Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Trimet driver writes

Problems with the 31 and 30 buses.

1. Un-level floor. slope at the front and rear door. as the bus age the ramp starts to separate and bow up, causing a trip hazard for ADA.
2. front area of the bus to the back door has widened. 90 percent of the passengers use the front door. they don't wait until the bus stops they play Tarzan to get to the front door. refer to point number one.
3. back of the bus passenger area has grown smaller and harder to get to the back, thus weight discrimination.
4.  by the fire extinguisher there is a vision barrier if a passenger is standing there.
5. when the buses of the back door will not open immediately when you push on it. thus the possibility of a rider getting caught in the door is high.
6. drivers seat is injury prone causing right hip injuries.
7. drivers cabin is height discriminatory, if you are below 5'6 you will have problems with vision barriers from the left side and the right side. Auto announcement will not help if a operator can not see.
8. operator wheel too big. One cannot reach the dashboard, if it is raining you have to pull over to turn on the windshield wipers.
9. operator window too small, hard to turn the mirror when window will not open all the way. height discrimination, and possible left shoulder injuries and “drivers neck"
10. light indicator separated from dashboard. operator has to take eyes off road to look up.
11. Left turn mirror blocks view. crosswalk is partially blocked from view. also height discrimination. causes “drivers neck"


Anonymous said...

Well, I suppose you could always be a roofer. Slinging hot tar on 95-degree roof for $12.50/Hr.??

Anonymous said...

Roofer most likely has no people skills, can't pass a drug test, or get a CDL. I don't drive a bus and never would want to deal with all the bullshit that goes with it. Including hauling smelly ass people; like the roofer. lol

Don H said...

I find it quite ironic that so many Trimet Operators bitch about working for Trimet, yet nobody ever quits. Probably because it pays $60k a year, still has decent benefits, you pretty much "sit" all day, the heaviest thing you have to lift is a pouch, and you work in a climate-controlled environment. Yes, you may only get 13 minutes at Safeway instead of your alloted 22, and yes, you have to deal with the losers that take public transportation - but didn't you realize that when you applied? Nobody is forcing anyone to drive a bus. Bus drivers choose this career because it's a decent job!

Jason McHuff said...

I'm sorry, but I disagree with that kind of attitude. I see it as backward thinking instead of forward thinking. It doesn't matter how people are doing elsewhere, we should be working for what's best and not just accept the status quo where it is subpar.

Employees should not have to unnecessary subject themselves to injuries or illness caused by an improperly designed work place.

Where possible, operators should not have to suffer the stresses of being late and not getting their full break or time to really physically and mentally recover from a trip and prepare for the next one, or of dealing with riders who expect to be on time.

This is especially true when the employees are being forced to cover more and more of the costs of the medical problems.

People should be able to choose the job they want and have it be a reasonably good job.

Also, you didn't touch on the complexities of maneuvering a big vehicle in an urban setting, or taking care of passengers. And operator jobs aren't exactly climate controlled like ones in an office are.

Al M said...

I find it quite ironic that so many Trimet Operators bitch about working for Trimet, yet nobody ever quits.  

~~>That's actually wrong, I quit solely because the job became tortuous for me. I would have continued working there had the management not been so fucking horrible. The truth is most people are wage slaves and can't just pick up and leave because its intolerable

Workplace morale heads down: 70% of Americans negative about their jobs, Gallup study shows  - NY Daily News

And lets be honest can we, Trimet is not honest in the training what people will be facing as a bus driver. Transit bus driving is not for everybody that's for sure. Horrible work shifts, no weekends or holidays for years, the worst runs for years. Its a shit job and if it didnt pay good nobody would do it except total losers. There already is too many total losers driving bus but at least most of the Trimet drivers are pretty damn good, and they are all there for one reason...PAY AND BENEFITS, that's it. Only a crazy person would actually aspire to drive a bus

punkrawker4783 said...

New Flyers slope at the front, at least ours do. So a wheelchair backing in is doing so uphill.

I always thought having the indicator lights above was a silly idea. Easier to have it all together on the dash.

Not on this list, didn't TriMet go with the short little stubby door handles, that make it harder to flip? We have those on our older buses, and i think it leads to carpal tunnel faster since it requires a greater level of force to flip them. With the longer handles you get some leverage.......or in our case we get to push buttons on new buses.

roamer said...

Pertaining to the height issue, Seattle Transit (along with many other transit agencies in the country --don't know about Portland) once had a minimum height requirement for bus drivers ...from my recollection, I think it was 5' 8". They also had a pre-employment rope-pull to test upper body strength ...presumably to determine if a candidate had the strength to set the old Earll 8 retrievers and to be able to steer buses that had no power steering (?). It was a civil service job at the time. By the time Metro took over operations, both those employment requirements had long been abolished.

Should they have kept the minimum height requirement? Some say yes. Others, of course, contend that it was discriminatory. But as many point out, can a driver's compartment, specifically the seat but pedals and steering wheel as well, be designed so that it can be adjusted for any person from 4' 5" to 7' 5" to be "comfortable" from a safety standpoint?

On another note, as I kiddingly chide the younger drivers nowadays, they don't realize how good they have it pertaining to the equipment. When I started driving transit buses we had no power steering, no air ride seats, no air conditioning, horrendous blind spots, poor outside mirrors, questionable brakes, and some coaches even having manual transmissions (although I personally loved the stick shift coaches). Therefore, for me, when I retired, to think that the last bus I drove was a DE60LF, I had to laugh at the contrast.

Anonymous said...

From what I've heard, back in the "old days " drivers used to be able to smoke and listen to the radio while operating. They were also given the autonomy to throw people off their bus for even the slightest sign of bad behavior. The schedules and job were much more casual and most mentally ill people were either institutionalized or under treatment as opposed to being out on the street and riding transit all day and night. The buses weren't as good, but the job was and the agency treated you like a man/woman and valued what you did. Furthermore, Trimet drivers still have to
drive some buses that were around back in the "old days " anyway.

Al M said...

Back in the day, most schedules were pretty decent and operators got pretty good breaks.

Bus drivers were the king of their bus and there was very little the public could do about it but that didn't mean bus drivers could do whatever they wanted behind the wheel.

When 'political correctness' took over our society things started going downhill.

And when the oligarchs decided to dehumanize the job so as to break unions, that is when bus driving became pretty much a shit job.

roamer said...

No, don't get me wrong, I agree that the working conditions in general are worse now.

I don't know about TriMet but the agency I worked at didn't allow smoking or playing the radio on the bus in service when I first started driving transit buses almost 40-years ago. I do remember smoking being allowed inside the building and at the dispatch window, however.

In the city I drove (larger than Portland), we still had plenty of mentally ill riding the buses back then. I routinely remember having confrontations with those that I had difficulty getting off the bus or arouse from being passed out when reaching the end of the line. I remember getting spit at (but missed hitting me) during my first year for asking a bunch of inner-city teenagers to not throw trash out the windows.

Some schedules back then were also reminiscent of today's computer generated schedule making. I remember an infamous run that the board operators got stuck with quite frequently during my first year where we never "got out of the seat" in the 9-hour run as each time we reached the end of the line it was past the time to leave. The route was over 40-miles long, through-routed through downtown, and just seemed to be timed to hit the worst of traffic. It remained that way for over a year and the reason given for not being able to correct it was "money/budget" ...of course.

However, I still contend that the buses of 40-years ago were MUCH more difficult to drive than the buses of today. On some runs where you had little layover, like the one I just mentioned, you were physically exhausted at the end of a shift since there was no chance for a break and you had to drive a bus that had no power steering, no air-ride seat, no air conditioning (miserable in the summer), sometimes a very heavy clutch pedal (yes, we learned to float the gears but still had to use the clutch when taking off), was slow and had diesel exhaust fumes circulating around the cab, and sometimes no radio to dispatch.

But yes, I would still have rather been driving a bus back then than today. Driving the bus may now be like driving a car but dealing with management and the public is definitely more difficult.

Unknown said...