DHHCAN Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Gallaudet Alumni House
(Thanks to GUAA for their generous support of the DHHCAN meeting space.)
Meeting called to order at 12:06 PM.
Voting Members – quorum achieved
- Claude Stout, TDI
- Zainab Alkebsi, NAD
- Bernie Palmer, ALDA
- Art Roehrig, AADB
- Mary Lynn Lally, GUAA
- Lise Hamlin, HLAA
- Neal Tucker, RID
- Ron Sutcliffe, CSD
- Barbara Raimondo, CEASD
- Al Sonnenstrahl, ADARA (and will possibly become DSA representative replacing Tom Dowling)
Tayler Mayer, TDI
Eric Kaika, TDI
Michele Mulligan, CPADO
Malcom Glenn, Uber
Judy Stout, consumer
- Jayne Tubergen Magneson
- Jan Nishimura
- Pat Richey
Special Session: Malcom Glenn, Strategic Partnerships Manager, Uber Corporation (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Uber was founded in San Francisco in 2009 and is now in over 450 cities in more than 70 countries.
- Uber now has more than 1 million drivers globally and 5 million trips globally.
- Their smartphone app connects dirver-partners and riders. In cities where Uber operates, you can use your rider app to request a ride. When a nearby driver-partner accepts your request, your app displays an estimated time of arrival (ETA) for the driver-partner making their way to the pickup location. The app notifies you when the driver-partner is about to arrive.
- The app also provides info about the driver-partner with whom you will ride, including first name, vehicle type, and license plate number, which helps the two people connect at the pickup location.
- The fare is cashless, automatically calculated and charged to your credit card with no need to pay right then and there and no tip is expected.
- The app also asks you to rate your driver from 1-5 stars and vice versa for the driver’s rating of you as a rider.
- The average waiting time is less than 5 minutes in most cities.
- There is transparency with up-front rate quotes, the option to split the fare with other riders, and to share your ETA with others.
- Uber’s mission is reliable transportation everywhere for everyone.
- Uber has three goals for their D/HOH driver-partners:
- technical solutions that support everyone’s ability to easily move around their communities
- work with the D/HOH community to refine and innovate products based on their feedback
- There are now thousands of D/HOH driver-partners in the U.S, who provide more rides per month on average than their hearing driver-partners. These D/HOH driver-partners have collectively earned about $10 million.
- The app includes the following features for D/HOH driver-partners:
- signals a new trip request with a flashing light in addition to the existing audio notification
- the option to call a D/HOH driver is turned off; riders are instead given only the ability to text if they need to provide special instructions for pickup
- an extra prompt to let riders know their driver is D/HOH
- There have been situations where the driver is deaf and the passenger is blind and it works, thanks to technology.
- We received the Ruderman Family Foundation Award for “Sound Business Sense” for this technology and how it helps D/HOH driver-partners.
- Deaf feature activations in the U.S. now total about 13,010 (that number includes D/HOH, ESL, those who just prefer the flashing notification, and others) and 4,575 new drivers who signed up and activated the feature.
- Safety is important to us; we substitute phone numbers for anonymity and we provide commercial liability insurance.
- Zainab asked about feedback the NAD had shared with Uber two weeks prior in that the flashing light notification is sometimes hard to see on sunny days and that D/HOH driver-partners would like to see vibration added as well and the need for a prompt to be sent to Uber drivers letting them know the passenger is D/HOH and not to call that passenger.
- Malcom responded that yes, he followed up after that phone conversation and vibration will be added soon and they are working on a D/HOH passenger notification to drivers, which will be deployed soon.
- Sonny asked about improvements to make the app simpler for people with cognitive disabilities.
- Malcom responded that they have heard the same feedback from others, acknowledging that the app is complicated, and are working on a new, simpler version of the app. Uber hopes it will solve those issues.
- Sonny asked if there is a way to add a question mark button to explain features so that users are not afraid of accidentally getting billed.
- Malcom responded that is the exact reason they are working on the simpler app version. You will be asked twice if you are billed.
- Art asked if a passenger is a senior citizen or blind, will the driver get out to assist?
- Malcom responded that they have been asked that same question many times. Many driver-partners are very willing to get out and assist. There is a new feature for blind passengers to let the driver know ahead of time if they need assistance.
- Art asked if Uber will accept email requests since he does not own a smartphone.
- Malcom responded that they have not yet figured out a non-smartphone solution but they did add something called Uber Central where another person can request a ride for you on their smartphone. You sign up through the Uber website and get billed on your account there.
- Sonny pointed out that Uber driver-partners need to be trained for how to let deafblind passengers know s/he is there at the pickup location.
- Malcom responded that he will share that feedback with his Uber colleagues.
- Ron commented that Uber drivers keep calling him, which is not an effective way to reach him, and he inquired about the cost of tips.
- Malcom responded that tips are not expected. You can tip in cash but the automatic e-charge does not include tip.
- Ron commented that he once got Uber Black, which was more costly, then he later learned about the different options for Uber cars.
- Malcom responded that there is indeed a lot of variety in the Uber car options and it varies from city to city. That’s why we are hoping that the simpler app will eliminate confusion. Uber X tends to be more affordable and Uber Black is for those who wants a luxurious experience. Also, the ride share option means fewer cars, which is better for the environment.
- Michele commented that she rode Uber for the very first time last Friday and it was an interesting experience. The driver was very helpful in folding her wheelchair and communicating in gestures with her but she is wondering about other wheelchair users. She asked whether there is a way to press “Uber wheelchair access” if needed.
- Malcom responded that Uber is piloting several models in 12 different cities across the country to determine which wheelchair accessible vehicle options best meet the needs of our riders and driver-partners. These pilots range from making our technology available to wheelchair accessible taxis to providing wheelchair accessible options through partnerships with commercial providers in a few cities.
- Tayler thanked Malcom for coming and is impressed with Uber’s commitment to accessibility. We appreciate it and hope that others will follow Uber’s example. He inquired whether Uber is considering hiring deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, and deaf with mobile disabilities, among others, for employment at headquarters.
- Malcom responded that yes, they are looking to recruit.
- Neal commented that the new interface does not give full information about surge charges. The general cost will be shown up front but there are no specifics about surge charges up front. he also commented that on his Uber ride to Gallaudet for this meeting, his driver was hard of hearing, from Colombia. This man had been hit by a car and that was how he lost his hearing.
- Malcom responded that there is no such thing as a “normal fare.” The price is based on supply and demand. You pay what you are quoted up front, unless you change your mind about the drop-off location.
- Art asked if Uber has the ability to take him long-distance.
- Malcom responded that that’s a discussion to have with the driver as to whether they have the time to do long-distance trips but it is definitely doable. The driver would profit from long trips so it is up to them to accept the request or not.
- Sonny added that Uber could help foster independence for deafblind passengers not needing to rely on friends to drive them everywhere.
- Malcom responded that Uber can bring you anywhere, no limit except across the ocean!
- Bernie added that his son flew to NYC but his flight back was cancelled. He could not miss his daughter’s birthday so he Ubered back to Maryland without a problem and at a reasonable cost.
- Malcom will share his PowerPoint with us.
Approval of Minutes
- The minutes for the September 7, 2016 meeting stands as read with amendments correcting the “November 2016” error and all references to Mary Lynn Lally as “Mary Ann.”
Chair’s Report (Claude)
- Claude thanked Tayler for taking Zainab’s place in writing up the meeting minutes for last month’s meeting.
- Art commented that he had a hard time reading Claude’s email since the message was truncated. Claude could send him a clean copy separately but then he would not be able to see when others respond back in the main thread. We cannot leave him out of the loop. Neal suggested creating a DHHCAN listserv and everyone liked the idea. Tayler will set it up.
- Claude asked Tayler and Zainab how things are going with the website and they both responded that all is well. The website looks good and the minutes have been posted on there.
- Tayler added that at the last meeting, some people did not even know the website existed. Claude thanked Tayler and Zainab for their work in adding the minutes to the website.
- Claude commented that at the last meeting, a motion was made based on his recommendation. The motion specified effective July while he was originally thinking effective immediately but the members were right since they do need to serve notice in writing to the organizations. The motion is that active organizations must not only pay dues but attend regular meetings at least three times a year. It is now a proposed bylaws revision, which has been left on the table for a month for sufficient opportunity to comment, and we can now formally act on this motion during the Old Business section.
- Mary Lynn added that member organizations must also have 51% deaf-majority Boards. Claude responded that we will set up criteria for member organizations. The makeup of organizations do change over time so we do need to periodically review.
- Sonny added that he does not want to open a can of worms but how does ASDC qualify since most of their Board are hearing parents. Claude responded that ASDC is not a member anymore.
- Mary Lynn added that NBDA should be invited to join us as a member and Bernie said he will gladly check with them.
- Claude added that Tom is thinking of stepping down from DHHCAN and to let him know if any of you are interested in becoming Treasurer. Sonny will take Tom’s place as DSA representative but we do still need a Treasurer. Tom will confirm his plans when he returns from vacation.
- Mary Lynn added that she has been part of DHHCAN for four years and she is now stepping down from DHHCAN. Ron might replace her as GUAA representative. Claude thanked her for her years of service.
Vice Chair’s Report (Bernie)
- Bernie appreciated the opportunity to serve as substitute Chair last month.
- DCBDA will celebrate their 35th anniversary at a Gala on Saturday, October 29, at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. If you’re interested, email DCABDA@gmail.com
Secretary’s Report (Zainab)
- Zainab thanked Tayler for taking minutes in her absence at last month’s meeting. All of the minutes that she has written since her service as Secretary have been posted on the DHHCAN website.
Treasurer’s Report (Tom)
- not present
Review and Discussion of the Document Submitted to the Two Presidential Campaigns:
- Claude sent all nineteen signatory organizations a copy of what we sent to the Clinton/Trump campaigns. He will follow up with them and will keep us posted. Please feel free to share with your members.
- Claude feels that the document is very much improved from the 2008 version. The current version now has 75 recommendations this time around. He added that Zainab did a great job with the Civil Rights Protection & Enforcement section, which touched on many areas not covered in the other main subject matter topics.
- From now on, committee reports will be organized based on the seven subject matter areas from the presidential recommendations we submitted. The recommendations will be our blueprint and we need to make sure we follow up on those. The drafting leader of each group will report on their respective areas each month.
- Committee Reports will be tabled to next month in the interest of time.
- Mary Lynn moved that we proceed on last months’ motion in regard to the new attendance policy. Claude clarified that it will not apply to the organizational partners but to the voting members.
- Claude then took a vote on the motion. Seven in favor, the motion passed.
- Claude and Zainab will re-word the motion appropriately for the bylaws and then will share the proposed bylaws revision with everyone along with the entire body of the bylaws.
- Sonny shared that there is a new issue in regard to ACE. The FCC keeps cutting the rates and the VRS providers have no money for R&D and innovation. The FCC ended its contract with VTCSecure, NTID, and Gallaudet for ACE development. The FCC is now exploring the possibility of a consortium and wants consumers to take up where they have left off. The consumer advocacy organizations (NAD, TDI, and others) along with Gallaudet and NTID are considering their options for this potential consortium. The FCC has indicated that there is no money to fund this consortium. At the iTRS Advisory Council, it was revealed that there is $11 million left over in the TRS Fund so Sonny feels there is conflicting information here and wants to know whether DHHCAN should act on this.
- Zainab commented that we are waiting for more information about the consortium from Christian Vogler and that it would be prudent to wait until we obtain that information before proceeding. She further added that the iTRS Advisory Council will be having a special meeting next month about the rates and that it would be prudent to wait for the outcome of that meeting. She suggested tabling this to next month.
- Claude added that he thinks the consortium would be valuable.
- Zainab concurred that the consortium would be valuable with consumers/advocacy organizations finally being part of the decision-making but we do need more information first.
- Sonny asked about inviting Christian Vorgler to next month’s meeting. Claude responded that it depends on if the two campaigns accept our invitation to come to the November meeting.
- Eric shared an update about the Google grant project, which is in regard to speech-to-text software that crowdsources corrections. You can be a caption reader or a caption corrector. Words that the program does not have confidence in will show up in a different color. Caption correctors can manually enter corrections or select from alternative options that the program suggests. They are looking for beta testers. It works on many different browsers on tablets, computers, and smartphones. If you are interested, please contact Eric. He will share a blurb to share with DHHCAN members.
- Zainab asked what the timeline is for beta testing. Eric responded that beta testing will start in two weeks but officially will kick off in January for as long as it takes.
- Lise asked if this is an app we download. Eric responded that no, it is through your web browser.
- Sonny commented that tonight at 8:30 Eastern is the #SignDebate hosted by SignVote. He asked if anyone had the link. Zainab agreed to email everyone the link in addition to the link for the ASL livestream of this Sunday’s second presidential debate.
- Claude added to please encourage your family and friends to register to vote before the local deadline and to please vote on November 8!
Next Meeting Date
- Wednesday, November 2 at Gallaudet Alumni House.
The Chair adjourned the meeting at 2:01 pm.
Zainab Alkebsi, Secretary