Meeting Minutes Dec. 17, 2015



A meeting of the New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC) was convened at 12:00 noon on December 17, 2015 in the 2nd Floor Conference Room D2.10 at 2 Broadway, New York City.

The following members were present:

Andrew Albert
Sharon King Hoge
Stuart Goldstein
Trudy Mason
Christopher Greif
Edith Prentiss
William K. Guild
Burton M. Strauss, Jr.

The following members were absent:

Marisol Halpern
Scott Nicholls
Michael Sinansky

In addition, the following persons were present:

William Henderson -PCAC Executive Director
Ellyn Shannon -PCAC Associate Director
Angela Bellisio -PCAC Transportation Planner
Bradley Brashears -PCAC Transportation Planner
Karyl Berger -PCAC Research Associate
Deborah Hall-Moore -NYCT
Loriann Hoffman -NYCT
Daisy Mendez -NYCT
Sharon Samuel -NYCT
Mira Steilati -NYCT
Ken Stewart -Concerned citizen
Debra Greif -Concerned citizen

Approval of Agenda and Minutes

The agenda for the December 17, 2015 meeting was approved. The minutes of the November 19, 2015 were approved. Chris Greif thanked the staff for the meeting minutes.

Chair’s Report

The Chair’s Report is attached to these minutes.

Mr. Greif said that the Queens Developmental Disability Council would like to hear about the Freedom Ticket.

Ellyn Shannon stated that there are a great many areas where Freedom Ticket would be useful.

Trudy Mason suggested that materials about Freedom Ticket be sent to New York City Community Boards as well as Borough Presidents. She stated that she would be happy to talk to Borough President Katz to get her on board. She also suggested that Mike Sinansky work on the subject through his relationship with the Borough President’s office.

Edith Prentiss suggested that the Freedom Ticket report be sent to Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York and the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled.

Stuart Goldstein suggested that the Council reach out to State elected officials regarding Freedom Ticket.

Ms. Mason suggested that a hard copy of the report as well as electronic copies be sent to the Borough Presidents.

Mr. Albert stated that one major need on Staten Island, where Freedom Ticket would not apply, is a bus to Newark Airport.

Ms. Mason wanted to know if anyone spoke to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey about funding a bus to Newark Airport. She suggested that the Council contact New York members of Port Authority board to advance this proposal.

Board Report

Mr. Albert stated that the Capital Program has not yet been submitted, as there remain issues to be resolved. The phasing of the Second Avenue Subway is a major issue, but the project cannot move forward until its first phase is completed.

Ms. Mason stated that there is no need for the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway to be completed before any work proceeds on the second phase. She said that there are a lot of discussions going on about starting the second phase in the 2015-2019 Capital Program.

Mr. Albert stated that the MTA has established working groups on major projects to move these issues forward.

Ms. Mason suggested that it may be useful to express the NYCTRC’s concern over the pace of Second Avenue Subway construction.

Mr. Albert stated that the Board had a discussion about the future of the A train in view of the review of the A line. Many people think that it would be best to have all A trains go to the Rockaway Peninsula and all C trains to go to Lefferts Boulevard. This would create issues for Ozone Park riders, as they would lose direct access to express trains, but would reduce confusion for riders.

Mr. Albert stated that there were a number of pointed questions about the delivery of the new R179 cars that could not be answered in open session due to possible legal action concerning the manufacturer’s failure to meet contract deadlines. He also noted that the work for the Cortlandt Street 1 train station is slowing trains in this area.

The Riders Alliance has asked for a rebranding of the Q70 bus and for the fare on it to be eliminated. Mr. Albert said that the rebranding is a good idea, but making the bus fare-free would be difficult for the MTA.

Ms. Mason suggested that the M60 be promoted more actively as a route to La Guardia Airport. She said that the existing signage about the bus is not good.

Mr. Goldstein asked if the Port Authority could improve their signage at LaGuardia Airport with regard to bus service. He asked whether the Council could arrange a meeting on the issue with a representative of the PANYNJ.

Edith Prentiss said that the M4 and M5 buses were taken out of service at 135th Street on Sunday December 13 and Wednesday December 16. She also said that the proposal to split the route of the M5 bus is problematic.

Mr. Albert commented that the proposal to split the M5 route is being presented to the affected Community Boards and that the Community Board on which he serves is not in agreement about the split point.

Ms. Prentiss mentioned the policy that was discussed at the Council’s meeting with MTA Bus Operations relative to buses with “Next Bus Please” signage. These buses are not taking passengers when they stop to discharge passengers, as had been discussed. She said that buses will still skip a stop if another bus is in the stop.

Ms. Mason said that one night around 9:30 pm, she waited for 27 minutes at Columbus Avenue and 81 Street for the M7 or M11 bus and that the bus bunching there is extreme. She suggested another meeting with MTA Bus Operations as the situation is getting horrendous.

Introduction of Lorianne Hoffman, NYCT Vice President – Talent and Organizational Development, to Discuss Workforce Development efforts at NYC Transit

Mr. Albert introduced Ms. Hoffman, who said that she brought her team with her to share an overview of the talent management system at NYC Transit.

Ms. Hoffman outlined the design principles that went into the talent management system that NYC Transit has in place. She said that employee engagement is critical as by 2016, 44 percent of the agency’s managerial workforce will be eligible to retire. The talent management system is an attempt to shift the organizational culture to build structures with the agency’s employees.

Ms. Hoffman said that the starting premise is that everyone has talent. The key is to clarify where employees are and decide where they need to go.

Talent management is a different undertaking from performance review or succession planning. Performance reviews are oriented toward assessing whether employees meet a standard set of criteria, where talent management is a formalized process that includes both assessment and actions to develop potential. Succession planning can come out of the talent management process.

Succession planning is like managing a sports team’s bench, Ms. Hoffman noted, so that there is a replacement should an individual leave his or her position. Assessing the “bench strength” is more complex than might be supposed, as there are high performers who do their job well but do not want to move into a higher position. The objective is to identify the high potential individual who is a high performer, but also wants to learn and grow to move up to leadership.

Ms. Hoffman said that one of the issues at Transit is that high performers have traditionally been promoted, but there is not a systematic way of moving them to leadership positions. The talent management system uses bands, which are used in human resources to group similar people together. Keeping in mind that not all department organization charts are equivalent, it was necessary to standardize the measures. For example, a person with the title “Director” may be at a high or low position. By using bands employees are organized by their level of responsibility, as follows.

Band 4 – Individual contributors, such as analysts
Band 3 – Supervisors
Band 2 – Heads of Business
Band 1 – Senior Leaders

Ms. Hoffman said that it is not worth the time needed to recreate a reporting structure, but the team focused on establishing the needed competencies for jobs. The types of competencies needed relate to each of the bands. For example, NYC Transit has people that know their crafts but do not perform well at skills involving leadership. The Korn Ferry Leadership Architect framework was used to define the structure, and the Talent Management team has gone out to individuals in the various bands and asked what is needed to perform their job. From this information, the team developed 6 to 8 competencies for each band.

The system was built in a set of phases, with the first focusing on assessment with information such as that found on a resume, the competencies required for specific jobs, a profile of employee competencies by managers and an assessment of individuals’ readiness for the next level. In the second phase, supervisors present the results of the first phase of the program and develop a larger talent development program. In the third phase, results are assessed and accountability for performance and progress is established.

Using these results, individuals can be classified in a talent management grid that looks at current performance versus future potential. This establishes individuals’ readiness to move to more responsible positions, and if an individual scores high in both leadership potential and technical skill, it is likely that they will be able to move up within one to two years.

Ms. Hoffman said that PeopleSoft 9.2 has some tools that help with this system. Process Maker is another tool to automate date that will be used in the system.

Ms. Hoffman clarified that her team is not housed in Human Resources, but have a partnership with this part of the organization, which is responsible for executing this system.

Mr. Greif asked how NYC Transit can ensure that lessons presented in training are retained. Ms. Hoffman replied that retention of training depends on development, design, and facilitators. Good developers and facilitators can make it work.

Mr. Goldstein pointed out that there are a number of people who will leave the organization and questioned whether there is a similarly sized group of individuals who can step in to the vacated positions. Ms. Hoffman said probably 10 percent of the workforce are ready to step in to a more responsible position after 6 months. It is necessary to focus on employees who are in the middle range of skills and potential in order to develop talent, but in some cases the organization may have to bring in new blood as well.

Ms. Mason wanted to know if there is recruitment of employees from outside the organization. Ms. Hoffman responded that NYC Transit still posts every job, but needs to know who is on the bench. Positions will always be advertised, but talent management is a way of acknowledging that existing employees should apply for new positions in the organization.

Mira Steilati commented that developing sets of competences that are needed for a position can inform hiring mangers on what competences they should look for and what individuals should be encouraged to pursue a new position.

Ms. Shannon asked how far the MTA’s operating agencies are on implementing talent management systems. Ms. Hoffman replied that it depends on the agency.

Ms. Shannon wanted to know how does interchange work between new employees and people who have been there for years. Ms. Hoffman stated that the interchange can lead to information sharing that benefits both groups.

Old Business

Burt Strauss asked what will be done about the disagreement over the Freedom Ticket report at the PCAC meeting.

Mr. Goldstein said that the LIRRCC members’ main objection appeared to be with the role of the PCAC staff.

Mr. Albert responded that there have been times where LIRRCC has needed substantial staff time as well and it has been made available.

William Guild said that he believed that the LIRRCC’s issue was the impact of the system described in the report on LIRR riders.

Ms. Prentiss suggested that members receive communication from staff on what is going on every two weeks.

Ms. Mason asked whether the Executive Committee’s minutes could be sent to all members and said she wished to request this of the Executive Committee.

Mr. Albert said that the Freedom Ticket is a fantastic proposal and that there is additional work to be done with local officials. The report will be sent to community boards to increase the awareness of the Freedom Ticket proposal.

Mr. Greif stated that express bus operators are showing disrespect to seniors. The problem seems to be with buses from the Ulmer Park Depot. There have been a number of incidents. He asked that a letter be written on these issues and Mr. Albert suggested that we raise the issue at the meeting with MTA Bus Operations. Mr. Greif agreed, but would like to get this issue out without interruption. Mr. Albert suggested that the NYCTRC could hear from labor representatives to get their point of view.

Ms. Prentiss stated that she would like a concrete answer regarding the poor performance of rear stair lifts on older buses. The operators do not know how to use these lifts. They will curb the bus to use the lift, but then the lift jams. The 5000 and 9000 series of bus numbers includes high floor buses that create this problem. She said that another problem facing riders using wheelchairs involves the securement devices on the buses. The bus operator is not required to secure the wheelchair but sometimes insists on doing so, although this is only required on paratransit trips.

Karyl Berger noted that at the most recent ADA compliance committee meeting NYC Transit said there was a new customer service video. She stated that the Council may want to see it.

Ms. Mason requested that the NYCTRC have Darryl Irick as its guest. Mr. Albert said that the Council is currently trying to hear from Borough Presidents who have not visited a meeting, but can schedule Mr. Irick to come to a meeting.

New Business

No New Business was discussed.


The meeting was adjourned at 2:10 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

William Henderson
Executive Director