(who exactly is a "stakeholder"?)
With my first year as TriMet’s General Manager completed, I want to update you on the
direction I’m taking the agency.
Navigating tough economic times
We still find ourselves reeling from one of the worst recessions in memory. We’ve had
to make significant service cuts which have had an undeniable impact on our riders.
And we are not out of the woods yet. We continue to face a tough economy and federal
budget uncertainties that could impact our level of service.
Strides in safety
Since my last letter to you, we have made huge progress towards a safer system. From
the bus or rail operator to a customer service representative to a payroll clerk – all of us
are working to make safety a part of this agency’s culture:
We have implemented 19 recommendations from a blue ribbon panel I
assembled to address safety throughout our agency.
We have already begun recertifying all of our 1,200 operators – bringing them in,
on an annual basis, to retrain on some of the very basics of safely operating a
bus or train.
We have also gone through our entire bus system – line by line – analyzing every
movement to make sure we are safely operating our buses in the community.
We still have much to do, but each and every action we take reinforces safety as a
value in this organization— not just a priority.
Early last year the TriMet Board of Directors issued a mandate that employee benefits
cannot outpace revenue. Management employees’ benefits have already been reduced,
and I’m taking a similar approach with the members of the Amalgamated Transit Union
(ATU) that represents our bus and light rail operators, mechanics and several other
classes of employees. It is important that we begin to bring compensation and benefits
in line with our revenue projections. It’s a long process but I’m committed to working
with ATU in making this necessary adjustment.
I am taking this notion of financial sustainability and applying it to all areas of our
organization where we need to do things differently. One area is our fare compliance
efforts. I’ve had many meetings with community and business organizations and time
and time again I have heard that riders don’t feel that everyone is paying their ―fare‖