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Minutes of May 20, 2010

Members Present:

Les Clark (Vice-Chair), Jan Copriviza, Elizabeth Dawson (Chair), Paul Fichera, Marc Grossman, Jean Kempf, Miro Kielbus, David Longa, Jeanne Lynch (Secretary), Bruce Morgan, Roger Rose, Byron Yan

Members Absent:

Edward Evans, Melvin Galloway, Randall Glock, Felton Peterson (JLMB), Vernon Smith, Roland Wong, F. Ross Woodall

Accessible Services Staff Present

Jamie Osborne, Virginia Rathke, Annette Williams


Deputy Chief John Murphy (SFPD), Griff Humphrey (SFMTA CAC), Tony Llama (SFMTA Security)

Call to Order

Meeting was called to order at 1:00 p.m.


Introductions were made in lieu of a roll call.

Reading and approval of agenda.

The agenda was approved.

Approval of the April 2010 Minutes

March minutes were accepted.

SFMTA | MAAC Bylaw Amendment

Jamie Osborne spoke to the committee regarding a proposed change in the Bylaws to modify the responsibilities of membership. Specifically, he modified the description: “riders of the San Francisco Municipal Railways” to “users of SFMTA Services (Public Transit, Streets, Parking, Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs).” He requested that the committee review the proposed changes and provide feedback at the next meeting.

SFMTA / SFPD Update, Deputy Chief John Murphy

SFMTA’s SFPD liaison, Deputy Chief John Murphy spoke to the committee about the agency’s recent efforts to keep transit customers safe and keep crime off of SFMTA vehicles.

DC Murphy reported that starting in January 2010, the SFPD is following a new plan of action that focuses on deploying officers to specific lines at specific times. The dedicated Muni Response Team (MRT) consists of One Sergeant, Eight Officers and Four Transit Security Administration (TSA) trained dogs who are dedicated to the Metro Subway. Thus, there is not a big complement of officers at any given time.

The SFPD analyzed citywide ridership and crime statistics to determine the most appropriate way to schedule patrols on transit vehicles per station. The statistics were broken down using the following metrics:

  • Day of occurrence
  • Hour of occurrence
  • What kind of crime was being committed
  • What Muni line the crime was being committed on
  • Where were the busiest intersections
  • Which buses needed the most SFPD attention

Under the new plan, each SFPD station is now responsible for developing a monthly calendar (based on actual crime statistics) which lays out a nuanced strategy to address the specific crimes occurring at specific locations and times. With the calendars and strategies, station captains can better support the MRT in policing the transit vehicles and facilities across the City.

DC Murphy noted that the captains review the percentage of the crime in their district that is committed on a Muni conveyance and address the numbers. For example, at central station, the biggest transit related problems were larcenies (pickpockets on buses). To best address these crimes, the station would utilize plain clothes officers. While in the Bayview, the biggest problems were fare evasion issues. Thus, the Bayview station monthly calendar relied heavily on a strong visual presence of officers in uniform. On lines where the transit line traverses different districts (like the 38 Geary), each district assigns officers to combine efforts to ride the buses during the busiest times of the day.

He described a task force of plain-clothes officers who are dedicated to target criminals that are committing the more violent crimes on the bus. “Snatch and grab” robberies predominantly involve the theft of technological devices such as phones, media players and computers. When transit customers listen to headphones on the bus, they are less aware of their surroundings, which in turn, contributes to the number of these crimes that are committed. It has been observed that criminals wait to commit the crime on their “home turf.” Once they reach their familiar neighborhood, they commit the crime and quickly exit the vehicle, thus making following and apprehending them very difficult for the victim. He noted that the task force has been very successful in apprehending perpetrators of these sorts of violent crimes (as well as addressing vandalism issues).

DC Murphy indicated that most crimes on the transit system are performed by juveniles. The San Francisco juvenile justice system focuses on a program of rehabilitation and offenders are often released from incarceration only to commit additional crimes.

MAAC members were concerned about the amount of time that each officer spent on the bus. DC Murphy reported that in the Richmond police district, most transit related crimes are committed on the 38 Geary between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays.

SFPD officers work in league with SFMTA Transit Fare Inspectors (TFI) in “Saturation” maneuvers where 6 to 8 TFIs join 2 to 3 SFPD officers to address fare evasion issues at very busy locations. At high public transit intersections such as 16th and Mission, Market and Montgomery, Van Ness and O’Farrell this group technique can very effective. Recently, the SFMTA has ordered a temporary moratorium on saturations to address the concerns of San Francisco immigrant rights organizations who have complained that transit customers who do not speak English are being unfairly targeted.

DC Murphy also mentioned that along with the new SFPD strategies, SFMTA has increased the maintenance and performance of its security systems. 98% of the cameras on the platforms and the buses are currently operational and have proven to be an excellent resource in identifying and bringing perpetrators to justice.

MAAC members wondered how the current economic climate has affected the San Francisco crime rate. DC Murphy indicated that the crime rate has in fact dropped secondary to the economy (this is also a national trend). Specifically, homicides have dropped by 58% and shootings have dropped 35% since 2007.

DC Murphy reported that there are approximately 1000 Muni vehicles on the streets each weekday that move 730,000 people in San Francisco. On average there are 3.5 police reports per day from Muni related activity. He noted that this is a very small number and emphasized that Muni is a very safe system. Of the top crimes reported are: Graffiti, Boisterous Activity (Being loud, smoking, creating a nuisance), Non-physical confrontation robberies (“Snatch and Grab” of portable electronics). To avoid such “crimes of opportunity,” he requested that members simply be aware of their surroundings.

SFMTA Security Program Update, Tony Lama

Transit Fare Inspector Supervisor, Tony Lama spoke to committee about the recent efforts of the SFMTA Security Program.

He gave some details about the program:

  • TFIs write between 7 and 15 citations daily.
  • TFIs have contributed to approximately $9 Million increase in SFMTA revenue.
  • Approximately 60% of the TFIs are assigned to buses while 40% are assigned to LRVs.
  • TFI teams are assigned to all of the routes where problems with fare evasion are reported.
  • TFIs are always in uniform and travel in pairs.
  • The minimum citation fine for not having valid proof of payment is $75.
  • To make complaints / commendations regarding the TFIs, customers may call the 3-1-1 customer service center with a description of the TFI, their TFI two-digit shield number and the specific details of the incident (date, time, location, route number, vehicle number and direction).
  • If they feel that they have been unfairly cited, contested citations may be brought to the Customer Service Center at 11 South Van Ness.

Mr. Lama requested feedback from the committee regarding and suggestions for routes / locations / times. MAAC members were concerned about how Translink card and readers are used to avoid paying fares. Mr. Lama noted that each TFI has a hand held Translink card-reader that can identify if the customer has paid their fare. If the customer waits to swipe the Translink card after the TFI boards the vehicle then they will receive a citation. Customers are required to swipe their card immediately on entry into the Muni vehicle.

MAAC members were concerned that TFIs were threatening customers. Mr. Lama noted that people are often upset and will frequently complain following a citation being issued. When a complaint is made, SFTMA pulls video from vehicle involved to verify details of the incident. Unfortunately, most complaints are unsubstantiated from the video footage.

MAAC members also wondered about the TFIs approach to non-English speakers. Mr. Lama indicated that TFIs have bi and tri-lingual staff (Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Samoan, Arabic, etc.) to meet the needs of most customers. Where the appropriate translation is not available, TFIs use cards with written phrases in Cantonese and Spanish corresponding to common requests (such as “May I see your transfer?”). If there is a real language barrier issue, TFIs will not call the police to have the customer removed.

MAAC was concerned that large “saturation” groups of TFIs may delay vehicles and negatively impact on-time performance. Mr. Lama noted that the goal of saturation efforts is to use the many TFIs to get in and out of vehicles in 60 seconds. If a fare-evading customer refuses to respond to the TFI inquiries, then the SFPD is at the location to support removal of the customer.

MAAC members also reported that TFIs do not consistently check the Translink via the RTC Discount IDs.

Mr. Lama’s contact information:

Tony Lama | | 415.701.4487

SFMTA | MAAC Membership Elections

MAAC Chair, Elizabeth Dawson discussed membership requirements and responsibilities. Members are reconfirmed by the committee every two years. The following members were approved by a voice vote:

Elizabeth Dawson, Paul Fichera, Melvin Galloway, Bruce Morgan, Vernon Smith, Ross Woodall, Roland Wong, Byron Yan.

MAAC members requested that a specific roll-call sign-in sheet be developed to better identify member attendance.

SFMTA Customer Service Report

Jamie Osborne reported to the committee about the quarterly data for customer complaints received involving violations of SFMTA policy ensuring access for seniors and people with disabilities.

For the first quarter of 2010, an average of 132 access complaints were received per month.

The following complaints are considered to be accessibility complaints:




Pass-up rider with disability


No Stop Announcements


Did not lower steps / Use Kneeler


Did not make request to yield seats


Did not Pull to the Curb


Service Animal Issues


Discourtesy to Disabled

Members Questions and Comments

Byron Yan: There is a huge need for additional accessible stops on the Metro Rail System on the surface - What is the plan for adding key stations?

SFMTA intends to increase the number of accessible light rail stops. We have a guiding key stop plan that we are going to update. As part of our Transit Effectiveness Project we will look at ridership statistics for the Metro surface lines and host a community process to help us prioritize which stops to make accessible.

Miro Kielbus: The St. Francis Circle Rail Replacement project has created many delays in the West Portal tunnel. I’ve had to wait in an inbound train for 45 minutes to an hour. Operators make PA announcements about the delays that I am unable to understand. I can’t call 3-1-1 and I can’t access the WiFi network that is in the tunnel to get more information about the delay. What can be done to make these emergency delay announcements accessible to customers with hearing disabilities?

The WiFi network in the West Portal tunnel is not available for public use. With the SFMTA Radio Replacement project, operator announcements will be available via digital text displays in each train car (as well as the PA system). Until the project is implemented, we suggest that you rely on the operator and on 311. If the train is not moving forward, the operator should be able to write a quick note to tell you the nature and length of the delay. We understand that this may be a difficult problem to solve in the short run and will explore our options to meeting this need.

Miro Kielbus: There is not enough awareness of MAAC. We need to reach out more to the general public. SFMTA needs more feedback on its programs.

Marc Grossman: How is information about emergency delays is communicated to 5-1-1 or to other news agencies? What does SFMTA do to reach out to customers with this important information?

5-1-1 is not the most helpful for temporary service delays. It is more effective for NextMuni vehicle arrival times. For immediate service delay issues, it is best to contact 3-1-1 and speak with a representative or check SFMTA sends transit advisories and press releases immediately via email when incidents happen. It is up to media outlets if they want to make announcements concerning the incident news.

Items for Next Agenda

The following items were proposed to be included on the next meeting’s agenda:

  • Update on Translink / Clipper project
  • Clarification: September transition from paper passes and stickers to RTC Translink / Clipper
  • Member’s ideas for MAAC Sub-committee development
  • Update on Temporary Transbay Terminal
  • Update on SFMTA Stop Consolidation Process
    (Please note that this process is not yet ready for MAAC input)


Jamie Osborne indicated that he will be leaving SFMTA in August. He will be moving to Boston to attend graduate school.


At 3:00 p.m. the meeting was adjourned. The next scheduled meeting will be June 17 at 1:00 p.m.

maac minutes May 20, 2010

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