Friday, April 30, 2010


They are obstinate, unfriendly and generally disengaged. Tri-Met drivers intentionally jerk the bus forward or slam on the brakes when a passenger stands up to prepard for their stops. you can see them galnce in the mirror and smirk.
I've had my share of bad TriMet operators and a few I have had to complain about, but as a daily TriMet rider for many years Operators are generally at the bottom of my complaint pile.
If a driver looks up in their mirror after a hard stop it's probably because some idiot pulled out in front of the bus and they can't stop in time, so they're making sure nobody fell over. I know many Operators who intentionally will run the bus SLOWER if there are a lot of standees - for the safety of the riders (this is a TriMet problem not acquiring the proper buses for the load or running the appropriate number of buses.) I can't say I have had an Operator who intentionally jerked the bus (I've had a few rough drivers but that's more a training issue) and I know many bus drivers who run their bus like it's full of eggs and glass.
Sure, some drivers don't say "hi" and greet you with a huge smile. It'd be nice, because I know many TriMet drivers do make my day when I get on the bus, and even those who are having a lousy day - I try to thank them because they may have had an unreasonable passenger earlier, or problems with the bus, or dispatchers and supervisors that make their lives miserable. I know one Operator who demanded a clearly unruly passenger be removed from her bus by a Supervisor and the Supervisor came down on the Operator. How do you think you would respond if your Supervisor comes down on you and second-guesses you, but then doesn't bother to help you when you need it? I've seen many Operators literally stranded for hours when their buses break, and there's nothing they can do but wait for the tow rig..
Being a TriMet driver takes a lot of nerve. Are there a few bad apples? You bet, and there are bad apples at MY work too (No, I don't work for TriMet.) But the majority of TriMet drivers work under a lot of pressure from the public and their bosses, dealing with less than desirable tools and equipment, and they're just trying to get you where you need to go. Sometimes TriMet drivers are forced onto routes that they aren't familiar with in parts of town they've never been to, and I've helped a good number of fellow passengers get to where they need to go. I don't blame the driver, they probably had ONE familiarization run (if that) and lately all that involves is riding a revenue bus on the route before they start driving the run, instead of driving the route several times as practice beforehand.

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