Paratransit Coordinating Council (PCC) > Jan. 9, 2013, minutes
PCC Executive Committee Meeting
PCC Executive Committee Members Present: Stu Smith, PCC Chair; Marty Smith, PCC Secretary; Cheryl Damico, PC&O Chair; Adrienne Humphrey; Claudia Grubler; Fred Lein; Genevieve Bayan; Jacy Cohen; Jeanne Lynch; John Lazar; Joseph Flanagan; Kaye Griffin; Laurie Graham; Olivia Santiago; Roland Wong; Ruach Graffis; Sandra Fancher; Sue Cauthen; Wanee Ratanasanaguan
PCC Members and Guests: Joey Hogan; Troy Barnes; Athan Rebelos; Max Lazar; Marty Smith; Rodney Lee; Annie Young; Lurilla Harris
PCC Executive Committee Member Excused: Gilda Chico; Pam Martinez
SF Paratransit Staff: Marc Soto; John Sanderson; Gregory Strecker
SFMTA: Annette Williams; Jonathan Cheng; Christiane Hayashi
Stu Smith, PCC Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:45 a.m.
Read and Approve Agenda
Marty Smith, PCC Secretary, read the agenda. Item #7 was removed from the agenda. The agenda was motioned/seconded/passed.
Approve Minutes of December 5 meeting
The minutes were motioned/seconded/approved as amended.
Comments from the Chair
Stu Smith mentioned the wide variety of issues members of the PCC are involved in. Annette Williams commented that among them include a taskforce aimed at reforming the use of disabled placards in San Francisco. Stu added that during this meeting, he was reminded the need for every paratransit client to get recertified for a disabled parking placard, regardless of the permanent status. He hopes that this council can address this topic at a later date. Another recent event was a workshop that was convened to address issues concerning accessibility for the upcoming SFMTA Bicycle Strategy Plan. At this workshop, participants were separated into small groups and did role playing exercises. Each group took on the role of a youth, senior, and person with disabilities and were asked what type of network infrastructure, support facilities, and support programs were necessary to include these groups in the overall strategic plan.
Election of Vacant Positions
Jonathan Cheng announced that there are currently two vacancies on the PCC Executive Committee. One seat is in the Affiliated Disabled caucus and the other seat is in the Affiliated Elderly caucus. Genevieve Bayan, representing the San Francisco Brain Injury Support Group, was nominated in the Affiliated Disabled caucus. As there were no other nominations, she was elected to the PCC Executive Committee via acclamation. There were no nominations for the vacancy in the Affiliated Elderly caucus and this seat will remain open until there a qualified nomination is made.
Election of PCC Executive Committee Officers and PC&O Chair
Jonathan Cheng also announced that all PCC Executive Committee Offices are up for election.
BART Passenger Loading Zone update
Annette Williams discussed the issue concerning the loading and unloading of taxi and van passengers to access BART elevators. Staff at SFMTA has been looking for a potential new taxi zone near the elevators at the Montgomery and 24th Street BART stations. One important criterion was to locate these new loading zones near curb ramps to allow wheelchair users to access the elevators from rear loading ramp taxis. Currently, new loading zones are being proposed at these two locations. At the Montgomery BART station, a taxi zone is being proposed on Sutter Street near Market Street to allow for loading and unloading of van and taxi passengers. For the 24th Street BART station, staff is currently proposing to convert a parking spot located near the bulbout at the plaza into a passenger loading zone. Both proposals are currently being reviewed and once they are completed, a special notice will be issues to all taxi and van service providers. Annette applauded Ruach Graffis for bringing this issue up to the council.
Ramp Medallion Program Reform
Christiane Hayashi, director of Taxi and Accessible Services, presented on the proposed changes to the ramp medallion program. She acknowledged the work of the staff in implementing the ramp taxi incentive and enforcement program in improving the overall ramp taxi program. Currently, a new proposal is being made to allow the 100 ramp medallion holders to keep their ramp taxi medallion or to surrender their ramp medallion and purchase a regular medallion for $300,000. However, for the first 200 qualified individuals on the waiting list, they will be given the opportunity to buy a regular medallion for $150,000. All ramp medallion holders will receive an offer to purchase a regular medallion at half price. Should ramp medallion holder decide to retire and not keep their ramp medallion, they may surrender their ramp medallion and purchase a regular medallion at half price. Afterwards, they can sell the regular medallion at the full value of $300,000. This proposal will be presented to the SFMTA Board of Directors on February 5, 2013.
Should this new reform be approved, the next step would be to change how these ramp medallions are distributed should current holders return them for a regular medallion. Instead of distributing them to individuals on the waiting list, a new proposal is being introduced to distribute them to taxi companies who have demonstrated a high level of ramp taxi service through information provided by the debit card system. The goal is to reward taxi companies with ramp medallions to continue to provide a high level of service for wheelchair users. This will be included in the proposal that will be presented to the SFTMA Board of Directors on February 5, 2013.
Marty Smith asked for clarification as to how much money a medallion holder will receive should they purchase a discounted sedan medallion and sell it at full cost. Christiane Hayashi explained that once the person sells the sedan medallion, they will receive $90,000 after transfer fees. He would also like wheelchair pickups that are completed from San Francisco General Hospital and paid with a voucher be included in the overall wheelchair pickup total. Laurie Graham asked about the difference between transferring a sedan and ramp medallion. Christiane Hayashi replied that a FAQ is being developed to help answer these questions.
Ruach Graffis stated that although the incentive has improved ramp taxi service, she still has difficulties getting a ramp taxi on the weekends and late at night. She also mentioned that she saw a non qualified ramp driver operating a ramp taxi. Fred Lein stated that he has seen a ramp medallion operate in a sedan. Christiane Hayashi commented that the vehicle of this particular medallion holder had reached the end of its mileage and the individual is awaiting news of these new proposed changes before deciding whether to invest in a new ramp vehicle. Fred Lein also mentioned that the incentive awards do not cover the additional fuel cost for operating a non-hybrid ramp taxi. Roland Wong mentioned that many ramp drivers are opting out of the ramp taxi program and wants new incentives to keep these drivers. Christiane Hayashi agreed that new strategies are being brainstormed. John Lazar stated that the cost of operating and maintaining a ramp vehicle is more expensive compared to the operating/maintenance costs for a sedan vehicle. Annette Williams replied that once ramp medallions are being distributed to taxi companies instead of individual medallion holders, one criteria will be introduced that will have taken into consideration how these taxi companies will incentivize and retain ramp taxi drivers in exchange for consideration provided by SFMTA.
John Lazar said he would like to see that all drivers undergo training to operate a ramp taxi. Laurie Graham estimated that a total of eight drivers have attended the past few ramp taxi training course. Cheryl Damico agreed that the number of drivers attending these training has decreased. Christiane Hayashi stated that a new copy of the driver training book will include sensitivity training and that future taxi training will include a greater emphasis on interacting with persons with disabilities. Ruach Graffis has told drivers that the best way to get good shifts is to complete the ramp taxi training course.
Taxi Passenger Information Monitor
Christiane Hayashi also presented on the SFMTA’s requirements regarding rear seat passenger information monitor (PIM) for San Francisco taxis. Recently, these devices have been installed in the back seat of taxis to give passengers information but may or may not comply with standards yet to be established by the City and these devices may not be accessible to those in the low vision and blind community. Christiane Hayashi hopes to work with vendors and advocates in San Francisco to create a universal national standard for PIMs so that these devices do not vary from taxi to taxi. Among the standards include setting universal command buttons placement, audio of the information on the screen, and an option to turn off the PIM should passengers not want it on. The Paratransit debit card will still need to be handed to the driver in order to process and pay for a trip via the driver’s front seat device. In a future meeting, Christiane Hayashi hopes to have a model of a new and accessible PIM to show members how the devices will work.
Roland Wong asked whether a passenger in the front seat of a taxi would be able to reach around and use the rear seat device. Christiane Hayashi replied that they can activate it from the front seat. Olivia Santiago asked if these devices will be available in different languages. Christiane Hayashi stated that this is a possibility that they can explore. Sandra Fancher commented that those in the visually impaired community do not need any additional equipment to carry in order to use these devices and requested that the audio be clear. Fred Lein inquired as to whether the existing PIMs are capable of meeting these new standards. Christiane Hayashi answered that it would depend on the vendor of the device and that some may only need to upgrade their software. Kaye Griffin stated that the existing devices are very small and display commercials that she does not want to hear. Christiane Hayashi replied that the current draft of the PIM standards includes a requirement that passengers have the option of turning of the device’s sound.
PC&O SF Access Subcommittee Report
Annette Williams read the following report:
I. Service Provider Report-MV Transportation
II. SF Access Service Quality Update
III. SF Broker Report
Next SF Access subcommittee meeting is scheduled for March 6th, 2012 from 10:30 to 12:30 at the SF Paratransit office on 68 12th Street.
PC&O Group Van Subcommittee Report
Jonathan Cheng read the following report:
I. SFMTA and the Broker’s office said a number of service issues came to their attention last year. Those issues included the inability of some Group Van centers to meet minimum ridership requirements, and providers having issues with excessive ride time. This year SFMTA staff and the Broker’s office are looking at evaluating the way group van currently operates in order to maintain the quality of service centers want, while also providing economic productivity for the providers.
II. Service Quality Issues
III. SF Broker Report
The next Group Van Subcommittee meeting is scheduled for April 3, 2012 from 10:30 to 12:30 at the SF Paratransit office on 68 12th Street.
Paratransit Broker Report
John Sanderson and Marc Soto read the following report:
Olivia Santiago stated that while it great that MV Transportation has achieved an 85 percent on time performance, there may have been a variety of factors that may have contributed to it, such as lower ridership due to the holidays and more cancellations. She also asked for clarification as to the complaints about long ride times. Marc Soto stated that these complaints discussed earlier related to group van service, not SF Access service. John Sanderson added that the broker can segregate the complaints based on several different categories and can devote more time to investigation should there be an increase in these type of complaints. Roland Wong commented that he felt scheduling can be improved to shorten ride times. Marc Soto answered that the goal for SF Access is that ride time must be comparable to fixed route service and this may result in some less convenient geographic routing of passengers. Wanee Ratanasanguan and Lurilla Harris reiterated these concerns about long ride times.
Fred Lein asked if there is an update on the 4th quarter incentive report. Marc Soto replied that these report have not been generated yet and there will be a report prepared for the next meeting. Lurilla Harris would like to be included in the review of the questions for 2013 Customer Satisfaction Survey. Marc Soto responded that the meetings would be public.
Lurilla Harris stated that some vans have high steps with no handles or stepping stool to help passengers into the vehicle. Genevieve Bayan repeated this request. She would also like to see the van number inside the vans. Lurilla Harris would also like a standardized model for the seat belt inside the van. Marc Soto stated that there are different van models in operation and the seat belt model may differ. Genevieve Bayan stated that the F-line is difficult to board at certain stops.
Lurilla Harris announced that the new SF Jazz Center has opened.
The next PCC meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 27, 2013
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 711 Eddy Street
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