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PCC Executive Committee Meeting
June 24, 2009
711 Eddy Street, San Francisco

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

PCC Members and Guests: Jeanne Lynch; Roland Wong, MAAC Member; Martin Smith, Luxor Cab; Jane Bolig, DeSoto; John J. Murphy; Vincent Webster;

PCC Executive Committee Member Excused: Pam Martinez; Gilda Chico; Dee Ann Hendrix

Paratransit Broker: Marc Soto; Kevin McNay

Muni: Kate Toran; Jeffrey Banks

Read and Approve Agenda

Cheryl Damico called the meeting to order at 10:40 a.m.  Stu Smith read the agenda. 

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

Approve minutes of May 20, 2009 meeting

The minutes were M/S/P as presented.

Comment from the Chair


PCC Appreciation Luncheon Update

Jeff Banks stated that the Jewel McGinnis Memorial Luncheon will take place on July 14th at the California Academy of Sciences. There will be a choice of three tours departing at 10:30 a.m., a tour of Rainforest and Aquarium, a tour of the Planetarium, and a tour of the Penguins and Alligators. The program will end at 1:00 p.m. Jeff asked PCC members to advise him of their lunch option and tour choice for the event.

Jeanne Lynch warned the PCC members to be on the look out for people on bicycles playing polo in Golden Gate Park. Annette stated that members should enter through the back entrance at 75 Middle Drive.

SF Paratransit Broker RFP Update

Annette Williams presented the update. Accessible Services staff has been working on the RFP for the new SF paratransit broker contract.  The RFP is expected to go to the SFMTA Board of Directors this week, and made public the following week.  The RFP was reviewed by a PCC subcommittee and their input was incorporated. The RFP will be posted electronically on the Office of Contract Administration’s website. The scope of work is structured similar to current program, but in order to provide flexibility, the SFMTA has added an option for bidders to propose different contracting structures. The SFMTA’s main focus is that the SF Paratransit program be ADA compliant and meet the goals of customer satisfaction and cost effectiveness.  The proposals will be due in mid August. The selection committee will have representation from the disability community.     

Byron Yan suggested that the process include community input. Marc Soto asked if there would be a pre proposal conference.  Annette said that there would be a pre bid conference on July 9 for questions and clarifications from bidders. Marty Smith stated that he would not want to see cuts to the program in order to be cost effective. Byron Yan stated that it’s important to record what has been improving and what has not been improving.

Annette Williams stated that bidders have to meet minimum qualifications, which are meant to ensure that bidding firms are capable of providing high quality customer service. There will also be interviews and references will be checked. 

Gratchia Makarian asked when the new broker contract would be effective. Annette responded that the new contract would be effective on April 1, 2010. Gratchia asked if Marc Soto would continue.  Marc Soto responded that Veolia has a great interest in continuing serving the San Francisco community and hopes that, if Veolia pursues the contract again, there will be a fair evaluation and Veolia may be offered an opportunity to continue.

New Freedom Grant Application Process

Kate Toran announced the third cycle of the Federal New Freedom grant funding program. Though the SFMTAs first New Freedom application for Ramp Taxi driver incentives was not successful, last year the SFMTA succeeded in winning funding for the Shopping Shuttle. For the third round, the SFMTA will apply to fund on board mobile data terminals.  The mobile data terminals will improve tracking of paratransit vans in SF Access and, depending on funding, possibly Group Van. The applications are due on August 7th.  There is $3.4 million for the Bay Area’s urbanized areas.

Laurie Graham asked if the SFMTA could apply for funds for a private company. Kate Toran responded that the SFMTA would own the equipment and it would be installed in the vehicles.  The SFMTA owns 60 vehicles, which would be the first to receive on-board computers. Harvey Katz asked what kind of software would be used to run the mobile data terminals. Annette Williams responded that software would be part of the package purchased with New Freedom funds if the grant application is successful.  

Report from the June 3, 2009 PC&O SF Access Subcommittee

Joseph Flanagan read the following report:

  • Marc Soto reported that Paratransit fare increases were approved as part of the SFMTA budget. Notices will be sent to all paratransit customers in the next week. SF Access and Group Van fares will go from $1.65 to $2.00; the Taxi rate will go from $4 to $5 for $30 worth of taxi service. The SF Paratransit Newsletter is being revamped to reflect SFMTA’s budget situation and will go out July/August. The shift from Mobility Master software to Trapeze is underway.  Training will begin soon for paratransit staff, Medsam staff and MPT staff.  The final transition is expected in late August.
  • The Debit Card Pilot project is going well.  There are about 200 paratransit riders participating in the pilot. The Debit Card outreach is going well and people are excited, although some are resistant to the change.  The debit card brochure will be mailed out soon to all paratransit taxi customers.
  • The group discussed a suggested procedural change involving communications between SF Access drivers and dispatchers to improve on time reliability and security.  Marc explained that new technologies, such as on board computers, would help to eliminate many of the current problems.
  • Byron Yan suggested that MPT drivers consistently use shoulder belt securement system.  MPT staff responded that the shoulder belt is optional. Marc Soto responded that safety is not optional. Aaron Bonfilio stated that ADA guidelines require that passengers who use wheelchairs are secured with same seatbelt system as ambulatory passengers, according to the provider’s policy.
  • Rider education continues; back up taxi deployments for SF Access trips are declining and on time performance is improving.
  • Jeanne Lynch raised the issue of transit needs for Richmond District shoppers in light of Muni route cuts. Matt responds that eligible Paratransit riders can use the system to do their shopping.
  • Roland Wong updated the group on status of his efforts to preserve Muni route 89 service to Laguna Honda Hospital. The SFMTA indicated that the department of Public Health (DPH) is now handling this issue, although DPH has been unresponsive.  Letters of support are being collected & presented to various stakeholders and politicians.  

Byron Yan emphasized that it should be mandatory to use the shoulder belt. Marc Soto stated that drivers should be trained to offer shoulder belts to passengers because they enhance safety. Matt Yamashita stated that MPT continues to check their equipment to make sure that shoulder belts are available to customers. MPT has a monthly safety training with drivers during which they tell drivers that they must offer the shoulder belt.

Silas Telfor stated that he was not offered a shoulder belt during his ride with MPT in the morning.  Olivia Santiago said that riders could remind drivers to offer shoulder belt if they forget. Olivia recommended that MPT have a comment card in their vans to reinforce verbal comments to drivers. Jeanne Lynch stated that the shoulder strap was a serious issue,  and that it needs to be in writing and to be enforced.

Byron Yan expressed his support for the SFMTAs application for New Freedom funding to install mobile data terminals. Annette Williams suggested including a support letter within the New Freedom application. Marc Soto responded that the mobile data terminals are on board computers that will enhance communication between dispatch and drivers. The mobile data terminals can also give drivers route guidance, show cancellations instantly and let dispatch know when drivers fall behind schedule.

Paratransit Broker Report

Marc Soto provided the following report.

Paratransit Information and Technology Update

The Broker management software is currently being transitioned from Mobility Master to Trapeze. The initial data conversion including loading of geographic map has been completed. Eligibility and certification staff is in training this week. Broker, MPT and Medsam staff will continue to be trained for the next 4 to 6 weeks. After the training, the broker will update all the data and check that everything is working correctly.

The paratransit office is working towards a paperless environment. Beginning July 1, the Broker will begin digitization of all client files.

The Shopping Shuttle

The Broker is working with the SFMTA in creating estimated minimum standards for providers in preparation for a competitive solicitation for providing the Shopping Shuttle service. The SFMTA is working on the scope of work for the Shopping Shuttle competitive solicitation. The intent is to get the best price for this service.

Service Level Statistics

Marc Soto referred everyone to the handout of service level statistics for FY 2008-2009 through the end of April. The broker is on track for the same level of service as the previous year.

Byron Yan asked how the Broker determined on time performance statistics. Marc Soto responded that determining on time performance was done with random samples of people in SF Access. They look at trip by trip information from the manifest. Byron Yan pointed out that the manifest was created by the driver. Marc responded that the mobile data terminals would improve the information about trips.  Jane Bolig stated that taxi’s are 54% of the trips, 35.5% of the cost, with 2% of the complaints and she wished that the media would pick up on this kind of information rather than beating up the taxi industry.

Debit Card Update

The outcome of the pilot so far is training, training, training. One issue has stood out for National, DeSoto and Veterans which is red flagging, which results from a misunderstanding of which button to push. Luxor has had some issues with red flagging and printing. Yellow has the most complex system with two sets of ITE and they are in major transition. Once all their firmware is the compliant version of Wireless Edge, things will get much better with Yellow.

The Broker completed the first survey of 100 pilot participants. The survey of the second 100 pilot participants is underway and it is showing similar results. A more comprehensive survey instrument will be used at the end of the pilot. The Broker is now printing a lovely brochure, and 9,000 will be mailed 45 days before mailing the actual card is mailed. The contractor for card production is ready to go. The taxi companies which are not participating in the pilot have chosen their ITE equipment for their taxis and the Broker is scheduling the installation.

Olivia Santiago asked if there was a training for visually impaired users. Marc Soto responded that they had done a training at the Lighthouse for the Blind. One issue that came up during this training was that people did not want to remember their 16 digit debit card number for when they called the 1-800 number. Marc said that an option to enter the paratransit ID number would be available too.

Public Comment

Roland Wong updated the group on the route 89 Laguna Honda shuttle. The Mayor’s Office on Disability drafted a letter supporting the effort to preserve service of the 89. Roland Wong said the cost of operating the 36 Teresita on the route of the 89 would be less.


Jeanne Lynch announced that Leland Yee would be in the Richmond District at Clement and California on Friday from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. talking about fraud.

The August 12th PCC meeting was cancelled and thenext PCC meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at 711 Eddy Street. 

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