Friday, June 22, 2012

I confess

When I was an operator at Trimet I held the dispatchers in pretty slim regard.
As a matter of fact I did everything possible to avoid contacting them at all.
Some of them were pretty pushy when I did end up having to talk to them.

But now that I don't work there anymore, and have really starting listening to the scanner regularly, I got to hand to to em.
They do a pretty damn good job, really.
(I don't know how they can handle it hour after hour, it would drive me INSANE)


Ross Wrede said...

I take it that is not a recent picture. CRT monitors? That would be like driving 18 year old buses.

alvin said...

you are pretty observant ross!

Anonymous said...

I'd say if you are not having a problems with an agressive passanger, dispatch will do a decent job. if the former happens, you are on your own.

Al M said...

Well, you ARE on your own, always, when working as a bus driver.

Erik H. said...

I don't know if it's the employees (the Dispatchers), the management overseeing them, or the system...

I've found that when the shit hits the fan at TriMet, response is consistently awkward, slow, and often an inappropriate or non-existent response.

Think about it: You have a fleet of over 600 revenue vehicles, on what is largely a grid network. Each of those vehicles is equipped with a GPS receiver, a transmitter that reports said GPS coordinate to Dispatch, a two-way radio, and a VDT capable of two-way messaging. You have a Dispatch center that has access to each vehicle's location, instant communication to anywhere - PLUS access to real-time traffic data including ODOT's closed circuit television camera network and local news outlets.

When the shit hits the fan, you don't sit on your ass until said Operator calls you 15 minutes later asking why they are stuck and you don't act like something is stuck up your ass. The Dispatcher's job is to be the Operator's buddy. The Operator has one of the toughest, least predictable jobs in the entire network. They have to play operator, cashier, customer service rep, security guard - and do it all while multi-tasking, and making sure safety is #1. The Dispatcher gets to sit in a nice comfortable expensive ergonomic chair in a climate controlled, secure facility. When the Operator calls you - it is not your job to blow them off or tell them to deal with's YOUR job to get them help. That's it.

If my company had a Dispatch office like TriMet does...I would run out of the place screaming. My Dispatcher covers a territory of three states, hundreds of crews and pieces of equipment...and we can manage to mobilize multiple crews and equipment and restore power faster than TriMet can make the simple call for a tow-truck or a road relief bus. By the time TriMet gets around to resolving the situation it is usually "self-resolved" by the customer (riders) giving up and finding their own way. I wonder if we tried the same tactic when TriMet calls to report a power outage...maybe we should take five or six hours to restore MAX service, because we're just slow and lazy...