Friday, November 30, 2007

i'd rather be safe, by steve james

Wow. I thought two drivers might get into it over a new button
someone was talking about. It said "I'd rather be safe than on time."

But what I really called about was the cost of increased security on
the buses and trains and at transit centers. It seems there's never
enough money. Well, I was talking to a passenger, and he had an idea.
To offset the cost of increased security, he said, why not have
gambling on the buses, trains, and transit centers. It would generate
lots of money, and a portion of it could be used to pay for increased
security; armed guards, police dogs, etc, etc.

On the other hand, drivers could be taught jui jitsu, a safe,
nonlethal tool to use on troublemakers. Better than stun guns which a
determined troublemaker could get away from the driver and use on
the driver and other customers.

I was talking to another driver and he said drivers who don't enforce
the rules make it harder for those who do.

Just trying to sort it all out.

Be safe.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

fare evasion by jeff rose and al margul

Did I ever tell you the story of this one guy who used to get on at
15th and Alberta?

Well this guy WOULD ZOOM RIGHT PAST ME! No look, no transfer, no
nothing, JUST ZOOOOOM! He's gone to the back of the bus.

Y'all know my philosophy on this matter, WHO CARES, I sure as hell don't.

It went on day after day, same thing, ZOOOM, right on by me.

Finally, after a couple of weeks of this, I FINALLY GOT UP OUT OF MY

"do you have a transfer or something"

He said: "isnt this fare less square" {this is not a fabrication)

I started laughing, of course its not.

The guy went directly out the back door and I never saw him again.


--- In, "Jeffrey Rose"
> Since my "what would you do" post isn't getting the play I hoped it
would (there the hell is
> everyone?!!) I'll just get to the point. I was thinking about how
it is usually the riders that
> evade fares that end up being the most trouble on the bus (and, one
would have to
> assume on the lightrail as well)- we should change the way we deal
with fare evaders
> WITHOUT increasing the risk to operators. How to do this? There
are a number of things
> that ought to perhaps change.
> There are more than one kind of fare evader- perhaps the least of
anyone's worry would
> be the ones who get on in fareless square and hide in the back of
the bus hoping the
> driver won't notice. They are quiet because they are trying to
avoid detection. If operators
> even notice them, the usual response from an operator is simply to
punch the fare evasion
> outmessage and that's it- eventually there will be a fare inspection
and eventually, you
> would think, this person's going to get ticketed.... maybe.
> Another kind of fare evader is the type that I mentioned that says
things like "you don't
> need to see my ticket MF'er" and whatnot. Another might get in your
face when you ask
> for a second look when they flash their transfer by you and .....
well- this is more than
> just a simple fare evasion. I think it deserves another outmessage
that could be perhaps
> called "aggressive fare avoidance" or something like that. It
should also prompt a different
> response. Fare evasions sent in are simply counted and compiled- a
potential "AGA"
> message should result in any fare inspection units in the area to
intercept your bus, and if
> there isn't one available should direct the transit police or
regular police to your bus to
> remove and cite the individual for both evading the fare, AND for-
what would it be,
> menacing? Whatever.
> As soon as a passenger either refuses to present a fare to an
operator when asked, or
> refers to them as "MF'er" or SOB or whatever- that person should be
> removed from the system. How it should be played out is this:
> The operator POLITELY asks passenger to show their fare. Passenger
refuses and says
> something like "I already showed you, you dumb SOB- screw you!"
Operator says "OK"!!
> Passenger sits down and perhaps (this is my experience) starts
cussing up a storm in the
> back of the bus. Operator presses FARE- AGA into the BDS. A mile
down the road the
> police pulls over the bus. Officer gets on, operator explains what
happened, passenger
> gets yanked off bus, gets put into police car and the operator gives
a little speech to the
> remaining passengers explaining why the individual got yanked and
hands out courtesy
> cards.
> What gets learned? Menace the busdriver and you AREN'T going to
have a good laugh
> about it, and you AREN'T making to where you THINK you're going.
You AREN'T going to
> have a good night. When you get on a bus, you show your fare so
that the operator can
> read it and if he or she asks you to see it again- you smile, nod
and show it again. Call
> the operator MF'er, or try to intimidate them in any way- you're
going to get yanked more
> often than not!
> What would this means for the remaining 99% of the riders? A
system where THEY aren't
> menaced by these people either. It gives the operator much more
control over their bus
> without placing them in harms way, and makes the system far more
comfortable for the
> 99% to ride who will also feel much safer and they WILL be much
safer. Of the 1% that are
> the trouble, a few will get yanked off and the others will quickly
learn- cause trouble on
> Trimet and it'll come back on ME!!!
> Jeff

enforcing it by farelessfareevasion

I have risen and broken my long silence! (yeah, go back to sleep!
Al, someday I need to grow up & be just like you! he he! Sounds
like I could get on your bus with an old movie ticket and it wouldn't
matter. just teasin big guy. My "policy" is somewhere between Al's,
Luci's & Jeff's. If the end of the month rolls into a weekend, I
give them through the end of Monday night or Tuesday. If it is
during the work week, to avoid argument (and Al's beer bottle), I
also give em a couple of days.

After about the 2nd, maybe the 3rd (depending on my mood), then I
start "enforcing" it (which amounts to telling them about it). If
they persist (which about 60% do) about not having it yet cause mommy
hasn't been paid yet, I let them rise, but don't offer transfers. I
have heard several drivers confiscate the old passes, give them a day
ticket in return, and this "forces" acttion. I also was lead to
believe that passes were still the property of TriMet, but transfers,
once given to the customer, are theirs, and cannot be confiscated. I
get a little more pushier now about alowing the next month's passes
before the month starts..I used to allow it more, figuring that if
they had a pass, they probably has last month's too..

And those STUPID white machine tickets? If it looks even remotely
close to a white Trimet ticket, it's valid to me..last years? so
what. Didn't issue me a magnifying glass with a hole punch. I don't
have the time to screw with those! Dumbest design I've ever seen.
Fred (or his designated representative-he he) needs to be on the bus
to stand by the farebox and personally inspect each one of these for
authenticity and correct time. You could take one just printed and
one that just came out of the washing machine and they would be

I really understand Al's point of not wanting to be assaulted over a
stupid fare, BUT I also REALLY see Jeff's point(s): I used to drive
for a transit system that really frowned big time on fare evasion. A
nickel here & there ok, but no fare or 27cents- later! It's been
very hard to readapt myself to let these jokers get away with this
crap when you have other hard working people sitting behind them who
paid the fare, some of them scarping it together, to have them watch
me let this idiot ride cause he's is scamming the system--AGAIN. And
like alot of you, I am of the frame of mind that if you really
are "down on your luck" or need a ride and you ask me BEFORE you try
to scam me, you have a 90% chance of getting on with no problems and
I will probably even give you a transfer (hell, with some, I've even
issued day passes). BUT, if you try to scam me FIRST, then you want
me to let you ride AFTER you have been caught trying to screw with my

You folks have a great day...I've been reading daily (some really
good posts guys, don't lose the passion...) but have been quiet for
far too long. Gotta get active again. Remember, rubber side down
and keep 'er betwen the little white lines!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

what its really like to be a bus driver

trimet superstar bill lingo retires!

christmas on the bus

What would you do? by jeff rose

You ask to see someone's transfer and they say, "you don't need to see MY
mother f###er!"

Another common one is they flash something at you that might not even be a fare
instrument and when you ask to see it they say "I done already showed you my
mother f###er!"

One other thing I get is they'll get downtown with a crumpled up transfer in
their hand- but
they don't show it to you and they say "fareless". When you point to the door
at Rose
Quarter they come up and show you their totally valid transfer OR a *pass*!!!
Then they'll
be pissed at you!!! So if they actually HAVE a valid fare, why don't they just
show you in
the first place? To test you??!!

"THAT bill's a counterfeit." by jeff rose

This guy got on the other day and put a dollar bill in the fare box. The fare
box started
beeping which surprised him (and me- I've never heard it beep like that!) I
looked at him,
shook my head, pointed at the farebox, and said, "THAT bill's a counterfeit."
He looked at
me blankly (and somewhat nervously) and after a pause I told him, "I'm kidding-
I have no
idea why it beeped like that." And I smiled. We both had a little laugh over
that one!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

if they would only by jeff rose

replace the "yield" sign with a "thank you" sign. Could you imagine what that
do for Trimet's image?!! I was thinking today about different features they
could add
to the bus to help us do our job better when I had the funniest thought- a mood
The bus would actually *change color* according to the mood of the operator.

OK, maybe it's not *that* funny.

When ever I see someone get on the bus with a bicycle wheel, I say to myself,
wonder it they stole that." A guy got on my bus today after putting his bike
on the
bus and he had *two* wheels on him (besides the ones ON his bike). Both rear
with the gears on them. Hmmm. The guy was acting pretty suspicious, and I
thought about calling in, but it really wasn't an emergency. Is there a
proceedure for
just calling in suspicious behavior? Say a couple of kids run onto your bus
each with
a stack of laptop computers, they try to sit really low in thier seats while
glances over their shoulders. As you pull out some guy runs out from down the
block and stands on the corner looking around- looks like he was chasing after
someone. Did the kids just steal a bunch of laptops? We aren't supposed to use
PRTT, or the RTT and there is not menu item for this (or alot of other things
for that
matter) What would you do? Tell them to have a nice day when they get off?

A lot of times I'm not sure how to call something in, so I don't even bother.
Am I a
bad employee? a good one? Am I a moron?!! Don't answer that.

What do you do when someone shows you a TVM ticket- it looks good but it looks
like the printer just ran out of ink- you can hardly read it. You can't really
tell if it's
valid without taking it and giving it a good 10 second look, and the guy is
trying to show it to you (like he understands that it's hard to read). I'd
usually just
give him the benefit of the doubt, but today I... did.... something else. I was
in a
hurry and he practically handed me the ticket- so I took it. I took one look at
it and
tore a transfer off, punched it "DAY" and told him "here- this is good for the
rest of
the day" He said, "Oh, thanks and walked back and sat down.

Afterwards I assessed what I had done. I could tell it wasn't a monthly pass,
so it had
to be a day pass or less that was either valid or not. if it was a valid day
pass- he
doesn't care. If it was just a 1 hr transfer that was good, at least the next
won't have to deal with a transfer they can't read. If it wasn't valid at all,
the guy gets
to ride for free with a valid transfer, but the ticket that is hard to read is
"out of the
system" and wont be used for the next month and a half. By possibly giving out
a day
pass for free I've "stolen from the company" and stand to lose my job. [laugh]

Any thoughts.

cheaters, by jason mchuff

CHEATERS!!! By using volunteers, they can hide the TRUE COST of this
mess. I don't have a problem with them using volunteers when the
situation is unavoidable or worthwhile (e.g. opening a new rail line)
and might even ask to join in, but a better mall design could have
been picked that avoided both temporary and permanent disruptions.

It is clear to me that going backwards, back to the bad ol' days for
over two long years is not the best option or a good idea. Those
temporary shelters will only block wind and rain for 1-2 people at most.

From the 25th Anniv. photo album:
"Before the Transit Mall, it would take two to two-and-a-half hours to
go up Third Avenue during the Christmas season because you had so many
cars to compete with" --Op. Leonard Mummert

"...Fourth Avenue was not pretty; operators had to make moves in
traffic that is the opposite of everything we're taught today..."
--Paratransit Programs Coordinator Pete Taylor

That being said, I tried to make the best of a bad situation and
actually applied for "Field Outreach & Community Relations Rep.",
which, I'm assuming was for "Ride Guides" and would mean that I would
be working on 3rd/4th. I haven't received the official letter saying
I've been turned down, but I'm assuming its so. One reason could be
that I attached a long list of ideas to improve transit, ideas that
would require them to change things.

Overall, unlike Al I have been optimistic regarding the
managers/planners who work in the admin. bldg. This project and the
relocation has really made me question that. In fact, I am planning
to be out on 3rd and 4th on Sunday and Tuesday protesting.

> Join trainers for bus relocation tours of 3rd & 4th avenues
I think I saw today's tour bus going up 17th. It was signed
"INSTRUCTION BUS" and was indeed just after 10.

double standard? by amargul398

I find it interesting the double standards that are in place in the
various public service agencies serving the public good. For those of
you who havent seen the video of the fire department personnel kicking
the crap out of some guy i have posted the link here.

What I find interesting is how the managers of the fire bureau stick up
for thier personnel, even in the face of obvious dereliction of duty.

Contrast that to TRIMET where if a driver(s) has any similiar
altercation not only would the driver be fired immediately but TRIMET
would hand over tens of thousands of dollars.

REGARDING THE PUBLIC....interesting isnt it?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

portland streetcar by Rick Seifert

By Rick Seifert

I rode the Portland Streetcar today to get to and from :an all-day eye appointment. The trolley ride seemed as interminable as the appointment (six ocular pressure tests spaced 90 minutes apart).

Trolley operators, unlike exposed TriMet bus drivers, ~ hermetically sealed in their forward cockpits, kind of like terrorist-plagued airplane pilots. A sign near the door (is it locked?) invites you to talk to them, but not while the trolley is moving. What are you supposed to do, knock on the door? Bring a crowbar?

"Hello? Hell-OOO?"


It's all so uninviting, I've never thought to ask a ques-

tl,9n. But if! had to, I'm told there is a blue button to push o;er by the door to activate an intercom. There's also a yellow one for terrorist attacks and other emergencies.

How different the intra-trolley corp.munication is com­ .pared with TriMet. I've listened to TriMet bus drivers conduct entire' therapy sessions for mildly deranged pas­ sengers. How they do this and merge with traffic is beyond me.

So I was surprised today when the trolley driver actually flicked on his intercom switch and spoke to us. The trolley was stuck in. traffic on Lovejoy, arid the driver recom­ mended getting out and w~ng.

As Dave Barrywould say, I am not making this up.

He informed us that earlier in the rush hour he had been stuck in Lovejoy congestion for 15 minutes. He also warned that this would be our last opportunity to leave the stuffy Car while it was in gridlock. About 20 of us got out and walked. It felt good.

But it wasn't the traffic or stale air that made me want to get off: It was the syrupy recorded voice telling me that the trolley stops were sponsored by ... what? a realtor, a brewery, a condominium, a hospital, the PSU Viking

football team.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

basic decency by amargul309

It never fails to shock me and embarrass me when I witness or hear of
incidents like this one in Sherwood.

Just the lack of basic human decency of some of our brother/sister
operators is disgusting.

I see/hear of things so often that it truly is distressing because
these people perpetuating these sorts of incidents are dragging all
of us and the agency as a whole down.

I remember witnessing at Washington Square during a winter storm the
driver refusing to let people on the bus, it was freezing and soaking
wet and there were old people and mothers with babies but the driver
WOULD NOT LET THEM ON. I wanted to get out of my bus and drag that
driver out of the bus and hold his head in a puddle.

I can't tell you how many times I have heard of drivers refusing to
let people on when they are stopped at a red light. WHAT THE F*** is
that all about? Why in the world would any decent human being not
allow someone to board a bus that is sitting stopped at a red light?

During transit mall days I witnessed dozens of incidents of drivers
leaving people behind that couldn't get to the bus in time. It made
me sick to my stomach. I used to call dispatch and make those buses
wait at the next stop for me and the passengers that they left
behind. Alas I finally had to give that up because it was such a
common occurrence I finally accepted it as standard operating
procedure. (I'm sure this is what led to the double stop baloney, of
course those drivers continued to leave people behind.)

And remember the MEJA POOT incident. This poor slob was 25 cents
short on his fare and the a-hole bus driver made a federal case out
of it, the police showed up dragged the poor guy off the bus into
jail, then into the mental hospital, then the guy ended up get shot
dead by the cops which then led to the closing of the mental hospital.



I ride the train regularly. There is nothing more entertaining then
being on the Max train at the same time "Harry" (not real name) is
the fare inspector on board. You know Harry, the long bean pole guy
that wears one of the old style hats. (He is bald under it.) Now
here's a guy who is really into his job. I remember years ago he had
cornered one of those stinking fare evaders who tried to escape.
Harry was having none of that. He chased the guy down off TRIMET
property, tackled him, and held him down until the police got there.
And what did he get for his efforts? BUSTED back down to bus driver!
Well anyway, apparently management saw the error of their ways and
once again put Harry into the Max train.

It's always so much fun watching Harry at work. He really takes
charge of the train when he is on board. Better not mess with him
because he is waiting for that. He loves it when people mess with
him! I love to listen to his smart ass comebacks when fare evaders
start making excuses. I can barely hold back my hysterical laughter
during one of these confrontations. Watching him at work is more
entertaining than an hour of the comedy channel. And Harry always
gets his man/woman.

The other day I watched as Harry got another evader into his sights.
Now some of these Max riders are becoming quite sophisticated in
understanding that the FARE INSPECTORS basically are powerless when
confronted. This particular exchange went like this:

Harry-"Can I see your ticket"
Passenger-blank stare out the window
Harry-"Do you have a ticket or a transfer"
Passenger-Blank stare out the window
Passenger-Stares at Larry with hateful eyes
Harry-"Let me see your ID."
Passenger-"I don't have any."
Harry-"You don't have a piece of paper with your name on it?"
Harry-"Well we will just have to wait for the police to get here then
to make your ID."
Harry gets on his radio and asks for backup.

Meanwhile the train pulls up to a station.
The man gets out and Harry gets out with him. The man starts walking
briskly away. I watch as Harry follows the guy. I can't make out what
he is saying to him but Harry is yelling at the guy as the guy makes
good on his escape. Harry continues to follow, but finally gives up
the ghost. Apparently Harry has learned not to tackle fare evaders.

The train starts moving, I watch as Harry continues yelling at the
guy as the guy fades into the horizon.


more bus-shousen by becky hall

Yesterday I was driving on Division near 20th Avenue when a woman driving one of those small SUV wannabees sped out of the driveway of New Seasons, flying off the curb (she missed the driveway in her haste) and cut another driver off in order to get in front of the bus. I had to laugh out loud when I noticed the bumper sticker on her car that said, "Drive Peacefully."


more bus-shousen by dan christensen


I will admit it I am a Mini-Runner (Not to be confused with Mini-Me)
but even in the last four months of driving I have run into BUSHAUSEN

Imagine it is the first rain in weeks and the roads are very slick,
It's rush hours, Standing water on road, bus is steaming up traffic is
heavy. I have vents and fans blasting window open and I am in full
alert mode cause this is really a high risk time.
A woman pulls the bell a little late so I coast to a stop just a
little passed the official stop without a problem. The back of my bus
is actually in the bus zone I hear from the back. "you missed my stop
driver" I never respond to this and pop open the back doors. I watch
the mirror and no one gets out.
I look at the inside mirror and a woman is pushing her way to the
front of the bus with all the determination of a salmon fighting
upstream. "Didn't you see my stop!" she says. I know no matter what I
say it is not going to make this person happy.
She finally gets to the front door, stops and looks right at me. "You
went right by my stop!" she exclaims. She waits for a response and I
am trying to suppress a smile. She finally realizes I am not going to
respond to her and she step off my bus.
Here is the punch line.
She starts walking forward of the bus. In other words I missed her
stop by a bus length but I went the way she is walking! I don't know
about you but if a bus got me closer to where I was going in the rain
I would be happy. Sure enough she is walking in the direction I was
going as I pull away.

Here is BUSHAUSEN SYNDROME some one who hates bus drivers and needs
to vent without care for condition or situation. There is nothing a
bus driver can do to make a person like this happy. they are unhappy
and you can't change that.

As I pulled away the entire bus broke into laughter so it was not
just me.

Have a great day and happy driving.

bus-hausen syndrome by proxy by margu43542

One of the main reasons I love this job so much is because we get
front row viewing of humanity at its finest! You confront every type
of person imaginable. Nice people, mean people, drunks, Jehovah
witness, the list of personality types are endless!

Then you get to confront yourself in the face of all these people.
The key to it is not to allow any of the personality types who desire
your destruction to get under your skin or to get a rise out of you.

Most ridiculous behavior is easily explainable such as "stupid
question syndrome". (is this bus 89? Bus is parked in 89 slot with 89
on front) This is answered simply by realizing that people have a
compulsion to talk, no matter how stupid the talk is. Almost all
stupid questions are a result of this compulsion to talk that human
beings possess.

One behavior that I can't understand is the person standing
underneath a clearly marked bus stop who is not waiting for a bus.
There is not much possibility that the person is unaware that they
are standing at a bus stop, because obviously they are not "idiots"
intellectually. But what are they doing? I pull up to the clearly
marked stop, I open the door, and then they look at me like I am from
the moon? I look back at them like they are from the moon. We stare
at each other for about 30 seconds or so until I get some sort of
response from the person. Finally they shake their head "no" and I
shake back "no" and pull away.

I have come to the conclusion that there is an actual mental
condition called BUSHAUSEN SYNDROME BY PROXY. Bushausen syndrome
affects 3-5% of the population and is characterized by an illogical
hatred for buses and bus drivers. People possessing this condition
will go to any lengths to create anxiety or panic in bus drivers. You
have also seen people affected with this disease trying to make sure
you hit them in your bus while they are driving their cars. They seem
to intentionally set up conditions for you to hit them.

People affected by BUSAUSENS SYNDROME BY PROXY seek out
buses and bus drivers in attempt to satisfy this illogical neurotic
mental illness.

you are a fortunate man by elee

djk, you are a fortunate man or woman indeed if your trimet commute amounts to 30 minutes of reading time. Mine has generally been quite unpleasant, trying to keep balance on a swaying bus, breathing the unsavory remains of my neighbors's breakfasts, trying to avoid getting adorned with their coffee drinks, and of course getting my feet trampled with every lurch. Trimet itself is quite candid about this, if you press it: it doesn't consider its mission to require it to provide a seat to every commuter; six square inches of lurching floor space, provided as and when the daily happenchance might allow, satisfies trimet management, they go home thinking they've done their job well.

Then of course there's the sheer capricious unreliability of it all. How many times have I gone to my local bus stop 45 minutes early, thinking I'd get a head start on my work day, and instead wasted my head start either waiting for busses that never came, and/or watching busses blow right by, and arriving at work late for my pains?

Thursday, November 15, 2007



Trimet version:

Wolfgang Beckenbauer version:

this is ridiculous by margu43542

She wheels through the door of the driver's room; it's about 11:00pm.
The wheels on her luggage trolley all lit up with tiny Christmas
lights, twinkling away. She heads straight for the station window
where they post the drivers mail. There's mail! She opens her mail.

"THIS IS RIDICULOUS", she exclaims.

Everybody knows her; she's been around for over 30 years. Widely
respected and very well liked by TRIMET patrons, you see her juggling
5-6 balls at a time, or wearing a silly balloon hat. She has a whole
travel case full of circus materials!

"I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS" she complains.

Dutifully taking care of her cousin several times a week, she does
her job with a style all her own. A TRIMET original personality!

And she has weathered 30+ years of bus driving surprisingly well,
although you can see some of the stresses of the job on her face.
Luckily she has enough seniority to spare herself some of the more
rigorous tortures of driving for this company.

ANYWAY" she continues.

She's quite an artist, and has a website where she displays her
wares. It's very impressive, I've seen it myself!

"WHAT DO THEY WANT FROM US?" she declares.

"Maybe they'll take that driver of the year award back!" some other
driver shouts from the computer terminal.

She wheels her little luggage trolley out the door, little lights
twinkling away, hops in her car and drives away.

And what was she talking about? Well what else, the REPORT CARD!

we forgot by margu43542

Last week I wrote about one of my passengers who just happened to lose
$20 in the MAX ticket vending machine.

The customer service dept told her she would be recieving her $20 back
in a week. Well guess what? No refund in the mail!

She calls the customer service dept and asks for the manager. The
manager over there looks into it and comes back on the line and her


I looked at my passenger and said, no way, they didnt really say that.
She says to me "oh yes they did! and when I asked them if they 'forgot'
just sending my refund or other peoples, she told me they 'forgot' to
send refunds to 15 people!"


extra board by margu43542

It's really frustrating to watch some of these useless extra board
operators taking over a regular operators run. They have no
consideration for time points and appear to have not even one iota of
concern for the welfare of our riding public.

As far as I am concerned these `extra board' operators are not even
real bus drivers. Most of them are motivated by sheer greed, one of
the worst characteristics of humans.

They are not like the rest of us who drive the same routes day in and
day out. We form bonds with our riding public and actually care about
them The `extra board' board operators either get to the end of the
line as fast as they can, thereby leaving countless `regulars'
waiting for a bus that went by 5 minutes ago, or they drag their feet
to get to the end of the line as late as possible thereby allowing
themselves to "time s lip , causing our riding public frustration by
missing connections!

You hear them bragging to each other how much time they
spent "sitting around" and getting they're full eight hours pay. Or
you hear them bragging to each other how much money they made last
week. It's truly disgraceful.

The only thing worse for our company than these extra board drivers
is the management that tolerates this behavior. CUSTOMER SERVICE MY

security by j mchuff

> Mel Zucker is no fan of TriMet. But he's hardly a terrorist.
> The light-rail critic was dumbfounded recently when the agency denied
> him access to ridership numbers on security grounds.
> "Wait a minute. You can't tell people that transit is crowded during
> peak periods? Who doesn't know this?" Zucker asks.
> Ridership statistics for specific locations and times of day are
> secret because they might reveal system vulnerability, TriMet says.
Are they next going to say that Transit Tracker and knowing that a bus
or train is about 3 minutes away is a security issue? That it's a
hazard to know what detour routes buses are taking? Overall, it
wouldn't be too surprising is someone in the admin building lumped
this guy in with just-might-be terrorists.

What I would like is to see us go the other way and make it possible
for the public to, say, see where a late/absentee bus was.

If we really, seriously, want to prevent terrorist attacks, lets act
pro-actively and make it so people don't feel like going at us.

> But Fetsch said TriMet also relies on secret directives
> from TSA and the Department of Homeland Security.
Oh, wonderful... [my sincerest apologies if this stuff actually stops
something major]

> Airline pilots, told not to fly over nuclear power plants,
> were denied information about where they were located.

trip planner by c parker

I wonder about that trip planner. For example one of my riders wanted to go to Grant High to take an evening cooking class. The trip planner told her to go to NW Everett to catch a 77 to Rose Quarter, catch the Max to Hollywood TC. Catch a 75 north and walk to to Grant High. All she had to do is catch a 10 from downtown direct, with no transferring. More recently I had a mom with her kid who was starting out at some Christian school behind Safeway on Barbur. On the return trip,the trip planner told her catch line 39 to Hillsdale transfer to a 54 to downtown. when obviously bus 12 is more direct without having to transfer. Here's a real wacky one. Take line 51 to Target on Council Crest Dr. if I was a first time rider using the trip planner, I'd never want to ride Trimet again !!

poisoned by margu43542

About a year ago I posted to this blog how I was getting poisoned by
our buses.

As usual everybody scoffed at me, "oh that margu43542 is a constant
whining negative complainer, why can't we get rid of him?"

For those of you that are too lazy to read through the massive text
of FRED SAYS i bring to your attention:

Question put to FRED HANSON: The buses are dirty. What is the
cleaning schedule? (3/23/07)

A. Each night, buses are fueled. Loose debris inside the bus is
sucked out with a cyclone blower and if the exterior of the bus is
very dirty, it is driven through the wash rack. Bus Maintenance has
set a goal of thoroughly cleaning the interior of each bus once every
40 to 45 days. However, due to long-term employee absences, all three
bus garages have had significant staffing shortages on their service
crews. This has made it impossible to reach the set goal. Days
between interior cleanings reached 90 to 100 days at Center, 67 days
at Merlo and 51 days at Powell. As service crews return to more
normal staffing levels, Bus Maintenance will be able to increase the
frequency of interior cleaning.


***why dont they get some of these hundreds of pencil pushing
beaurocrats off thier asses and help do something productive like
clean the buses or cover some of the runs that are getting cancelled
because they dont have enough operators!***

why do people get so freaking weird by margu43542

Why is it that people get so freakin wierd when it gets hot outside?

And another sign up winding down. Just when I get to know all the
passengers and they get to know me, I leave. The poor passengers have
to start all over and "break in" a brand new driver.

For a company that sure makes a big deal about customer service,TRIMET
institutional policies are anything but customer service oriented.

Sheeit, when a passenger is done wrong by one of us we get called in or
get a CSI.

When TRIMET, the company, hurts hundreds and hundreds of people with
institutional policies, such as cancelling runs and changing drivers
all the freaking time, nobody notices.

TRIMET, the company, hurts more people in ONE MONTH than all the
drivers who have gotten CSI's since they started the CSI program from
its inception!

extra horde by margu43542

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a little essay expressing my contempt
for the extra hoard, er I mean board, drivers. The essay was strongly
rebuked by several members of the group. I then made a tacit apology
for myself and my ramblings. Of course I do not believe that every
person on the extra board behaves in the ways I described. Some of my
best friends are extra board drivers! Even the guy I was describing I
happen to like and respect very much, as a human being. It takes
great skill and ability to complete a 45 minute scheduled route (89)
in less than 20 minutes! Even when you don't pick up people that feat
is worthy of respect!

Yesterday I got my bus later than ever since driving this route! Of
course it was an extra hoard, woops, sorry, I mean board driver. I
know what's up as soon as he pulls in and the first thing he does is

He sees me standing there and attempts to make some feeble excuses:

"Wow, is this route always this horrible" he says to me.

I answer, "Get out of the seat will ya, I got to get going. What
happened did you get stuck on cornell?"

"I got stuck on Cornell, at Evergreen, and at Bethany" he whines.

I know he's full of sh**.

I get behind the wheel and away we go. His follower is right on time.
I get through all the various problem area's he was whining about
without much difficulty.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

YOUR A COWARD by L Chilcote

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Though he has a bloody scab on his head and says his body hurts from head to toe, the 71-year-old man beaten at a Gresham light-rail platform this month says he was very lucky to survive the attack.

At a press conference at OHSU hospital today, Laurie Lee Chilcote of Sandy called his attacker a coward and blamed TriMet for shoddy security on its light-rail system.

Chilcote's attorney Larry Sokol says if TriMet makes the light-rail system safer for drivers and passengers, then at least something positive will have come from the vicious attack.

I SHAKE MY HEAD! by a Trimet Fare inspector

Was talking with one of our ####### last night
and he informed me that the same kid that beat the 71
year old man was also involved in a conveinence store
hold up just a week earlier. He also used a bat in
this hold up.

It is hard to increase security on our system when we
keep losing officers. Right now we are down 14
officers. Many got pulled back by their jurisdictions
because they are short handed. We lost several that
were Multnomah County Sheriffs. The city of Portland
offered them a much better deal and they all took it.
Most of the time when we do a mission and have Transit
Police with us it is because they are working over
The company needs to hire more Fare Inspectors. There
are only 18 of us and it looks like we will be losing
2 very soon. 4 Inspectors are off every day and that
has to cover from 5:00AM to 11:00PM, Eastside,
Westside, North and two bus shifts. You do the math.
The company refuses to fill our shifts and we are
allowed three off per day.
The Wackenhut people are security only and cannot get
involved or have authority to get involved. This would
be a violation of the contract with the Inspectors.
All they can do is observe and report. By the time the
authorities get there the bad guys are long gone. Just
to let you know there are 3 times as many Wackenhuts
as Fare Inspectors. Wackenhut has taken over up on
C-Tran. They are their security and investigate all
accidents. I dont know how the union allows this.
I shake my head how Trimet can go before the media and
say we dont have a crime problem and that the MAX is
safe to ride at night. I work checking the fares and I
see for myself what is out there. Two of the judges we
appear before will not ride the train at night and one
court clerk. I was assaulted twice last year and I
know several of my co-workers also had physical

Police on the train by Tony Maxymillian

I saw a police officer on the train this morning. Two, in fact, checking people for valid fare. For those who haven't experienced it, Portland has an odd light rail system, very convenient, but run entirely on the honor system. There are no gated platforms, no ticket agent, no conductor. A passenger buys a ticket from a machine by the tracks, and gets on a train. The train operator is in a sealed compartment, has no contact with passengers, and the tickets aren't checked.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out all passengers may not have valid fare when riding the train. Good for them if they can work a system with designed flexibility, and thanks for a system that provides some leeway for folks who might be in a tough spot and still need to get somewhere. Heck, I've ridden without fare more than once, and appreciate the accommodation. But the openness of the system invites more than just a free ride, which is why it's surprising to see police on the train so rarely.

Anyone familiar with local propaganda in Portland knows transit crime has been much in the news lately. The fourth estate has found "outrage" over transit crime, and excitement bubbles from the pages as from children playing with a new toy. It's good Christmas marketing (shop downtown, you'll be safe), and while tempted to ask, why now, the real question is, why did it take so long to notice? The system is set up for crime. There is no security on the train, and between stations, if crime happens, where do you go?

I've been riding public transportation in Portland nearly everyday for 5 years, and saw my first police officer on the train this morning. In contrast, I've witnessed more than one criminal act, and the first was not recent. Understand, we are not talking felonies here, just the annoying, pain in the ass behavior no one likes to see. I saw a fist fight on a bus. More than once I've seen inebriated and momentarily enamored men fawn over unreceptive young women. Arguments are plenty, and sometimes domestic. The level of profanity in loud conversations is near intolerable, and lately, I now get panhandled when riding downtown. I've seen people smoke on the bus and drink on the train. None of this is really jail time crime, and not all of it is even crime, but it all adds up to an uncomfortable, unpleasant, journey that, even if not, is easy to perceive as threatening. Which gets thoroughly compounded by Portland's particular pains in the ass canvassing for political signatures on any number of petitions, OSPRIG drones and Greenpeace obnoxiously cluttering every platform downtown, and the endless, I mean endless, parade of panhandlers.

It's a mess that needs cleaning, and while we thankfully don't have the level of crime as other cities, we are but a step away. And even though the heat just add an additional hassle to the ride, their presence may get people to calm down a little. I question the commitment, however. When I saw the police officer this morning, he was the first I've seen on a train or bus ever. The first one in 5 years; the first one in what I estimate at a minimum of 2 trips a day, not always on weekends, and not counting transfers, about 3400 rides. Not surprisingly, I mentioned it, noting my surprise at finally seeing a cop on the train. His reply was characteristically direct, "we've been riding the train for 9 years." The truth is, no they haven't.

In Portland, they hang out in front of Peterson's, or park on the sidewalk next to Starbuck's at the US Bancorp Tower. In Beaverton, there is more of a police presence at the transit center, and to their credit, they occasionally get out of their cars, but understand that in both Beaverton, and Portland, the police do not ride on the trains. Gresham authorities are taking a very self congratulating public stand about putting cops on the trains, but, well, no shit. A 72 year old man was beaten with a baseball bat there last week while getting off the train. The Gresham police chief's response was, in essence, "we can't be everywhere." So no kidding they make a big production out of patrolling the transportation system. Finally

On the West Side, the mayor of Beaverton is trying to organize a transit police department for Washington County. This is good news, and has apparently been in the works for a while, but Beaverton has always seemed more proactive about transit security than elsewhere.

Overall, however, the commitment isn't real. Tri-Met, the transit authority, doesn't seem interested in security, and have offered the standard response of pledging to install cameras. Cameras don't stop a beating, or break up a drug deal. Plus they've taken a very cool attitude to the appearance of the Guardian Angels. The Angels have been in Portland a few years, but their interest is in helping people, not protecting property and business, so it's natural authority will not welcome them. The revisionist attitude displayed by the police officer on the train this morning is the real give away, however. If it seems they have always been there, the problem, then, must really not be any worse. And one has to assume it's all for show until transit crime is no longer front page news. Which should be sometime in early January I suppose.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

reader run over by bus the slammed door in his face, by the consumerist

On February 21, 2007, I was taking my 4 year old special needs child to OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry). It was around 2:50pm and we got to the TriMet bus which was on layover (Line 12). I smelled something coming from my son and considered the possibility that he may have a dirty diaper (thankfully, he's out of them now).

So I asked the bus driver if she would be willing to let me on the bus so I can change his diaper and then toss it away outside the bus so it wasn't on the bus the whole trip up to Portland (about an hour).

She said that it was against TriMet policy to change a diaper on the bus and to use the bathrooms across the street. She was getting ready to leave and I wouldn't have been able to go to the restrooms and be sure to catch the bus (It was the last bus that would've gotten us there while it was still open).

So I mentioned to her that I could change the diaper now (there was no place to change him outside as the area had no bench and had pretty sharp rocks along the side of the road), or I could change it while on the bus.

She got very upset at this and started screaming at me. I took it in stride and figured either I could wait an hour or I could miss the bus and have a screaming child who was promised OMSI and now isn't going. So I picked the hour.

After about 5 mins., the bus pulled forward and the driver announced that I wasn't allowed to board the bus. She told everyone to go around the corner where there is no stop and she will pick them up there.

So as the crown started moving towards that area, I followed along. Now, I'm overweight and I was holding my sons hand (who had started already crying because the bus was leaving for OMSI and we weren't on it). The bus came to a stop in the middle of the street and there were cars on the right hand side. Everyone had about a 3 foot gap to come up to the bus.

I was the last one to get there and as I got to the door, she closed it and started driving away. I started banging on the window to try and get her to stop and she didn't. I was in plain view when I tripped and a second later, my son saw me get run over by a bus and the meat on my left leg get ripped off.

I had 7 surgeries and a month in the hospital (racking up around $100,000 in medical costs). The lawyer that I got said that they are dropping the case because I can be considered to be at least 50% responsible (She didn't want me on the bus and I attempted to get on, so she gets to run over me). TriMet is (of course) denying any wrongdoing (in fact, according to the police report, they told police that the bus didn't run over my leg even though the doctors in ER saw the tire prints on the muscle I had left).

So now.. I essentially have to eat the costs of the medical (and have a deformed leg for the rest of my life) because I wanted to ride the bus and take my kid to OMSI.

I have a video of the accident and you can see that I remain calm during the whole process. The bus driver said that she was scared for her life, but shouldn't she have called the police if she was?

He's also set up a site to voice his grievance: I Hate TriMet

the toughest garage, by al margul

For the members who are not TRIMET bus drivers or employees, the Powell Garage is the 'toughest' and 'meanest' of the three Trimet Garages. Walking into the Powell garage is like stepping into a time warp, you just might see RALPH CRAMDEN walking by!

Merlo, which is were Mr. Booker started at Trimet, is the most laidback of the Three Trimet Garages. (Known as the 'country club')

There is no way Mr. Booker will get away with any of the same nonsense he got away with at Merlo with the Powell Drivers. Hopefully he knows better now.

These are people (Powell drivers) who have made a career of driving routes such as the 72 (busiest in the entire system), the 4 (highest crime/violence %), 9,10,20,71.

From my point of view (a Merlo driver) driving any of these routes is the equivalent of a nightmare that never ends! As a matter of fact I would most likely retire rather than have to face a daily routine of those routes!

Broken MAX Trains and Portland at Night by aron hockley

Last night I went out to take a few photos, including the one below. I was headed south on the MAX Yellow Line, intending to transfer to the Red/Blue line at the Rose Quarter. We came up to the stop, the train stopped for several seconds, and then continued on across the Steel Bridge. The operator got on the PA and announced he was sorry, but there was a known electrical problem on that piece of equipment and the doors didn’t always open. WTF? Why would TriMet keep a light rail train in service when the effin doors won’t open?!?!

We were able to detrain at Old Town and head back across the river, but I can’t help but wonder why TriMet’s operations folks aren’t accountable for stupidity such as this…

Anyway, here’s a shot looking south across the Union Pacific rail yard at Albina towards the Fremont Bridge and downtown.

Monday, November 12, 2007

give a driver a break! by al margulies

Hey, give a driver a break
MY VIEW • Think job's easy? Consider its nonroutine routine

By Al Margulies

, Jul 24, 2007
(news photo)

JIM CLARK / Portland tribune

The stresses of a bus driver's job — going to work in all kinds of
weather, at all times of day and in all kinds of traffic, frequently
with badly behaved passengers — often are unrecognized by those who
have never tried it, one driver says.

I've driven a bus for TriMet for more than 10 years. I don't think
there is another job in America more misunderstood and maligned than
the urban transit bus driver's.

The public seems to have no understanding of what these drivers have
to face on a daily basis.

We are hated when we are late, hated when we are early, hated when we
miss the stop by 2 feet, hated when we turn left, hated when we turn
right, hated when we attempt to merge back into traffic … I could go
on, but I think I've made my point.

Transit bus drivers show up to work in the scorching heat, the bitter
cold, blinding snowstorms, torrential rains and even in treacherous
ice storms. The rest of the city is shut down, but we are still out
there, trying to get citizens to their destination. We are up earlier
and go to bed later than most other people.

We deal with all kinds of people who have no problem directly
challenging us, knowing full well that a bus driver is basically a
sitting duck who can only ask them to leave.

For the past few years, I've been a member of two online newsgroups:, dedicated to national
and international bus news, and, a group for TriMet bus

Members of these groups follow very closely incidents and/or
accidents involving buses and bus drivers. Most members are bus
drivers, but some are just interested in the topic itself. It offers
a front-row seat to some of the injustices that occur to bus drivers
when things go wrong.

Sometimes, I'd liken all this conflict we face to trench warfare, but
the public just doesn't see that. As in any combative situation, some
bus drivers crack under pressure. What do I mean by "crack"? I mean
that under intense pressure, some bus drivers do and say things that
they would never do or say under normal circumstances.

Is it such a hard concept for the public and the press to understand?

Imagine yourself, driving eight to 12 hours a day, back and forth,
back and forth. Imagine meeting customers who are are drunk or on
drugs, or just belligerent toward you for simply doing your job.
Then, one person says the wrong thing and "snap," the pressure is
just too much.

And when a bus driver cracks, the public and the press clamor for a
crucifixion. It's almost like a modern-day witch hunt: "People like
that have no business working with the public. How can the bus
company hire people like that?"

When soldiers break under stress, we don't court-martial them and
send them home with a dishonorable discharge; we send them to
treatment and therapy to deal with all the built-up anxiety.

Transit bus drivers need the same kind of consideration when things
go wrong. We need a public and a press a little less bloodthirsty and
a little more understanding of what it is we deal with on our routes,
day in and day out.

Al Margulies is a TriMet bus driver who also manages property in
Northwest Portland.

tales of the absurd by john smity

He was coming outbound 54 on 3rd avenue. He is in the middle lane
trying to get around a 4. But each time the light turns green and the
4 won't let him in. So at the next light he stays well behind the
stop line. Having mastered the timing of the lights he starts his
acceleration BEFORE the light actually turns green. HE BLOWS BY THE
FOUR, who is starting from a dead stop.

So guess what, at his next stop up comes the road supervisor to his
window. "We need you to drive safely through here."

"Man, don't even start up with me today" he replies. It was one of
the really hot days. "When was the last time you drove a bus." He
asked the road supervisor.

"Well about ten years ago."

"Well things have changed out here since you were driving and that 4
wouldn't let me in, and I was supposed to have an air-conditioned
bus, so don't even start up with me today".

The road supervisor backed off.

And what is the moral of the story.


We know what we are doing.

Bull Pen Improvements? by jeff rose

What do you see when you look around the "bull pen" at your garage? Out of date
notices and other useless information is one thing that I see. There are some
that I would like to see that would assist me in my job- one is a big ol' map of

I got the call to deadhead out to Tigard from the Powell Garage Monday morning
fill a 45 out of Merlo, and my first thought was- If I get on 84 and go through
center of town- I'm screwed- I have an hour to get there and there's no telling
long it will take if I get stuck in the rush hour commute. While it may seem
to some of you, I only had a notion of how I could get around on 205 through the
and up into Tigard. I actually live about half a block off of what I considered
potential deadheading route in that direction, so I parked the bus on 92nd, ran
up to
my office, and looked at MY big map of Portland. In 60 seconds I had figured,
205 to
the end, North on I-5 to 217 and a little jog and BAM! TTC! So easy. Took me
25 minutes! A big map would also serve as a point of constructive discussion,
would give us a way to explain routes to newer operators, and would be.....

I have other ideas but I have to go do something- see ya!


Priase be to the bus gods!! by fareevasionisthenorm"

Been a member for a while, but just been sittin back watchin the
flow..some of it very legitimate, some of it b.s. none of it worse than
the bullpen, but hey, isn't this what this forum is for? (Course
bashing fellow co-workers pushes the envelope a bit and it IS hard
sometimes to understand Margru, but thats what keeps it interesting..)

The new sign up starts today, and for the first time in 4 signups
(partly my fault, partly because of the goofy way they build runs) I
DON'T HAVE A SIX! Hey, I love the run, they just won't let me drive it
empty... Ought just throw a paper bag over the farebox, no point in
even makin a serious effort on the weekends to collect a fare.

LOTS of people pissed because of the route chages coming in September-
not going into Vancouver anymore. I say good riddance. Course, what
sense does it make to pull your transit hub out of downtown Vancouver
if that is the area you want to revitalize? Hmmm?

Powerful the dark side is....

Last Thursday FIASCO by jeff rose

So, for those of you who aren't in the know about "Last Thursday" it is an arts
that happens the last Thursday of each month during the summer on Alberta
It's been going on for 10 years now and it has grown so popluar that for 4 or 5
the sidewalks are so full people are spilling out into the street. They're
trying to rein
in some of the foolishness (the stuff that REALLY makes the whole thing look
like a lot
of fun to be at!) like the out of control public drunkedness and what not
[laugh]. It's
like a monthly Mardi Gras! There are people riding crazy looking bicycles down
middle of the street, people is wierd costumes like this one last night that was
dressed/covered in white paint so that she looked like a atature of some
kind..... The
funniest thing was the tricked out '60's VW Bus that had written in paint on the
bumper "PRAISE THE LOWERED!" (Ha ha!)

Now for the NOT funny part. All afternoon, our heads up customers (remembering
how we were rerouted last month) kept asking me when it was that the busses were
going to start staying on Killingsworth instead of jogging over to Albertal. I
telling them, Oh they'll call me around 6 no doubt and we'll probably be on the
route until the crowds thin out and it's safe- probably about 10 or 11. Well,
comes a note on the BDS telling us that some supervisor has come to the wise
conclusion that we can get the busses up Alberta Street just fine- we don' t
need no
steenkin' reroute! Great. From that point on, not ONCE did I get to ANY end
of the
line before I was scheduled to LEAVE. We basically had to drive at walking
speed for
about 15 blocks each direction and often had to stop for several minutes at a
time for
foolishness like the guy who pulls up next to an ice cream truck and sits in the
oncoming lane for several minutes while he buys ice cream. Ass. In any case,
decision to keep us on Alberta Street had to be one of the worst logistical
I've seen in 8 years / two properties.


this could have been avoided by jason mchuff

What really annoys me is that this could have been avoided. As I've
said here before, the mall (and most certainly the bus lanes) is not
the right place for MAX. While the mall could use work, closing it
for years and laving riders with "pathetic little bus shelters" was
not needed. As for the parade detour, let me note that 2nd Ave
doesn't even have those shelters.

Overall, playing peek-a-boo with bus service by moving it from one set
of "temporary" stops to another when most people want to use it
(parade days are high ridership) is dumb. Besides that, there did not
appear to be any northbound stops in Chinatown. Also, I saw another
example of the mess: according to riders, there was no inbound 17 at
82nd from 10:00PM to 12:25AM--almost 2 and 1/2 hours.

And as for Salt Lake, I guess the world-wide glare of the Olympics
scares people into caring.

the company strickes back by amargul309

When we last heard from Callie he was battling the evil forces of
> road supervisors. Who it turned out were not evil at all but rather
> so efficient in their endeavors that Callie became confused and
> disoriented and thought he was under personal attack.
> The resulting tumultuous events following the encounter were very
> enlightening and completely unexpected and actually the entire
> episode had a happy ending.
> This day has been a lovely day. Its 8:45pm, the sky is clear, the
> temperature is mild, and the passenger loads are lighter than
> It was brought to my attention that this is partly due to the
> recent "bust" of illegal Mexican workers in Portland, which has
> caused many Mexicans to keep out of the public eye right now. The
> bus serves Hillsboro and has a large Mexican patronage.
> It seems that the station manager will not make it today as
> Oh well, Callie assumes that he will see him another time, probably
> next week.
> He bears to the left over the max tracks into the transit center.
> gets off his bus and heads to the drivers room. As he heads over he
> see's off to his right a man in one of those neon yellow vests. It
> says on the back of it ASSISTANT STATION MANAGER. Whoa, this must
> the guy thinks Callie. Callie goes into the break room and the
> manager does not follow. He probably figures that he doesn't want
> bother me during my break. Very considerate thing to do, although
> unnecessary in my case, thinks Callie.
> The break is over and Callie heads to the bus. At the front door
> stands a smiling friendly looking gentlemen and he introduces
> as Lyle the assistant station manager. Callie gets on the bus asks
> the passenger in the co-pilot's seat to make room for the manager
> starts up his bus. The manager says to Callie, "I would like to
> address your passengers."
> Callie is a little taken aback by this but of course says go ahead.
> "May I have a moment of your attention everybody, I'm Lyle a
> of Trimet, and on behalf of Trimet and the citizens of Portland I
> would like to present this perfect attendance award to our operator
> with our congratulations". A baby starts crying in the back of the
> bus.
> Callie is shocked and taken aback! He doesn't even know how to
> A couple of the passengers clap.
> Its all very embarrassing.
> Callie says "Uh, ok, well, haha," laughs nervously at this
> development. "That's very unusual, I have never seen anything like
> that before" Lyle laughs.
> Lyle goes on and engages Callie in some pleasant small talk.
> "What are you doing out here at this hour?" says Callie. "I thought
> you would be home by now."
> "No actually we are working a flexible schedule" says Lyle. "I'm
> a desk person, I think it works out better we can go out and visit
> with the operators more."
> Callie goes on to say, "Well I hope there is no problem with
> communications between the management and me".
> Lyle responds, "don't get the wrong idea, no no no, I am not here
> make trouble, it's the only way I can truly understand you guys is
> ride along with you".
> Callie wonders "What are you trying to understand?"
> "Well the different reasons why an operator runs early or late,
> customer service issues, stuff like that."
> "I see my role is to help you if there is any way possible to do
> that," says Lyle. "if there are scheduling issues I can do
> about that for you." "We can move schedules around up to three
> minutes without much problem, I am here to help you do the best job
> possible, that's why I am here".
> Callie and Lyle go on to have a one hour very friendly conversation
> about bus driving with Lyle being quite complementary towards
> somewhat surprising poor Callie who once again thought he was in
> sort of "trouble" over that 8% figure. Callie did assure Lyle that
> management is having a issue with something I am doing and can
> communicate it to him they can rest assured that he will comply if
> it's at all possible.
> Callie does want to do the right thing and actually does care about
> TRIMET and how it is perceived in the public eye. Nobody in their
> right mind would want to be part of an organization that has a
> negative public perception.
> Callie walks away from work and feels pretty good about TRIMET. He
> has always known that "institutionally" TRIMET can be a very cruel
> place to work. But when dealing with upper management on a personal
> level, there is a sense of real ethical behavior and the intent to
> the right thing. That means a lot.

Personal cooling units not allowed ?? by dee baker

That's a bunch of hog
wash !! I've had a
supervisor come and
fix my farebox, and
said my little swamp
cooler is a great
idea. So I don't
think that rule is
strictly enforced ,
just like closing the
front door when
you're gone on
layover.. If Trimet
had retrofitted the
old buses with AC, we
wouldn't have to
bring cooling devices
in the first place .
I fasten my swamp
cooler down so tight
with a bungee cord
there's no way it
could fall down, and
it never has.So go
ahead and take your
cooling devices if
you need them. The
Union will back us up.


not another class by john smith

The current operators report has informed us of yet another 8 hours of
sitting at that table and being bored out of our collective minds
watching the clock go by.

the report is on file at

not much shakes me up, by john smity

Not much shakes me up these days driving the bus. But recently I have run into one passenger who definitely makes me a little bit nervous.

This passenger is about 25-30 years old, about 6 foot 6 inches with a sort of Mohawk haircut, and he is ASIAN! That's right, an Asian! I don't know about the rest of you but I have never met an Asian that was that tall.

The weird part about all of this is that when he gets on the bus he sits in the co-pilot (aka creep seat) and STARES AT ME THE WHOLE WAY TILL HIS STOP! And he's got that look in his eyes, you know, the mad psycho look! Every time I open the door I glance at this guy to see what he is doing, And he is always staring at me! Now he is not HI-C cause when he gets on the bus he always has a transfer.

I am nervous to engage this guy in conversation, who knows what will happen if I do!

I've met all kinds of crazy people since being a bus driver, but this guy really creeps me out!

God I love being a bus driver, you just never know what's coming at you, EVER!

back in the old days by dee baker

When I 1st started Trimet in 82, they didn't use transfer cutters. We punched the time on the transfers, and they were only issued upon request. They could only be used for one transfer, in one direction, no return trip. They had to hand them to the next driver. We stuck them in an envelope and were given to the station agent at the end of the day. Not long after that they went to the self serve honor fare system, with on board ticket machines. That's also when they started fare inspectors. The ticket machines were unreliable and were only used for a couple years. They have a couple on display at the Holgate Plaza break room, where our classes are held.

and delusional part 2 by jeff rose and al margul

I thought about calling dispatch and letting them know what happened- but
nothing happened. I really didn't do anything out of the ordinary- I didn't
brake really
hard coming into the stop- and she didn't fall down. The only thing that
happened was
she misinterpreted my smile (from having managed to make a transfer to the nine)
laughing at her for something I wasn't even aware of! BTW- can you just fill
out incident
reports.... and get paid for them?!! I'll fill one out everyday!! [laugh]

What would YOU do (referring to ALL of you!) in this situation?

Yesterday was yet another grand day on the 4. Early in the day (while I was
waiting to
relieve the bus, actually) I was talking to a Chinese man at 82nd and Division.
He told me
that on an earlier bus, he was talking to an older Chinese man who was with a
younger woman- no, he was talking to the woman who told him in Chinese that the
man was her "master" and she was his "servant"!!! Concubine??!! Human
slavery??!! I
thought it was wierd and that probably there was something lost in translation
along the
way. But who knows. Maybe Portland is a haven for human slave traders or

A bunch of other interesting stuff happened, and at one point I thought to
myself, If I
would just make a list of things that happen/are said on my bus- I could make a
ton of
money writing about it.

Later, a bunch of kids got on at Columbia Villa/ New Columbia heading outbound.
probably ranged from about 10- 18 years of age, but mostly younger. They
about a dozen and there were only a couple of other people on the bus. I hadn't
moved the bus an inch when I had to secure the bus and lecture them about
behavior on the bus. They quieted down until I went around the corner at McCoy
(about 2 blocks) and I had to stop the bus again. This went on for several
blocks and a
guy got on and immediately answered his cell phone- his girlfriend calling. The
kids are
at the back of the bus screaming, he's at the very front standing literally NEXT
to me with
his finger in one ear and the cell phone over the other and he CANNOT HEAR WHAT
GIRLFRIEND IS SAYING!!!! So I stop the bus, go back and tell the kids that this
HAS TO STOP. They say OK, I say I've given you 5 chances, you kids are going to
have to
talk to a supervisor. I RTT dispatch. And sit there.

These are young kids!! But this is eactly the kind of thing that we desperately
have to get
under control if we are going to serve this area safely. Kids have to learn
that when they
are on public transportation- they AREN'T on a playground. When kids misbehave,
ought to be taken off, taken back to their parents by the cops, and if they were
misbehaving in a serious enough way, I say their parents should be CITED!! Just
loitering, this bad behavior is ALWAYS the precurser to bad things. The
*really* bad thing
that happens around the system are just the end of a very recognizable continuum
events/situations. It goes something like this:

1. A big group of kids gets on the bus.

2. The big group of kids starts getting really, really loud."

3. They start moving around the bus, and doing things like opening windows and
outside, running up and down the aisle and cussing etc.

4. People on the bus start either telling them to shut up, or start looking

5. Somebody gets beaten, stabbed or otherwise assaulted.

Or something like that. There might be more elements to the process and the
might be different at times, but in any case- the problem NEEDS to be dealt with
at step
one and two (what ever those steps might be) and NOT at 5 at which point it's
too late.

I'm not saying that if we intervene in bad behavior early that nothing bad will
EVER happen
on the bus- but it would happen much less frequently and behavior on the MAX
improve somewhat too. But there needs to be a process. When I RTT'ed
dispatch, I
thought later, maybe I should simply had sent a police emergency. Getting the
involved might increase the chances that kids misbehaving on your bus are going
to have
their parents notified of their bad behavior, and while some (maybe even most)
might still
not do much to control their children, perhaps SOME good will come of it. The
kids that
finally just voluntarily left my bus probably aren't going to be THAT inclined
to behave
better for the next operator they ride with, unfortunately.

In any case, we desperately need a process to keep bad juvenile behavior in
check. I
would like to see a loitering outmessage, and maybe a policy regarding what to
do in
cases such as this- "use police emergency"!! If we don't have a game plan in
place that
will work, and result in the same kids behaving appropriately- we'll continue to
ourselves and our quieter passengers at risk.

Ha ha!

"What would YOU do (referring to ALL of you!) in this situation?"


"I could make a
ton of
money writing about it."

I dunno about a ton of money!?

"I say their parents should be CITED!"

I say that too, but guess what? WE DON'T MAKE THE LAWS!

"3. They start moving around the bus, and doing things like opening
windows and
outside, running up and down the aisle and cussing etc."

NERVOUS BREAKDOWN! Pull over, put the bus in the "park" mode so that
its shut down, leave the doors open, put your head on the steering
wheel and don't move for several minutes. Then stick your head up and
tell everyone your having a heart attack or nervous breakdown but you
would like to get to the end of the line first.


Ps: did you notice you have made the international google alert?!


T he recent increase in crime connected with the MAX light-rail trains in the areas around Portland, Gresham and Beaverton has me concerned. I have lived here for over 50 years, and I cannot think of a time when there has been so much violence.

As a TriMet bus driver for the past 10 years, I have had knives and guns pulled on me. I have been hit numerous times in the head with fists and even cell phones. I have had riders spit and bleed on me. None of these incidents ever made it into the news. Other drivers have had to wait on pins and needles for months at a time to find out whether they have been exposed to hepatitis C or HIV. Some drivers have even been shot or knifed.

TriMet rules specifically address what drivers are to do when an incident happens on their bus. We are to push a button on our Bus Dispatch System (BDS) and then answer all the questions that we are asked by Dispatch while they determine if a police presence is needed. If so, they contact 9-1-1 to report the incident. We may evacuate the bus and our passengers, but we can only defend ourselves as a last resort. We then wait for a TriMet road supervisor or police to show up.

I just recently had an incident on my bus involving teenagers who were being loud, disrespectful and unruly in the back of the bus. They had been asked numerous times by others around them to settle down. but they responded to passengers and myself in the usual form; swearing and calling us names. I told them that they would be asked to leave the bus if it continued.

When I arrived at the MAX station on 82nd Avenue, a developmentally disabled lady came up to me and complained about the kids. They were calling her and a male friend, also developmentally disabled, names and making jest of their disabilities. When I told them that they needed to leave the bus immediately, they got up and a girl started beating on the woman, who had returned to her seat, and a young boy began beating the elderly man. I pushed an emergency button on my BDS and contacted Dispatch, requesting police. As I turned back toward them I saw the kids were finally leaving the bus.

The teens were not caught and my passengers got onto another bus to continue their trip. I asked all of the passengers to fill out TriMet Courtesy Cards to provide information about they what saw or heard, but only one would fill out the cards. More than 30 people on the bus and nobody wanted to help these folks. (The only passenger that filled out a card was legally blind, even though he has some vision.) I waited with our road supervisor while the police finished speaking to the injured passengers, and then I proceeded to take them to where they wanted to go.

Does TriMet provide enough security on the train? Well, I think the question also should include buses. We are the ones on the front line; criminals get off MAX and run for a bus or vice versa. Can we as bus drivers do anything about violence on our bus? Not really. What can TriMet do? Well, let's take a look at what we have now.

TriMet does not employ police or security personnel. It contracts with police agencies in the metro area to provide "transit police." These officers have the authority to hold someone for questioning, to help passengers and to assist operators. But they are not always available, and they still have their individual agencies to respond to.

TriMet does have fare inspectors, though, and while these folks can cite persons for fare evasion, they do not have the authority to hold someone until police arrive. The fare inspectors provide a presence of authority on the MAX trains that deters potential criminal acts. But very seldom do they come onto the bus. Fare evaders, who are the primary source of criminal acts, know this. The potential criminal also knows that drivers' hands are tied and that we cannot exclude them from getting on the bus. This allows them to move freely around the city.

So, the question is what can be done about these issues? Maybe we need to hold parents just as responsible for their children's crime as the children. Maybe we need to speed up our justice system to punish criminals. Maybe we need to stop being so open about letting homeless people, drug addicts and wayward teenagers have their way with the system and society. Maybe we need to make crime punishable instead of writing a ticket and hoping people show up for court.

All I know is that as a bus operator I sometimes am afraid to drive. There is enough on my plate just worrying about what the driver next to me is about to do or if a bicyclist is going to fall under my wheels. I should not have to worry for the safety of those inside my bus also.

TriMet and our cities should worry about buses, too. Security for everyone is needed.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I get it- it's a shell game! 2 by jeff rose

Sorry about my rant last night. My work this signup looks like its going to be
a little
frustrating. I really don't mean to be too hard on Trimet, but I'm finding it
harder and
harder to beleive that they really know what they're doing- and If they really
DO know
what they're doing....

I really think the scheduling here is unbelievable. People tell me that is was
much better in
the past so I wonder how we arrived at the place we are today. The obvious
answer seems
to be budget. Tighter schedules and efficient scheduling using offline trips to
breaks means getting the work done with fewer man hours, thus saving Trimet,
supposedly, a bunch on money. For the operator- the tighter schedule means that
order to get a sizable chunk of that smaller break at the end of the line he/she
has to
really put the pedal to the metal from the moment he/she begins the trip to the

I think saving dough is part of the reason for the tight schedules, but I think
there is much
more involved. The real problem, if I'm guessing correctly, involves multiple
layers of
faulty premises that scheduling is built on here. A couple of these premises
immediately to mind as I'm sitting here.

One faulty premise is this: If operators run hot, there is too much time in the
This is the one that kills me. As I have said before, the cardinal rule of bus
driving is
"NEVER RUN HOT" yet, I am astounded by how bad the problem is here. So how can
have both a system that has lines timed so tight that you can't even make up a
AND one where operators running hot is a serious problem? I'll tell you. I've
blabbed on
about this before, but in a nutshell- if a line is scheduled too tight,
operators know it and
SOME of them will leave the end of the line and run as fast as they can to get
ahead and to
lighted thier load. They will run hot so they can get to the end of the line
and get a break.
Meanwhile the poor sucker behind them will get totally hosed and be tragically
late thus
you have the beginning of a bus bunching problem. How is this interpreted with
coming back to scheduling? I don't know. I imagine that they see that some
trips are
performing really bad, and others given the same scheduled time for the trip are
managing to stay on time. Do they consider this a difference in the ability of
The result, in any case, is that if you are the kind of operator that runs hot
and speeds
through neighorhoods you can manage to get your break. If you're the kind of
that holds as principal that you have a contract with the passengers that at the
time you
are scheduled to be at a stop, you won't be past it, that you won't speed
neighborhoods to make up time, that you'll wait for little ol' ladies to sit
down before you
take off, that you'll answer people's questions and help them navigate the
system etc-
you're screwed. This is a tragedy.

It is interesting that I came here as an operator with pretty rock-solid
principals. I was
good with passengers (and still am!), I could really move a bus through traffic
when I had
to (and still can), and I believed that an operator should NEVER leave a
timepoint even 1
freakin' second hot. I'm one for reliability. Somehow, in my few years with
Trimet, I have
learned that sometimes you HAVE to run hot. This is a clue to me that running
hot is an
institutional problem here. Somehow Trimet has created a system that actually
ENCOURAGES operators to run hot, I think, out of self preservation. Adequate
breaks are
crucially important in this job, and the best way to get them (sometimes the
only way) is to
run hot.

If Trimet wants operators not to run hot they need to do two things: one- they
need to
give us enough time (usually MORE time, not less) in the schedule that we can
get to the end of the line on time WITHOUT having to screw the operator behind
up by
running hot, and two- they need to train operators to keep schedules and how to
themselves through a route and then actually DISCIPLINE operators who continue
to run

The second misconception that I think Trimet has in regard to scheduling
involves what
they percieve passengers want. One of the biggest reasons people give for NOT
public transportation is that potential "choice" riders say, public
transportation takes too
long to get from point a to point b. I can get there in half the time in my
car. So Trimet,
I'm guessing, looks at this and says, well if we have the bus go as fast as it
can possibly go
people will be more likely to ride the bus! We certainly don't want a bus
sitting for 30
seconds at a time point.

So by hacking 2,3, maybe even 5 minutes away from a route what do you get- more
riders? No. You get bus bunching, surly bus operators, missed connections,
speeding through neighborhoods, etc. You get operators who have to speed, run
even cut routes at times, and are really pissed off. Like me right now!

If you wan't riders to continue to be riders (if they have a choice) you have
to make sure
that they have a good experience. How often do they miss a 5 minute connection?
often is the bus 10-15 minutes late to thier stop? Is the bus driver helpful
and courteous
or are they haggard and pissed off? My contention (from being a bus passenger)
is that
people mostly just hate WAITING for busses. Once it's thier they're actually
just happy to
be on their way wherever they're going. They DON'T much care if it is scheduled
to take 2
minutes longer than it possibly could. More time in the schedule BENEFITS them
increasing the likelyhood that they are actually going to get where they're
going when the
schedule SAYS they will get there. That is gold to them.

Well, it's my day off and I'm going to the zoo, so I'll leave you to chew on
that for a while!
I'll leave you also with this little excerp from the Transit Cooperative
Research Program
Publication 47 in regard to what is REALLY important to riders!


° The most important dimension is convenience (1).
•The most important convenience factors are equally "availability of bus stops
close to
home and work".

° The next most important dimension is safety (2).
•The most important safety factor is "safety related to bus operations".

° The next most important dimension is performance/reliability (3).
•The most important performance/reliability factor is "frequency of service".

° For comfort, the most important factor for bus passengers is the "temperature
on the

° For condition of vehicles and facilities, the most important factor is
"cleanliness of bus

° Value is judged most often as the "availability of volume discounts, such as

Disregarding ratings of dimensions, the most important factors for bus service
quality are,
in order:

1-cleanliness of bus interior [Condition of Vehicles/Facilities]
2-knowing when buses arrive and depart [Ease of Using the Service]
3-comfortable temperatures on the bus [Comfort]
3-knowledgeable and courteous drivers on-board [Ease of Using the Service]
4-frequency of service [Performance/Reliability]
4-availability of volume discounts, e.g., mo

I get it- it's a shell game! by jeff rose

I'm sure most of you heard about the lines that they're actually trying to fix.
I think
one of them is the 77- I heard some good news about that one. I don't remember
others, but I thought that one was the 4. but I must be wrong- unless by
"fixing" they
mean TOTALLY WRECKING.. One of them certainly wasn't the 71.

I've had my share of 4's over that last few signups and despite the
gang-bangers and
all the other crap you have to put up with, I really liked it. It's long but
the schedule
was adequate enough that at least you could depend on getting your breaks the
majority of the time. Not any more. So they fix some lines and give us a fancy
presentation, but then they go and ruin a bunch of others. Hmmm... Sounds like
shell game to me.

Having now done each of my regular relief days- here is my assessment:

4- Good line (timewise) gone very, very bad. I'm going to compare schedules
last signup vs the September changes and I'll let you know what I find out.

9- I only do a couple of outbound trips on the Powell side so I can't tell you
Seems typical.

71- The evening trips that I have are really tight and there is a reroute off of
ave. The people that are on the reroute (that will be in effect for about a
year) HATE
us and REALLY don't want busses on their streets. In order to TOTALLY kiss
asses we are not to exceed 10 MPH. There are supervisors with radar guns making
sure that we don't go even 11. I took it at 8. This adds several minutes and
as many
as 5 minutes to your trusty late clock and you can't make it up.

20- I have a 30+ minute layover in Beaverton! I chose this work because my
just bought a coffee shop a couple blocks from the BTC. If I get there on time
I might
manage to get over there to, uh, support my little brother- I'm 50-50 so far.

Sometimes I wish I still worked for UTA. If you took a driver from Salt Lake
plopped him down on, say, the line 71- know what he'd (She'd) say? Probably,
the fuck is this shit?!!!" Really! It'd blow them out of the water. They'd be
all like,
Jeez is there a warp button on this thing somewhere? What d'ya have to drive 20
over the speed limit through neighborhoods to keep up with these schedules??!!

In Salt Lake there was actually bumper stickers on the busses that said,
"Neighborhood Pace Car". Because busses typically went a nice easy pace down
neighborhood streets- kinda the speed a neighborhood would appreciate vehicles
driving down the street at- especially one the size of a bus! Here an
sticker would be more like "I thought I WAS in Indianapolis" (or something like
When you have operators driving 50 on streets like Prescott or Willis, there is
serious problem.

I'm thinking about getting some Powell operators together to talk about our
Sort of a Powell Operator's night out. There should be one for the other
garages too.

I have some bones to pick.