Paratransit Coordinating Council (PCC) > May 9, 2012, minutes
PCC Executive Committee Meeting
May 9, 2012
711 Eddy Street, San Francisco
PCC Executive Committee Members Present: Stu Smith, PCC Chair; Jane Bolig, PCC Vice Chair; Marty Smith, PCC Secretary; Anna Krevets; Cheryl Damico; Claudia Grubler; Erma Brim; Fred Lein; Genevieve Bayan; Gilda Chico; Harvey Katz; Jeanne Lynch; Kathryn Simpson; Laurie Graham; Patrick McCollum; Roland Wong; Ruach Graffis; Sandra Fancher; Wanee Ratanasanaguan
PCC Members and Guests: Genya Ehrlich; Larry Burkhat; Troy Barnes; Annie M. Young; Terrence Strong; Gratchia Makarian; Peter Jacobs; Sue Cauthen; Vernon Smith; Kevin Lee
PCC Executive Committee Member Excused: Adrienne Humphrey; Jacy Cohen; John Lazar; Ursula McGuire
SF Paratransit Staff: Marc Soto; John Sanderson
SFMTA: Ed Reiskin; Kate Toran; Jonathan Cheng; Matt West
Stu Smith, PCC Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:30 a.m.
Read and Approve Agenda
Marty Smith, PCC Secretary, read the agenda. The agenda was motioned/seconded/passed.
Approve Minutes of February 9 meeting
Jane Bolig noticed that Erma Brim’s name was included in both the “present” and “excused” list of PCC members. Her name will be crossed off the “excused” list in the revised edit of the February 9 minutes. The minutes were motioned/seconded/approved as amended.
Comments from the Chair
Stu Smith thanked all the PCC members for their hard work, particularly those who attend the PC&O subcommittee meetings. Stu also welcomed Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation, to the PCC and looks forward to forging a new working relationship between the council and SFMTA.
Greetings from Ed Reiskin
Stu Smith introduced Ed Reiskin to the PCC. Stu commented that during previous meetings, the council has requested that they be involved in the early stages of projects before any implementation phase. He noted that the PCC has been played an important role in many projects, including the Transbay Transit Center and the implementation of bike lanes throughout San Francisco. This was a backdrop to his comment that there are still times the PCC is not brought in early enough on some projects and improvement in this area is still needed.
At this point, the Chair turned the floor over to the SFMTA’s Transportation Director. Ed Reiskin provided a brief introduction about himself and his work experience with the city of San Francisco. He said he was encouraged by the agenda topics and the commitment by the staff at Accessible Services to respond to the transportation needs of the paratransit community. Mr. Reiskin acknowledged the need to better incorporate the perspectives and feedback of the PCC earlier into the development of transportation projects. He cited the bike lane policy as an area where there needs to be greater communication in the early stages. Mr. Reiskin stated that he felt the paratransit program was moving in a good direction, with new regulations regarding the ramp taxi program in effect and a relatively smooth transition of service providers for SF Access.
Stu Smith commented that a persistent topic during meetings is complaints that taxis are not accepting the paratransit debit card. PCC members have noticed that drivers in smaller color schemes are less likely to accept the debit card for payment. Laurie Graham mentioned she received a complaint from a passenger whose driver refused to accept the debit card and only took cash. As it turned out, the driver was from an out of town taxi company. Mr. Reiskin stated that SFMTA is working with the police to provide greater enforcement of regulations regarding illegal taxis. As for the issue concerning drivers who do not accept the paratransit debit card, Mr. Reiskin noted that new regulations regarding the ramp taxi program will lead to greater compliance among taxi drivers. He did encourage all members to call in a complaint to the City’s 3-1-1 department should they encounter this situation. Jane Bolig mentioned that all legal taxis have proper signage with “San Francisco Taxicab” emblazoned on the sides of the taxi. She recommended an educational outreach program to inform the public about illegal taxis. Fred Lein commented that he recently heard from a passenger that was solicited by an illegal cab.
Stu Smith also brought up the need for SUV and ramp taxi drivers to carry a stepping-stool as it helps some passengers step into the vehicle. Kate Toran answered that while certain color schemes do require their drivers to carry a stepping-stool in their vehicles, other drivers have expressed concerns about the safety, as some passenger may not be able to safely step up onto the stool. Marc Soto said that he would like to see a technological solution to this problem,, whereby each taxi’s In-Taxi Equipment (ITE) would be programmed to indicate type of vehicle (sedan, ramp, SUV). Then the computerized dispatch systems used by most taxi companies could send requests for service only to the specific vehicle type when requested. Jeanne Lynch stated that although she only requests sedan taxis, often times she is picked up by a van and has a hard time entering the vehicle. Vernon Smith stated that the computerized dispatch should state the type of vehicle requested. Gilda Chico reiterated that now when she calls for a taxi, the dispatcher already has her preferred vehicle information. Jane Bolig raised the issue that many taxi drivers do not accept credit cards and would like to see signage for passengers stating that credit and debit cards are accepted.
Ruach Graffis remarked that there are no legal drop-off zones near the BART elevator on Mission Street. She stated a need for designated vehicle drop-off zones on Mission and Market Street, situated near elevators, so that taxi drivers can unload their passengers and not risk receiving a citation. Mr. Reiskin replied that these concerns are being taken into consideration, especially in the redesign of the Market Street corridor. Cheryl Damico noted that there is a decade-old policy document, dated from former mayor Willie Brown, stating that taxi drivers can load and unload passengers at bus stops and blue zones. She requested that an updated version of the policy memo be issued. Laurie Graham said that a member had posted all the letters regarding policies regarding pick-ups and drop-off zones. Kate Toran answered that she has more an updated bulletin and will make it available. Kate also commented that should a taxi river receive a citation, she would follow up and the decade-old policy still stands.
Peter Jacobs would like to receive a report one week prior to the end of the month to ensure that the ramp taxi will meet the minimum monthly pick-up requirement. He also wanted a more standard method for individual ramp taxi drivers to document their non-paratransit wheelchair pick-ups. Marty Smith stated that Luxor Cab personally tracks their non-paratransit pick-ups. He would also like the minimum wheelchair pick-ups requirement increased. Kate Toran suggested that each individual ramp taxi medallion holder and color scheme should keep track of their non-paratransit wheelchair trips and that those trips could be audited by SFMTA Taxi Division at any time, and that this had been suggested in a memo to drivers and companies.
Kevin Lee stated that many taxi drivers display their taxi A-card or ID number on the dashboard, making it difficult to obtain adequate information should a complaint need to be filed. Mr. Reiskin reiterated that should passengers encounter this situation, they should immediately report it to 311 by providing date, time and cab number. Stu Smith said he would like to see MV-1 vehicles operate in San Francisco.
Election of Vacant Positions
Kate Toran announced that Genya Ehrlich would like to run for the Unaffliated Elderly seat on the PCC. Her nomination was seconded and Genya was elected to the PCC by acclamation. Kate announced that there are two seats in the Affiliated Elderly caucus. Sue Cauthen introduced herself and provided a detailed background as to her level of public service. Ruach Graffis nominated Sue. Her nomination was seconded and she was elected to the PCC by acclamation.
Ramp Enforcement and Incentive Report
Kate Toran summarized the ramp taxi enforcement and incentive report. Kate stated that there has been a phased implementation of the enforcement. First, letters were sent to all ramp medallion holders and color schemes informing them of the new regulations in January. For the first quarter of the calendar year, a warning letter was sent to ramp medallion holders who failed to meet the minimum wheelchair pick-up requirement. Each color scheme was also made aware of the number of ramp medallions that failed to meet this standard every month. Starting in May 2012, 19 citations were issued to ramp medallion holders who completed less than two wheelchair pick-ups for service completed in April. 11 additional warning letters were sent to ramp medallion holders who completed less than six wheelchair pick-ups and their color schemes. For service completed in May, all ramp medallion holders who completed less than six wheelchair pick-ups will be cited. There has been an increase in the number of wheelchair pick-ups completed in April 2012 compared to last month as well as April 2011.
In 2011, there were over $39,000.00 worth of awards given to over 70 individual drivers. Another $6,000.00 worth of incentives were given to Luxor Cab, which provided the highest number of monthly wheelchair pick-ups per medallion for 2012. In the first quarter of 2012, $10,450.00 worth of incentive awards went out. About $9,000.00 went to 35 individual drivers with Luxor awarded the $1,500.00 fleet bonus.
Roland Wong stated that he has been able to get a ramp taxi if he has the phone number of the ramp driver. Cheryl Damico concurred with Roland’s statement. Claudia Grubler has also noticed a more positive experience with ramp drivers.
Multimodal Accessibility Advisory Committee (MAAC) Presentation
Kate Toran introduced Matt West, SFMTA Fixed Route Accessibility Coordinator, who also staffs the Multimodal Accessibility Advisory Committee (MAAC). Matt was accompanied by Kevin Lee, vice chair of MAAC, and Vernon Smith, an active MAAC member. Matt gave an overview of MAAC, which is an advisory council that provides feedback from the perspective of seniors and persons with disabilities as to the accessibility of SFMTA’s projects. The group has been actively involved in the Transit Effectiveness Project, including bus stop consolidation and bulb-outs, as well as operator training. They meet once a month and it is open to the public.
Genya Ehrlich asked if there can be an increase in the number of blue zones in the city. Matt replied that the MAAC recently had a presentation from the manager of SFpark and a committee is currently being formed. Jane Bolig wanted meeting notices for the MAAC meetings. Kate Toran replied that she and Matt can coordinate together to make sure members will receive the meeting notices for both councils. Genevieve Bayan mentioned that many MUNI bus lifts do not operate correctly. Matt answered that she should report these incidents to 311. Mr Reiskin said that the upcoming budget allocates additional funds for maintenance and that SFMTA is tracking the functionality of the bus lifts at the beginning and end of their runs. Cheryl Damico asked if Segway scooters are allowed on MUNI buses. Matt responded that he has not encountered this situation yet. Kaye Griffin brought up the issues of strollers, which occupy the seats designated for seniors and persons with disabilities, on MUNI vehicles. Kevin Lee and Roland Wong are staying up-to-date as to any new information. Erma Brim would like to stay informed about this issue.
Report on Transbay Transit Center: Paratransit Curb Allocation
Roland Wong read the following report:
On Thursday, April, 19, 2012, a meeting with the Transbay Transit Center team and representatives from many taxi companies at the Transbay Transit Center office and discussed pickup and drop off location at the new Transit Center.
To summarize the discussions were:
1. Natoma between 1st/Fremont (one-way west-bound)
Paratransit – This street segment was understood to be a key paratransit zone which would benefit from its adjacency to the Grand Hall.
Taxi – Taxis may be unlikely to cruise by to seek passengers.
2. Minna Street between 2nd/1st (one-way east-bound)
for Paratransit vehicles – a designation of a 60’ section of Minna Street at the vehicle curb cut for paratransit use was requested.
Transit-only lane – Use of Minna Street would be more manageable if a transit-only lane on the west side of First Street could be introduced. This would allow taxis to exit Minna Street without being caught in traffic queued to the Bay Bridge.
Continuing a transit-only lane on the west side of First Street from Howard to Folsom Street was also requested.
3. Mission at First –
Taxi – When area streets become congested, taxi drivers take advantage of the south-bound transit-only lane between Market/Mission to make a transit-only left turn on to Mission Street. From there, they can make a quick visual assessment down Mission toward the Embarcadero whether there are fares wanting to catch a taxi. When streets are congested, the drivers suggested that they might drop TTC-bound passengers off on the south side of Mission at Fremont so as not to get caught in First Street traffic.
The current proposal for the south side of Mission Street between First and Fremont streets dedicates all available curb space for Muni passenger drop-off, except for a bulb-out at the First Street end.
4. Mission and Shaw –
Taxi – Both the north and south sides of Mission near Shaw Alley are currently active areas for taxi passengers to hail taxis. Drivers suggested that to avoid driving to Minna Street, they might be inclined to drop off Greyhound/Amtrak-bound passengers bound on the south side of Mission near Shaw Alley. Also, taxis try not to drive east on Mission when it backs up during the afternoon/evening commute.
Jane Bolig commented that she too attended the meeting and that they envisioned taxi access via the smaller streets behind Mission Street. She would like for members of the PCC to have greater access to the policymakers to ensure that these design proposals are implemented.
PC&O Group Van Subcommittee
Kate Toran read the following report on behalf of the Vice Chair, Jacy Cohen:
· The meeting was held on Wednesday April 4, 2012, at 10:30 am at the Broker’s Office.
· Election of new Vice Chair – Jacy Cohen was elected by acclamation as the new vice chair of the new vice chair of the PC&O Group Van Subcommittee
· ADHC / CBAS Transition – Sarah Chan of Self Help for the Elderly reported on the progress of the transition at many adult day facilities from Adult Day Health Care to Community Based Adult Services.
· Paratransit Broker’s Report – Kent Hinton announced that the new Group Van contracts would go into effect on May 1, and that the operational pilot phase of the Mobile Data Computer (MDC) installation will begin May 7. The group had a lengthy discussion about MDCs and what they will mean for the service.
· Under Service Quality Issues, the group talked about the departure of Mobility Plus as a Group Van provider and the transition from MPT to MV Transportation at a number of Group Van agencies.
· The meeting adjourned at 12:00 Noon
· The next PC&O Group Van meeting will be held on July 11, 2012 at 10:30 AM at the Broker’s office.
PC&O Ramp Taxi Subcommitee
Vice Chair Fred Lein read the following report:
· The PC&O Taxi/Ramp Taxi Subcommittee meeting was held on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at the SF Paratransit office.
· During the Comments from the Chair, with the implementation of the ramp incentive program the chair believes it would be beneficial to ramp drivers if all non-paratransit wheel chair trips be counted towards incentive payments.
· During the Ramp Taxi Driver Incentive and Enforcement update, 1st quarter ramp incentives were announced to the group.
o $5400.00 to Luxor drivers
o $1275.00 to Yellow Cab drivers
o $1725.00 to Desoto drivers
o Luxor Cab won the Company Incentive for all three months.
o Taxi Services will begin the Ramp Enforcement Program and will issue citations for medallions with 0-1 wheel chair pickups during the month of April 2012
· The group had a lengthy discussion about ramp medallions not being credited for non- paratransit wheel chair trips and no go’s then consequently being issued a citation through the enforcement program. The group discussed possible methods for verifying non-paratransit wheelchair pickups.
· During the Broker’s Report, The SF Access provider transition to Group Van contracts and the MDC pilot program will begin 5/7/2012, also staff changes at Veolia Transportation involving the Director of Operations. Announcement of 26 new vehicles have been ordered and will be added to the SF Access fleet in 2012.
· The next PC&O Taxi/Ramp Taxi Subcommittee meeting was announced August 1, 2012. Pending approval of the 2012 meeting schedule the next PCC Executive Committee meeting will be on 5/9/2012
Paratransit Broker Report
Marc Soto read the following report:
· SF Access Quality Report: Through the end of April 2012, there had been an overall decrease in the number of formal service complaints since MV Transportation took over the SF Access contract from MPT. On-time performance is currently hovering around 80 percent, which is a bit lower than the target goal. However there has been a substantial decrease in the number of “no show” trips. There remain issues concerning the long ride times, as paratransit ride times are required to be comparable to MUNI ride times but each is looked at on a case-by-case basis.
· Group Van Contracts Update: The new contracts are in effect as of May 1. The transition from MPT to MV Transportation as the primary group van provider was fairly smooth. 20 600-series vehicles have been transitioned from MPT to MV Transportation. MPT currently only operates Shop-A-Round but SF Paratransit staff is engaged in discussions with several other service providers to operate this program. The only group van contract that needs to be finalized is with Baymed Express (formerly operating as Medsam), who is currently operating under an extension agreement of the existing contract.
· Mobile Data Computer (MDC) project update: A pilot of the MDC has been launched with two buses currently using these devices. Drivers and dispatchers are being trained as to how to use the device. The system captures live data and helps managers identify routes that are running late. This will reduce the amount of paperwork and allow dispatchers to better manage routes.
· Paratransit Van Procurement Update: 26 new buses had been ordered by SFMTA to replace 20 of the SFMTA-owned vehicles and to expand the fleet by six vehicles. They are expected to be delivered in early July.
· Staff Changes: Paul Okunewitch has left SF Paratransit and has been replaced on an interim basis by John Sanderson. The IT department is being run by a professional management firm with a person working both on-site and remotely.
Genya Ehrlich asked whether or not dispatchers could attend these meetings to hear the issues from the consumers concerning late pick-ups. Marc Soto replied that this question was raised in the previous meeting and that MV Transportation is working internally with their corporate management and dispatchers to resolve problems that have been occurring. Also, MV had promised to conduct a survey of drivers to evaluate current satisfaction level with MV operations and service overall. MV promised to report back on the driver survey. Sue Cauthen concurred with this statement. Wannee Ratanasanguan stated that scheduling has made it difficult for drivers to be on time. Kate Toran commented that the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, which work in conjunction with the on board computers, may not be implemented due to technical issues, but that she will keep the PCC informed of the status as the project moves forward. Ruach Graffis asked that dispatchers not talk to drivers while they are driving.
Kate Toran announced that the Jewel McGinnis Luncheon will be held on Wednesday, June 20. She encouraged members to contact the staff if they have any suggestions for the event.
The next PCC meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 8, 2012
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 711 Eddy Street
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