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PCC Executive Committee Meeting
September 21, 2011
711 Eddy Street, San Francisco

PCC Executive Committee Members Present: Cheryl Damico, PCC Chair; Marty Smith, PCC Secretary; Ameur Kallel; Byron Yan; Jane Redmond; Ruach Graffis; Scott Blum; Ursula McGuire; Sandra Fancher; Patrick McCollum; Roland Wong; Ruth Lawner; Jeanne Lynch; Kaye Griffin; Olivia Santiago; Erma Brim; Genya Ehrlich; Iona Lawhorn; Jane Bolig; Stu Smith

PCC Members and Guests: Athan Rebelos; Gratchia Makarian; Annie Young McMillon; Troy Barnes; Wanee Ratanasanguan

PCC Executive Committee Member Excused: Gilda Chico; Claudia Grubler; Jacy Cohen; John Lazar; Fred Lein; Joseph Flanagan, PCC Vice Chair

SF Paratransit Staff: Paul Okunewitch; John Sanderson

SFMTA: Kate Toran; Christiane Hayashi; Jonathan Cheng

Cheryl Damico, PC&O Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:40 a.m.

Read and Approve Agenda

Marty Smith, PCC Secretary, read the agenda. The agenda was amended to move item #7

“Paratransit Taxi Issues” up to item #5. The agenda motioned/seconded/passed as amended.

Approve Minutes of August 10 meeting

The minutes were motioned/seconded/passed as presented.

Comments from the Chair

Cheryl Damico reminded members and guests to be respectful of one another and to turn off their cell phones during the meetings

Paratransit Taxi Issues

Christiane Hayashi, deputy director of SFMTA Taxi Services, spoke about the proposed amendments to the current taxi regulations for ramp taxi drivers. Among the three changes include:

  • adding language stating that at least 100 of the mandatory 156 wheelchair pickups that are required of drivers applying for a ramp taxi medallion must be documented in the Paratransit debit card system
  • eliminating the need for ramp medallion holders to give six months notice if they want to leave the program as well as clarifying the taxi code to state that any ramp taxi driver must ONLY complete the ramp taxi training and do not have meet all the qualifications that are required of ramp taxi medallion holders
  • changing the current wheelchair pick up standard requiring ramp taxi drivers to pick up three wheelchair pick ups per shift, if available, to making it mandatory that each ramp taxi medallion holder complete at least five wheelchair pickups per month with four of these wheelchair pickups documented by the Paratransit debit card system

Kate strongly supported these changes to the current taxi regulations in regards to the ramp taxi program. She said that the proposed amendments will establish a strong standard for participants in the ramp taxi program and supports the work of the PCC. Kate mentioned that although the paratransit debit card reports only show paratransit wheelchair pickups, it has allowed for better data to provide for the enforcement and incentivizing of ramp taxi medallion holders and drivers.

Kate also talked about the enforcement and incentive reports. Since January 2011, the debit card has been the sole form of payment for paratransit trips. On a typical month, 40 medallion holders fail to do at least 3 paratransit wheelchair pickups per month. A majority of these medallions are grouped in the smaller taxi companies. 52 medallion holders have failed to do any paratransit wheelchair pickups during a six month period, from January to June 2011. Kate reminded that while the enforcement side targets medallion holders, the incentive side rewards individual drivers. On the incentive side, there is a three tier system with the highest award amount being $250. About $20,000 of award money has been distributed over the past six months with an increase in the amount from the 1st quarter to the 2nd quarter. This indicates that more paratransit wheelchair pickups have been occurring. Endorsing the amendment changes will allow for a more efficient ramp taxi program.

Patrick endorsed the proposed amendments, stating that these changes were excellent ideas and fair to drivers. Ruach said that a centralized ramp taxi dispatch should be the #1 priority. Gratchia echoed these sentiments, stating that the failure of SFMTA to enforce its own laws necessities the need for a centralized dispatch to encourage a bit more competition.

Byron said that requiring only 5 wheelchair pickups per month may be too few. Kate replied that it establishes an enforceable standard and that in the future, the number of required wheelchair pickups per medallion every month may increase to 10. Chris reaffirmed that proposed number of wheelchair pickups per month is doable and it would be inexcusable by medallion holders to not meet this minimum. She also stated that once the PCC votes to support these proposed amendments that they will be presented to the Taxi Advisory Committee (TAC) and then the SFMTA board for their approval before it is implemented.

Athan stated that the number of wheelchair pickups required every month by each ramp taxi medallion should be kept at a level that is enforceable yet achievable for medallion holders. He stated that these new regulations are the perfect example of the ability of new technology to be used as tools to better enhance service for the paratransit community. Athan endorses this proposal and believes that we will see positive results. In regards to calls for a centralized dispatch for ramp taxis, Athan stated that Desoto does not support it. Jane asked whether “Cabulous” could be used to improve service. Chris mentioned that there is potential with that technology, however, presently this program is only marketed to individual taxi companies. Olivia stated that having the phone number of a driver is a good method of getting a ramp taxi instead of calling a dispatch as you will get a direct reply from a driver. She said that making 5 wheelchair pickups per month a mandatory requirement for the ramp taxi program is a good idea and also endorses the proposed amendments to the current taxi regulations.

Cheryl called a motion of support of these proposed changes to the current taxi regulations with an amendment to the number of mandatory wheelchair pickups per medallion every month from 5 to 10. The motion was seconded and the group voted to unanimously support the motion. There were no abstentions.

PC&O SF Access Subcommittee Report

Roland Wong read the following report:

  • The PC&O SF Access Subcommittee meeting was held on Wednesday, September 6, 2011 at the SF Paratransit Broker’s Office.
  • Marc Soto briefed the subcommittee on the state of the new SF Access and Group Van contract procurements. The new SF Access Contract has been awarded to MV Transportation – the first day of service under the new SF Access contract will be January 8, 2012. The new Group Van contracts are taking longer than expected given the uncertainty about state funding for many of the Group Van agencies.
  • The group had a discussion about Dialysis van service. MPT is moving some drivers to split shifts in order to have more vans available during the 4-5 PM dialysis “bottleneck”
  • Hilario Reyes delivered the Provider’s Service Report, stating that all MPT drivers have been informed about the January 2012 transition date.
  • Paul Okunewitch delivered the Broker’s Report.
    • The San Francisco Paratransit website,, is being re-built – should be complete by November
    • Rider’s Guide 2 (SF Access Services) will be getting an overhaul in time for the new contract
    • Shop a Round now has 256 registered clients – Car Cards on Muni have generated a lot of interest from the public
  • During Public Comment the group had a lively discussion about the need for Paratransit vehicles and taxicabs to pick up and drop off patrons in bike lanes.

Jeanne asked which PCC representatives were on the selection committee for SF Access vendor. Kate stated that there was PCC representation on the selection committee and reminded her of the rigorous and structured selection process as well as the confidentiality of the committee members. Jeanne expressed her concerns about the return of MV Transportation as the SF Access service provider. Kate stated that this is a fresh start with MV Transportation with a new contract with clear deliverables and expectations and a new management team. Kaye asked if the contract with MV Transportation is available for the public to view. Kate replied that the contract between SFMTA and Veolia Transportation is available under the Sunshine Ordinance. However, since Veolia and MV Transportation are two private entities, they are not subject to the same regulations. Wannee voiced her concerns over MV Transportation returning as the SF Access service provider, stating that they are often late to her pickup. Kate reiterated that this is a new contract and that we expect good service. Cheryl asked members to keep an open mind despite any concerns from their past experiences with MV Transportation. Paul commented that problems that occurred in the past with MV Transportation and MPT have been addressed with changes made in the new contract to ensure that MV Transportation delivers a higher level of services.

Jane asked what will happen to the group van services given the level of uncertainty with state funding of AHDCs and what our response would be should the worst happen. Paul stated that there is a pending lawsuit concerning the funding of ADHCs and the state’s transition plans that will be heard on November 12. Until there is a clear answer, the contracts with the group van providers have been extended until January 2012. Kate added that she and Paul attended a citywide meeting about the future of ADHCs in San Francisco and while St. Mary’s ADHC has closed, there is still a commitment by many to keep ADHCs running. Jane wondered if any savings from the new debit card system could be transferred to keep the ADHCs opened but Kate remarked that it was not possible because of how funding works for different programs. Marty asked what the contingence plan was should ADHCs lose all their state funding. Kate said they could not provide any guarantees for the group van providers in terms of service levels. She did that some ADHCs have shifted from providing ADHC services to providing social day activities. Once the ADHCs funding situation is clear, new contracts can be executed.

PC&O Planning and Review Subcommittee

Kate Toran read the following report:

  • The Planning and Review Subcommittee met on August 24th to discuss the upcoming PCC Annual Meeting.
  • We discussed:
    • Annual Meeting Location: 711 Eddy Street
    • Program: Jane Bolig will be emcee again this year
    • Special guests and speakers
    • Catering: Mohammad El Tawil
    • Fundraising
    • Meeting date: November 5th, the first Saturday in November
    • Awards
    • PCC News and Notes: Genya Ehrlich volunteered to write poems

Kate announced the PCC members whose seats are up for re-election at the upcoming annual meeting.

Bike Lane/Paratransit Issues Update

Kate Toran stated that since the last PCC meeting, the SFMTA Citizen Advisory Committee has given their support. She also announced that they are hoping to finalize the plans soon. These plans include a memo, signed by Christiane Hayashi and Annette Williams, alerting taxi and paratransit van companies of these changes, bumper stickers with decals for taxis, an enforcement policy for PCO officers, additional material to the driving curriculum for all taxi and paratransit drivers, as well as a new paratransit sensitivity information added for the SFMTA sponsored bike safety course. Jeanne mentioned that there was a meeting at the War Memorial last night that involved members of the bicycling community that she was unable to attend. Roland interjected and said he and Jane Redmond attended the event at the War Memorial. The event was a part of the two day ThinkBike workshop to redesign streets to calm the vehicular traffic and improve access for bicyclists. A delegation of Dutch planners, in collaboration SFMTA, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and members of the public came up with concepts for street redesigns at three locations. Paratransit issues related to accessibility were taken into account when formulating these road redesigns.

Paratransit Broker Report

Paul Okunewitch provided the following report.

  • Transition of SF Access Provider: Paul will meet with MV Transportation on a weekly basis through January 8th to ensure that the transition is smooth, seamless, and transparent to the riders. MPT has been cooperative in this process with special thanks to Ameur and his team.
  • Taxi Incentives: The 2nd quarter incentive awards were sent out to drivers. Paul read the number of recipients and the amount per color scheme. In all, $10,775.00 was given out to drivers in the 2nd quarter.
  • Shop-a-Round: Currently there are two modes of services: a pilot Shop-a-Round taxi service as well as the current Shop-a-Round van service. There are 274 riders registered for van service who have taken 683 shopping trips. Paul mentioned that interest for the Shop-a-Round program has increased since the introduction of the Car Cards in the fixed route buses and light rail vehicles. In the pilot taxi service, there are 18 registered riders with 11 having the SF Taxi Shop-a-Round cards that allow them to use taxi services for their grocery shopping trips.
  • FY 10-11 Service Level Reports and Statistics: The reports and statistics are not complete as there have been some statistical issues. Kate mentioned that although the statistics are missing for the on time reliability, there is information about the number of trips, expenditures, and complaints. In addition, there is a goal level report attached to the agenda.
  • Mobile Data Computer (MDC) Procurement: A competitive procurement for MDCs was submitted in June for the 120 SF Access and group vans. A number of companies have responded and they are currently evaluating the proposals. The goal is to have these devices installed in all of the vehicles by the 1st quarter of 2012. These MDCs are another tool to track vehicles.

Kate passed out an updated copy of the minimum taxi requirement. Paul passed out nomination forms for the Driver of the Year award and mentioned that Veolia is sponsoring a PASS Train-the-Trainer course. Marty had several questions as to the rules of the Shop-a-Round taxi service concerning wait times and the difference between the paratransit taxi debit card and Shop-a-Round taxi debit card. Paul answered that the same paratransit taxi rules regarding wait times apply to the Shop-a-Round taxi service. He also explained that the regular paratransit taxis debit card and Shop-a-Round taxi debit card are two different cards. The Shop-a-Round taxi debit card will only allow the patron to go to certain shopping locations. Cheryl asked if the taxi could go to Westlake for their shopping needs. John replied that although the SF taxis can drop off patrons at Westlake, only Serra taxis can pick up the customer and drive them back into the city. Marty added that in order to SF taxis to pick up paratransit customers at Westlake, there has to be special authorization from the Daly City police department. Kaye mentioned difficulties getting a taxi to go to Foodco and raised the question as to how the Shop-a-Round taxi service will improve this situation. Iona mentioned that she too shops at Foodco and that a taxi always comes for her.


Stu stated that on two occasions with Black and White Checker cabs that his paratransit debit card was rejected. One driver stated that he does not accept the debit card after 5pm and that it was a company policy while another driver stated that the company did not turn on his terminal. This situation also occurred with a Town Taxi. Roland mentioned that he went to Sunday Streets event in Chinatown and North Beach. The 39 bus to Coit Tower did not run that weekend, however, SFMTA did provide paratransit services to the public, allowing him to reach Coit Tower and enjoy the festivities. Erma expressed her thanks to the PCC for their card and condolences. Jane commented that the San Francisco Public Library is having their annual book sale at Fort Mason. Wannee once again expressed her concerns about the return of MV Transportation.

The next PCC meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 7, 2011, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 711 Eddy Street

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