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PCC Executive Committee Meeting
September 23, 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; Abby Lamb; Gilda Chico; Sandra Fancher; Byron Yan; Ruach Graffis; Stu Smith; Scott Blum; Iona Lawhorn; Joseph Flanagan; Melecio Torres; Michael Kwok; Olivia Santiago; John Lazar; Benny Wong; Claudia Grubler; Dee Ann Hendrix; Karen Rosen

PCC Members and Guests: Jeanne Lynch; Senior Action Network; Roland Wong, MAAC Member; Martin Smith, Luxor Cab; Troy Barnes, MPT; Marian Gan; Patrick McCollum; United Taxi Workers; Anna Lisa Belli, Taxi Driver Institute; Christian Cooper, Burke Rix Hines & Associates; Siverio Sanchez, MV Transportation; Jane Bolig, Desoto Cab

PCC Executive Committee Member Excused: Silas Telfor, Jacy Cohen

Paratransit Broker: Marc Soto; Kevin McNay; Kent Hinton

Muni: Kate Toran; Jeffrey Banks; Annette Williams

Read and Approve Agenda

Cheryl Damico called the meeting to order at 10:45 am.  Laurie Graham read the agenda. 

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

Approve minutes of July 24, 2009 meeting

The minutes were M/S/P as presented.

Comment from the Chair

Cheryl Damico stated that we are coming to the end of the year and we are now planning for the Annual Meeting. Cheryl expressed her thanks to everyone for allowing her to serve in the capacity of Chair.

SFMTA Updates

  • Paratransit Broker RFP:  Annette Williams stated that the SFMTA was in the midst of the paratransit broker Request for Proposal (RFP) process. The RFP went out at the end of June. At the request of proposers, the August due date was extended to September 15.  The SFMTA is now in the process of evaluating proposals. The eventual ranking will go to the SFMTA Board of Directors and the SF Board of Supervisors. Annette stated that process is confidential so the SFMTA can not share many details. We are working towards having a good paratransit contract for the next five years. Annette stated that she expected the new contract will begin in November.
  • New Freedom Grant Application Process:  Annette stated that Kate Toran had worked hard to put together the New Freedom grant application for Mobile Data Terminals for the van program. This application was submitted to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in August for funding. New Freedom is a federal program to fund programs that go beyond the ADA. Annette stated that she was hopeful for this grant cycle because a prior application which was successful, for Push-to-Talk buttons, was never granted.  The Mobile Data Terminals are on-board computers which will allow the Providers better information as to where vans are located and tracking complaints.
  • Shopping Shuttle:  Kate Toran reported that last years’ application for New Freedom funding for the Shopping Shuttle was successful but no money has been received yet. In preparation for a launch of the Shopping Shuttle program, the SFMTA is doing background work including outreach for a competitive solicitation for a van provider to provide this service. Certain communities which were written into the grant have been outreached including Bayview Hunters Point, OMI, Visitation Valley, Tenderloin and South of Market. Additionally there are specific public housing sites that the SFMTA is working with and some neighborhood senior centers. These are the sites that the SFMTA is starting with but Muni hopes to expand the program if it’s successful.
  • Annual Meeting:  Jeffrey Banks stated that the Planning & Review Subcommittee would meet on Friday, September 25 at 10:30 am at the Brokers office to discuss the Annual Meeting. Topics to be discussed will include the location, program, awards and catering. Kate Toran stated that the process of writing the News & Notes was underway and anyone who wanted could submit an article.

Report from the July 8, 2009 Group Van Subcommittee

Abby Lamb read the following report:

  • Mark Soto reported the following:
      • The broker is working with the taxi companies on installation of equipment and training all the drivers. An instruction card will be attached to the equipment for driver’s reference. The community outreach has been ongoing and a brochure for the Debit Card will soon be mailed. 
      • The Broker is now rolling out two new software programs. The Debit Card Central System (DCCS) will replace scrip tracking. Trapeze DR (also called PASS) will manage complaints, registration, routing and scheduling. Training of reservationists, certification and customer service is now taking place.
      • Marc announced the departure of Phillip McCants from the broker office. Kent Hinton was brought on by Veolia to fill this position on a temporary basis.
  • Cheryl Damico presented Larry Mingo from Mobility Plus Transportation with an award for Group Van Driver of the Quarter. Larry Mingo was nominated by the ARC for his exceptional service. Included with the award was an American Express gift card for $50.
  • Tracy McCloud announced that Nelu Zia will no longer be working with the San Francisco ADHC because of budget cuts. State budget cuts will affect Adult Day Health with a three day cap on weekly participants currently coming four to five days per week.
  • Matthew Yamashita introduced Natalie Kidd who serves as the MPT Group Van contact in the field and does all scheduling and coordination for the centers. MPT recently reached out to all agencies and learned that things are going well. MPT staff met with Self Help staff to better understand complaints about lateness and long rides. Matt explained to Self Help that additional riders can lead to delays and longer travel times.
  • Semyon Portnoy stated that Medsam had received no complaints from agencies.  Semyon also stated that Medsam had a police pool inspection of vehicles and all agencies were called and were happy with the Medsam’s service.
  • Jeffrey Banks announced the SFMTA coordinated the Federal 5310 grant for vehicles application process, reaching out to 43 agencies.
  • Jeffrey Banks announced that the Jewel McGinnis Memorial Luncheon would occur on Tuesday, July 14 starting at 10:00 a.m. and people should arrive at 75 Middle Drive.
  • Genya Erhlich announced that she was nominating a driver from Yellow Cab as driver of the year after a very positive experience.
  • Kevin McNay presented a demonstration of how to use the Taxi Debit Card.
  • The next PC&O Group Van meeting is scheduled for October 7, 2009.

Report from the August 5 PC&O Taxi Ramp Taxi Subcommittee

Laurie Graham read the following report:

  • Chris Hayashi stated that the new Ramp Taxi Medallion procedures are in place.  The Hearing Officer reviews the ramp taxi medallion applications and makes a decision whether an applicant has fulfilled all the requirements of receiving a ramp medallion.  Medallion qualification hearings occur every second and fourth Friday of the month.  Steps have been taken to revise the hearing process with the hearing officers. Hearing officers have requested that there be additional staff review of the way bills prior to the hearing, that the hearing section be told who the applicant will be prior to the hearing, and that the hearing officer be provided with the opportunity to conduct an evidentiary review of the applicant on his/her own. 
  • Chris Hayashi also stated that processes have begun to eliminate illegal cab and limousine companies. SFMTA will be working with the District Attorney’s office to remove listings of illegal companies from phone books; to tow and hold illegally operated vehicles, and to prosecute companies which operate illegally. By the end of the year there should be strong regulation in place for illegally operated taxi companies.
  • Marc Soto reported the following:
  • There have been minimal problems within the taxi debit pilot program.  Yellow, Luxor, National, Desoto and Veterans Cab are participating in the Pilot Program.  National, Veterans, and Desoto have been online with their equipment and it has been working well. Town Dispatch, Black & White Checker, and Royal should complete their installation and training by the end of August.  Yellow is taking the necessary steps to complete the transition from DDS to Wireless Edge. Non-compliant Yellow Cab vehicles are expected to comply before the end of August.  Although Luxor Cab already has compliant FirmWare, there are still problems in the system.  The Broker will mail an informational brochure to all active taxi riders.  The Broker will also mail new ID cards to all registered paratransit riders by mid October.
  • Phillip McCants, Contract Administrator, is no longer with Veolia Transportation. Kent Hinton has been assisting the S.F. Paratransit office. The transition to Trapeze is on track for the middle of October.
  • The Broker is currently working with Willdan Homeland Solutions Company on the development of a comprehensive Emergency and Preparedness plan. The Broker plans to work with the taxi providers as well to develop comprehensive emergency plans. 
  • The meeting was adjourned at 12:30 p.m. The next meeting will be on November 4, 2009 at 68 12th Street, 1st Floor Conference Room in San Francisco.

Report from the September 2, 2009 PC&O SF Access Subcommittee

Joseph Flanagan read the following report:

  • The PC& O SF Access Committee Meeting was held on September 2, 2009.  The agenda and the minutes were approved as read.
  • A discussion continued about the seat belt and shoulder belt application when riding on the vans.  MPT concurred that all drivers should use the shoulder belt on all wheelchair passengers unless the passenger refuses to wear it.  MPT also indicated that they have begun retraining all drivers on this issue.
  • During the Service Provider Report Matt introduced Ameur Kallel the new terminal manager at MPT.  Kallel stated that he is happy to be at MPT and that he has 10 years of experience working at Outreach in San Jose.  He went on to state that he is making adjustments to routes to improve on-time performance by adding split shift routes during peak times of the day.
  •  During the broker report Marc stated that MPT’s on-time performance has not been great lately. We will increase monitoring of trips as school gets started in the next few weeks.  Marc will discuss current updates about the Trapeze software conversion and debit card in his report.
  • Kate announced that a New Freedom Grant application was submitted in early August to provide an on-board computer system for the vans that will improve tracking and communication.  Roland Wong stated that the Muni route #89 is being discontinued and DPH will be taking over this shuttle.  Roland also stated that he felt the sold on hold message on MPT’s phones is to negative and alienates callers.  Others disagree and found the message informative and helpful.
  • Sam Alicia Duke informed the group that the fire department uses MPT to transport folks in power chairs that have been disabled.
  • The next meeting will be on December 16, 2009, at the broker’s office.    

Paratransit Broker Report

Marc Soto provided the following report.

Debit Card Update

The broker is close to full implementation with the Taxi Debit Card. There has been some difficulty with the software modification at Luxor. National, DeSoto and Veterans have been up and running. The companies which have selected Wireless Edge are waiting for parts expected by the end of October. The ID cards are in mass production and are anticipated to be mailed out before the full roll out. Marc is expecting full roll out of the taxi debit card at the end of October. At the time of full roll out, the broker would no longer sell scrip but scrip would continue to be accepted.

Paratransit Information and Technology Update

The training for the new Trapeze software is half complete. The broker has decided to move the Trapeze conversion to the end of November or early December to not cause problems in October when the debit card is rolling out. The training of SF Paratransit and Mobility Plus employees will be completed in November.  A few minor design issues are being ironed out in the interim.

FY08-09 Service Level Statistics

SF Paratransit provided a total of 1,399,999 one-way trips for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.  The total expenditures for paratransit including the broker costs was $19,988,342 in the 08-09 fiscal year. Marc stated that the formal complaints relating to taxi trips are one ramp and five sedan trip complaints so it’s clear that the taxi industry is doing a good job. Group van received 10 complaints for the year. The broker received one complaint this year. The on-time reliability was 99% for taxi and 93% for SF Access which exceeded their goal for the year. Group van was 95% on-time this year. Marc stated that improved technology will improve ways of verifying on-time performance.

Jeanne Lynch asked if customers would be notified when their debit card balance is running low. Marc Soto responded that, if you add money onto your card in the office, you will receive a printed electronic receipt with the next purchase date. Otherwise, Marc stated, it will be everyone’s responsibility to keep track of their purchase date. Annette Williams stated that alternately customers can pay in advance and every month on your purchase date the amount would automatically update on the debit card.  Benny Wong asked if adult day centers would receive the debit card in October. Marc responded that the group agencies would be the last component of conversion but he could not say the exact date.  Roland Wong asked if the expiration dates on scrip would affect the taxi debit card. Marc responded that the debit card value would not expire but after 90 days customers will not be able to accumulate additional value on their cards until they have used some of the existing value.  Michael Kwok asked if there was an estimated date when the scrip would be obsolete.  Marc answered that the broker would give plenty of notice so people could convert their scrip to debit card value. Yetta Miller asked whether there was a way for someone who had forgotten their debit card to complete their  ride in the cab.  Marc responded that there were three classes of transaction: class 1 is the driver swipes your card and the card pays for the transaction; class 2 is when the taxi debit card machine cannot communicate with the central system so the driver runs a knucklebuster; class 3 implies that the driver is taking a personal risk for getting payment. In the instance of a class 3 transaction, the broker would need to research before authorizing payment. Marc said that the broker is attempting to educate customers so they show their debit card to the driver and allow it to be swiped when they get into the cab. Genya Erhlich expressed concern because her experience was that drivers by and large did not know how to use the debit card. Marc responded that once the card was fully implemented drivers would gain experience with the card and learn how to use it.  Dee Ann Hendrix asked if Mobility Plus would accept $1.00 coupon and $1.00 in cash and Marc responded that they would accept the cash with the coupon.

Emergency Preparedness Plan

Kent Hinton reported that a competitive bid process has been initiated last spring. A dozen firms requested the invitation to bid and four firms bid. The firm Willdan Homeland Solutions was ranked highest largely based on the price of the project. Willdan was given Notice to Proceed in mid-August. Willdan met with SF Paratransit and SFMTA staff for background information and a scope of work. This six-month contract should be completed in February. The first deliverables are to create a final project plan and to review the existing emergency operations plans for paratransit and provide a report on the status of emergency preparedness planning for paratransit in SF. Willdan will provide two plans. The first plan is the Systems Security Emergency Preparedness Plan (SSEPP) and the second is the Safety and Security Management Plan (SSMP). From these two documents Willdan will create an excerpt for communication to paratransit riders explaining what customers can expect from paratransit in an emergency.

Marc Soto stated that once the draft plan is available they will bring it to the PCC for their review.

Jeanne Lynch expressed concern that the emergency preparedness plan address issues in the event of a terrorist attack and Kent Hinton responded that it would. Marty Smith asked how much input would the taxi be able to provide. Marc responded that the taxi industry would be included in any discussions of the draft plan.

Public Comment

Roland Wong stated that he had starting communication with Muni regarding the doors at Forest Hill Station and that Muni had installed automatic door openers.

Russell Green commended Mobility Plus for doing a great job.

Jeanne Lynch asked for the PCC to commend Roland Wong and Joseph Flanagan for their outstanding advocacy work.


Joseph Flanagan announced that he had been in Sacramento on September 14 where a film had been shown on the state of accessibility of buses in Los Angeles. In LA, there have been numerous complaints about how drivers accommodate wheelchairs on buses. Joseph referred people to watch this online by going to Matt Yamashita introduced Ameur Kallel who is the new terminal manager for MPT.

Kate Toran announced that the Accessible Services Program which had reported to Christiane Hayashi was re-organized and now reports to Debra Johnson in the Administration division.

The next PCC meeting will be held on
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 711 Eddy Street.

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