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MUNI ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE (MAAC)
Minutes of January 21, 2010
Randall Glock (Chair), Elizabeth Dawson (Vice-Chair), Marc Grossman, Jean Kempf, Miro Kielbus, David Longa, Jeanne Lynch, Bruce Morgan, Roland Wong, F. Ross Woodall, Byron Yan
Accessible Services Staff Present
Jamie Osborne, Virginia Rathke, Annette Williams
Kenneth Anderson (SFMTA System Safety), Joseph Flanagan, Robert Gave (Booz Allen Hamilton), Scott Jefferis (SFMTA Training), Ken Jew (SFMTA Construction), Bob Planthold
Call to Order
Meeting was called to order at 1:05 p.m.
Introductions were made in lieu of a roll call.
Reading and approval of agenda.
The agenda was approved.
Reading and approval of the November, December 2009 minutes
Both sets of minutes were approved.
Comments from the Chair
Vice-Chair, Elizabeth Dawson thanked members for their attendance despite the weather.
Operator Training Review
Jamie Osborne and Elizabeth Dawson shared their experiences during an SFMTA new operator training class on “Disability Awareness” that they attended in November, 2009. MAAC members have consistently played an essential role in the new operator trainings. Members requested to play a greater role in contributing to the training. Accessible Services staff noted that due to the size of the classroom and other logistics of training a large group of operators in a short amount of time, a maximum of two members could be accommodated.
SFMTA Training instructor Scott Jefferis provided details about the new operator training and the Verification of Transit Trainings (VTT) that each operator is required to attend annually by California State Law. He noted that during the VTT sessions, training staff extensively covers issues related to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
MAAC members expressed their willingness to take part in the ongoing daily VTT process. Annette Williams the Accessible Services program manager indicated that although she thought that it would be helpful, representatives of the disability community were previously invited to VTT sessions and found the daily requirement of time too difficult to commit to in the long run.
Kenneth Anderson, noted that the VTT sessions were mandated by the State verification code and that the code requires that specific issues (such as transit needs for senior and disabled customers) be addressed. He indicated that he was willing to explore increased participation by MAAC members, but noted his concern that having additional attendees at VTT trainings may make it difficult for the training staff to cover all necessary issues in the prescribed time limits. He reported that VTT was helpful for veteran operators, but that disciplinary actions for non-compliance were essential.
MAAC members agreed that they experienced most of their access and courtesy problems when dealing with veteran operators. They hoped that continual offenders could be better trained or better disciplined, whichever strategy was more effective. Members also proposed a training “exit exam” to verify that operators did understand the materials that they were presented. It was also requested that issues specific to light rail vehicle operations, such as operator external announcements for waiting passengers with visual disabilities be reviewed by MAAC.
Radio Replacement Project
Ken Jew of SFMTA construction is the project manager for the Radio Systems Replacement Project. He reported the Request for Quotation (RFQ) had just been released to potential bidders. Through the project, SFTMA will obtain design – build services for the final design, construction, and implementation of a replacement system for the agency’s 30 year old communications infrastructure. The project will update SFMTA’s system to track transit vehicles and communicate with operators, it will also include crucial upgrades to how the agency shares information with customers. Included in this project will be a Digital Voice Announcement System (DVAS) for the light rail vehicles that will announce stops and will provide a visual display for those who are unable to hear the announcements. This system will be functional on the surface rails where no DVAS currently exists.
Bob Gave of Booz Allen Hamilton, the consultant agency that has assisted SFMTA in assembling the Radio Replacement Project RFQ, reported to MAAC members about the specifics of the proposed DVAS. He noted that the DVAS system is likely to be functional at the tail end of the full project implementation in 2013. SFMTA is looking to implement an interim solution through the contract that would install a limited DVAS system at an accelerated schedule.
MAAC members inquired about the capacity and consistency of the new PA system as the existing PA performs poorly in both areas, especially in the rear car of a two car train. They were concerned that the new system have the capacity to provide a text message for standard emergency messages for those who were unable to hear ad hoc operator announcements. MAAC members also requested the PA be designed to provide an appropriate volume consistently regardless of the operator’s preferences or environmental noise levels such as the temperature control system fan. Members reported that the existing ambient noise level volume control system was not effective. They were also concerned that whatever system that was designed would be compatible with any new LRVs that were added to the fleet in the future.
BART & SFMTA Senior / Disabled Pilot “P” Pass
Jamie Osborne and Annette Williams reviewed with the committee that the Pilot pass program would be starting in February 2010. This program allows participants to use a single pass to access Muni and BART service within the City of San Francisco.
All MAAC members were eligible to use the P Pass and would be receiving the pass in the mail in lieu of the disabled monthly sticker or senior FastPass that they had previously been receiving. Members were instructed that to use the P Pass, they should also carry either an RTC Discount ID or a picture ID that indicates their age. The P Pass is a paper ticket similar to the FastPass or BART ticket that will be accepted at all fare gates.
MAAC members should use the P Pass on BART in the SF city limits and report back to the committee on their experiences. The P Pass will be accepted all Muni modes. For MAAC members there will not be a fee; however, for other participants, the P Pass will be $20, which is $5 more than the existing cost of the monthly sticker.
Members were concerned about using their RTC card to participate in the TransLink pilot. Accessible Services staff preferred that MAAC members use their TransLink enabled RTC card to ride Muni buses and trains and use the P Pass if they use BART. However, members are able to use either pass on all Muni vehicles. Members asked about the response to the pilot program - SFMTA received less than 2000 valid applications for the program. Thus, anyone who expressed interest was able to participate.
The hope of the program is to include the P Pass into the TransLink system. The technical details were currently being explored to make this a goal reality. Members asked that the replacement process for the RTC cards be streamlined (Three weeks is too long to wait for a replacement card). Additional details about the RTC TransLink program will be shared at the February meeting.
SFMTA Budget Shortfall / Service Change Review
Annette Williams spoke to the committee about the proposed increase in the cost for the discount monthly pass as part of SFMTA measures to rectify a projected budget shortfall of $16.9 Million. The recent proposal was to raise the cost of the discount pass to $30 in April 2010. Currently, the discount monthly fare for seniors, people with disabilities and youth will raise to $20 in May 2010. The new proposal has been presented as an option for the agency to generate an additional $4 Million annually.
MAAC members were very concerned about this proposal. They felt that it was an unfair increase and that seniors and people with disabilities were being asked to pay the price for agency inefficiencies. They noted that an increase of this scope was unacceptable – especially at a time when seniors and the disabled were already at the receiving end of many other budget cuts.
A motion was made that the committee write a letter to the SFMTA Board of Directors and the Board of Supervisors regarding their opposition to the increase. The motion was seconded and approved. Members were also concerned that the budget problems would escalate for future years. They were very interested in specific information that illustrated how the deficit was created and how the agency had found itself in this situation.
Regarding the service changes, MAAC members were concerned about the performance of the new Laguna Honda Hospital shuttle. The shuttle was not consistently operated and one of the vehicles used for the service was NOT accessible. Through the end of February, the shuttle will have 7 day-week service; however, at the end of that time, it is possible that weekend service may be discontinued. The Department of Public Health should be contacted about concerns related to weekend service beyond February.
Member’s Questions and Comments
Miro Kielbus suggested that MAAC think about changing the acronym to SFMTAAC as the committee is looking at transportation issues beyond Muni.
Elizabeth Dawson asked MAAC to speak to as many people as possible about the potential impacts of the proposed fare increases and service cuts on senior and disabled transit customers.
Jeanne Lynch noted that Norm Rolfe, a tireless advocate for the senior action network and many senior issues had recently passed away. DeeAnne Hendrix, another strong advocate for disabled civil rights passed in early January. MAAC members should keep these two people in their hearts and work to match their accomplishments.
At 3:05 p.m. the meeting was adjourned in honor of Mr. Rolfe and Ms. Hendrix and the next scheduled meeting was set for February 18, 2010 at 1:00PM.
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