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PCC Executive Committee Meeting

August 10, 2011

711 Eddy Street, San Francisco

PCC Executive Committee Members Present: Cheryl Damico, PCC Chair; Marty Smith, PCC Secretary; Ameur Kallel; Fred Lein; Jacy Cohen; Byron Yan; Jane Redmond; Pam Martinez; Ruach Graffis; Scott Blum; Ursula McGuire; Sandra Fancher; Laurie Graham; Patrick McCollum; Roland Wong; Ruth Lawner; Jeanne Lynch; Claudia Grubler; Kaye Griffin; Erma Brim;

PCC Members and Guests: Kevin Hayes; Athan Rebelos; Gratchia Makarian; Silas Telfor; Maria Villafuerte; Neal Patel

PCC Executive Committee Member Excused: Gilda Chico; Olivia Santiago; Byron Yan; Joseph Flanagan, PCC Vice Chair

SF Paratransit staff: Marc Soto; Paul Okunewitch; Samir Madhav; Avelino Miseray

SFMTA: Kate Toran; Annette Williams

Cheryl Damico, PC&O Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:35 a.m. 

Read and Approve Agenda

Marty Smith, PCC Secretary, read the agenda. The agenda motioned/seconded/passed as presented.

Approve Minutes of May 18, 2011 meeting

The minutes were motioned/seconded/passed as presented.

Comments from the Chair

Cheryl Damico stated that since the last meeting, there had been two significant losses to the PCC.  She announced that both  Russell Green and Griff Humphrey had passed away.  Cheryl stated that she would like to convene and close the meeting in their honor, and she opened up the floor for PCC members to express condolences and memories about Russell and Griff. 

PC&O SF Access Subcommittee Report

Roland Wong read the following report:

  • This meeting was held on Wednesday, June 1, 2011.
  • During the Service Provider Report, the group had a lively discussion about the Fleetmatics (vehicle location system) Internet-based program and about that program’s effects on the on-time-performance of the SF Access service.
  • During the Broker Report:
    • Paul Okunewitch announced some staff changes at the broker’s office; Avelino Miseray, the new Taxi Monitor was introduced.
    • Marc Soto also announced that Becky Chan, former finance manager and 26-year employee had retired.  Marc Soto gave updates on the replacement of the 600 series cutaway vans, the Van Services procurement process and the SF Paratransit Website upgrade.
    • Mr. Soto also spoke about some concerns having to do with Group Van patrons that are coded “Attendant Required.”
  • During the Announcements, Kate Toran announced that the annual PCC Appreciation Luncheon would be held on Wednesday June 22, 2011, and asked for suggestions about where the luncheon should be held.
  • During Public Comments the group had a discussion about the proper way to secure a three wheeled scooter aboard a paratransit vehicle.

PC&O Group Van Report

Jacy Cohen read the following report:

• The meeting was held on Wednesday July 13, 2011.

• Following a presentation from Vice Chair Tracy McCloud, the group had a lengthy discussion about the State budget and Adult Day Health Care funding cutbacks.

• During Service Quality Issues:

o Tracy McCloud announced major program changes at Institute on Aging as a result of the budget cutbacks. IOA has shifted to providing a social day care program.

o Ameur Kallel from Mobility Plus announced increases in the volume of service MPT provides to Bayview ADHC and Self Help, as clients transition from other programs to those centers.

o Scott Blum, from Medsam, reported some ongoing concerns with the “Attendant Required” protocols.

• During the Broker Report:

o Kent Hinton gave an update on some ongoing contract issues.

o Paul Okunewitch announced some recent staffing changes at the Broker’s Office; Avelino Miseray, the new Taxi Monitor, and Samir Madhav, the new Finance Manager were introduced.

PC&O SF Taxi/RampTaxi Report

Marty Smith read the following report:

  • The meeting was held on Wednesday, August 3, 2011.
  • During Comments from the Chair, Vice Chair Marty Smith announced that a meter increase has been approved by SFMTA
    • Flag Drop increased from $3.10 to $3.50
    • 87 part time Medallions will be added to the taxi fleet
  • Service Quality Issues
    • The number of taxis with In Taxi Equipment issues has been reduced to just a few vehicles.
  • Broker’s Report –
    • Ramp Incentive Program payments have been made for the 1st quarter of 2011.
    • Total driver awards of  $8,650.00 have been paid out
    • Luxor won the company award for all three months of the first quarter
    • SFMTA minimum requirements have been updated after a lengthy review process
    • Introductions of new staff: Avelino Miseray, Taxi Monitor & Samir Madav, Manager of Finance
    • Group Van contract is in negotiations for van service 
    • Access contract extended until Sept 31, 2011
    • Broker working with a Web Master to update the SF Paratransit website

After Marty presented the report, Kate Toran emphasized that the Ramp Taxi Subcommittee reviewed and discussed the Minimum Requirements for Taxicab Company Participation in the Paratransit Program over a period of many months and was recommending approval.  Kate handed out copies of the report and thanked the group for their hard work.  Marc Soto pointed out that the version handed out was not the final version.  Kate stated that she would make sure to send out the final version with the next agenda packet.  Gratchia Makarian asked if the PCC would hold off on approving the document so he can make comments.  Marc Soto stated that there had been plenty of time to comment and that it’s a living document, so there would be a chance in the future to make additional comments.  Athan Rebelos stated that he fully supports the revised document.  Cheryl asked for a motion to approve the subcommittee report, including the revised Minimum Taxi Requirements document.  The motion was approved with 1 abstention.

Bike Lane/Paratransit Update

Kate Toran reported Accessible Services is continuing to work with staff from multiple divisions across SFMTA (Taxi Services, Sustainable Streets and Enforcement) to develop and finalize a plan for the safe use of bike lanes while at the same time providing curb access for paratransit van and taxi customers with disabilities.  The plan is nearly finalized and will include the following components:

  • memo to Paratransit Van companies and SF Taxi companies detailing the appropriate usage of the bike lanes for drivers
  • bumper stickers indicating that paratransit vans and taxis are authorized to enter bike lanes for pick up or drop off of disabled passengers
  • process for distribution of bumper stickers
  • a newly required training curriculum for taxi and van drivers on defensive driving around bikes and bike lanes
  • a caution decal for taxis warning customers to look for bikes when exiting

Neal Patel from the San Francisco Bike Coalition (SFBC) stated that SFBC has been engaged with the memo, bumper sticker and training materials discussion and development.  Marty Smith stated that bikes should be licensed.  Neal stated that SFBC has a four hour course on bike safety and that SFMTA has an 80 page bike safety guide.  Athan stated that he is excited about the bumper stickers and would like to see the cyclist community involved with safety and training.  Athan added he has access to video footage from the outside of cabs and that he sees that often cab drivers are doing a good job and some cyclists are provocative and hostile.  Annette stated that a Town Hall meeting may be helpful to start a dialogue with cyclists, taxi drivers and paratransit customers.  Often people make assumptions that taxi drivers are at fault.  Jacy Cohen stated that Public Service Announcements (PSAs) with input from the bike coalition would be helpful. 

Jane Redmond stated that she has been to Neal’s office and community meetings about bike lanes.  Neal has rules of safety on his wall and he’s actively involved in getting people to talk.  Marty stated that cyclists should be required to be licensed and insured; bikes have to be reined in and be held accountable.

Draft Proposal to Request Additional Taxi Medallions

Kate Toran reported that at the last PCC meeting, the group voted to send a letter to SFMTA, the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor to request that more taxi medallions be released and that they should go to companies that can show justification and demonstrate that they have more demand for service than supply of taxis.  Typically, when the PCC votes to send a letter, there is clear consensus and Kate drafts the letter which is then reviewed by the Chair and sent out.  After the discussion, it became clear that many PCC members had concerns about the content of the letter and the exact wording of the resolution.  There were also concerns about conflict of interest regarding the vote to send the letter and that all those with a financial interest in the outcome of the matter should recuse themselves.  So Kate discussed the matter with the Chair and it was decided to draft the letter and give the PCC Executive Committee a chance to read the specific wording of the letter.  The draft letter was sent out in advance with the agenda packet.

Marty Smith indicated that there is a need for at least 5-10 ramp medallions.  Patrick McCollum stated that he opposed the original proposal to add more medallions because he doesn’t think it will solve the problem and that it will simply be a windfall for the larger companies.  He added that if the taxi drivers can’t make a living, the whole system will collapse.  Ruach Graffis stated that any request for more medallions should include a certain percentage that must be ramp medallions.  There should be a way to reward drivers who take radio orders.  Pam Martinez stated that she understands Patrick’s concern about ensuring that the drivers can make a living, and she also has to make sure that the community gets good taxi service.  Athan suggested adding language that ramp medallions can only go to companies that pick up wheelchair users. 

After a lengthy discussion, the PCC voted to table the item.  The item can be put back on a future agenda at the pleasure of the Chair.

Paratransit Broker Report

Marc Soto provided the following report:

Staff Changes: John Sanderson has replaced Aaron Bonfilio as the Van Field Monitor, and Avelino Miseray was hired as the new Taxi Field Monitor.  Becky Chan has retired after 26 years of service and Samir Madhav has been hired as the new Manager of Finance. Sasha Khizver is out on sick leave and has been temporarily replaced by a Russian-speaking woman named Yelena. 

Shop-a-Round: The brochure has been updated to reflect the new citywide scope of the service and expanded to add information about the Shop-a-Round Taxi adjunct service, which is in the process of being developed. Shop-a-Round Taxi is moving forward and the Broker’s office has started registering eligible riders and will start issuing the Shopping Taxi Cards soon.

•  Van Procurement: One hybrid cutaway van is being procured by SFMTA for use in the paratransit program as a test vehicle.  Since the hybrid van technology is fairly new, SFMTA will test operation and maintenance aspects for at least a year. A procurement process to replace the 600 series, 20 cutaway vans, that MPT runs in the SF Access service, will begin in the fall.

Van Service Provider Procurement: The selection committee met and scored the SF Access and Group Van proposals.  The Paratransit Broker is working on finalizing the SF Access contract.  Once the contract has been executed, more details will be announced.

After Marc’s report, Silas Telfor asked whether paratransit riders would have a choice of van providers, and that the last procurement offered a choice.  Marc responded that the concept of consumer choice of SF Access providers was tried and it was not successful.  Given that San Francisco has such a small service area, it is not efficient to have two providers. 


Jeanne Lynch announced that there is a new poster available indicating that bikes should be walked on the sidewalk.  Jeanne also announced that a demonstration urging Senator Feinstein to stand up for Social Security will take place on August 17th at 11:00 am at 1 Post Street/New Montgomery.

Ruach Graffis announced that a cab driver had a heart attack and died behind the wheel. 

The next PCC meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 711 Eddy Street


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