam Martinez; Nelu Zia; Joseph Flanagan; Abby Lamb; Gilda Chico; Sandra Fancher; Melecio Torres; Byron Yan
PCC Members and Guests: Jeanne Lynch; Troy Barnes, MPT; Jane Bolig, DeSoto; Ernesto Zamora, MPT; Sonali Bose, SFMTA;
PCC Executive Committee Member Excused: Silas Telfor, Michael Kwok, Olivia Santiago
Paratransit Broker: Marc Soto; Kevin McNay
Muni: Annette Williams; Jeffrey Banks; Kate Toran; Christiane Hayashi
Read and Approve Agenda
Cheryl Damico called the meeting to order at 10:35 am. Pam Martinez read the agenda. The agenda was motioned/seconded/passed (M/S/P) as presented with the item Muni Outreach added under Paratransit Broker Report.
Cheryl asked to accommodate guest speaker Sonali Bose, CFO of SFMTA, when she arrives by moving item 7 of the agenda.
Approve minutes of February 25, 2009 meeting
The minutes were M/S/P as presented.
Comment from the Chair
Cheryl stated that, according to the Bylaws, PCC members are required to sit on one standing subcommittee. The following subcommittees are reported in synopsis at PCC meetings:
The PCC Officers met since the last PCC meeting with Christiane Hayashi, Director of Taxi and Accessible Services. The Taxi Commission has been merged with the SFMTA; Ms. Hayashi was hired as Director of Taxi and Accessible Services. The PCC Officers met to put together concerns regarding the new structure of the taxi service. The issues discussed with Ms. Hayashi included the relationship of Taxi Detail to the SFMTA, existing Taxi and Ramp Taxi schools, and a request for update of antiquated instructional documents.
Cheryl stated that there was an opening on the SFMTA’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee for a paratransit consumer. For more information on this opening please see Kate Toran. Kate said the Charter calls for two users on the CAC to be paratransit users. Supervisor Mar will be making the appointment. His office number is 554-7410. Jane Bolig stated that the taxi industry currently has no voice at the SFMTA and there should be a seat designated for the industry on the SFMTA CAC.
Jeff Banks announced that the 5310 grant cycle was underway and the SFMTA had formed a Grant Review Subcommittee to score Section 5310 applications. PCC members interested in helping to score the 5310 grant applications can talk with Jeff. Kate Toran announced that the SFMTA is conducting outreach to nonprofit agencies to assist them with the 5310 process. A workshop is being hosted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in Oakland on April 14th to assist agencies in completing their applications.
Report from the March 4, 2009 PC&O SF Access Subcommittee
Report from the April 1, 2009 PC&O Group Van Subcommittee
Abby Lamb read the following report.
Update from agencies and providers on paratransit service quality:
Report from Providers:
Marc Soto reported the following:
Kate Toran announced the next PC&O Group Van meeting is scheduled for July 8, 2009.
Annette Williams announced that Taxi regulations were being reviewed as part of the merger of the Taxi Commission with the SFMTA. SFMTA staff had a number of questions for the PCC regarding ramp taxi regulations. Annette Williams said that the PCC interview process for ramp medallion applicants should be included in the regulations. Annette Williams asked the following questions:
Kate Toran raised the issue of dispatch standards for ramp taxis. Should ramp taxis be grouped at a certain number of companies? Should a company be required to have a minimum number of taxis in order to operate a ramp taxi medallion? Gratchia Makarian disagreed, stating that it was important to give opportunities for all participants in the ramp taxi program. Kate Toran stated that some of the smaller taxi companies with only one or two ramp taxis have not been responding to ramp taxi calls. Jane Bolig stated that the problem is not just the numbers of ramp taxis within a company but how quality of service is maintained.
Budget Discussion with Sonali Bose
Cheryl Damico introduced Sonali Bose, Chief Financial Officer for the SFMTA. Sonali Bose announced that the first public hearing to discuss the budget occurred yesterday. Public hearings on the budget options will also occur on April 18 at 1 South Van Ness Atrium and April 21 at the SFMTA Board Meeting. The budget has to be approved by April 30 and given to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors by May 1. Sonali Bose addressed the perception that the SFMTA has too many management positions. Sonali Bose stated that of the 5,000 positions at the MTA, only 120 are managers which represents 2% of the staff. Sonali Bose said that, in the effort to address a budget gap of $129 million, the Board is expected to cut 370 positions, equal to about $32 million, and that service cuts are likely and will amount to about $13 million. Additionally the SFMTA is rolling back all non-personnel line items. The overall cuts to the SFMTA are $70-75 million. The additional $40 million will likely come from revenue increases, such as fare and fee hikes which will impact users of transit, taxi, parking, and paratransit. Laurie Graham asked about proposed revenue from the taxi industry. Sonali Bose said the taxi had two parts: the taxi recovery fees and the proposed auction of taxi medallions. The pilot taxi medallion auction might raise between $5 - $20 million.
Sonali Bose said that paratransit fares are still on the table. The proposal is to increase van fares from $1.65 to $2.00 and the taxi scrip from $4.00 to $5.00 a book. Jacy Cohen suggested streamlining the administration process and offering a discounted fare rather than no fare to employees. Annette Williams stated that a fare increase to $2.00 is relatively low compared to other counties regionally. Most transit agencies are charging the maximum fare. The SFMTA could be charging as much as $3.00 per trip now and $4.00 if the fixed route fare increase to $2.00.
The Culture Bus is proposed to be cut. The Proof of Payment inspectors include 46 on staff now, 20 additional positions are slated to be cut.
Jeanne Lynch stated that if transit fares are raised there will be more people cheating. Jane Bolig stated that one way or another, the City is going to get $5 to $20 million out of the taxi industry, by taxing or engaging in Prop K reform. Marc Soto suggested that the taxi charge .25 cents tax per flag drop to benefit SFMTA, but paratransit would be exempt. Jane Bolig said any fare increase would be a business-killer for the industry. Byron Yan stated that raising fares on disabled and seniors is wrong. John Lazar stated that the taxi industry is private and there is a cost to put taxis on the street.
Proposition K Reform
Christiane Hayashi stated that the City is looking at the possibilities for reform of Proposition K. The SFMTA received input from the public, through Taxi Town Hall meetings and website, until May 1st. After May 1, there will be analysis of input and the City will look at the advantages and disadvantages of each proposal. Christiane Hayashi explained that Proposition K was the 1978 ballot initiative that changed the laws pertaining to the taxi industry, in part ensuring that the people with right to operate taxis were taxi drivers. Prop K further said that corporations could not hold the medallions and each person could only hold one medallion. Prop K also created the waiting the list for taxi medallion eligibility. Proposition A which brought the Taxi industry under the SFMTA supersedes Prop K because it is a charter amendment adopted by a vote of the people.
Paratransit Broker Report
Marc Soto provided the following report.
Debit Card Update
The debit card pilot is underway and currently has 107 participants. There have been minimal problems within the pilot. The Broker is working with Luxor and DDS to test changes to their firmware and software and a few deficiencies are being corrected by DDS and will be re-tested when complete. The Broker and the SFMTA have agreed to expand pilot to add 100 additional participants once Luxor is on board. Existing participants in the pilot were given a $30 promotional debit card value to encourage use of the new system on DeSoto, National and Yellow. Gilda Chico outlined some problems with the debit card for blind users including understanding the process of finding out how much money you have on the card and not being able to read the number on the card. Gilda said a smaller client number would work or to receive the number in Braille.
Jane Bolig offered her cell phone (350-3106) to solicited feedback on customer’s experience with the debit card on DeSoto. Jane Bolig thanked Manager Cindy Ward, Head Mechanic Byron Molino, Verifone representative Jeff Kurasik, and Trainer Greg Cochran for getting this off the ground at DeSoto.
Marc Soto stated that the Broker will be able to determine that the pilot is successful by the end of May. The Broker is planning a massive outreach to promote the debit card in the coming months.
Vehicle Procurement and Deployment status
All the paratransit buses have been delivered and assigned to Mobility Plus Transportation will soon be deployed. There are now 60 SFMTA-owned vehicles being operated by Mobility Plus for SF Paratransit for Group Van and SF Access service.
Paratransit Information and Technology Update
The Broker gave Notice-to-Proceed to Trapeze software group on transitioning from the existing Mobility Master scrip tracking to the PASS product. The Broker will have a kick-off meeting tomorrow and is working to keep Trapeze to the schedule within the contract for full implementation.
Service issues within Group Van at Self Help for the Elderly were addressed yesterday with members of the Broker’s office, Mobility Plus and Self Help. One outcome from the meeting was the commitment to evaluate Self Help’s 25 routes to determine flexibility within each route to accommodate same day changes and add-ons. Marc Soto announced a Passenger Assistance Techniques and Sensitivity (PASS) training class scheduled for April 29, 30 and May 1 at the AC Transit - Hayward training center. This is a train-the-trainer certification program for new instructors and a re-certification class for people who are already certified.
Kate Toran announced the ramp taxi medallion interview scheduled for Thursday, April 16. The applicant is returning for a second interview after being re-trained and meeting the pick up requirement.
The next PCC meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 20, 2009, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm at 711 Eddy Street.
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