tv [untitled] October 24, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm PDT
>> as far as the garage, i believe i just moved out nine cars. we do not use the garage at all. as far as parking, i will definitely speak to staff about trying to be mindful of that. generally what we do is most of our staff drive to work, and they switch out their cars from the parking lot, and they tend to bring their cars around the building. i will definitely talk to them about may be keeping them a block away. we will see what we can do. >> i think this stakeholders would appreciate that. they run around in front trying to find a parking spot. >> ok. is there any commissioner or public comment on item 6a? ok, item 6b, future meetings and agendas. the commission may discuss and take action to set the date of a special lady -- meeting and/or
determine those items that could be placed on the agenda of the next meeting and other future meetings of the building inspection commission. the next meeting is scheduled for november 16 right now. commissioner walker: and the litigation committee? rights litigation on november 15. >> we're going to get a report of the tracking system. we get that every month anyway. >> is there any public comment on item 6b? >> i do like the comment made by the public speaker on public comments on each of these items, rather than waiting until the end. i like that idea. >> ok, we can do that at the next meeting. i think it is up to the chair. >> we will put it on the agenda of the next meeting. >> ok. item seven, review and approval of the minutes of the regular meeting of april 20, 2011.
>> move to approve. >> second. >> ok. is there any public comment on item 7? ok, the minutes are approved. i'm sorry. is there a vote? all in favor? ok, thank you. item number 8, adjournment. >> motion. >> i second that. >> ok, is everyone in agreement? ok, we're now adjourned. >> meeting adjourned.
supervisor avalos: good morning, and welcome to the city operations in neighborhood services committee. my name is supervisor avalos. i am joined by supervisor sean elsbernd and supervisor eric mar. we're also joined today from an audit committee member here the most welcome, supervisor chu. the clerk of the committee is ms. gail johnson. please share announcements. >> all persons attending this
meeting are requested to turn off all cell phones and pagers. if you wish to submit speaker cards, put the mind the contain terror -- container in front of me to your left. if you submit copies of materials for members of the committee, please submit an extra copy for the file. supervisor avalos: thank you, madam clerk. please call item number 1. >> hearing to receive performance data on muni service along all light rail vehicles lines for months of february, march, and april 2011 including information regarding mr. runs in costs is -- and causes for mr. runs, on-time performance, number of switchbacks, and steps taken by the municipal transportation agency to address these issues. supervisor avalos: thank you. i will pass this onto supervisor chu. this is an issue that hits my district as well and a lot of other places.
supervisor chu: thank you for having this hearing today. this was an item that we heard previously, close to a year ago, and we saw a large amount of turnaround services on its the light rail vehicles. turnaround services are situations where you have a muni light rail that is supposed to go to one location that turns around early to go in another direction we saw this happen in several places. this also happens on other lines as well. we really wanted to bring muni in to better understand the issues were, what the causes for for some of these turnaround, and also how to prevent them from future instances. we have a representative from the mta who will be providing a brief presentation to us. and then of course we have got some questions. i will turn it over to the representative from mta. >> the good morning,
chairperson, members of the committee, supervisors did i am the director of transportation here in the city and county of san francisco. i am happy to be with you this morning. i appreciate the opportunity for this hearing. i know there were a number of different hearings that took place earlier in the calendar year, and i think there were actually very helpful to the mta had even before my our arrival in bringing out what some of the issues were for you and your constituents. it has helped us focus some of the areas that we need to approve in. let me start out by saying we're very fortunate here in san francisco to have the amount of light rail service that we do. about 60 or 70 years ago, a lot of cities across the country, including san francisco, had a lot of light rail running through there are urban centers. and light rail is one of the most effective ways to move a lot of people, because it can
carry more people than other transit vehicles and they travel in their own rights of way, at least partially. we're fortunate that when all of the light rail was being ripped out around the country, we were able to preserve a number of the light rail lines that we have in the city. beyond that, we went a step further and were leaders in the nation when we started extending some light rail networks for the first time in half a century with the development of the t-third light rail. we start from a good place in that we have a light rail network here in the city. but we recognize that there challenges with it. it is the workhorse of the system, and you'll see some statistics in the presentation about how many people move on the five lines that we have
every day and what moves in the system. we recognize that we have some challenges. and as the workhorse, we need to focus on making sure that it is reliable and effective for our transit-first policy to work. we need people to find these systems to be convenient, reliable, safe, and a better option for them than having to get in their own car. i think what you'll see are the themes in the presentation, which are that while we still have some challenges, things are starting to trend in a good direction. and some changes we have made since the spring when this was before you previously are really starting to have an impact on the ground, and there are certain things that we're doing now in terms of both vehicle reliability and operator availability that will further improve the functioning of the light rail system. so we do have a brief powerpoint
to walk through with you, and we very much look forward to hearing public comment and answering specific questions that you have. if i may, i am going to turn over the podium to our director of transit to walk you through the presentation. then we will both be here to answer questions. thank you. >> thank you very much. good morning. as he said, thank you for the opportunity to be here. it has been a while. what we're trying to do the presentation today is to focus on the request for information you made for this particular hearing. we -- it has been since last february and march since we have been before you to talk about the service. what we tried to do was update the information for you, so you have a snapshot of what has occurred over the last seven months.
i do not want to spend a lot of time on this one. i think it is important to note -- the message of like to read to you is the importance on the rail system to the entire system to the looking at carrying approaching a quarter of our total ridership, but a key link to all of our other systems. i would remind the committee again that we are blessed with having among the most comprehensive systems of any city in the united states, certainly, but also, it is a challenge. we also had the only one that operates in the way that ours does. street traffic, into the subway in automatic mode. that provides some unique and specific challenges. again, just a message in terms of how we manage the system. while there are individual nuances on all of the lines, we
continually -- we will try to demonstrate that again today, is we manage the system, all the lines as a system. they all go through the subway. we approach it from that management side of the direction. i would remind the committee that the last time we met in february or march, -- and the request we got this time was to focus on what was going on in the spring. in terms of the spring, the highlights is that we hit the worst stretch for operator availability and misruns in the spring. we had a spike in vehicle delays in february and march. at the same time, the beginning of the baseball system, one of the things we will be talking about is during the course of the baseball season this year,
we made several accommodations to be able to run our service and at the same time get people to and from at&t park. without benefits of the extra trains we had in previous years, we continued to leverage our technology, specifically the line management center, in concert with our line inspectors on the street and our control center to make adjustments as we needed to on the service. everything to putting buses on some of the rail lines -- back in april and may, and we will talk also about some of the other changes and things we're doing to improve the service overall. so the message of want to leave you with this we would like to think we bottomed out in the spring in terms of the misruns and open service. we have gradually gotten better since then. as i said, we're own -- on an
approach to make sure we fill all of our runs. very important, i think it is 98%, 98.5% as our prop e goal. this is fundamental to good service on the street. when you get the service out, you then need to have the challenge of managing effectively. but without the service, you have a need to make more adjustments. you have more crowded trains. you have less of them. it sometimes requires us to move trains between lines, depending on what the issues are at a particular time. as you can see, april was our worst month, where we missed almost 10% of the service of getting it out on the street. we continue to improve in that regard, but we want to get back over the 98% goal. as a percentage of the total
service -- supervisor chu: i would like to ask a quick question. on this chart where we see there was a huge step in the number of runs that went out in april, etc. -- on page 6. it is cyclical? do we see that in the previous year, that spring is around the time we see these kinds of drops or is it unique to the shortage of operators and the vehicles breaking down? >> no, i think if i understand the question, it is not something that occurs in the spring. it is not an annual event or cyclical event. in this particular case, we realized that in about november of last year, given the nature of when hiring stopped and went training season -- training seized for new operators, that if we did not jump start the training program very quickly on both the bus and the real side
that we would have these types of problems. the problem occurred. this was the worst month because there was essentially no new rail training done for a long time span. so this is not something that is a rite of spring. it should not be occurring and will not be occurring in the future. we will like to think this was a one time aberration of us stopping hiring and not rehiring and retraining at the necessary speed that people were going out the door. ok? supervisor chu: thank you. >> misruns as a percentage of the total runs -- again, the same kind of message. what we wanted to show, for example, is the decline from, again, april being the worst
month, september, but we missed almost 10% of the runs. september, we're back under and pershing 5%. this is a critical one for us. we have to get the service on the street. supervisor avalos: what is it about the l line, why it is most often at the top? >> the reason is the l line -- my apologies for not addressing that in my remarks. that is an excellent point, because it does stand up in that regard. the reason that it does is what we're doing here is essentially when you have 10% of the service gone, you have to spread the pain. one of the things about the l line, for example, is it is the easiest to bus. to is a straight shot.
you just follow the rail. in many cases if you have only ifrail operator -- if you have only one rail operator and you had the choice between a j line and l line, you choose the j line. supervisor avalos: from west portal, right? >> ok. part of the reasons that the l line is higher with misruns, is as a system we look at how we could get people to where they need to go, and with less than what we needed, we made a decision on a real-time basis, on a daily basis, to say, ok, we can move people on a bus on the l line easier than, say, the n line. if we have three open runs and two rail operators and we have
one bus, that would usually be the l line, because it is easier, bus. the operator simply follows the tracks and makes all the stops, as opposed to the other lines. so there is a reason. supervisor chu: as a follow-up on that issue, it was shocking to see that the l line had such a high number of misruns. this chart does not go along with what you put back into bus service. it sounds like this chart only shows the lrv's that were missed in a particular line. so these show how many lrv instead not go out that wer l , for example, but it does not show about adding back service with buses, correct? >> that is absolutely right. this is just what did not go out the door. again, i think it is important
-- we have talked in the past about the fact that our fleet is 15 years old, talking about our lrv fleet. all the cars were purchased in roughly the same timeframe. the cars have not had a midlife overhaul, which is important. heavily utilize, they run some 21 hours a day. bus stops, it's very heavily and demanding environment, heavy ridership. over the last several years, we have introduced a number of campaigns to deal with our most problematic systems. you can see from the data provided that the biggest problem that we have is with doors and steps. that it's, again, to the special arrangement or uniqueness of our operation were the doors are low floor or down, out on the street. they are raised as they go into
the portable. there is some 200 moving parts on those doors that are in constant motion. it takes its toll on the -- so there are a number of campaigns that we have in place, both with our vendor and some in-house stuff to work on the doors and steps. similar, the the two items that account for major portions of the delay are the breaks and propulsion. the propulsion system in our cars is, again, a little bit different than other places because we have the propulsion underneath the car. what that means sometimes is we bring air and debris into the system. again, i do not want to bore you with the details, but what we have done is analyze and identify the causes of failures and try to take our focus on resources to do them. we have a number of programs we can talk about to deal with our high impact failures.
this is a sampling of the on- time performance my group. again, just as an aside, we measured on-time performance at the portals. so at west portal and at, say, a church and dubos. that is a discussion that we have talked about, both the way we measure in making the measurement reflect more the customer experience. at any rate, this is the way we measure it for the last several years. there is the n line which has improved over a time span, and some of that is the tension we paid to the infrastructure there. but also, there is a positive effect that, since june 13, the annexes had on some of the ridership. the kt line, it is interesting,
even though it is link does one line, the portion of the line that is the most difficult to keep on time as the ocean avenue portion, for a variety of reasons. the t line actually runs pretty well. we will talk about in a minute. the k, because of the configuration of stops and also from west portal till the end of the line, you do not have a place to make a service of adjustment if you have a problem. so this is a snapshot of the range of on-time performance in the system. here is something that you have asked about several times in the discussion. what i would say here is something that we have talked about, which is that the number of switchbacks that done are direct reflections of the
quality of service. again, a switch back as a service management technique. we do not get up in the morning and said that our goal is to have 10 switchbacks. if we fill our runs and manage the service well, the switchbacks should be minimized, as the data shows april, maine, june, switchbacks high. with the ball games coming back, many times in the first part of the year, we have historically rent the giants service, and generally we had to do with existing service trains. we had buses out on the avenues many of those nights. as we have begun to build the amount of service back up, the number of switchbacks will decline. one thing i do want to offer you -- i do not have it with me, but what we will do going forward, because i think it is something we have talked about, and frankly, you have asked for it in we will get it to you.
but i am prepared to provide the board with a monthly report on switchbacks, indicating both in number by line and the time and location. we tend to do them in a pattern. have had numerous discussions about this. we have been offended, as have our riders, greatly from your counsel in terms of the commission -- conditions in which we do switchbacks. there has to be a train no more than five minutes behind it. we have made progress with the announcement. again, the point i want to leave you with this the better the service, the less need for switchbacks. because they switch back is simply a service management technique that is available to us. supervisor chu: on the switchback slide, this is one of the big issues in our district and i think some other ones as
well given that one of the hires gher switchback line has been j. i am glad to see this summer down from the peak. you talked about the five-minute policy, meaning that the mta has said we're not going to be switching back trains unless there is a significant disruption in the service and you would need to do that to readjust, and two, that there is a trend that is five minutes behind. we still continue to get information from getriders that sometimes they're waiting up to 25 minutes until the next train comes. many times it is at night where it is cold and dark with no shelter. can you talk about the mta's adherence to the five-minute policy and how often we're actually sticking to that? >> thank you for the opportunity to address that. i think it is important that we give you in writing on a regular
basis our adherence to that. your point is well-taken. what we have done over the last several months is -- and we provided the written policy. all of our controllers and people in the line management center know that they're not to switchback the train unless there is a train no more than five minutes behind it. in many cases, our practice has been to make sure that the train is even in sight. as far as our adherence to that, i will give you the specific numbers. i will give it to you by friday of this week, and then i will give it to you on a regular basis. our adherence to the five-minute rule is almost in the high 90% 's. we're not perfect.
but we do not make switchbacks when, frankly, we may benefit if there is no train. so this is something that was solidified in our operating practices. we have institutionalized that. but i will provide you with a written summary of that going forward on a regular basis, because i think it is something that i am sure you continue to get complaints. we look at every complaint we get on that. i would remind the committee that we're talking about the overall number of service and a fraction of 1% of the trains. at the same time, we have worked very hard to get it right in make sure that we let the public know. the other thing that i will talk about -- supervisor avalos: excuse me. what would it mean not to do switchbacks? if we actually eliminated switchbacks? hypothetically, what would happen? >> ok, if you did not do switchbacks -- the clearest way
can describe it is to think of yourself as somebody -- if you have a problem with the outbound side and say you had a bad train going out to ocean beach on the n line, if you did not make an adjustment to the train and let all the trends following it go out all the way to the beach, if you were standing and out -- standing in down, say on 19th avenue, it would probably not come for probably two times to three times -- one that is eight minutes, you probably be looking at 25 minutes to 30 minutes. >> [inaudible] supervisor chu: one of the problems we have seen is that sunset boulevard is not that far from the end of the line. so by the time you actually switchback the train, are you really gaining that much more on
your system to have to do a switchback versus just running a train through? >> actually, i think it is important that we give you the data. again, i would respectfully disagree that we do save not only time, but we balance the line and run the system more efficiently and effectively. again, i know we have had this discussion, but in our system, the way it is configured, what options we have, switchbacks -- to not do them, i think, would have deleterious effects on the on-time performance and the management of the system. i have had this discussion with several people. we're certainly open to other alternatives, if somebody has a suggestion, we will certainly look at it. but what we do right