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.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I might suggest that YOU brush up and re-read your Oregon Driver's Manual, because you are so wrong, on so many places.

Here's a link for you:

Let's see:

Peds always have the Right of Way in downtown Portland

No, they don't. In fact, if you had read the Oregon Driver's Manual, you'll see:

1. No where is "Downtown Portland" mentioned. Downtown Portland does not have its own set of traffic laws; the traffic laws in Oregon apply uniformly whether you're in downtown Portland, or on U.S. 95 north of McDermott.

2. Let's look at page 45 of the Oregon Driver's Manual. It says:

"The right of way law does not give anyone the right of way; it only says who must yield. Stop signs, yield signs, and traffic signals control traffic at busy intersections. They tell drivers who may go without stopping or who must stop and yield right of way to other drivers, bicyclists, or pedestrians."

Let's see what else the Oregon Driver's Manual has to say about drivers and pedestrians:

"Remember, if you are making a left or right turn, you must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. Pedestrians facing a green light may cross the street in a marked or unmarked crosswalk, unless directed by other signs or a pedestrian signal." (page 25)

"These are special stop and go signals for pedestrians. When used, pedestrians must obey these signals rather than red-yellow-green traffic lights. Pedestrians facing a WALK or walking person signal (white) may legally start to cross the street. If a DONĂ¢€™T WALK or raised hand signal (orange) is flashing or showing, pedestrians may not start to cross the intersection. Pedestrians in the crosswalk when the DONĂ¢€™T WALK or raised hand signal begins flashing should continue crossing the street." (page 26)

"Crosswalk - noted by white lines that outline an area where pedestrians cross the roadway. Drive with caution and be ready to stop when a pedestrian is in the crosswalk. Remember that every corner is a crosswalk, whether it is marked or unmarked (see Pedestrians, Pages 77-78)." (page 30)

"Generally, pedestrians have the right of way at all intersections. There is a crosswalk at every intersection, even if it is not marked by painted lines." (page 77)

"You must stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian crossing at a crosswalk (marked or unmarked) when the pedestrian is:

  • In the lane in which your vehicle is traveling;
    In a lane next to the lane in which your vehicle is traveling;
    In the lane into which your vehicle is turning;
    In a lane adjacent to the lane into which your vehicle is turning, if you
    are making a turn at an intersection that does not have a traffic signal;
    Less than six feet from the lane into which your vehicle is turning, if
    you are making a turn at an intersection that has a traffic signal; or
    In a school crosswalk where there is a traffic patrol member and the
    traffic patrol member signals you to stop.

  • You are not required to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk if you are
    traveling along the half of the roadway on the other side of a safety island from the pedestrian." (pages 77-78)

    "Although drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, pedestrians
    must not suddenly leave a curb or other safe waiting place and walk
    into the path of a vehicle if it is so close that it is an immediate hazard.
    Vehicles cannot stop instantly." (page 79)

    2. The speed lkimit in downtown is 25 mph for that very reason.

    Wrong again. In a business district (of which all of downtown Portland is considered) the speed limit is 20. Not 25, 20. 25 is the speed limit in residential neighborhoods, parks, and ocean beaches. (See page 34.)

    3. I would be held responsible by virtue of my failure to maintain control of the vehicle, failing to observe basic rule - Right of Way.

    I can't believe you don't even know what the Basic Rule is. The Basic Rule has NOTHING to do with right-of-way.

    Page 33 of the Driver's Manual states: "The basic rule states you must drive as a speed that is reasonable and cautious for existing conditions." This is codified in ORS 811.100, 811.105, 811.106 and 811.108. The Basic Rule covers speed, not right-of-way. However, if you are driving in an area with a large number of pedestrians, you could be held in violation of the Basic Rule if you are driving at a speed that puts those pedestrians at risk, even if you are not exceeding the posted speed limit.

    4. It is always the rule that MV's must yield to Peds, except on a freeway perhaps.

    Wrong again. See pages 77 and 78 of your friendly Oregon Driver's Manual that states where you must yield to a pedestrian. And page 79 clearly states that a pedestrian must not suddenly leave a curb or safe waiting place into the path of a vehicle and create a hazard. That's codified in ORS 811.025 and 811.028.

    That rule hasn't changed in the 30 years since I first took the DMV's knowledge test.

    Well, it looks like in the 30 years since you last took the DMV test, you either forgot some things, or are simply ignorant. I suggest you visit your local friendly DMV office and re-take the test, or visit the DMV's website at and take one of the several on-line practice tests available to you.

    Sunday, April 18, 2010

    APRIL 18

    Actually, that's not a bad idea, and in fact TriMet (along with SMART and Cherriots) could go a step further:

    1. Create a Portland-Salem express bus, likely by using RAZ Transportation or another company that has intercity (Greyhound like) buses. This new bus route would take the place of the current 1X and 2X Smart/Cherriots buses AND TriMet's 96, and provide service from Salem to Wilsonville, as well as Tualatin (the Park & Ride, not the WES station) and Barbur Boulevard TC and the Portland Transit Mall.) In addition, Woodburn would also participate and get a stop.

    (This route would be contracted out for several reasons: 1. It crosses through three different transit agency jurisdictions. 2. WES is contracted out. 3. None of the agencies have a suitable vehicle for the route.)

    2. TriMet would then institute a 76E route during rush hours from Tualatin to Beaverton. The 76E would only stop at Beaverton TC, Nimbus, Washington Square, Tigard TC, Tualatin P&R, Tualatin City Hall and Meridian Park Hospital. (This bus would essentially replace the 96, along with a new local Tualatin route that would provide local, all-day service from the Tualatin P&R along Boones Ferry Road, and another route that would provide west-east service between Tualatin and Sherwood.)

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    APRIL 15

    The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) of Albany, NY, is selling 11 Orion VI 40' buses manufactured in 1997.

    At TriMet, the 1400, 1600, 1700, 1800, and 1900 series buses are all OLDER than this fleet of buses and are still in service at TriMet. Meanwhile, the CDTA's annual report ( states:

    One of the most significant factors for 2010 comes as a result of the stimulus money allocated to CDTA. These stimulus funds will allow CDTA to advance our bus procurement program for the next two years without taking on debt. Prior to the availability of the stimulus funds, CDTA intended to enter into a ten year lease program in order to procure new buses.

    TriMet has cancelled all bus purchases; however a resolution by one of Oregon's congressional leaders will provide federal funding for about 45 new buses.

    Funding shortfalls have put us in a position where we have needed to use a portion of our federal allocation on maintenance rather than on capital projects. Unfortunately, the result of this decision is the erosion of existing capital funding and a long-term reduction in our ability to keep up with future capital needs.

    TriMet is cutting back on maintenance, in order to continue capital projects.

    Funding shortfalls prevent us from executing service expansion plans. Should funding turn more favorable, we have several planned service expansions ready to make available to the public. They include Schenectady route restructuring, Northway Express service expansion, and Bus Rapid Transit service.

    TriMet is still going full-bore with service expansion; as it admits it cannot even fund its current service levels, has already enacted two rounds of bus service cuts and has a third round planned, and is even talking of more cuts next year.

    Consistent with the fleet replacement plan during 2009, CDTA introduced 23 new vehicles into the fleet. All 23 are hybrid electric vehicles. This is roughly 1/12 of our fleet (including subfleets). These vehicles were funded primarily with federal funding allocations. Some of these funds were specifically obtained to offset the additional costs of hybrid electric vehicles. CDTA intends to continue to purchase hybrid electric vehicles as long as funding for hybrids is available.

    Not only does TriMet refuse to buy new buses; but in the few times it has purchased new buses it has refused to acquire hybrid-electric buses - even if the federal government pays for the hybrid differential in full (as Seattle has taken advantage of).

    The increase in ridership experienced in 2009 and 2008 is expected to continue.

    The CDTA is a bus-only agency, and saw ridership increases - despite being in a part of New York that has been hard hit by the recession.

    In 2009, fixed route ridership was up 11% and STAR ridership was up 13%. Demand for our suburban commuter service, Northway Express, increased 22%.

    Yet WES, the very expensive rail system, only managed an 8% increase (which translated to about 100 new riders).

    To encourage homeownership in transit supportive areas and promote transit use, CDTA offers free bus passes (for a maximum of 24 months) to new homeowners through the Homeownership Incentive Program.

    Holy Smokes!!!!!! I remember getting three all-day passes from TriMet back when I first moved to Beaverton, and again when Westside MAX opened, but that was it. And that was over 10 years ago.

    CDTA purchases new buses each year as part of a fleet purchasing program designed to make the most efficient use of funding sources and maintain a safe, reliable fleet. Each year, CDTA replaces one-twelfth of its fleet. In the past year, CDTA purchased 6 new hybrid diesel-electric vehicles, 7 STAR paratransit vehicles and 4 new suburban shuttles. Twenty new hybrid buses will arrive in Spring 2009, making the fleet 20% hybrid.

    Remember when Fred promised new buses every year, and then quickly broke the promise? CDTA sticks to a 12 year replacement age (which is the minimum age that a federally funded bus must be in service).