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PCC Executive Committee Meeting
February 24, 2010
711 Eddy Street, San Francisco

PCC Executive Committee Members Present: Marian Gan, Vice-Chair; Ameur Kallel; Cheryl Damico; Claudia Grubler; Erma Brim; Gilda Chico; Jacy Cohen; Jeanne Lynch; John Lazar; Kaye Griffin; Laurie Graham; Pam Martinez; Patrick McCollum; Roland Wong; Ruach Graffis; Russell Green; Ruth Lawner; Scott Blum; Yetta Miller

PCC Members and Guests: Jane Bolig, DeSoto; Matthew Yamashita, MPT;

PCC Executive Committee Member Excused: Griff Humphrey; Olivia Santiago; Joseph Flanagan; Stu Smith; Genya Ehrlich; Melecio Torres

Paratransit Broker: Aaron Bonfilio; Tulay Atalay; Kent Hinton;

SFMTA: Kate Toran; Annette Williams; Jeffrey Banks

Read and Approve Agenda

Cheryl Damico called the meeting to order at 10:35 am. Marian Gan read the agenda. 

The agenda was motioned/seconded/passed (M/S/P) as presented.

Approve minutes of January 20, 2010 meeting

Kate Toran asked to note that Laurie Graham and Gilda Chico should be marked excused for the January 20th meeting.  Jacy Cohen should also be marked excused.

The minutes were motioned/seconded/passed (M/S/P) as amended.

SFMTA Updates

Shopping Shuttle Implementation

Kate Toran reported that New Freedom and Lifeline funding is in place as is the mechanism for spending the money. The competitive solicitation for shopping shuttle services resulted in the selection of two van providers, Centro Latino and Mobility Plus Transportation (MPT). Marketing materials are being created now for the service. The SFMTA has conducted outreach into the community and is signing people up. The Shopping Shuttle service will be starting within a month or so.  Kate Toran added that if there is additional capacity because demand is lower in the targeted neighborhoods and public housing sites once the service has started, the SFMTA will look at the Richmond, Potrero Hill and other neighborhoods. The currently targeted neighborhoods are Bayview-Hunters Point, Visitation Valley, OMI, and housing sites Clementina Towers plus two sites on Ellis Street.

5310 Update

Jeffrey Banks reported that the SFMTA had coordinated with agencies in support of their applications for the Federal 5310 grant. For the recent grant cycle in 2009, a PCC subcommittee reviewed scores from submitted applications and forwarded those scores to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. SFMTA recently received a Statewide Program of Projects and the three agencies applying for these grants, On Lok won funding for eight vehicles and Self Help won funding for one vehicle.  

Report from the February 3, 2010 PC&O Taxi & Ramp Taxi Subcommittee

Marty Smith read the following report.  

Elections were held at the February 3, 2010 PC&O Taxi & Ramp Taxi Subcommittee and Marty Smith was elected PC&O vice chair.

Quality of Service Issues

The use of taxi debit cards is getting easier and better and cabs are able to manually accept taxi debit cards if they do not have the In-Taxi Equipment (ITE). Approximately 205 taxis still do not have the ITE. There have been setbacks with the manufacturers of necessary parts of the ITE’s and the assembly should be complete by the third week of March. The Paratransit Broker is currently appealing the decision of the State to halt ITE installation.

Broker’s Report

The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to support the SFMTA Board of Directors in allowing Veolia Transportation to continue as the Paratransit Broker for an additional five years.

MPT now has to perform trip time negotiation in order to create realistic time scheduling. All SF Access riders will receive an update on the status of the transportation.

The Paratransit Broker is working on an update to the SF Paratransit website to reflect recent changes to the program. The Broker is also updating the Rider’s Guide #3. The future development of utilizing debit and credit cards for paratransit is underway.

The new Shopping Shuttle service is scheduled to begin the end of February or beginning of March.

Ruth Lawner recommended that the Paratransit Broker call all companies and ensure that all cab drivers have paper back up forms for when the debit card equipment was not available. Marty Smith stated that all companies should have the paper back up forms and all companies should have been notified. Yetta Miller asked what the passenger should do when the driver does not have the back up forms. Pam Martinez stated that most drivers are aware of back up forms and ‘knuckle buster’ (manual credit card processing machine) for running the fare manually, but when drivers don’t have any forms they are trained to write down the information from the paratransit rider’s debit card.

Kate Toran stated that one of the issues is that paratransit taxi passengers doing wait trips, which are not allowed according to the program rules, so the SFMTA and SF Paratransit are educating passengers, drivers and companies that wait trips on Paratransit taxi are not allowable. Roland Wong asked why able-bodied people can leave the meter running while Paratransit rider could not. Roland stated that the rule about wait trips does not seem fair and would like that the rule be reviewed. Kate Toran responded that Paratransit taxi is heavily subsidized and passengers could ask the taxi driver to wait trips if they pay the fare themselves and not use their debit card. Taxi drivers can choose to wait for the paratransit taxi passenger, but not with the meter running. 

Annette Williams stated that Paratransit taxi should be compared to fixed route not compared to regular taxi. Annette stated that Muni is cutting services and laying off employees so this is not the time to ask for expanding service. Jane Bolig stated that she would like to see research so that in the future the topic of wait trips can be revisited. Laurie Graham stated that ever since she had been a taxi driver, she had been told not to wait. Jeanne Lynch pointed out that some drivers give out cell phone numbers and when customers are ready to leave they call the driver.

Yetta Miller stated that when companies send a ramp taxi to pick her up, she has difficulty entering the vehicle. Yetta had requested that these cabs carry a stool but her experience is that few cabs do carry the stool. Jane Bolig responded that Yetta might sit in the front seat. Jeanne Lynch stated that she also has difficulty entering the vans and wanted to know why companies who are sending vans don’t carry a stool. John Lazar responded that client notes at Luxor always specify what kind of vehicle should be dispatched.

Paratransit Broker Report

Tulay Atalay provided the following report:

Debit Card Update

The Paratransit Debit Card implementation is facing some challenges on the rider side, one is the wait trips and the other is rider who try to take trips without adding value to their cards. Another challenge is when riders take out of service area trips and some riders don’t present their card at the beginning of the trip. The Broker is identifying out of service area trips and wait trip and calling riders. The Broker is planning on sending a Rider Alert to all Paratransit Taxi users to explain how to properly use the card. The Broker will participate in the new driver training sponsored by the City. On the drivers side, all companies continue to train their drivers. Yellow Cab created a short training video for their drivers which is posted on YouTube. The Broker is working with the software company to refine the 1-800 number and the revised system will allow callers to get their balance, next purchase date, report lost or stolen cards and activate new cards.

Trapeze Software Implementation Update

There have been number of challenges during the transition to the new Trapeze scheduling and routing software system. One oversight was not providing riders with enough advance notice explaining the transition. A notice was sent out the previous week. Also creating problems during the transition, Mobility Plus Transportation (MPT) did not update their standing orders properly. Riders expressed concern having to negotiate trip time during the reservation, and only being offered one alternate time when the requested time was not available. Some riders were offered an alternate time that was after their appointment time or a return time that required them to leave their event earlier.

During the first two weeks of the transition, some of the trips required more travel time because of routing but this problem was eliminated by staff scheduling within the first two weeks. The Broker understands that trip time negotiation is not ideal for riders but the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allows for trip time negotiation one hour before and one hour after the scheduled trip. The practice of trip time negotiation will continue but the Broker will be monitoring the percentage of negotiated trips. MPT is re-training their reservations agents so they don’t offer a time after the rider’s stated appointment time. The broker has reduced the system speed so scheduling would be more rational and not jam trips together. Also, now riders are offered two alternate times if the requested time is not available. Schedulers were asked to take a snapshot of any trip which seems scheduled needlessly. The Broker will continue to make adjustments as needed to improve the service. The Broker believes that ultimately that the system will continue to improve by constant monitoring and educating the staff. Each of the riders concerns is being addressed.

Emergency Planning Update

Kent Hinton updated the PCC on the status of the Emergency Planning project. Kent stated that there have been a series of workshops with service providers and consultants to develop the framework for Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The consultant, Willdan Homeland Solutions, submitted drafts of the System Security Plan, Emergency Operations Plan and Standard Operating Procedures. They have also produced an excerpt for riders. The Broker and SFMTA are reviewing the draft documents and gathering input to provide to the consultant. Next week they will be meeting with a subcommittee of the PCC to gather their input. All this feedback will be forwarded to the consultant. Then the consultant will be finalizing these plans as well as a Management Plan that will guide future development of these plans. Jeanne Lynch asked who was paying the consultant. Kent responded that funding was coming out of the Broker budget. Jane Bolig asked how she could provide feedback and Kent responded that any input could be emailed to him at the Broker office.

Marian Gan stated that her first experience with Trapeze was not good. Marian stated that her 8:45 am ride had been changed to 9:00 am without her notice. When Marian called to ask who had changed the ride time she was told that Trapeze changed the time. Now Marian stated that she is scheduling her trips one and a half hours early and she has still been arriving late because of an increase in shared rides . Marian stated that the scheduler needs to realize that the driver cannot physically pick up and drop off so many people and remain on schedule. Ameur Kallel apologized and stated there were many unanticipated issues with Trapeze. MPT is working hard to improve the scheduling issues, training their employees and they want to hear passenger feedback but it is still not at 100% effectiveness. Ameur Kallel stated that the new software is put into service to improve the customer experience and this is still only the third week since implementation. Roland Wong stated that the transition to Trapeze was rough at first but he had noticed improvements in the last week. John Lazar urged everyone to be patient and that they would be happier with the service once the system is modified to address any problems. Aaron Bonfilio stated that for the system to be improved, people should give the most specific feedback about any trip. Jacy Cohen stated that she has been training clients at the ARC to provide MPT with immediate responses when there are problems with trips. Jacy also stated that MPT drivers should be trained not to complain about their experiences driving because that information should be kept off the customer.

Public Comment for Items Not on the Agenda

Jeanne Lynch asked to participate in the Appeals Panels for ADA eligibility. Roland Wong asked if Paratransit was safe from budget cuts. Kate Toran responded that as far as she knows, there has been no official proposal to make cuts in the paratransit program.  ADA-mandated Paratransit service are required to be provided by transit agencies, but many of the services in the SF Paratransit Program exceed the ADA requirements, such as taxi and group van, and those could potentially be targeted for budget cuts.  But she emphasized that there are no current plans that she is aware of to cut any Paratransit service. Jacy Cohen asked if there was any group response to Muni fare increases. Kate Toran responded that the Muni Accessibility Advisory Committee (MAAC) had sent a letter.

Meeting adjourned at 12:30 PM

The next PCC meeting will be held on
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
at 711 Eddy Street

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