Sunday, November 11, 2007

It all comes down to having fun. By jeff rose

of the problems we have on lightrail comes down to the fact thatkids, usually
with bus passes

can ride all over town and it's FUN!! They meet up at a
station or along a
bus route, grow in numbers like a tumor. Here, this is an example of what

A line 4 operator passes a stop along Fesseden, there are three kids there at
the shelter,
they act like they're going to get on the bus but they just poke their head in,
see a friend
and yell back for them to get off the bus. All of a sudden there are 5 of them.
The bus
leave. The next bus comes by and by this time a coulple more kids have shown
up. The
operator opens the door but none of them get on. They're milling around, not
anything too suspect other than acting a little on the mischievious side of
things so the
bus leaves. There is a sign posted that the stop is for transit use only- what
is going on

By the time the next bus shows up about a half an hour has elapsed and the group
reached critical mass. There are about 15 kids there and most of them cram onto
the bus
giving the operator a ton of greif, one might be trying to sneak by the operator
then when
caught pulls out a youth pass and snickers (testing the operator). Others cram
their hands
deep into their pockets pushing their pants down around their knees then putting
cents into the fare box they stand there with their hands out waiting for a
transfer. [This
is where I try to feign confusion]. They all get on and ride down to Interstate
where they
get off and join another group of kids milling around the bus stop at Interstate
Lombard. Here comes trouble.

Our transit system is here to allow people (including these kids) to get from
one place to
another- the problem is that it is simply too much fun for these kids to use the
system as a way of acheiving this critical mass. This is where we need to nip
the problem
in the bud. We can't wait until there is this huge mass of trouble making kids
around- by that time it's too late. We should be preventing the mass from
forming is the
first place. What we, as operators (those of us who are operators) neet is to
be able to
communicate when the seed of the mass has been planted. When kids start milling
around a station or a bus stop- somebody needs to know. The best way to set up
system to monitor this is through outmessages.

A loitering outmessage that would allow us to enter a number involved would be
effective way to get these kids to move somewhere else and could seriously
hinder their
ability to accumulate in the manner that they do. In the example above, when
the first
operator went by and the kids didn't get on the bus- he would enter the
outmessage and would enter the number 5 which says "5 people loitering at this
stop and
not getting on a bus" Trimet is notified, since the stop is near New Columbia
where there
are LOTS of cops, Trimet lets the PPD know and the kids are moved on their way.
never reach critical mass, they don't have as much fun, and a couple of them go
decide to study for that test on monday, one of them passes it and goes on to
president of the United States in 2032.

All over the system where these masses accumulate, they are almost instanty
dispersed as
soon as they START to form- all of a sudden Trimet isn't really that much fun.
trying to use it to get around aren't hassled/ assaulted as much and ridership
goes UP and
crime goes down! In any case, in order to solve this problem, Trimet needs to
use US (the
eyes of the system) and needs to set up a system to get information from us and
needs to
train us in exactly what they want us to report AND ought to expect us to report
people are loitering. As it is, I let it go because I assume that they don't
really care to
know about a few kids hanging around a bus stop. This is exactly what Trimet
know and act on if this problem is going to be solved.


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