CITY OF WORCESTER

Public Service and Transportation Committee Meeting

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Esther Howland (South) Chamber

Convened: 5:00 P.M.

Adjourned: 6:10 P.M.


Mayor
Joseph M. Petty

 

www.worcesterma.gov

 

Clerk of the City Council
Nikolin Vangjeli

Committee Members

Chairperson Gary Rosen
Vice Chairperson Donna M Colorio
Councilor Sarai Rivera
 

City Hall - 455 Main Street Worcester, Massachusetts


Present Were:Chairperson Councilor Gary Rosen Vice Chairperson Councilor Donna M Colorio Councilor Sarai Rivera
 
Also:City Clerk Nikolin Vangjeli, clerk Director of Accessibility Jayna Turchek WRTA Administrator Dennis Lipka Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission Staff Constance Mellis Easter Seals Massachusetts Vice President of Public Affairs Joe Bellil Easter Seals Massachusetts Staff Member Robert Bilotta
 
1.

Approval of the Minutes

1a.

Order - That the City Council Standing Committee of Public Service and Transportation hereby approves the minutes of the Public Service and Transportation Committee on December 9, 2020.

View Agenda

Chairperson Councilor Rosen read the item and moved for a roll call vote to adopt the item.
Order adopted on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

2.

Public Participation

2a.

In order to ensure the continuation of active public engagement, the City of Worcester will now use a phone conference line for members of the public to participate in all public meetings. To participate during the public participation phase of City Council, you may call the direct line indicated: Esther Howland Chamber - 415-655-0001 (Access Code: 180 788 5284) or enter the below URL into your web browser. If you would like to raise your hand when in the meeting as a call-in user during public participation you may dial *3.

https://cow.webex.com/cow/onstage/g.php?MTID=e1bccd6e1a4e38185defc59df8e53c89f

Attachments
3.

Miscellaneous Item

3a.

Order of Councilor Gary Rosen, Councilor Morris A. Bergman, Councilor Donna M. Colorio, Councilor Khrystian E. King, Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson, Councilor Sarai Rivera, Councilor Sean M. Rose, Councilor George J. Russell, Councilor Kathleen M. Toomey, Councilor Matthew E. Wally, Mayor Joseph M. Petty - Request Standing Committee on Public Service and Transportation invite to an upcoming meeting representatives from the Worcester's disability community, the Director of Human Rights and Disabilities for the city, the city's taxi and ridesharing companies, and the WRTA to determine how equitable, accessible on-demand public transportation in Worcester can be expanded. In 2019, Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) provided over 1 million trips in Worcester but currently there are zero wheelchair accessible TNC vehicles. And, while Worcester has 110 licensed taxis, that includes only one wheelchair accessible vehicle. # 11j CC December 15, 2020

Attachments
In Committee for informational purposes only

Chairperson Councilor Rosen read the item and recognized the Director of Accessibility, who discussed the municipal wheelchair accessible medallion program for private taxi companies, the history and availability of the medallions and available services for people who need wheelchair accessible transportation options.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen read the testimony provided by the owner of Worcester Yellow Cab concerning the private companyís intentions and actions taken to apply for the medallions, and discussed the driver training certification program with the Director of Accessibility.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen recognized the Easter Seals MA Vice President of Public Affairs, who discussed the needs for city-supported task force to engage members of the disability and older adult community and the four priorities the task force should focus on.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen recognized the Easter Seals MA Staff Member, who discussed the needs for on-demand accessible transportation services in the city.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen recognized the WRTA Administrator, who discussed the WRTA para-transit service, history of late-night accessible transportation program, the grant application for wheel-chair accessible vehicle for Worcester Yellow Cab, and training program for drivers with the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission Staff.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen recognized Councilor Colorio, who discussed available data for when the para-transit service is most requested, the challenges and restrictions faced by the para-transit program, the accessible vehicles utilized by private taxi companies, and the Via transportation program with the WRTA Administrator.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen recognized Easter Seals Massachusetts Staff Member, who discussed the challenges and restrictions relative to Via transportation service and the para-transit service, and the needs to expand accessible transportation services in the city.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen recognized Councilor Rivera, who discussed communication with livery companies concerning taxi medallions and partnership with Worcester Reb Cab to provide accessible transportation services with the Director of Accessibility.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen recognized the following speakers:
1. Mary H., Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item 3a
2. Jim Delage, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item 3a
3. Laine Miller, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item 3a
4. Meg Coffin, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item 3a
5. Mike Kennedy, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item 3a
6. Nancy Garr-Colzie, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item 3a
7. Seth Gaston, Leominster resident, spoke in favor of item 3a
8. Shaun Bartone, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item 3a
9. Stephen Stolberg, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item 3a
10. Susan Moriarty, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item 3a

Chairperson Councilor Rosen brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager communicate with Worcesterís livery companies and inquire whether said companies would be interested in pursuing taxi medallions regarding accessible vehicles.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen then discussed communication with Worcester Red Cab owner and future plans concerning expansion of the WAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles).

Chairperson Councilor Rosen recognized Councilor Rivera, who spoke concerning the item.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen recognized the WRTA Administrator, who discussed the process to purchase wheelchair accessible vehicles by the WRTA.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be held.

Recommend Hold on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager communicate with Worcesterís livery companies and inquire whether said companies would be interested in pursuing taxi medallions regarding accessible vehicles.