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Trimess
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Trimet taking a beating on Reddit



https://www.reddit.com/r/Portland/comments/3ermvm/early_morning_trimet_rant/
So I had to take the first 35 of the morning from North Portland all of the way down to Oregon City to meet my coworker to carpool to Salem. I was out at the bus stop a few minutes early, because I couldn't afford to miss the bus. I'm standing at the bus stop, under a streetlight, waving at the bus to stop, and they don't even slow down for me and keep going. The next bus wasn't for over half an hour, at which point I would miss my ride. I had to book it to bike clear to SE to head off the 33 in order to make it to Oregon City only slightly late. What the hell, TriMet?
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I'm glad I had my bike with me today, otherwise I easily could have been shit out of luck.
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Have any of you had any similar experiences of a driver on autopilot leaving you behind or other transit horror stories?
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So I had to take the first 35 of the morning from North Portland all of the way down to Oregon City to meet my coworker to carpool to Salem

Worst commute in town.

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No doubt, I thought it was bad when I rode a bus to the train. This is like a pilgrimage to work each day.

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Thankfully, it's not a daily ordeal.

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That sucks. Way to persevere on a Monday morning.

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Thank you. I told the bus driver my story and he didn't even make me pay. Thanks to my 33 shuffle, we'll manage to get to work with only minutes to spare.

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I've definitely had that happen before and it sucks, sorry.
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The worst Trimet horror story I can remember didn't happen to me, but to many fellow commuters. During one of the Snowpocalypses (probably 2004) I was taking the 15 home from downtown. By about the third stop, the bus was PACKED with people who normally didn't ride the bus and the driver didn't stop to let anyone on or off for about 5 stops.

You want to see some disappointed people, you look at the 15 poor souls waiting at each one of these snowed in bus-stop with no other options for getting home. I always wonder how many buses had already passed them and how many more would before they got home.

When he'd stop for somebody to get off, he did it in mid block and you'd see people from the last stop halfheartedly running for the bus then slowing to a stop as they realized what was happening and our bus pulled away. It was like the saddest zombie apocalypse.

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I remember that! I was one of those people. I ended up slipping and falling on the ice and injuring myself, too. :\

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Hi, can you call 503-258-RIDE (7433) and report this please?

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Already left them a sternly incensed voicemail at 5:15 am.

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Excellent first step, and always follow with a concise, factual, and dispassionate but totally public tweet.

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I've had this happen to me before and have always reported it. I never get anything more then a "thanks for your feedback". And sure enough it's the same driver at the same time the next day. And even worse I get death stares as if they know I'm the guy that complained

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Ask for a response from a manager next time.

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If you're getting death-stares, you at least know that he got bitched at. I don't know why you expect him not to be on the same route, though. Or do you expect him to be fired? That'd be a ridiculous waste of time and money, especially since he can just be reprimanded and the behavior altered.

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Sorry man. I biked/took trimet exclusively through college and long trips like that were incredibly frustrating. I hated the inability to accurately set my own schedule on long trips.

I found if I was taking an 60+ minute trip with transfers their scheduler just couldn't predict the transfers very well and sometimes I would be like you, standing there for 30+ minutes and late despite me showing up early.

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Oh god, transfers on TriMet are miserable. I spent too many mornings last summer watching the 75 drive away just as the 10 I was riding pulls up at a stop where I'm supposed to have a 10 minute wait between buses
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The 75 has left me hanging many a day. I "had 8 minutes" to catch it less than one block from my apartment, and as soon as I closed the door and turned around, it was barreling past me already.

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The missed transfers thing always gets me. I'm currently building a Trimet app with features like being able to see the live data from all the stops on your route and setting alarms on buses that update based on location to try and not be so susceptible to the terrible reliability of the system.

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This would be fantastic. Keep us posted on when we can try it out!

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This happened to me when I lived out in the burbs. It was early morning, but light, and I was waiting for my usual bus to work. I was wearing an orange shirt and a pink backpack and standing right at the stop in plain sight, and the driver just blows on by because he was taking a drink from his mug and not paying attention. I ran to the next stop and made it to the tail end of the bus before he took off again. Obviously I was pretty ticked because I remember all of this, but luckily it's only ever happened once.

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It seems to me like the earlier buses seem to be the worst. Like the drivers are just universally out of it at that point in the day.

I don't think I've ever been fully passed over, but there were a few times I've actually seen the bus leave a full 5 or so minutes early (moments before I could get to the stop, of course), which is a big no-no. You can be a few minutes late, but leaving early is a dick move.

And there were a couple of times recently where the bus just never showed up. Period. Though I've seen a lot of broken down buses this summer, so maybe they're just all dying? :p

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Seems to be an all to common problem last couple of years. Too many inexperienced rookies behind the wheel of Trimet buses

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Especially lately. Trimet is doing a big hiring binge. I've seen a lot of wrong turns and asking passengers about the routes in the past few weeks.

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Oh my god, I was on the 15 coming from NW Industrial, and the driver literally did not know the route. A passenger was guiding him.

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I saw a 19 turn off of Glisan onto 24th going southbound last week full of passengers, most of them just apparently sitting there. I'm surprised that no one asked what the hell was going on, especially when he needed to make a 3 point turn to get around the corner.

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"We need more Public Transportation!!!"

later...

"Why are all these bus drivers inexperienced?!?"

What do you think the hiring process is? Trimet is not head hunt other cities for the best bus drivers.

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rookies gotta start somewhere but they need to be trained better.

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That's happened to me too.

The weird thing is it happened downtown once, midday, the bus was kind of full but no one was standing. It changed lanes to avoid the bus stop. Fortunately it was a frequent service bus, but it felt like the driver was just bored of picking people up.

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it felt like the driver was just bored of picking people up.

I am very curious to know the actual reason for them doing this.

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Maybe I just don't have enough transit experience to figure it out. They have a "drop-off only" message available, do they have restrictions on when they can use it?

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On my trimet arrivals app it has a flash feature. It blinks in different colors and their drivers are trained to look for them. Try using this when its not completely light out yet.

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The 6 was so late it was dropoff only and didn't pick me up. I had gotten there 10 minutes early. It passed by 10 minutes late. Then the next bus was 10 minutes late but thankfully stopped.

Mr. 6 driver, you think you are late? Well thank you, because you made me almost a half hour late! THANKS.

Then a couple nights ago I was waiting (for the 6, again) at the last stop before Jantzen Beach, had my phone out and everything, and he just drove by without glancing over or even considering getting into the right lane. I ran to Jantzen Beach and caught him, told him thanks for the workout because he just drove right the fuck by me. He swears he didn't see me. THAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON'T LOOK.

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That happened to me all the time in high school. The driver would just pass me by. I even had "friends" on the bus that didn't even bother telling the driver I had been passed. I'm sorry :(

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Was it packed? I've used to see a few buses refuse to stop because they were stuffed and no one was getting off.

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No. This was the 5:11 am bus. It looked nearly, if not completely, empty.

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Shitty. Still dark out? Ever use that trimet app that flashes to catch a drivers attention? That helped me out on some dark streets late at night.

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It was a little after 5 am, so just twilight. At night, I've got a headlamp with a flashing mode that I'll use, although it didn't seem dark enough to warrant it. It probably would have made a difference though.

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Get in the habit of using them.

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I've seen the 54/56 westbound skip people at the bottom of 18th in Hillsdale. Yes the bus can be full, but that is also a bit of a tough stop to see people at (just after a curve). The plus on those lines is that the are frequent service, but there is likely a bit of driver turnover, too.
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One rainy morning I show up at a SE stop for the 14 to find some construction meant a temporary stop was set up a block away. I walk up there and stand out on the curb to ensure the driver saw me. I see the bus coming and notice it's not slowing down at all. I wave my arms. The driver looks at me and shrugs, as if to say, "sorry, nothing I can do."
There's one driver in particular on the 19 that frequently opts not to stop at Cesar Chavez & Glisan leaving people standing there looking pissed.

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I once had a bus slow down, look at the three of us standing there (eye contact was made), and keep going. We all just sort of looked at each other in confusion after that.
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I want to drive less and use Trimet more, but this is exactly why I don't bother, unless my entire trip can be done by walking and Max. I've never had good luck with buses, and even living on a "frequent service" route means there might be a bus every hour unless it's 7am on a weekday (maybe) (if it's not raining) (and Jupiter hasn't in the 8th or 11th houses in the past 6 months).

I know I'm lucky to have a car and the resources to keep it up, but now that I live somewhere that I can't rely on borrowing cars from friends or family, I have to consider alternatives in case my beloved shitcan breaks down. And right now, if I didn't live and work within 15 minutes of a Max station, I'd be real nervous about my car situation.

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I had a 44 pass me at the Southbound PSU stop after work, once in about three years.

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Happens on Tri-Met all the time. My wife and I got stuck downtown when the last Green Line operator of the day apparently decided to just knock off early.
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The 35 in N Portland has been the worst line I have ever used in town. It has caused me to be late several times for EXACTLY the same reason. Infuriating.

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My nearest stop is a schedule stop, so the bus will often be sitting there, essentially waiting for me as it waits for its time to leave, which makes my scheduling very easy. Once in a while, however, a bus driver will just say fuck it and leave a minute or more early. Any other stop, that's to be expected, but not at a schedule stop.
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For me it sucks because I have a car, but nowhere to park at work...until I was late several times due to the 35. Boss said "Fine, F those guys, here's a parking pass."

If I had no vehicle, I would be as furious as you, if not more. Glad you made on time-ish.
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I don't see any comments about this, but did you check to see if the bike rack was full? It was rude of them not to stop in the first place, but if the bike rack was full, it would explain why they didn't take you as a passenger.

Not agreeing with how they handled it, just making an inquiry.

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No bikes on the bus, much less many passengers.

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Back when the 17 went to St. Johns, I often was passed up by the bus early in the morning. Thankfully the last stop was right before it crossed the bridge, so I'd run over to that one while it made it's loop, but yeah, I don't understand how they can mistake you for anything but someone needing to get one when you are raising your arm to them and standing right next to the sign for the stop...

-----------------------I've had commutes on a couple different buses, and the 35/36 is consistently unreliable. The Trimet app will say a bus is coming by at 8:30, I'd get out there at 8:27, and then the bus wouldn't show until 8:50. Or, a 35 and 36 will be listed 5 minutes apart, and they'll both blow by bumper-to-bumper at the later time. Just switched to a bike and haven't looked back - sorry to hear that's not an option for you.

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Yeah, same thing happens to me on the other end of the 35 in the evenings. The bus is inevitably at least 20 minutes late and unless I'm almost standing in the bus lane, the driver will blow right past me. And its more than one driver that's done it.

------------------------This is one of the reasons I bought a car. It happens a lot.

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Holy shit why didn't I think of that?

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Many folks can't drive and shouldn't have to drive to receive reliable transit. That's a tenant of Tri-Met as a public transport agency.

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Trimet isn't exactly reliable by any stretch of the definition, and they don't seem to care.

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They don't do it

---------------------Yup, I had several jobs where I was written up and nearly fired because Tri-Met was always running late or would drive past me and not pick me up.

It got to the point where I would just walk home rather than wait for the always late bus.

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Sometimes, if it's a very popular bus during peak times, the driver won't stop because the bus is full. They usually slow down a bit; just enough to make eye contact and make a arm gesture as to imply: "Another bus with more room is close behind". I've seen this on the rainiest of days, at the SW 2nd/Main eastbound stop.

-----------------------I've seen them occasionally change the sign to "Drop-Off Only" to give a clue to people waiting that the bus is full, but it's really inconsistent. You'd think that with their whiz-bang control panels that adding an "I'm Full" button would be easy.

------------------------Mine was:

Rushing to the max to catch a really early flight. I'm rushing my ass off with a huge piece of luggage. I get to the station 3 minutes early, to see it pulling away.

It apparently came ~5 minutes early and didn't hang around. The next one was 30 minutes away.

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Trimet is severely overrated. Surly drivers, infrequent buses that seem to usually not be on time, and inadequate service anywhere outside of Hipsterland (ie, east of Forest Park and west of about 39th Street).

Edit: Oh come on you know it's true lol

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You must not have used public transportation in many other cities in the US, because believe me, it gets a lot, lot worse. Comparatively speaking, Trimet is far from overrated.

Also, I think you might have east and west confused.

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I meant west of East 39th Street.

And yeah, I think that is more of an embarrassment for America, than a plus for Portland. The fact Trimet is seen as enviable shows how low our transit standards are in this country.

Though I will say, that when I was in Los Angeles I didn't find their transit system was any worse than Portland's, and the stats actually rank them about the same. Which is funny since the LA stereotype is that their transit is terrible.

---------------------San Antonio's transit system has a lot cooler drivers. Too much screaming on Tri Met. Why is everyone wound so tight lately, the weather?

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Good question. I've noticed a lot of people seem to be in a sour mood here this year. I don't notice as much politeness as I used to.

------------------------Never Eat Shredded Wheat.

I use this little mnemonic daily.

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Your first mistake was assuming a trimet bus is for transportation. It's actually for going to the bathroom.

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Nah, you're thinking of the 72. I've had the pleasure of finding a condom on the floor in back of the 72 before.

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My husband and I have had so many conversations about potential apartments or houses that end with:

"But you'd have to take the 72 to work. For about 45 minutes each way."

"Oh...never mind."

After relying on Clackamas Transit Center for too many years, I have a Never Again policy about that speeding outhouse of a "bus line."

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I occasionally will ride the 72 from end to end, and damn, is it some good people watching, especially right around the time of day when school gets out. One of my favorite incidents was two teens sitting up front who didn't get up for an old lady who got on at MLK. The bus driver bitched them out, and they sulked to the back with their tails between their legs.

---------------------------------I love it when drivers actually tell them off like that. There are too many who let people get away with all kinds of crap and it makes it awful for everyone. I mean I know they just want to drive and not make waves but sometimes you do have to enforce the rules--for safety, if nothing else, when there's a rickety old person about to fall down and lazy teens spread out in front.

One time I had this awesome older black guy driver and there was some teens in back being all foulmouthed (including "nigga") and he pulls over and booms, "the DISORDERLY RACISTS in the back of my bus will exit the vehicle NOW or be escorted out." They sassed him for a second but then saw the look on his face and disembarked in a hurry.

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Yeah fuck the 72, I used to ride that shit line and my stop was between Killingsworth and Alberta where it switches roads going down 29th I think. The amount of times the bus would take 30th or 28th and just completely skip 29th OMFG. Not as bad as your experience but jesus that shit was frustrating.

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I thought they were eliminating the Alberta detour? Didn't I read that it was going to stay on Killingsworth when they redid the routes?

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That would make a whole lot of sense. I don't live in that area anymore so can't say for sure.

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The current jog is at 30th, which follows the original streetcar route. That's why Alberta kind of drops off after 30th while development on Killingsworth picks up right at 30th.

The plan is to keep the 72 on Killingsworth the whole way, with a new bus line running on Alberta and Prescott.

---------------------------------I once saw a needle and random pills on that one. :-/

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Instead of (or in addition to) waving, try holding your palm down, moving your hand up and down, like someone would use to signal a driver to slow down.

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