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Monday, April 28, 2014

Trimet bus driver tribulations

Threatening behavior aimed at drivers is the norm. This is a letter to all Trimet managers and the governor about a situation that is currently happening.


On Friday April 25, 2014, I was headed inbound on a 12. I picked up three people when I serviced the stop at Sandy and 24th at 9:12 p.m. I was already several minutes late due to the tight schedule. I acknowledge the first and third customers who boarded the bus, because they had a transfer to go on. The first customer went back and sat down right away. The second customer who came on had a small cart, was an honored citizen and needed a transfer.  I assisted him and told the third customer who was still standing there and had already showed me his transfer to go ahead and have a seat again. The honored citizen who was the second customer moved back to take his seat. But the third customer just hung out at the front of the bus. I ask him to move back please and have a seat since he was past the yellow line and blocking my view of the right side mirror. He made it difficult for me to be able to move the bus safely because he was blocking my view. He got mad at me and said: “don’t rush me”.


He went to the back of the bus and I could hear him complaining. I had this same guy on a week or so ago.  There was a group of about 9 or 10 people who got on at the same stop with him.  They all rushed into the bus and I had asked them to hold on, meaning to slow down.  This same guy said: “Driver said to hold on” then went on to tell me then I needed to respect him.  He was very foul mouthed and loud and using the “F” word and had a nasty attitude. I called dispatch then because he was disrupting the bus. By the time I got across the Burnside Bridge he got off at the first stop.  The group of people who were with him, apologized to me as they got off for their friend’s bad behavior towards me.
While I was crossing the Burnside Bridge Friday night, I saw him coming up towards the front of the bus. To try to avoid any confrontation with him I put the handset up to my ear as a diversion hoping he would just get off the bus. But unfortunately that did not work and he hovered over me with his 6’ 300 lb frame, trapping me in my seat, yelling at me repeatedly:  “The next time I better respect him or else”!  In the mean time I was telling him to get off the bus. This went on for at least a minute or two. I reached down to hit the silent alarm but could not find it and I didn't want to take my eyes off him because at this point I felt very threatened by him.  I tried the BDS but  I was so shaken up by his  violent behavior  towards me that it wasn't till after he got off the bus and I shut the door that I was able to hit priority successfully. The man who was the honored citizen that boarded at the same time on 24th , came up to check on me and it was he who told me that the guy was Samoan when giving the violent mans description to dispatch.
Cambridge Dictionary definition of “Or Else” When or else is spoken at the end of a demand, it can also be a mild threat.
The Free Dictionary definition of “Or Else” or suffer the consequences. (An in specific threat of bad consequences.) Do what I tell you, or else.
MacMillan Dictionary definition of “Or Else” mainly spoken used for threatening someone or else (used when you do not say what you are threatening to do).
Reasonable and rational people tell you what you did that made them upset or call and make a formal complaint. This man caused me emotional distress, fear of bodily harm and he made it very clear there would be consequences and intent (“Or Else”) the next time he gets on the bus if I do not behave in the manner in which he thinks I should behave. My concern is that this is an unstable individual who may carry out his threat.
After my encounter with this man dispatch wanted to know if I wanted the cops. The answer is yes I did. I was told to pull over at 5th and Pine. There the road supervisor came to meet me. He wanted to know why I had stopped. Defiantly there was a communication problem between dispatch and the road supervisor at the time because I was expecting the police. The road supervisor and I talked briefly and I suggested to do a yellow card on this incident with this man. I was told that the data pack would be pulled when I got in. To my disbelief the spotter had no orders to pull it. So then I called dispatch and after a lengthy conversation I was told to see my manager Monday. I am not sure if the data pack with a clear picture of this guy and his aggression towards me has been recovered.
I do not want to be another statistic and be beaten up like Pam and then blamed that it was her fault because she should have not asked for the total amount of the fare. I don’t want someone shoving me up against the wall like Denise and then blamed she was out the bus so therefore she was not officially on duty. I don’t want to be stabbed like Leonard and the other two drivers because of some crazy person and then sued. I don’t want to be spit on like so many other operators by out of control angry people and I don't want a gun shoved in my face like Dan Martin. I want the same protection and the same rights as Roberta Alstad when she feared a blogger. So I am asking that someone from Tri Mets contracted out law enforcement officers be at this stop or be on the bus for the next several weeks in case this guy decides to follow through with his “Or Else” threat. And I want TriMet District Attorney to do a back ground check on this man to see if there is any prior history of arrrest or convictions.

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