“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”
― Leonardo da Vinci
I'm a little suspicious of this story - not because it's probably true, but because the public perception is "the union just wants more workers".Never mind, of course, that the exact same union represents the paratransit drivers, too. So to the union there is no net add.But where there really should be a focus is that if the paratransit operation were brought in-house, that TriMet could actually use "paratransit" vehicles and Operators to provide a level of service that TriMet cannot currently provide. Those LIFT buses have to travel door to door no matter what, and they very often travel empty or with just one or two riders. Why not sell those extra seats to regular riders? When regular fixed-route TriMet buses are not operating - those LIFT buses could provide a very valuable relief operation to get riders where they need to go, rather than TriMet sitting on its hands and not providing alternative service (except in the one documented case a couple weeks ago where a Supervisor, probably now terminated, actually cared for the riders - in direct conflict with what I was told by TriMet "Customer Service".)TriMet prides itself on being a single transit system. However TriMet branded LIFT service does not coordinate with the fixed-route system. TriMet goes out of its way to provide additional LIFT service - allowing a rider who wants to travel from Boring to Forest Grove a single-seat, single-vehicle ride - which was NEVER the intention of the federal paratransit law (which is to connect a disabled person with existing transit services - in other words, provide the "first mile" or "last mile" that they cannot walk to.)The union's proposal is smart, but the public perception won't fly. A good interim solution would be to "in-source" a portion of the paratransit service, while continuing to use the contractors. That would allow a direct comparison - just as the federal government kept private security screeners at San Francisco International Airport and a number of other smaller airports. (Incidently, the SFO screeners routinely score higher on performance tests that TSA's own employees.) Likewise, the union could accept that certain fixed-route lines be contracted out (LACMTA and Denver RTD do this today) - again to compare in-sourced versus out-sourced performance.As far as the unions are concerned, all of the Operators would still be union employees - so again, it is not a net add or net subtract. What it does do, however, is forces TriMet to evaluate its own performance much more strongly. Having worked in an outsourced work environment, I've seen good situations where the contracting company keeps a close eye on us...and I've seen bad situations where the contracting company just didn't care - and the end result clearly showed. Today - we see with our current bus system what a lack of management oversight does - and that's with an insourced TriMet operation.
"NEVER the intention of the federal paratransit law (which is to connect a disabled person with existing transit services - in other words, provide the "first mile" or "last mile" that they cannot walk to.)"Please cite a source. I can find no evidence that this is true. All of the source I've found say that it's required to be door-to-door.
Regarding Jon's article in the January 6th Labor Press. No more lip service: One thing I would like to point out is that Jon has had this audit since 2008 and has done nothing with it until now. Now the real question is why now? Does he feel that he needs to use this to better his chances for the upcoming election? Why has he sat on this information for four years and done nothing with it in that time? Why now does he feel the need to bring it forward instead of last year or the year before? Sister Juli Rowburg asked for a copy of the report back in 2008 and was only given a partial report and she has had to fight him tooth and nail to get a copy of the full report. She had to jump through hoops and involve international to get that full copy. Juli has also presented this to each of TriMet board of directors. So, they too are aware of the audit. I would like everyone to remember that para transit was in-house years ago. I feel they should be back with us and in house.
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