He's the nicest guy. He rides my bus daily, always smiling, always
happy, and always friendly. Originally from the Yucatan, you can just
see the Inca in him. He works at a Chinese restaurant washing dishes,
for minimum wage and a box of food he takes home with him each night.
Today he told me that on Saturday he fed the max ticket machine $65
for a monthly pass, and got back nothing!
NO TICKET, NO MONEY BACK! NOTHING!
Now he is not only out the $65, but he is faced with having to buy a
bus ticket every day! It's a huge blow to him. But he is still
smiling! He doesn't even understand how to attempt to get his money
Why do I feel so badly? Why do I feel partly responsible? Does it
have to do with the realization that I am making such a good hourly
wage while he struggles to survive? Does it have to do with the fact
I work for a company that touts customer service while all the while
customer service is the farthest thing from the company's reality?
Does it have to do with the fact that MY COMPANY, the company whose
insignia I wear on my hat and shirt, has just stolen the money from a
poor man while I sit pretty in my driver's seat?
What should I do? Why do I feel like GOD is watching me right now?
Hell its not may fault!
I take out my wallet and give him some of my money, what else can I
do? The "company" isn't going to help this man, therefore I must!
This is the second time in six months that this has happened to one
of my working poor passengers. The last person this happened to was a
very fine young lady who cleans up crap from the developmentally
disabled! It took her more than a month to get her money back from
TRIMET, and several phone calls! This poor Mexican man won't be able
to handle the TRIMET bureaucracy!
THESE TICKET MACHINES ARE A DISGRACE! The fact that TRIMET won't do
anything about it shows the true face of TRIMET, and it aint pretty!
1) Stop focusing on bureaucratic hires, and hire a couple more shirts
to go out there and do proper maintenance/repair on all these damn
2) Give the communications/marketing bureaucrats a helpful assignment:
Compose and print a card, printed in lots of languages, saying "If you
deposited money for a fare and did not receive it, please call
xxx-xxx-xxxx (a special set-aside number, *not* 238-RIDE) to report
the problem." Place these cards in a hopper attached to the vending
machines, and keep a few in the buses and/or operator's pouches.
When the ripped-off person calls the special number set aside for this
problem (again, *not* 238-RIDE so they don't have to listen to a
confusing menu but can go straight to the problem), a recording on
that number will tell the caller to press buttons 1 through X for
various languages, and will guide them to give their contact
information for a refund.
3) Give the communications bureaucrat a direct tie-in to PSU language
labs to get help with caller translations if needed, so these poor
folks can actually get some service.
It just galls me how the subsidized employees with their purple
stickers can take full advantage of public transportation, and the
recovering drug addicts can flash their honored citizen cards -- while
the subclass of immigrants and hand-to-mouth minimum wage workers who
need to use TriMet are left to fend for themselves. It's shameful.