Monday, December 12, 2016

Trimetgeddon VIII wraps up

Light rail killer
I had another fun three days and spent maybe 10 hours listening to dispatch/control.
 Its the same thing I've heard multiple times.
 Ice shut down  the Portland light rail, and as we know the light rail IS the major connection between Portland central  and the outlaying areas. 

This was the worst I have ever heard though because people were stuck in a marooned light rail vehicle in the gateway area for FOUR HOURS. 
That's a major failure, worse than I've ever heard actually.
There have been several 'evacuations' off  the light rail but none so long as this.

This was  due to a "live" wire down on the tracks. 
I guess Trimet 'managers' didn't want Trimet supervisors dealing with the stranded riders so they sat and waited for the fire department and the police to get them. 
Those people were busy at the moment. 
There were life threatening emergencies happening at that time and the light rail people 'were not in danger'.
 That's my guess anyway.

See the problem with the light rail is that ice builds up on those wires and freezes  which then screws up the connection between the light rail vehicle and the wires. 
The light rail (the consist) cant do it. 
The only way to keep the ice off the rails is to make sure trains run continuously.
If one gets stuck then the wires will freeze quickly then  the "ice cutter" is needed.
Not all trains have ice cutters.

The ice cutter can't be everywhere at once so "there ya go" as they all say.
And if the ice comes in fast its all over!
How do they do it in Canada?

Trimet technocrats are too busy in capital projects with grandiose expansion plans  to spend time and money making the current system work efficiently.

So the light rail goes down in the middle of an emergency situation, and GUESS WHAT?
There are no backup bus  drivers for light rail shutdowns! 
Trimet officials refuse to fund backup drivers for these light rail fiascos.
 "Can't have anybody sitting around" is the mantra.
 But its ok to have 200+  people in Information/Technology, Safety, Customer Service, Capital Projects, Human Resources, Marketing, and whatever else  they got going there sitting around. 
Not one of the people working in these other departments is of  any use to the front line workers who are desperately and heroically trying to keep the service moving during these weather emergencies.
My guess is that all those people in all those other departments got a 'snow day', like all the people at  City Hall and Metro did. Bureaucracy sucking the life out of the rest of us.

So the few extra-board drivers that are sitting around go off to do the "bus bridge" and then Trimet dispatch "cannibalizes" in service buses which then penalizes bus riders.
Since we are in an 'emergency',  bus service is already limited and then they cannibalize what little they have out there. 
So now the whole system is a crap shoot.

Insufficient personnel (ones that can actually do anything that the public needs) and insufficient equipment lead to ridiculous delays for the poor suffering riders, who've been mislead from the very beginning with the  Trimet "delay" messages.
 Trimet needs to start being honest about their delays. 
 People should be warned that there is a possibility of getting stranded on the transit system. 

So its all over, just another day of failed public transportation in America.
Nothing will be done about it, there will never be sufficient personnel and equipment.
The public puts up with this dismal service, there is no cry to change the situation.
The employees (union) who are tough and brave enough to get through these situations will work 16 hours a day and valiantly try to help the poor hapless riders stuck in this mess.
Spend some time listening to the Trimet radio, what you hear is a bunch of people trying to do the best they can with what they got.

I spent 15 years at Trimet, all of it as a part time bus driver.
I had been a transit bus driver in another district before coming to Trimet.
The "hardness" of the Trimet culture became apparent during the training and I knew I would never make it as a full time operator there.

That's a tough, thankless life.
And to survive it you gotta be tough.

I was never that tough.


Unknown said...

Q. Who makes multiple purpose buses that can Tow or couple together on steel rail track and uncouple to pick-up passengers as needed throughout the cities paved density of population?


How much are they?

This dual use style of bus would be king of Portlandia.

Steve Fung said...

Gosh,those 1700's were just awful:Small mirrors,vacuum wipers,big steering wheel,lousy defrost etc.