August 11, 2006
(For Board: August 25, 2006)

 

REPORT OF THE FINANCE-AUDITING COMMITTEE/
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

 

Honorable Board of Directors
Golden Gate Bridge, Highway
  and Transportation District

Honorable Members:

A meeting of the Finance-Auditing Committee/Committee of the Whole was held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, California, on Friday, August 11, 2006, at 9:30 a.m., Chair Stroeh presiding.

Committee Members Present (8): Chair Stroeh; Vice Chair Pahre; Directors Boro, Cochran, Eddie, Murray and Reilly; President Middlebrook (Ex Officio)
Committee Members Absent (0): None
Other Directors Present (7): Directors Ammiano, Brown, Dufty, Hernández, Kerns, Martini and Moylan

Committee of the Whole Members Present (15): Directors Ammiano, Brown, Cochran, Dufty, Eddie, Hernández, Kerns, Martini, Murray, Pahre, Reilly and Stroeh; Second Vice President Boro; First Vice President Moylan; President Middlebrook
Committee of the Whole Members Absent (3): Directors, McGoldrick, Newhouse Segal and Sandoval

[Note: On this date, there was one vacancy on the Board of Directors.]

Staff Present: General Manager Celia G. Kupersmith; Secretary of the District Janet S. Tarantino; Attorney Madeline Chun; Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Susan C. Chiaroni; Deputy General Manager/Ferry Division James P. Swindler; Public Affairs Director Mary C. Currie; Planning Director Alan R. Zahradnik; Marketing and Communications Director Kellee Hopper; Deputy District Engineer and Acting District Engineer Ewa Z. Bauer; Budget and Program Analysis Manager and Acting Auditor-Controller Jennifer Mennucci; Executive Assistant to the General Manager Amorette Ko; Assistant Clerk of the Board Patsy Whala

Visitors Present: Jerry Grace, Oakland resident

     
1. Update on TransLink® Implementation
     
 

General Manager Celia Kupersmith, Director of Planning Alan Zahradnik and Marketing and Communications Director Kellee Hopper provided an overview and status report regarding TransLink®, the regional automatic fare collection program developed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). The TransLink® fare payment system is designed to be a convenient way for passengers to travel on any bus or ferry throughout the San Francisco Bay Area transit systems using a single card.

At the meeting, Mr. Zahradnik noted that the universal fare system will tie together the Bay Area’s transit systems and will work somewhat like the current FasTrak® transponder. He stated that the TransLink® Consortium, which is comprised of the MTC, seven Bay Area transit operators and the TransLink® contractor, have been working together to manage the program, set fare policies and operate and maintain equipment.

Mr. Zahradnik proceeded with a PowerPoint presentation, with the following main topics of discussion:

 
  • TransLink® Program
  • TransLink® Devices
  • TransLink® Network
  • Financial Reconciliation
  • TransLink® Rollout
     
 
Mr. Zahradnik explained that TransLink® has a unique “tag-on”/”tag-off” system that is a quick and easy way to pay fares, wherein passengers pass their card in close proximity of the TransLink® device as they enter and exit the transit vehicle or transit station. He also stated that TransLink® will allow for transfer privileges and will accommodate the different fare policies with all participating Bay Area transit operators.

Mr. Zahradnik stated that utilizing the TransLink® fare payment system will provide improved transit operations and planning for the various transit systems because fares and ridership will be automatically calculated. In addition, the TransLink® system will provide daily financial reconciliation and transaction information. And finally, Mr. Zahradnik commented that another benefit provided by this new system is that Golden Gate Transit (GGT) Bus Operators will no longer need to determine applicable passenger discounts, such as youth, senior or disabled cash fares, or need to calculate the additional fare amounts associated with transfers from Marin local routes to GGT regional routes.

Mr. Zahradnik stated that Motorola/ERG Transit Systems, the TransLink® contractor, will maintain office operations and assist all of the transit operators with operations in the field for the next five years. Motorola/ERG Transit Systems will also be responsible for the financial settlement, customer service and maintenance. He noted the customer service center, as well as the automated customer service, will be a 24-hour operation.


Mr. Zahradnik described how the TransLink® wireless network devices record transactions on GGT buses and how the information is uploaded to the TransLink® Service Bureau processor. He further described the complex process of financial reconciliation, including how TransLink® fares are collected at the point of fare payment and then how the data is sent to the TransLink® Clearing House (Clearing House) database. The Clearing House handles collection and disbursement of funds between participating transit agencies. Funds are remitted to the transit agencies after reconciliation.

Mr. Zahradnik also described the Phase 2.2 Implementation schedule, which started in summer of 2005, as follows:

 
  • Field Testing and Training – Underway
  • Pre-Launch – Beta testing group of users to start in 2006
  • System Performance Monitoring – First six months of operation
  • Full Rollout to all Golden Gate Transit and Ferry passengers – Six months after Pre-Launch
     
 

He also outlined implementation procedures, in which the first deployment will be with GGT and AC Transit buses.

Kellee Hopper continued the overview and status report regarding TransLink® and proceeded with the PowerPoint presentation, with the following main topics of discussion:

 
  • TransLink® Rollout Plan
    • Rollout Plan
    • Issues Affecting Rollout
    • Pre-Launch
    • Hard Launch
    • Marketing Campaign
     
 

Ms. Hopper described the revenue-ready term of the contract, in which the contractor will deliver the product and receive compensation from the TransLink® Consortium when certain criteria are met. She outlined the three phases of acceptance testing with the goal to achieve 100% accuracy, availability and reliability within 180 days. Ms. Hopper explained the aspects of end-to-end testing, which will take place from the initial transaction through the final reconciliation. She noted that this testing would not be system-wide, but rather, would be within a certain set of parameters so as to enable staff to make any necessary adjustments in case any of any equipment failures. She also outlined the steps of the Pre-Launch, including an introduction of TransLink® to customers system-wide, a system load assessment and the working out of any “bugs” in the system before full deployment. Celia Kupersmith stated that the TransLink® Rollout Plan is directly based on the District’s experience with the Rollout Plan for the District’s FasTrak® Program, particularly with regards to being revenue ready and the beta customer testing. She also stated that the rollout of the FasTrak® Program was very successful and that staff recommends that the District try to repeat that success with TransLink®.


Ms. Hopper stated that the District is seeking 500 frequent passengers of key commute routes and unlimited ferry passengers as target groups to monitor the system during Pre-Launch. She noted that the Hard Launch will include full deployment, as well as marketing and public relations outreach programs through radio, print media and partnering with Transit Operators. The Marketing and Communications Department’s goal is to reach a 50% system-wide use from regional bus customers and 80% system-wide use from ferry customers within one year. A copy of the PowerPoint presentation is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

     
  Public Comment
     
 

Jerry Grace stated that passengers would like to use TransLink® and inquired as to how it works.  In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that the District will train customers on how to use the TransLink® terminals and cards.

Discussion ensued, including the following:

     
 
  • Director Reilly stated that a TransLink® card could be lost or stolen and inquired as to whether preventative measures have been put into place to protect the cardholder.  In response, Mr. Zahradnik stated that customers can choose to protect the value of their cards by registering them free of charge against theft or loss.  He stated that the cardholder can contact the Customer Service Center to place a stop or hold on the card.
     
 
  • Director Kerns inquired as to the method of back-up redundancy for the TransLink® Program.  In response, Mr. Zahradnik explained that as people place value on cards, data is stored and uploaded on the system, funds are reconciled and a report is generated.
     
 
  • Director Murray made the following comments and inquiries:
    • She inquired as to whether the TransLink® devices will have instructions in foreign languages.  In response, Ms. Hopper stated that the devices are currently set up with instructions in English, Spanish and Chinese, and that it is planned to include instructions in Vietnamese in the future.
    • In response to Ms. Kupersmith’s remarks comparing the District’s experience with FasTrak® to the TransLink®, Director Murray stated that FasTrak® customers are different from transit customers and that the new fare payment technology may appear daunting to senior citizens.
     
 
  • Director Boro inquired as to whether one of the goals of TransLink® is to eliminate ticket books.  In response, Ms. Hopper stated that, since the elimination of ticket books would require Board action, staff may present a recommendation to the Board regarding ticket book policy changes sometime in the future.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
2.
Approve an Amendment to Rule XII of the Rules of the Board Relative to District Investment Accounts and Signatures
     
 

In a memorandum to Committee, Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire and General Manager Celia Kupersmith provided a report presenting staff’s recommendation to amend Rule XII of the Rules of the Board, relative to District investment accounts and signatures regarding the Local Agency Investment Fund (LAIF).

The report stated that the California Government Code Section 16429.1 allows the District to participate in LAIF for investment purposes. Furthermore, LAIF requires that the District name specific positions within the organization that are authorized to deposit or withdraw monies with LAIF.  Staff recommends that Rule XII., District Bank Accounts and Signatures, of the Rules of the Board, be amended to address those positions that are authorized to deposit and withdraw funds with LAIF.  A copy of the report is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

Staff recommended and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors COCHRAN/MURRAY to forward the following recommendation to the Board of Directors for its consideration:
     
 

RECOMMENDATION

     
 
The Finance-Auditing Committee recommends that the Board of Directors approve an amendment to Rule XII., “District Bank Accounts and Signatures,” of the Rules of the Board relative to District investment accounts and signatures for the Local Agency Investment Fund (LAIF), by adding a new Subsection G, “Local Agency Investment Fund,” as follows:
     
   

G.    Local Agency Investment Fund

Authorized signatories:

General Manager
Auditor-Controller
Secretary of the District
Accounting Manager
Additional representatives for telephonic and/or oral instructions may be initiated by any of the following:

Budget & Program Analysis Manager
Accounting Supervisor

H.      Wire Transfer (formerly Rule XII, Subsection G.)

Action by the Board – Resolution
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR


     
 
AYES (15):   Directors Ammiano, Brown, Cochran, Dufty, Eddie, Hernández, Kerns, Martini, Murray, Pahre, Reilly and Stroeh; Second Vice President Boro; First Vice President Moylan; President Middlebrook
NOES (0):    None
     
 
[Note: The above recommendation will be forwarded to the Board of Directors meeting of August 11, 2006, for action.]
     
3. Public Comment
     
  Public comment was provided under Agenda Item No. 1, as noted above.
     
4. Adjournment
     
  All business having been concluded, the meeting was adjourned at 10:15 a.m.
     

Respectfully submitted,
/s/ J. Dietrich Stroeh, Chair
Finance-Auditing Committee