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Minutes of November 15, 2007

Members Present:
Les Clark (Chair), Janet Copriviza, Jean Ellis-Jones (TWU250A), Edward Evans, Paul Fichera (Secretary), Melvin Galloway (ARC), Ed Harley, Jean Kempf, Miro Kielbus (ASL Community), Dave Longa, Jeanne Lynch (SAN), Bruce Morgan, Bruce Oka, Roger Rose, Vernon Smith (Vice-Chair), Ursula Steck, Arden Wheeler

Rae Chamberlain (excused), Barbara George (JLMB), Randall Glock

Accessible Services Staff Present:
Jamie Osborne, Virginia Rathke, Annette Williams

Beth Berensen (Lighthouse), John Duchene, Jim Lowe (Muni Planning), Bob Planthold (SAN), Roland Wong

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 1:04PM.


Introductions were made in lieu of a roll call.

Reading and approval of agenda

The agenda was approved as presented.

Approval of the minutes from October MAAC meeting:

The minutes for the October 18, 2007 MAAC meeting were approved unanimously.

Comments from the Chair
MAAC Chair, Les Clark, reported that he sees a marked improvement in the way that both bus and rail operators are announcing stops and transfer points. He also requested that the December 20, 2007 MAAC meeting be cancelled as many members and guests may be unable to attend.

Members approved cancelling the December meeting and hold a “post-holiday” party on January 17, 2008.

MAAC Member Nomination, Ursula Steck
The committee unanimously voted to extend MAAC membership to Ursula Steck. This new member brings the membership total up to 20 members.

Operator Accessibility Training Curriculum
Jamie Osborne discussed the current new operator training curriculum. The curriculum is as follows:
1. Introduction
2. Disability Awareness Quiz
3. The 10 Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities video
4. Disability Etiquette
· VSA Arts Disability Awareness Guide
5. Intro to Disability Rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
6. History of Access at SF Muni
· Muni Access Guide
7. Muni Access Specifics:
· People with Mobility Disabilities
- Operator Maintenance Responsibilities
- Boarding Passengers
- Wayside Platform / Wayside Lift Basics
- Securement Policy / Practice
- Rider Pass Ups
- Sawtooth Hazard Triangles
· People who are Blind / Visually Impaired
- Stop Announcements
- Pass Ups
· Seniors
- Yielding Front Seats
- Allow additional time for boarding / alighting
· Muni Service Animal Policy
- Project Action Service Animal Guide

8. Questions
The various pieces of the curriculum were reviewed. The committee was shown the training video “The 10 Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities.” Committee members and guests provided feedback and specific comments on the training curriculum and the training resources.

Bob Planthold – “Are there any considerations for SFMTA staff and other city agencies to view the training video.”

Dave Longa – “Are there any training videos available through APTA that would address specific accessibility issues for public transit.”

Jean Ellis-Jones – “The language about operator maintenance should be changed to say Preop.”

Miro Kielbus – “I’ve experienced communication problems with both station agents and fare inspectors.”

Ed Evans – “Operators should pay close attention to the responsibility of filling out the defect cards. They should also be instructed not to pit riders with disabilities against non-disabled riders.”

Dave Longa – “Many times, the lift cannot be recycled in the yard because of space constraints. Also, defect cards don’t’ get always get passed between operators or picked up by maintenance.”

Ursula Steck – “If an operator says that the lift is not working, I offer to call Muni for the operator. Sometimes the lift starts working after I offer to make the call.”

John Duchene – “I get frustrated when a lift is out of service, and dispatch tells the operator to keep the bus in service.”

Jeanne Lynch – “Operators should be better trained to lower the lift for people who are not wheelchair users.”

Paul Fichera – “Muni policy is that if the lift is defective, then the vehicle should go to the end of the line and wait for a replacement coach… depending on coach availability.”

Ursula Steck – “Operators who really take charge of their bus, those are the ones who have the least problems. This sort of attitude should be emphasized in the training.”


Les Clark introduced the fifth MAAC goal priority that was identified in previous meetings. He outlined the problem that some Muni operators don’t wait for seniors to be seated before moving forward.

MAAC members and guests offered their observations about this issue:

Dave Longa – “Drivers are concerned about their schedules. I think that operator’s adherence to the schedule is the cause of many if not all of the issues that we’ve discussed.”

Ed Evans – “Operators need to get out of their seats and see what is happening in their buses.”

Barbara George – “There is no Muni policy that requires operators to wait. In instances when the rider is headstrong and independent, waiting for them to sit causes a fight.”

Jean Ellis-Jones – “There are also inconsistencies with boarding riders with strollers and shopping carts. These are difficult issues for operators. We need clarity from Muni regarding the policies with these two issues.”

Barbara George – “Why isn’t anyone screaming about the width of the coaches. There is much competition for space between seniors and wheelchair users. People have to fold up like folding chairs in order for wheelchair users to get on board.”

Bob Planthold – “Regarding strollers and carts, ADA calls for a reasonable accommodation. I think that we should pursue a regulation determination for what “Disability” means or what “Disabled” looks like.”

Miro Keilbus – “I think that shopping carts should not be allowed on the bus during morning and evening rush hours.”

Vernon Smith – “On the new green buses, I think that the aisles are too narrow. Whatever they are giving up for inches they will be paying for in bad PR.”

Annette Williams – “The low-floor vehicles make it easy to board, but the wheel wells constrict the passageways.”

Julie Kirschbaum & Elson Hao, New Accessible SFMTA Modes: Double Decker Buses
Julie Kirschbaum reviewed her role as the program manager for the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) and spoke to the committee about the upcoming three-week demonstration of Double Deck buses. She described San Francisco’s need for high-capacity buses and lack of space for transit vehicles. She emphasized that the demonstration will be only a test.

SFMTA is not currently looking at purchasing any of these vehicles. The vehicle that they are testing has not been configured to meet SFMTA’s needs. SFMTA wishes to learn more about the maneuverability, boaring times and accessibility issues inherent to double deck buses to see if they would be an appropriate addition to its fleet.

Ms. Kirschbuam and Elson Hao took questions from the committee about the demonstration.

Jeanne Lynch – “Is this bus to accommodate tourists?” [NO.]

Ed Evans – “We looked at these buses years ago. Why are we exploring a service that was previously rejected?”

Bruce Morgan – “Will the overhead wires make it difficult for double deck buses and won’t it take longer for people to climb down the stairs to get off?”

Miro Keilbus – “Double decker buses in London were very nice. However, how will riders be warned that their stop is coming up – Will there be a notification system?”

Beth Berensen – “What ADA features will be on the bus? How will riders with visual disabilities be told that they are getting on a different bus?”

Dave Longa – “I was involved on the previous trial in the late 1990s with a Greyline bus. This bus was assigned to the 38 and what is now the 47 line. I had concerns for the safety for the riders on the second floor of the bus. There was no security camera.”

Bob Planthold – “What about safety for people on the staircases? How will they be kept clear? It is Muni liability if I trip and fall. Just because these buses are being used in Las Vegas does not mean that they are legal. I believe that these vehicles are not programmatically accessible and that riders who are stuck on the lower floor should get the same view as those who can climb upstairs.”

Ursula Steck – “I rode the double deck buses in London. The staircase is in the front so that operators can monitor it. The wheelchair entry is in the middle of the vehicle – I feel that this is good for independence. I feel that the right to see the view upstairs is not an issue – That sounds a bit over the top. I take Muni to get from point A to point B.”

Arden Wheeler – “These buses are a recipe for disaster! People will get mugged, robbed and stabbed because they feel that the operator can’t see the crime. By the time you get up there it is over with!”

Hyde and Turk Bus Shelter Review
Jamie Osborne gave the members an update on the bus shelter removal at Hyde and Turk. Based on the testimonies that took place during a November 1st hearing, it was determined that the shelter and seating would not be reinstalled. He distributed a letter to the committee that was submitted to Peter Straus on behalf of MAAC and took questions from the group.

Ed Evans – “This is a crime problem – not a transit one! The Police captain said that he could not do his job. This is a big problem as the rationale they used could be used to get rid of any bus shelter in the city. We need to fight this blatant discrimination.”

ADA Complaints for July, October 2005-2007
Jamie Osborne shared the complaint numbers for October 2005-2007 and answered ADA compliant and Muni passenger service questions with the Committee.

Bruce Oka – “This is a little off topic, but I’ve been seeing more instances of operators getting ‘happy feet.’ I think that we have to add unsafe driving to the list of ADA violation codes.”

Dave Longa – “We need to also be looking at commendation data.”

Annette Williams – “Remember it is easier for people to make complaints now that 311 is taking customer complaints.”

John Duchene – “I had a hearing with three operators - None of them showed up! Why am I taking time out of my day, if no one is going to show up. 311 is not doing a good job taking complaint information.”

Muni Accessibility Advisory Recognition Award Nominations
There were no nominations for the Muni Accessibility Advisory Recognition Award.

Member’s Questions and Comments
Vernon Smith – “I would like to make a suggestion that MAAC members be required to call in a certain quota of ADA complaints.”

Paul Fichera – “I suggest that you go out on our own and try the double deck bus. You will get a better picture of how it works if it is not in a controlled environment.”

Due to time constraints, the remaining items were tabled for the next meeting.

At 3:10PM, the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting is scheduled for next year - Thursday, JANUARY 17, 2008, at 1:00PM.


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