Paratransit Coordinating Council (PCC) > Dec. 9, 2009, minutes
PCC Executive Committee Meeting
PCC Executive Committee Members Present: Cheryl Damico, Chair; Genya Ehrlich; Griff Humphrey; Sandra Fancher; Byron Yan; Ruach Graffis; Stu Smith; Scott Blum; Joseph Flanagan; Melecio Torres; Olivia Santiago; Benny Wong; Kaye Griffin; Pam Martinez; Erma Brim; Patrick McCollum; Russell Green; Marian Gan; Ameur Kallel; Gratchia Makarian; Jacy Cohen; Jeanne Lynch
PCC Members and Guests: Troy Barnes, MPT; Silverio Sanchez, MV Transportation; Martin Smith, Luxor Cab; Robin Krop; Raymond Vega; Charles Rathbone, Luxor Cab; Wannee Ratanasanguan;
PCC Executive Committee Member Excused: Ruth Lawner; Yetta Miller; Gilda Chico; Claudia Grubler;
Paratransit Broker: Marc Soto; Kevin McNay; Aaron Bonfilio;
SFMTA: Kate Toran; Jeffrey Banks;
Read and Approve Agenda
Cheryl Damico called the meeting to order at 10:35 am. Pam Martinez read the agenda.
Kate Toran announced that there would be no slideshow due to a technical difficulty. The agenda was motioned/seconded/passed (M/S/P) as amended.
Approve minutes of October 28, 2009 meeting
The minutes were M/S/P as presented.
Comments from the Chair
Cheryl Damico announced that this would be her last meeting as Chair. Cheryl stated that it has been honor to serve in this capacity for the last two years and that the PCC had accomplished a lot in that time. The subcommittees have all contributed to these accomplishments and Cheryl thought they were all working wonderfully. Cheryl stated that she hopes the PCC would continue to be one of the best PCC’s around with Agencies and Providers working together to provide input to Muni. Cheryl thanked everyone for allowing her to contribute in this capacity.
Report from the PCC Annual Meeting
Jeffrey Banks welcomed the new members of the PCC Executive Committee, Marian Gan, Roland Wong and Ameur Kallel as well as interim members that had been elected to a full 2 year term, Patrick McCollum and LaNay Eastman. Jeff also provided the 2010 schedule of meeting dates. The meeting dates were discussed and approved as presented.
Kate Toran announced that Jeff had prepared sign up sheets and she asked each Executive Committee member to sign up for one standing subcommittee, per the requirement of the PCC By-Laws. The standing subcommittees include the Planning & Review Subcommittee, Grant Review Subcommittee, Paratransit Coordination & Operations Subcommittees which is comprised of the Group Van Subcommittee, SF Access Subcommittee and the Taxi & Ramp Taxi Subcommittee. The Finance Subcommittee has met in the past when the PCC was facing a budget crisis and will meet as needed in the future.
Marc Soto asked whether there would be an orientation for new Executive Committee members. Kate Toran responded that an orientation would be scheduled new members would be invited by Jeff Banks. Marc also asked if new members would be recruited and trained to serve on the Appeals Panel. Kate explained that there is an appeals process for people that applied for paratransit services and were determined ineligible. Kate asked if any PCC member would like to be trained to serve on the Appeals Panel. Jacy Cohen, Marian Gan and Jeanne Lynch indicated they were interested in this training.
Kate Toran commented that the 2010 Roster was in draft form and asked PCC members to update their information if they see any incorrect information. Kate Toran stated that, in accordance with the Bylaws, the election of PCC Executive Committee officers takes place the first meeting after the new year which is typically in January. PCC officer elections will therefore be on the January 20th agenda, and election of the subcommittee chairs and vice chairs will take place at each subsequent subcommittee meeting after January 20.
The 2010 Calendar of PCC and PC&O meeting dates was M/S/P as presented.
Report from the November 4, 2009 PC&O Taxi & Ramp Taxi Subcommittee
Gratchia Makarian read the following report
Debit Card Update:
Presentation from SFMTA
Discussion on “Three Pick-Up” Rules
Update on Paratransit Broker Contract
Kate Toran stated that although Annette had provided a report on the Paratransit Broker RFP process at the last meeting, some progress had been made since that time, and more information can now be made public. The Paratransit Broker RFP was released this past June and responses were due in September. The RFP delineated two options that proposers could respond to – Option A, the existing model of Paratransit Broker services where the Broker provides management services and contracts with providers, or Option B, which allowed proposers to propose a new contracting model, one option would be for the Broker to also provide some transportation services as well as the management services.
The SFMTA received a total of five responses, three Option A responses (First Transit, MV Transportation and Veolia Transportation Services) and two Option B responses (Mobility Plus Transportation and Veolia Transportation Services).
There was a Technical Evaluation Panel, which was comprised of transit industry experts, some PCC members and SFMTA staff. They reviewed the written proposals and met and scored. There was a second layer of review of the process. We had an Executive Committee comprised of SFMTA upper management, representing the four main divisions of the SFMTA. They met and reviewed the process to make sure that the Technical Evaluation Panel had followed the guidelines appropriately.
After the scoring of the written submittals, the highest scored firms were short-listed and invited to the oral presentation/interview. The oral presentations occurred in early October, and the proposals were re-scored at the end of that meeting. The Executive Committee reviewed the process again after the oral presentations/interviews to make sure the process was followed appropriately.
Veolia Option A scored the highest and was ranked highest by each TEP member. After the Executive Committee approved the process, negotiations began with Veolia. SFMTA came to agreement with Veolia after a few weeks of intensive contract negotiations. The new contract went before the SFMTA board in early December. It was approved by the SFMTA Board unanimously.
The next step is to take the contract before the Board of Supervisors, so there’s one more step in the process. It will go to the BoS finance subcommittee in January and then it will go before the full BoS after that. It’s not calendared yet, but we can let the PCC know when it is.
This was a very positive process; there was PCC involvement, so you were well-represented.
Byron Yan asked what’s in the new contract. Kate responded that it’s a service contract, and most of the same services will be provided, such as eligibility determinations, selling paratransit fare instruments, overseeing provider service contracts, customer service, etc. In addition, there are also some new tasks included. A new part-time position was added to specifically coordinate the shopping shuttle service, also the procurement and management of the Mobile Data Computers for the vans. A new Taxi Field Monitor was added, there were some changes in the organizational structure of the Broker staff.
In the next five years, there will be a lot of improvements to the SF Paratransit service. We’re currently in the midst of the debit card implementation, in a few years we will have on board computers on the vans which will allow better management of the van program and improved where’s my ride responses, the potential for predictive phone calling, and there will be better routing and scheduling with the new Trapeze software system which is in the process of being installed.
Marty Smith stated that the new contract should include taxi driver incentives. Kate responded that the ability to provide incentives to ramp taxi drivers is included in the contract, but that due to the constrained financial situation that the SFMTA is experiencing, it would be difficult to know when they may be funded. The SFMTA did include the data elements necessary to analyze the ramp taxi service into the debit card system, so when the incentives are able to be funded, the ability to determine the incentives in an automated manner will be available. In the past, it was hard to track ramp taxi trips under the scrip program. With the implementation of the debit card program, we will have the data we need to determine the incentives.
We all want to see the incentives implemented, and now we have two of the three components needed – the contractual ability to pay incentives and the data. But the funding for the program is the unknown. At this point, we don’t know when the funding will be available.
Jeanne stated that there are a lot of seniors and people with disabilities in the Richmond that need to get to the Safeway, particularly since the 38-Geary to Ocean Beach has been cut.
Paratransit Broker Report
Marc Soto provided the following report:
Debit Card Update
We are purchasing about 783 In Taxi Equipment (ITE) units. Each color scheme was allowed to select the ITE manufacturer from list of approved vendors. The companies either chose Verifone or Wireless Edge. Verifone has been able to deliver all the ITE ordered, but Wireless Edge has had some supplier problems and hasn’t been able to deliver all the ITE units that have been ordered. The Broker has been working with Wireless Edge to speed up the delivery of the outstanding ITE. Wireless Edge has been doing a lot of the background work, such as installing the harnesses and electrical systems installed so when the ITE comes in, the will just have to plug it in and they will be ready to go.
Ruach stated that she has been having a terrible time getting taxi drivers that will take the debit card and that she would have expected that scrip would continue to be sold until all cabs are equipped. Marc responded that a lot of thought went into the process. The two largest taxi companies in San Francisco, Yellow and Luxor are fully operational, in addition DeSoto, National and Veteran’s are all fully equipped with ITE. 87% of the paratransit taxi trips are provided by the companies that are fully equipped with ITE. In addition, there is a manual system for the companies that don’t have the ITE installed yet. The Broker met with those companies and they committed to working with their drivers to use the back up system and to continue to provide paratransit taxi service.
Although the SF Paratransit office is not selling scrip anymore, taxi companies can still accept scrip. The Broker is working to get the remaining ITE installed as soon as possible.
Pam Martinez stated Yellow drivers have a special phone number to call to reach their help desk, if they have trouble processing a debit card.
The other cab companies have manual tickets that they can use to process the debit card trips. Marc reported that the biggest complaint from the taxi drivers is that the riders don’t add value to their cards. The Broker’s staff is following up with every rider that tries to use their card without adding value to it. Transitions are never perfect, and we’re all working hard to resolve the issues that have come up.
Weights and Measures (W&M) regulates taxi meters and they raised a concern regarding the ITE. Marc reported that he has been working with W&M and SFMTA to resolve the issues. SFMTA has asked the state W&M to provide temporary operating authority for the ITE while the Wireless Edge and Verifone ITE are going through a national testing process.
Kay Griffin stated that she hasn’t been able to use her debit card on one taxi since she received it, and the drivers don’t know how to use the system. There are no ITE in the cabs and the drivers then don’t know what to do. Marc stated there is a back up system that the drivers can use. Kay stated that paratransit shouldn’t have stopped the sale of scrip.
Genya stated that there should be a special training course for the drivers. Pam Martinez stated that it would be helpful for paratransit riders to provide specific information to Yellow management so they can pinpoint the specific drivers that need re-training. Marc stated that there are extra staff members at the SF Paratransit office to help respond to calls and inquiries and to get specific information, such as cab number, cab company, date and time, when paratransit taxi patrons call in with a complaint. That information is then sent over to the cab companies for follow up. The cab companies are holding training/re-training classes. When taxi scrip was first implemented, there were also issues with the drivers not accepting the scrip. Over time, the issues were worked out. We expect that there will be some transition issues with the debit card and we are working together with the cab companies to resolve the issues. If we keep issuing scrip, then the riders will use that and the drivers won’t have to learn how to process the debit cards. Marc added that he understands that some of the taxis don’t have the ITE yet, and he is working hard to make sure that the drivers in those companies understand how to use the back up system and that the ITE supplier delivers the equipment soon.
Paratransit Information and Technology Update
The Broker’s staff has been working very hard with Trapeze to complete all the tasks necessary to transition from the current Broker software, Mobility Master, to Trapeze PASS. The full cut over will occur in January. Trapeze needs to communicate both with the debit card software and the photo ID software through an application programming interface (API). It is a very complex system, which must be tested before going live.
Shopping Shuttle Invitation for Bid
The Paratransit Broker has issued an invitation for bid (IFB) for shopping shuttle providers. Today is the pre-bid meeting at the Broker’s office to answer questions that potential bidders may have. We’re working with the targeted communities, doing outreach, in preparation for the shopping shuttle implementation.
Robin Krop stated that she is a paratransit debit card user and that she feels that the taxi drivers need more training, and she has also recommended that the Paratransit office issue an official notice to taxi riders.
Kate Toran responded that drivers may be trained but if they haven’t processed a card, they might not remember how to do so. The drivers will learn through repetition of processing the debit cards. Kate added that ending scrip sales has been a topic of discussion with SFMTA and the Broker – if we continue to issue scrip, drivers won’t get the practice with the debit card that they need. It is not out of the question on a case-by-case basis if a paratransit taxi patron is using a company that does not have the ITE installed yet to be able to purchase some scrip.
Kate encouraged taxi patrons call in every time a driver will not accept the debit card so we can follow up with the companies.
Russell Green stated that he was frustrated because he held his hand up for 20 minutes and he hadn’t been acknowledged.
Maryann Gan suggested that there could be a specific roster for people to sign up for public comment, so then there’s a clear order. Maryann also stated that she has a standing order on MPT three times a week. Sometimes there’s no back up plan if a driver doesn’t show up, and then she becomes an add-on. And then she’s often late for dialysis.
Ameur Kallel stated that dialysis service is very important and that he had spoken with Maryann about her specific issue before the meeting. Marc added that we work closely with the dialysis centers and we have seen a lot of improvements in the service. Marc wasn’t aware of Maryann’s specific problem but he will follow up with Matt and Kallel after the meeting. Having back up drivers is a standard practice in public transit to protect the work so the runs go out on time, and there’s a weekly meeting with MPT tomorrow and this will be a topic of discussion and will be added to the agenda.
Ruach Graffis stated that there’s one company that is not paying its driver dollar for dollar for paratransit trips. Ruach added that she would talk to Kate off line about this. Cheryl added that this would be a good topic for the PC&O Taxi/Ramp Taxi meeting along with the other debit card concerns.
Cheryl also encouraged Maryann to attend the PC&O SF Access meetings to that she can also bring up her issues with MPT in that venue.
Marty Smith congratulated Marc and Veolia for being awarded the new contract and that they’ve been doing a fantastic job.
Jeanne Lynch stated that Senior Action Network will have their meeting/Christmas party tomorrow. Bevan Dufty, Tom Amiano and Ross Mirkirimi will attend. Jane Bolig was mentioned in San Francisco magazine.
Kate Toran announced that the first meeting of the PCC Writer’s Group is scheduled for December 11th. Everybody is invited to attend. It is the inspiration of Melecio Torres, and it will be an opportunity to write some of the stories of our lives and to share those stories with others in the group.
The next PCC meeting will be held on
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