Paratransit Coordinating Council (PCC) > Jan. 11, 2012, minutes
PCC Executive Committee Meeting
January 11, 2012
711 Eddy Street, San Francisco
PCC Executive Committee Members Present: Cheryl Damico, PCC Chair; Marty Smith, PCC Secretary; Byron Yan; Jane Redmond; Ruach Graffis; Sandra Fancher; Roland Wong; Jeanne Lynch; Olivia Santiago; Jane Bolig; Stu Smith; Adrienne Humphrey; Claudia Grubler; Fred Lein; Gilda Chico; Jacy Cohen; John Lazar; John Murphy; Michael Kwok; Wanee Ratanasanguan
PCC Members and Guests: Genya Ehrlich; Ameur Kallel; Anna Krevets; Lurilla Harris; Kathryn Simpson; Genevieve Bayan; Athan Rebelos; Richard Oliva, MV Transportation
PCC Executive Committee Member Excused: Erma Brim; Pam Martinez; Laurie Graham; Kaye Griffith; Ursula McGuire
SF Paratransit Staff: Marc Soto; Paul Okunewitch; John Sanderson
SFMTA: Annette Williams; Kate Toran; Jonathan Cheng,
Cheryl Damico, PCC Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:35 a.m.
Read and Approve Agenda
Marty Smith, PCC Secretary, read the agenda. The agenda were motioned/seconded/passed as amended.
Approve Minutes of December 7 meeting
The minutes were motioned/seconded/passed as presented.
Comments from the Chair
Cheryl Damico remarked that she has had a challenging but fulfilling year as chair of the PCC. She has been honored to serve as PCC chair for the past year and would like to thank members for giving her this opportunity.
Elections to Fill Vacancies on PCC
Kate Toran announced that due to recruitment efforts, particularly by Jane Redmond, that there are new candidates to fill the vacant seats in the Affiliated and Unaffiliated Disabled caucuses respectively. Genevieve Bayan, representing San Francisco Brain Injury Support Group, and Kathryn Simpson were elected, by acclamation, to the PCC as members of the Affiliated and Unaffiliated Disabled caucuses respectively.
Election of PCC Executive Committee Officers and PC&O Chair
Kate Toran announced the election of PCC executive committee officers and PC&O chair. For each office, Kate gave a description of the responsibilities and then asked for nominations from the floor. Nominees were then given an opportunity to make a speech.
· For the office of PCC chair, Jane Redmond nominated Roland Wong. However, Roland respectfully declined the nomination. Jane Bolig nominated Stu Smith, who accepted. Nominations were closed and Stu Smith was elected PCC chair for 2012 by acclamation.
· For the office of PCC vice chair, Jacy Cohen nominated Cheryl Damico and Jeanne Lynch nominated Jane Bolig. Following a vote, Jane Bolig was elected as PCC vice chair.
· For the office of PCC secretary, Jacy Cohen nominated Cheryl Damico and Jeanne Lynch nominated Marty Smith. Following a vote, Marty Smith was re-elected as PCC secretary.
· For the office of PC&O chair, Jacy Cohen nominated Cheryl Damico. As the only candidate for this position, Cheryl Damico was elected, by acclamation, as the PC&O chair.
For each of the PC&O subcommittees, a vice chair will be elected. This person will help set the agenda and run the meeting.
PC&O SF Access Subcommittee Report
Roland Wong read the following report:
· The PC&O SF Access Subcommittee meeting was held on Wednesday, December 14, 2011, at the SF Paratransit Broker’s Office.
· Service issues particular to Dialysis Centers and Patients:
o Marc Soto briefed the subcommittee about a recent meeting at the broker’s office with dialysis center staff
o The Group had a lengthy discussion about transportation to/from dialysis centers. Some remarked about achievements and the need to sustain the improved service.
· Service Provider Reports:
o Ameur Kallel informed the group that MPT is working closely with MV and Veolia to make the SF Access provider transition successful.
o Marc Soto announced that the March through August 2011 SF Access On-Time Performance previously reported has been found to be inaccurate and will have to be re-stated.
· Bike Lane/Taxi Update:
o Kate Toran announced SFMTA’s new Ramp Taxi enforcement rules: 6 SFPT wheelchair pickups per month, per ramp taxi medallion.
o Kate Toran also briefed the group about SFMTA’s attempts to make bike lanes accessible.
o The group discussed on-going concerns with bike lanes.
· SF Access Transition:
o 40 of the 60 SFMTA owned vehicles will transition to MV; all vehicles have been inspected.
o The group had a discussion about the upcoming transition
· Broker’s Report:
o SFPT is working with SFMTA on the procurement to replace the 600 Series vehicles; Delivery expected late spring through mid-summer 2012.
o New Group Van contracts are expected to be signed by the end of February with service to begin in March 2012.
· The meeting adjourned at 12:10 PM
· The next PC&O SF Access meeting will be on March 7, 2012 at 10:30 AM at the Broker’s office.
PC&O Group Van Subcommittee Report
Jacy Cohen read the following report:
· The meeting was held on Wednesday January 4, 2012, at 10:30 am at the Broker’s Office.
· Not enough committee members were in attendance to constitute a quorum, so neither the agenda for the January 4th meeting or the minutes from the October 5th meeting could be approved
· State Budget Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) Update: Those present discussed the new Community Based Adult Services (CBAS) funding arrangement.
o Funding will continue at better than expected levels at least for the time being.
o ADHCs will have their client lists and records inspected by the state in the very near future.
o SFPT is working with the City to bring the 5310 funded St. Mary’s vans over to Stepping Stone.
· Broker’s Report:
o Existing Group Van agreements have all been extended through February 29, 2012.
o The Mobile Data Computer procurement is in final negotiations.
o The group discussed the MPT/MV SF Access transition, scheduled for the weekend of January 7/8.
o The SF Paratransit website upgrade is in process.
· The meeting adjourned at 11:15 AM
· The next PC&O SF Access meeting will be on April 4, 2012, at 10:30 AM at the Broker’s office.
Ramp Taxi Regulation Amendments and Enforcement Update
Kate Toran gave a brief update on the ramp taxi regulations. The proposed amendments were approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors on December 6, 2011 and are enforceable as of January 6, 2012. Among the significant changes in the taxi regulations included changing the minimum wheelchair pickup requirement, from three wheelchair pickups (if available) per shift to requiring every ramp taxi medallion holder to complete eight wheelchair pickups per month, of which six must be SF Paratransit wheelchair trips and documented on the monthly debit card report. The other major adjustment applied to ramp medallion applicants. Over a 12 month period, of the 156 required wheelchair pickups new applicants must complete before applying, at least 100 must be SF Paratransit wheelchair trips and show up in the monthly debit cardreport. Staff at SFMTA Taxi Services, SF Paratransit, and Accessible Services will coordinate together to ensure that these regulations are enforced. These two changes will allow for greater monitoring of the ramp taxi program and are expected to improve service for customers. A letter will be sent to all ramp medallion holders and color schemes to remind them of these regulations.
Jane Redmond asked for a clarification as to the minimum number of wheelchair pickup required by each ramp medallion holder each month. She felt that requiring only eight wheelchair pickups per month by each ramp medallion holder was too low. Kate replied that although she agreed with those comments, at the moment, the priority is to establish a standard that is achievable for all ramp medallion holders. Kate noted that there are some ramp medallion holders who chronically do not complete any wheelchair pickups and that in order to meet these new requirements, it will take time for them to develop a strong clientele base. She also mentioned that there is worry among ramp medallion holders that there may not be a high enough demand in order to meet these new requirements. To ensure that there is enough demand, a variety of outreach strategies are being discussed, including sending a letter to wheelchair users informing them of the new regulations and encouraging them to call for ramp taxi service. Jane asked that in the future that the minimum number of wheelchair pickups be changed. Kate agreed with this suggestion, reiterating that this is only a start and adjustments will be made in the future to ensure that the ramp taxi program operates as effectively as possible.
Kate also gave a report of the 4th quarter ramp taxi incentives. For the 4th quarter, $8,400.00 worth of incentives were earned by various drivers from taxi companies Black and White, Luxor, Yellow, Desoto, and Town. Byron Yan asked how many drivers received incentives. Kate replied that about 70 individual ramp drivers received incentives in 2011. Byron then asked how many ramp medallions are in operation. Kate replied that there are about 100 ramp medallion holders with two to three additional drivers driving under the medallion. Jane Redmond asked how long a ramp taxi operated on a typical day. John Lazar stated that ramp taxis operate 14 ten hour shifts per week. Lurilla Harris asked for clarification as to how the incentive awards system works. Kate stated that if a driver performs more than the average number of wheelchair pickups per month, the driver receives $75.00; if a driver does double the average, the driver receives $150.00; if a driver does triple the average, the driver receives $250.00.
Athan Rebelos expressed his support for the incentive awards program. He noted that one ramp medallion holder is currently moving from Luxor, which has a good track record of providing wheelchair pickups, to Arrow/Checker. Athan was also worried that with Fog City starting a new dispatch service that some ramp taxis will be moving to this new affiliate which would likely not receive many requests for ramp service and the ramp taxis would be underutilized. John Lazar echoed the same concerns as Athan, stating that a recent ramp taxi applicant who had been approved for ramp medallion and had completed all of the paperwork with Luxor moved over to Black and White once they received their medallion. Stu Smith stated that the PCC can only give a recommendation based on the information provided by the applicant. Marty Smith stated that there have been two applicants who had been rejected by the PCC but were still given a ramp medallion. Kate replied that some applicants who were not recommended based on their first interview are sometimes recommended after the second interview. With the new taxi regulations, SFMTA will be better able to monitor all ramp medallion holders to ensure that they are doing wheelchair pickups and can cite those who do not. Ruach Graffis was pleased that these new taxi amendments will provide new ways to monitor the ramp taxi program. She also mentioned that during the PCC interview, applicants must explain why they specifically want a ramp medallion.
Genevieve Bayan stated that many of the SUV taxis do not have steps or a handle to help customers enter the vehicle. John stated that vehicles operating within his company have a step stool. Genevieve says that due to the inconsistencies among taxi companies having a step stool, she now only requests a sedan taxi. Kate mentioned that many taxi companies have purchased hybrid Ford Escape SUVs in order to meet clean air requirements. Athan stated that Desoto has been moving away from buying the Ford Escape hybrids and are primarily buying the Toyota Prius. Jane Bolig stated that many taxi drivers who operate SUV vehicles do carry a step stool and will offer to assist customers. She recommended to Genevieve that she clearly request a step stool from the driver. Michael Kwok stated that due to the physical geography of San Francisco and its many hills, demand by customers for certain vehicles will eliminate certain taxi companies that fail to provide those vehicles. John urged SFMTA to apply for federal funds to help taxi companies purchase vehicles that can hold up to two wheelchair passengers. Jane mentioned that due to the wide variety of customers that taxi drivers encounter, ranging from tourists to local passengers wanting use a taxi to move personal belongings, taxi companies must have a variety of vehicles to accommodate their needs.
Paratransit Broker Report
Marc Soto provided the following report:
· Group Van Contract Update: The impact of the California budget crisis is believed to have had a smaller impact than had been originally thought. Current plans are to transition Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) services to a new program called Community Based Adult Services (CBAS). The new program will provide necessary services to older adults with health care needs. Execution of group van contracts had been delayed, due to the uncertainty related to state funding for ADHCs. Now that the funding issue has been resolved with the creation of the CBAS program, SF Paratransit can finalize negotiations with group van providers proposing to Veolia to provide services by the end of January. The goal is to have these new contracts finalized and executed starting March 1. These new contracts are necessary in order to allow providers to fund and implement new changes to improve service quality.
· Mobile Data Computer (MDC) Procurement: Currently, SF Paratransit is negotiating with the top scoring MDC vendor, and the contract is expected to be finalized by the end of the week. Among the features of the MDC devices is a predictive dialing system that will call and inform customers that their ride is coming within a specified time particularly if a ride is running late.
· SF Access Contract Start Up Report: MPT has been very cooperative during the transition to MV Transportation. Though the transition has not been perfect, it has been relatively smooth compared to the last transition five years ago. Paul Okunewitch added that SF Paratransit and MV Transportation have been working closely together and have taken proactive steps to improve service. Among the actions that have been taken include separating drivers into working groups so that dispatchers are assigned to a specific group and installing and increasing ETA call takers. There is a lot of management staff focused on identifying problems and solutions. Marc also mentioned that the call center is located in the Bay Area, as opposed to Los Angeles, where it had previously been located when SF Access was operated by MPT. On Monday, there was a larger than usual volume of phone calls and staff at MV Transportation has been trying to appropriately manage the phone traffic. To supplement SF Access service, there will be up to 60 sedans operating. These sedans will be on the road for no longer than 120 days and will not conflict with taxi service. These sedans will be used during this time while management at MV Transportation figures out a schedule for their vehicles. John Murphy, Area Vice President for MV Transportation, echoed calls for patience during this transition period. The biggest challenge MV Transportation had been encountering are the high volume of new drivers that are being trained. Currently MV Transportation is achieving a 60-70 percent on-time rate where they would like to be at a 95 percent on-time rate. Management has been identifying drivers who are not making their pick up times and are working closely with them to improve their service.
Ruach Graffis said that she tried to call MV Transportation last night to cancel a reservation but could not get through the phone. Issues about the phone lines were repeated by several PCC members and guests. Olivia Santiago stated that she too tried to call after business hours and was put on hold for a long time as there were many calls before hers. Lurilla Harris mentioned that when she called for an ETA, there was a long wait time. Byron Yan mentioned that when he called, there was a long wait time and he was disconnected before his call was answered. Kathryn Simpson summed up the overall impression of the phone system: the current system is not operating well with long wait times and dropped calls. She also added that drivers did not call her ahead of time before their arrival.
Ruach also mentioned another issue that was reiterated by many PCC members. She stated that many drivers feel pressure to be on time and are skipping breaks if they are behind schedule. Olivia too echoed the same concerns, adding that drivers have to contact their dispatchers before taking bathroom breaks. Claudia Grubler emphasized that breaks are needed for drivers. Jane Redmond brought up the point that diabetic drivers especially need breaks as they need to eat.
Another common feedback was that drivers needed more training in terms of the geography of San Francisco and not be over reliant on GPS systems to direct them to their destinations. Ruach suggested that MV Transportation issue drivers with a daily map as well as a pocket guide. John Murphy replied that they have bought 50 Magellan GPS for their vehicles. Ruach replied that drivers should familiarize themselves with San Francisco and not rely on GPS to give them directions. Olivia praised the patience of the new drivers; however, she commented that dispatchers are not giving drivers the address of their destination (to enter into their GPS system) but rather landmarks. Byron added that drivers do not know their destination very well and had to re-circle the shopping center to pick up their passenger, wasting more time. Wanee Ratanasanguan commented that she has not seen any improvement in service from MV Transportation despite having previously operated in San Francisco for 20 years. She added due to the proximity of MUNI light rail vehicles to her residence, drivers have found it difficult to find a place to idle while she enters the vehicle. Kathryn added that new drivers need more training, as she was almost sent to the wrong location as the driver misread the trip manifest.
Claudia mentioned that some drivers who had previously been operating the same route with the same customers for many years have had their schedule changed, despite promises that they could keep the same schedule. This has caused a disruption for long term passengers who are accustomed to having the same driver pick them up and transport them to their usual destination. Jane added that many drivers she knows were not rehired and that it was her understanding that all MPT drivers would be offered jobs with MV. Marc replied that all MPT drivers were given the opportunity to apply with MV, but they need to pass the interview, standard background check and substance abuse test. He offered that Jane refer any drivers with concerns directly to him.
Genya Ehlrich wanted specific dispatchers whose primary responsibility would be to dispatch ramp taxis to customers. Olivia reminded MV Transportation that City College of San Francisco will be starting the following week so that they should be prepared for a higher volume of trip requests and calls. Lurilla mentioned that schedulers should pay more attention to the reservation request pick up times to allow for adequate time for the passenger to arrive at their destination on time. Michael Kwok believed that managers should not micromanage their drivers. Kathryn stated that a driver was told by their supervisor that they could not hold the door for her as she wheeled Sam into the building. Jacy Cohen commented that this transition has been difficult , particularly for an employee who has been late several times due to problems with the transition.
Marc added that both Annette Williams and Kate Toran are being updated regularly as to the transition of MV Transportation as the service provider for SF Access. He added that SFMTA has order 26 cutaway buses and SF Access will benefit once these buses arrive.
Jeanne Lynch asked if a taxi cab hit Ursula McGuire. Kate Toran stated that it was her understanding that Ursula was hit by a Green Cab. Jane Bolig read nationwide news articles concerning taxis and ramp taxi issues.
The next PCC meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 15, 2012
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 711 Eddy Street
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