Paratransit Coordinating Council (PCC) > March 28, 2012, minutes
PCC Executive Committee Meeting
March 28, 2012
711 Eddy Street, San Francisco
PCC Executive Committee Members Present: Stu Smith, PCC Chair; Jane Bolig, PCC Vice Chair; Marty Smith, PCC Secretary; Adrienne Humphrey; Cheryl Damico; Erma Brim; Fred Lein; Genevieve Bayan; Harvey Katz; Jacy Cohen; Jane Redmond; Jeanne Lynch; John Lazar; John Murphy; Kaye Griffith; Laurie Graham; Olivia Santiago; Pam Martinez; Roland Wong; Ruach Graffis; Anna Krevets; Wanee Ratanasanaguan
PCC Members and Guests: Genya Ehrlich; Bruce Oka; Troy Barnes; Annie M. Young; Terrence Strong; Gratchia Makarian; Peter Jacobs
PCC Executive Committee Member Excused: Erma Brim; Joseph Flanagan; Sandra Fancher; Ursula McGuire
SF Paratransit Staff: Marc Soto; Paul Okunewitch; John Sanderson; Aaron Bonfilio
SFMTA: Annette Williams; Kate Toran; Jonathan Cheng
Stu Smith, PCC Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:35 a.m.
Read and Approve Agenda
Marty Smith, PCC Secretary, read the agenda. Stu Smith amended agenda to include a policy statement drafted by Jane Bolig. The agenda was motioned/seconded/passed as amended.
Approve Minutes of February 9 meeting
Kate Toran stated that Joseph Flanagan’s name was missing from the list of “present” PCC members. Jane Bolig mentioned that she made several small edits to the minutes and emailed those corrections to Jonathan Cheng. The minutes were motioned/seconded/approved as amended.
Comments from the Chair
Stu Smith helped distribute contact information for PCC members. Kate Toran added that the contact information should only be used for PCC-related matters. Stu thanked all the PCC members for their hard work.
Ramp Enforcement Implementation Plan
Kate Toran talked about the new enforcement plan regarding the minimum wheelchair pickup requirement by ramp taxis (eight wheelchair pickups required per month, six of which must be documented in the SF Paratransit debit card report). These regulations were approved on December 6, 2011, and went into effect 30 days later. A letter was sent out to every ramp medallion holder as well as all color schemes informing them of the new regulations. SFMTA Accessible Services has been meeting with Taxi Services to develop an enforcement implementation plan. Warning letters will be sent out in April to all color schemes, dispatch services, and non-compliant ramp medallion holders. Color schemes and dispatch services will receive letters detailing those ramp medallions that met and those that did not meet the minimum wheelchair pickup requirement. Non-compliant ramp medallion holders will be informed of the level of service they provided for January, February, and March. Also included in that letter will be suggestions on how they can increase their number of wheelchair pickups in order to meet these new regulations. Starting in May, citations will be issued to ramp medallion holders with zero or one paratransit wheelchair pickup for the month of April. In June, all non-compliant ramp medallion holders will be issued a citation for service provided in May. Also added to the regulations is a requirement that ramp medallion applicants have at least 100 of their required 156 wheelchair pickups documented in the debit card system.
Stu Smith asked about the consequences of a ramp medallion holder receiving a citation. Kate replied that those who receive a citation will have to pay a $150 fine. If a ramp medallion holder receives three or more of these citations within a six month period, their medallion will be suspended. Chronic non-compliance may lead to a revocation of the ramp medallion.
Kate emphasized that paratransit wheelchair trips provided by all drivers under a medallion will count toward the month’s total. Marc followed up by asking whether completing ambulatory paratransit trips in a ramp taxi would count towards this new standard. Kate answered that ambulatory trips completed will not count toward the minimum wheelchair requirement. The regulations specify that only wheelchair pickups will count toward the eight required pickups. Marty Smith asked whether the two non-paratransit wheelchair pickups could be private wheelchair passengers and if so, how will SFMTA track these pickups. Kate responded that the two wheelchair pickups can be non-SF Paratransit wheelchair users. It is the responsibility of the driver to keep a record of these trips on their waybills and that they are subject to an audit by SFMTA. Kate announced that a flyer is being distributed to certified SF Paratransit wheelchair users to encourage them to use the ramp taxi program to increase demand.
Ruach Graffis asked whether there is the capacity to investigate dispatch orders and the availability of ramp taxis. Kate stated that data from the debit card system does not track when a dispatch order was given and recommended that if anyone should be told that there is a long wait time for a ramp taxi to call 311 or SF Paratransit and make a complaint. Pam Martinez told Ruach that if she experiences a late pickup from Yellow Cab to call the administrative offices to inform them of the situation. Kate encouraged paratransit wheelchair users to call in their complaints because SFMTA staff often hears from ramp medallion holders that there is a lack of demand while many wheelchair users express frustrations about the lack of available ramp taxis. Jane Redmond stated that she has difficulty getting a sedan taxi. Roland Wong and Wanee Ratanasanguan spoke of similar experiences.
Cheryl Damico inquired as to how the average number of wheelchair pickups is formulated for the ramp incentive program. Kate stated that the average number of wheelchair pickups is derived by averaging the number of wheelchair pickups completed by all ramp taxi drivers who have completed three or more wheelchair pickups for that month.
Laurie Graham stated that it was her understanding that although drivers are not held accountable for the new minimum wheelchair requirement, any driver applying for a ramp medallion will have to meet this standard. Kate clarified that although there has been no change to the number of wheelchair pickups a ramp medallion applicant must complete, at least 100 of the 156 required pickups must be been documented in the debit card data. All ramp medallion holders are required to meet the new monthly pickup standard.
Gratchia Makarian stated that although he supports the ramp taxi program, he does not agree with the new regulations that require ramp medallion holders to provide a minimum level of service for wheelchair users. He does not want ramp medallion holders to be penalized for a lack of service to wheelchair users when there are not enough dispatch calls to meet eight wheelchair pickup minimum. He also criticized SFMTA for not enforcing other rules regarding the ramp taxi program. Peter Jacobs endorsed a centralized dispatch service.
Marty stated that he believes that adding more medallions will help meet the demand of an aging population. John Lazar supported these statements, stating that each Luxor cab provides service to about 82 people every day. He asserted that there is a greater level of demand than the current supply can support. Kate replied that these new regulations have already impacted service provided to wheelchair customers. There have been about 200 more wheelchair pickups in February 2012 than in January 2012. This is a reversal of the same time last year when these was a decrease in the overall number of wheelchair pickups from January to February. In addition, not every ramp medallion holder at each color scheme has achieved complete compliance with these new regulations, indicating that there may be enough ramp medallions to support the needs of the customers. Marc answered that about 3,000 to 4,000 SF Paratransit clients are wheelchair users.
Draft of Policy Statement
Jane Bolig introduced a policy statement she drafted on behalf of the PCC. In this statement, the PCC requests that all city agencies, when developing transportation projects that may affect seniors and persons with disabilities, seek input from this council in the initial stages of the project as opposed to the final stages. Members of the PCC often feel like this council is not in the loop soon enough and would like to be consulted sooner. Jane then read a draft of this policy statement.
Bruce Oka stated that the SFMTA Board of Directors encourages the PCC and MAAC to be involved in the early stages of any transportation project. Staff at SFMTA should go through these councils before finalizing the designs for various projects. Jane mentioned that signage placement is an important project that the PCC should get involved in. Kate said that although the intentions of this policy statement is clear, the language has to be more concise and specific as to the type of transportation project in which the PCC would like to be consult on. Annette Williams concurred with Kate’s statement as well as raised questions as to how this policy will be implemented. Stu Smith supports this statement as a policy statement and not an action item.
Kate Toran mentioned that former PCC member, Griff Humphrey, had been involved in other committees, particularly the SFMTA Citizen Advisory Council (CAC). His involvement in this council provided a forum to voice paratransit issues regarding transportation projects. With Roland Wong now on the SFMTA CAC, the PCC now has another strong advocate for the needs of the paratransit in transportation projects. Jeanne Lynch said that there needs to be communication with Multi Modal Accessibility Advisory Committee (MMAAC) about this policy and suggested that Roland present this to the council. Roland stated that he is on many committees and there are a lot of transportation projects occurring. However, if there is a specific project that may affect paratransit service, speakers involved with that specific project can speak to the PCC.
Kaye Griffin supports this policy, citing the design of the Transbay Transit Center as a project that needed greater input from seniors and persons with disabilities. Marty Smith concurred with Kaye, stating that greater involvement by the PCC in the early stages of a project can prevent issues from arising once the project has been completed.
PC&O SF Access Subcommittee Report
Jane Redmond read the following report:
· The PC&O SF Access Subcommittee meeting was held on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at the SF Paratransit Broker’s Office.
· Election of new PC&O SF Access Vice Chair:
o Jane Redmond was elected by acclamation as the new Vice Chair of the PC&O SF Access subcommittee.
· Service Provider Reports:
o John Murphy described MV’s efforts to improve on-time performance by overhauling the subscription templates in the Trapeze routing and scheduling software, and by using some new dispatch and scheduling procedures.
o The group discussed MV’s telephone system, particularly the “countdown” feature that informs callers of their place in the on-hold queue.
o Several subcommittee members expressed concerns about the sedans, temporarily in service with MV.
o The group talked about the issue of long ride times.
· Kate Toran delivered a brief update on Bike Lane/Paratransit Issues.
· Kate Toran updated the group about the PCC Vehicle Name Project.
o The next step in the process is to get permission from the families’ of the nominees.
o The name of each honoree will be painted onto the side of a bus by the manufacturer of the new vehicles.
· Paratransit Broker Report
o The new Group Van contracts are expected to commence by the beginning of May 2012.
o The new SF Paratransit website has been developed and is under review by SFMTA.
o Mentor Engineering was selected as the vendor/manufacturer for the Mobile Data Computer project.
§ The City will purchase up to 120 units for installation in the Muni owned vehicles, and some provider owned vehicles on both the SF Access and Group Van service modes.
§ Installations will begin soon and should be complete by the end of May, 2012.
o 26 new vehicles will be acquired as replacements for the 20 600-series cutaways owned by Muni.
§ As necessary, Muni will retain the 600 series vehicles for use in Group Van service.
o The 2012 SF Paratransit Customer Satisfaction Survey will begin soon.
o Aaron Bonfilio has returned to SF Paratransit as the new Director of Finance and Administration
· The next PC&O SF Access Subcommittee meeting is scheduled for June 6, 2012 at the Broker’s office from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM.
Jane Bolig stated that Patrick Larkin, a program director at Golden Gate Senior Center, has mentioned that MV’s service has greatly improved. Jane Redmond agreed.
PC&O Ad Hoc Survey Review Subcommittee
Kate Toran reported on that on March 14, there was a special ad hoc subcommittee meeting to discuss and review the proposed 2012 Paratransit Customer Satisfaction Survey instrument. The attendees reviewed and suggested edits to the survey questions. Kate announced that once the survey is concluded, a representative from Corey, Canapary & Galanis Research will present their findings at a future PCC meeting. Kate also thanked Roland Wong for attending the meeting.
Paratransit Broker Report
Marc Soto read the following report:
· SF Paratransit Goal Report: Kate Toran summarized the SF Paratransit Goals Report for FY10-11 and the current FY11-12. Overall, complaints are lowest for group van service while the highest for SF Access service. However, with a new service provider, SF Paratransit hopes the number of complaints decrease. In terms of the on-time performance, there has been a change as to how it is measured for taxi service. Whereas in previous years, SF Paratransit would randomly survey taxi riders, with the new debit card data, we can now ask patrons about specific taxi trips.
· SF Access Start Up Report: Terrence Strong has stated that MV Transportation has strived to improve the on-time performance. On-time performance has improved, however, it has not reached the level MV wants and they will continue working hard to improve the service. There is a new scheduling process that has helped improve their on-time performance. Since the last meeting, MV Transportation has reduced the number of complaints and decreased the number of passengers who have had to wait for over an hour. Marc also stated that MV Transportation has been able to decrease the wait times for telephone calls.
· Group Van Contracts Update: Marc stated that SF Paratransit is preparing “Notice of Intent” letters to inform the selected service providers that they have been awarded group van contracts. SF Paratransit will work with the selected service providers to finalize the contracts.
· Shop-A-Round Update: Paul Okunewitch provided an update about Shop-A-Round service. There are 443 registered van clients and 62 clients registered for the taxi component of Shop-A-Round. As a promotional effort, the fares on Shop-A-Round have been waived until mid-August and there are plans to expand the number of shopping locations.
· Mobile Data Computer (MDC) project update: Mentor Engineering was awarded the contract to install these MDCs in paratransit vehicles. SF Paratransit will be conducting pilot testing of these new devices starting in April.
Gratchia Makarian announced that he met with representatives from several other taxi companies to discuss his proposed changes to the minimum service requirement for ramp taxis. A consensus could not be reached. Annette Williams announced that there is Clean Air Grant that is being issued and SFMTA is working to receive funding for CNG MV-1 vehicles. Ruach Graffis stated that she would like to see the problem with access to the BART elevator from the sidewalk addressed. Kaye Griffin announced that there will be an Aging and Technology Disability Summit at City Hall on Tuesday, May 15th. Jonathan Cheng announced that there will be a meeting regarding the proposed separated bikeways for Oak and Fell St.
The next PCC meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 9, 2012
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