NEXT MEETING Friday, March 21, :00 a.m., Buhl Bldg., 6 th floor, SMART Boardroom

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1 SMART Advisory Council Meeting December 6, Minutes Buhl Building SMART Board Room, 6 th Floor 535 Griswold St. Detroit, MI The meeting was called to order by Chairman James Cole. Michael Patten called the roll of voting members. A quorum was established. Motion was made and seconded to approve the agenda and passed. Those in attendance introduced themselves. The September 20, 2013 minutes were read by Michael Patten because there were no Braille copies available. Motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes passed. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION Laura Padalino from PEAC (Programs to Educate All Cyclists) is the coordinator of the active transportation program. This program is funded through SMART as well as JARC and New Freedom monies. Students with cognitive disabilities in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties are provided transportation training that includes biking and walking safety skills and fixed route use. Laura expressed pride that when students graduate they tell her that they are going to find an apartment on a SMART bus route to get to their job and not have to rely on their parents. Two students who participate in PEAC shared what the program means to them. First, Chase Edmunds: I go to Roosevelt High School. I have ADHD. That means I have a tough time reading and writing. At the PEAC program, we ride bikes, buses and walk in the community. I like to go shopping and I like to take the bus to Southland Mall. Thank you for supporting the PEAC program. You are awesome. Marcus Wisniewski: I go to Roosevelt High School. I have a developmental disability. That means it is difficult for me to read and write. I like riding the bus and going places. I would like to thank SMART Bus for paying for this program. The executive director of PEAC, John Waterman also expressed thanks to SMART for providing funding and allowing the students to learn to use fixed route to increase their independence. This is the only place in the nation where people with mild cognitive impairments between the ages of 14 and 26 receive travel training through their school. Jim Fetzer expressed appreciation that John Waterman and his staff and students from PEAC have been a really big supporter of SMART and it is a great partnership.

2 Jim Fetzer will meet with SMART s IT manager today to discuss controlling the volume of the audio announcements on the fixed route buses. There was also a concern that the limited bus coming into Highland Park goes down to Manchester in a right turn only lane, instead of stopping at Sears. Mike Kaminskas, a SMART scheduler can address that issue after the meeting. It was suggested that bus drivers find a clear and safe pathway when there is snow and ice at a bus stop; especially when picking up someone in a wheelchair. Also, there is some confusion about whether a bus driver is permitted to assist a passenger with the on-board bike rack. The drivers are trained on the bike rack operation and should assist if needed. There is a video at demonstrating how to use the bike rack. At this time, SMART doesn t have funds for additional weekend bus service. A millage increase would have to be proposed and passed for funding. SERVICE UPDATES - Jim Fetzer There is funding for more than 100 Connector vehicles and a state bid should take place in February. We are hoping to change over to propane instead of diesel for our fleet because propane is significantly cheaper. The Detroit City Council has approved the transfer of 40 buses from DDOT to SMART. Once the buses arrive, they will be refurbished. 13 new replacement buses are on order for fixed route and should arrive in May. Funding is also available for possibly 30 more fixed route buses. We are hoping to use compressed natural gas fuel for these buses to save on fuel cost. Tony Vinson is working on much-needed remodeling and renovation of our Connector office, updating the scheduling system, phone system, and scheduling software. We will soon be having a new Connector trainee class. Installation of on-board cameras on all buses should be completed in March and will revolutionize our complaint system. With the camera system, we ll be able to see exactly what happened between a passenger and a driver. Our fixed route radio system is operating in Oakland and Wayne terminals and will soon be operating in the Macomb facility. The system has a feature called transfer protection. A rider informs the operator of the need to transfer to another route, and the system will send a signal to the next bus to hold up for a pre-set time so the connection can be made.

3 SMART has purchased 50 solar-lighted bus shelters. The first one has been installed on 15 Mile Rd. at Gratiot. There was discussion at our Strategic Planning Meeting about merging SMART and DDOT. There is no plan and there are no funds at this time for that to happen. $41 million is being awarded by the federal government to DDOT in a special grant to enhance their system, refurbish buses, and fix up their transit center. I am chair of the PAC Committee (Providers Advisory Council) of the RTA (Regional Transit Authority). A study is being made to determine fare coordination between DDOT, SMART and the Detroit People Mover. I will update you at a future meeting of the progress of that study. I met with DDOT and asked that there be SMART signs every two blocks or so along with the DDOT signs. DDOT will get back to me about that. SMART is providing the city of Troy with funding to purchase the land for the transit center on 15 Mile Rd. The on-board announcement system has been well received by people with disabilities. Some of the street names are being mispronounced because the announcers are not from the local area. Please or call SMART s complaint center to inform us of incorrectly announced stops or mispronunciation of streets so that it can be fixed. The flashing signs in the front interior of the bus that visually announce the stops could trigger a seizure in someone with epilepsy. Work is being done to change the signs from flashing to a crawl or roll. We informed the State of Michigan concerning the angled step in the doorway of the small buses. The step could be straightened. Also, to improve visibility, the step will be painted yellow instead of white. SMALL BUS SUSPENSIONS Dan Whitehouse In the past two years, small bus ridership has increased. Unfortunately, the violations are increasing. About 50% of the suspensions each month are ADA riders. They are being suspended for no-shows and for late cancellations. A late cancellation is any trip that is cancelled after 4:00 p.m. the previous day. With the automated call system, we may change the deadline to 10:00 p.m. since riders are getting the automated calls reminding them of the trip the next day and will have the option to cancel their trip at that point. When I send out the suspension letters, almost everyone calls me. I am able to review their ride history and work with

4 them. The guidelines say that riders are suspended if 10% of their trips each month are late-cancelled and/or no-shows. In practice, we usually don t suspend until the rider has reached 20%. We are denying more than 70 other possible riders a day because of these late cancellations. Right now SMART has a two-week suspension for a first violation. In other transit organizations, the penalties for violations of the guidelines are harsher than for SMART. DDOT gives a one-month suspension for the first violation. It is proposed that we follow DDOT s policy. Motion was made by Frank Cunningham with support from Frank Piatt to change the suspension policy immediately as follows: a rider will be suspended for one month on a first violation, 3 months for a second, 6 months for a third, and then for one year on a fourth violation. Motion carried. At the June meeting, Dan Whitehouse will present an update on how the implementation is working. OLD BUSINESS A formal request will be made that a union representative attend the SAC meetings. DDOT has been informed about the sidewalk at the 8 Mile and Woodward bus stop that needs repair. The matter will be brought to the attention of the Detroit Public Works Department. COUNCIL MEMBERS BUSINESS Oakland and Macomb County AAA (Area Agency on Aging) has an information service called My Ride 2 which provides transportation options for senior citizens and adults with disabilities. The website is Enter a zip code and it will bring up all the options of transportation providers. The information includes wheelchair accessibility. SMART Bus is one of the options provided. The automated scheduling system is new and there are some bugs to be worked out. When a passenger is scheduling a trip, they need to tell the call taker that they want the automated notification. Right now the arrival notification phone call alert is set at 10 minutes and 5 miles. That time frame might be changed to 5 minutes. The time between the automated notification and the actual pick up is sometimes 45 minutes. Send an to Tony Vinson at if you experience problems. Tony will explain the system in more detail at our next SAC meeting.

5 Some drivers are still not properly tying down wheelchairs. Drivers are trained to use either the four-point or criss-cross technique. Criss-cross is a technique that many passengers using wheelchairs have told us that they prefer and that it works. Even though the manufacturer doesn t recommend the criss-cross technique, we use it because we have found it to be safe and our passengers endorse it. When drivers are trained they are told to check that the chair is immovable after securing it. Please make a formal complaint on our website or to our call center if a driver is not properly securing a wheelchair. On the new buses that SMART will be getting, modifications will be made to provide for a larger wheelchair area because the drivers complain that the space is too tight. The buses will also have sandpaper textured floors to help keep wheelchairs in place. Route 160 runs on Saturdays between Wyandotte and Trenton with very few riders. However, going to Southgate, Kmart and Meijer, Route 140 picks up more riders than Route 160 does. Jim Fetzer will check with the scheduling staff for comparison between the two routes. No policy exists that allows priority boarding for individuals with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires a priority seating area, but is silent regarding priority boarding. A driver will sometimes ask others to allow a person with a disability to board first. ANNOUNCEMENTS James Cole: Thank you to everyone for attending. Happy holidays to everyone. Jim Fetzer invited the SAC to hold a future meeting at SMART s Oakland Terminal in Troy to show off the newly remodeled call center. After brief discussion it was decided to hold the June meeting at the Oakland Terminal. NEXT MEETING Friday, March 21, :00 a.m., Buhl Bldg., 6 th floor, SMART Boardroom

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