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PCC Executive Committee Meeting

January 28, 2009

711 Eddy Street, San Francisco

PCC Executive Committee Members Present: Cheryl Damico, Chair; Stu Smith, Vice Chair; Matthew Yamashita; Erma Brim; Genya Ehrlich; Melecio Torres; Griff Humphrey; Ruth Lawner; Claudia Grubler; Ruach Graffis; Sandra Fancher; Jacy Cohen; Abby Lamb; Laurie Graham; John Lazar; Olivia Santiago; Kaye Griffin; Gilda Chico; Iona Lawhorn; Yetta Miller; Silas Telfor; Russell Green; Joseph Flanagan; Byron Yan; Gratchia Makarian; Benny Wong; Pam Martinez

PCC Members and Guests: Jeanne Lynch; Jane Bolig; Troy Barnes & Ernesto Zamora, MPT; Marty Smith, Luxor; Jesus Portillo, National Cab; Annie McMillian Young; Roland Wong

Paratransit Broker: Marc Soto; Kevin McNay

Muni: Annette Williams; Kate Toran; Christiane Hayashi;

Read and Approve Agenda

Jeanne Lynch called the meeting to order at 10:40 am.  She then read the agenda.  The agenda was motioned/seconded/passed (M/S/P) as presented.

Approve minutes of December 10, 2008 meeting

The minutes were M/S/P as presented.

Annette Williams read the proposed 2009 meeting dates for PCC Executive Committee and PC&O Subcommittees. Meeting dates were M/S/P as presented.

Election of PCC Executive Committee Officers and PC&O Chair Coordinator

• Cheryl Damico was elected PCC Chair by acclamation.

• Stu Smith was elected Vice Chair by acclamation.

• Pam Martinez was elected Secretary by acclamation.

• Laurie Graham was elected PC&O Chair Coordinator by acclamation.

Shopping Shuttle Implementation Update

Kate Toran stated that Muni has begun meeting with community partners who will help develop the implementation plan for the shopping shuttle and participate in some administration tasks.  Muni has developed a survey to assess shopping needs and patterns in order to plan the service.  The Shopping Shuttle is intended to serve specific neighborhoods (Bayview Hunters Point, Visitation Valley, Oceanview/Merced/Ingleside) and specific public housing sites (Clementina Towers and 350 and 666 Ellis Street).  The SFMTA was awarded grants from two sources - New Freedom and Lifeline Transportation. Annette Williams stated that the Lifeline Transportation grant funding is unsure at this time due to budget issues at the state level.

Kaye Griffin asked how the shopping shuttle would serve individuals in areas near public housing.  Kate responded that the grants targeted specific neighborhoods and public housing sites.  Annette added the program may be able to expand in the future.

Driver of the Year Newsletter

Kate reported the publication of a newsletter honoring all the drivers who were awarded “Driver of the Year Award” for 2008.  During the PCC anniversary meeting in November, there had not been enough time to show the drivers how proud we are of their work.  Multiple copies of the newsletter, which included a short biographical article of each driver and a brief explanation of the 30th anniversary celebration, were mailed to all the providers as well as the PCC distribution list.  Annette thanked Jeff Banks for his hard work in putting together the newsletter.

Report from the December 17, 2008 PC&O SF Access Subcommittee

Byron Yan read the following report.

• Kate reported that dialysis service would become an item on this committee agenda and that dialysis representatives are invited to attend.  Ruth Lawner acknowledged that MPT service has made an extreme improvement. She also praised the drivers for doing such a great job in terms of their professionalism.

• Discussion of bumper sticker for van safety: Kate stated that although bumper stickers may be helpful, using cones can be more effective as a safety measure. “The question is whether bumper sticker can really solve the issue or not. If a passenger/driver does not read the sticker, it really does not make any difference.” Each PCC members had different opinions about the idea of stickers: De Ann Hendrix did not seem to like the idea of cones, saying that using cones may affect drivers’ on time performance. Griff Humphrey believes that cones are more effective because they are more visible than the bumper stickers.

• Service Provider reports: Mathew Yamashita stated that Mobility Plus continues to strive to provide consistently high quality service every day. He said it is MPT’s ultimate goal to make sure it stays on the right course, and provides a satisfactory service to Paratransit consumers. Byron acknowledged that MPT has improved and service is much better now.

• Announcements: Kate reported that she met with a group of consumers from the Community Living Campaign.  This group is developing “Network Connections” to bring together friends, who are isolated from their community.  This group may be interested in attending a PCC meeting.  Also, PCC members may be interested in getting involved.  Kate said she can forward information to those interested.

After Byron read the report, Ruth Lawner stated that she had suggested there be a red flag at the dispatcher’s office to make sure riders late at night are picked up.  Ruth added that she had spoken with Matt today and he said MPT has implemented this idea already.

Report from the January 7, 2009 PC&O Group Van Subcommittee

Abby Lamb read the following report:

  • The PC&O Group Van Subcommittee met on January 7.
  • Cheryl Damico presented Johnny Rogers from Mobility Plus with an award for Group Van Driver of the Quarter. Included with the award was an American Express card for $50.  He was selected for his exceptional service.

• Irene Chan introduced herself as the new Director of Self Help for the Elderly. She had been with Self Help for two weeks. She received a complaint regarding a substitute driver who was covering the route over the holidays. Matt asked Irene to send complaints to Ernesto at MPT.

• Tracy reported that testimony was given recently regarding the Laguna Honda ADHC towards preserving their services which are being faced with closure through proposed budget cuts.

• Kate reported that New Freedom and Lifeline grants have been awarded though there is uncertainty because of the state budget crisis. The implementation planning process with activities timeline has been created. They will be a meeting next week with community service coordinators. The paratransit program is currently working on a survey to help shape the service. 

• Monique El-Amin from Laguna Honda ADHC reported an incident where one client with Alzheimer’s was dropped off and the driver walked him to the door but the man did not go in the building and the client wasn’t designated as a “hand-to-hand assist.”  She said the driver had been a substitute.  Laguna Honda advocates that caregivers be there to receive clients.  Tracy said that it’s important for agencies to specify the riders that need “hand-to-hand assist.”

• Kate Toran reported that a small group met recently to discuss the prospect of whether the eligibility process for Adult Day Health (ADHC) could serve both for paratransit and ADHC. The group decided that it would cause more problems than it solved and that some agencies may just need additional support to fill out the paratransit application in a timely manner.

• The contract with John King has ended and 3 routes are being transferred to MPT.

• Debit Card: Taxi companies participating in the pilot have chosen hardware and some legal issues are being resolved with regard to contract amendments.

• The Paratransit Broker software will migrate from Mobility Master to a Trapeze product, which will provide a more robust routing and scheduling component and the capacity to have on-board computers on the vans.

• New vehicles: 14 Type II lift vans have been received and deployed into MPT’s fleet.  An additional 10 Type II vans were received with some defects which are now being fixed. Type III vans are arriving and will be delivered to the SFMTA soon.

• Nelu Zia asked when more capacity would be available on Self help’s route. This is important because some clients have dementia and need to travel with an attendant but currently there is not enough space on the vehicles for additional riders. Kate responded that larger vehicles have been procured by MTA and will be delivered in the coming weeks.

Broker Report

Marc Soto provided the following report:

Debit Card Update

The Broker has negotiated and executed contracts with Yellow, National and DeSoto.  Work has begun to connect Yellow Cab’s system to the DCCS.  DeSoto and National both chose Verifone to supply their in-taxi equipment (ITE).

Companies participating in the pilot project have signed a participation agreement.  The pilot will provide an opportunity to test hardware and software integration. The volunteer pilot participants will receive letters and new debit cards once the pilot start date has been confirmed.  ITE manufacturers still need to deliver, install equipment and train companies and drivers before the pilot can begin.

The Broker is creating a draft pamphlet about how to use debit card. The Broker is conducting taxi industry outreach to at a debit card taxi advisory committee meeting on February 11. Also, there will be an exhibit of ITE equipment and vendors on February 13, which will provide an opportunity for the taxi industry to check out the ITE products that are qualified to participate in the debit card project. 

Benny Wong asked how agencies that receive a small amount of scrip for their clients to use in an emergency situation will provide that service with the debit card.  Annette responded that the project is working to develop a system that will give a debit card with value to an agency.  The customer would be able to use this for emergency trip. The customer would hand the card to the drivers and the drivers hand back to the company.  The details have not been finalized, but a solution will be included as part of the debit card project’s final design review.

Vehicle Procurement and Deployment status

The SFMTA purchased 29 cutaway vehicles from Bus West including 24 Type II’s and 5 Type III’s.  There is no real capacity difference between the Type II and Type III vehicle. So far 14 Type II lift vans have been delivered and deployed. MPT will phase out the 300 series. The final 10 Type II’s were delivered with defects and sent back to Bus West.  The defects will be corrected and the vehicles will be re-inspected tomorrow.  Five Type III’s have been delivered and an inspection needs to be scheduled.

Paratransit Information and Technology Update

On October 31, 2008, the Broker executed a contract with Trapeze to transition software from Mobility Master.  An operational review has been conducted by Trapeze and they will provide a report which is due on January 30th.  The report will provide a recommendation for either Trapeze Novus or Trapeze PASS, based on the Broker’s software needs.  The Broker will meet with the SFMTA to review the operational review and make a final decision about which software product to purchase.

Ramp Taxi Driver Incentives

Ramp taxi incentives were given the green light by the SFMTA board of directors in May.  Since that time, the SFMTA staff met with industry stakeholders.  Then staff met with Yellow and Luxor to establish a data collection method.  SFMTA didn’t want to add more work for taxi companies by increasing reporting requirements, so a web interface was discussed where a driver or cab company could log on to send information about ramp pick ups.  After further discussion, it was decided that the web interface would still require additional work.  After further discussion, the group decided to separate scrip into different boxes for ramp scrip and sedan scrip.  The Broker staff would then count the ramp pick ups per driver per company based on the trip reports sent with the scrip.  It was decided that this new ramp taxi data collection method would be tested at Luxor and Yellow and if it worked there, then it would be rolled out to the other taxi companies.  This method was tested in the fall, and it was determined that it takes too much Broker staff time.  SFMTA staff has recommended that the ramp taxi driver incentives be implemented after the debit card project is fully implemented.  SFMTA staff has worked to include the data requirements necessary to pay ramp taxi driver incentives are included in the debit card system. This will ensure that the data collected is reliable and accurate.

After Marc’s report was completed, Benny Wong stated in reference to the Debit Card chapter of the Rules of Operation which was included in the agenda packet that he was concerned that people would be suspended for not paying the meter rate when their debit card had run out of value.  Jane also said she was concerned about the service suspension issue, saying it could become a “he said, she said” when the driver may not like the rider. Marc responded that they don’t take these issues frivolously.  There is an investigation in order to satisfy due process requirements.  Genya added that sometimes it could be a language problem.  Marc said the Broker is sensitive to language issues and materials are available in multiple languages.  Similarly meetings are interpreted in other languages when necessary.  Jacy said that the ARC never saw anyone suspended and they have had patients with behavior issues but worked out the issue with Paratransit. 

Silas asked when the PCC had discussed these rules. Kate said that the initial rules were approved in 2002 after a lengthy process with the PC&O.  The Debit Card chapter was reviewed by a subcommittee in September and that group provided input.  

Kaye Griffin stated that she is concerned about not knowing how much value that she has on her debit card.  With scrip it’s easy for a rider to ascertain how much value she has.  Annette said there is an 800 number that a paratransit rider can call to check her balance.  Also, a driver can swipe the card and provide that information to a paratransit rider.  The information is also on the ride receipt.  Marc stated that that the project team has worked closely to find the best system, and he invited people to let him know if they have new ideas.

Public Comment

Iowa Telfor said that the past ten months she had been using MPT and quite often drivers try to help. PCC members sometimes give the drivers a hard time. 

Gratchia asked if we can get more money for drivers picking up wheelchair riders.  Marc said he was a proponent of incentives but we need to justify why and how incentives are paid out. Marc said we are headed in that way – there is some relief coming.


Jane announced her play, “The Case of the Sleepwalking Street Walker” to take place in late February at 16th and Capp.  She also announced that tomorrow at 10:30 there will be a Charter Reform Committee in Room 305 of the City Hall.

The next PCC meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 

10:30 am – 12:30 pm at 711 Eddy Street. 


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