Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Another knife attack on MAX

Not a word in the mainstream media, of course. 
I guess riders have to die to get coverage in the media.
All we get from mainstream media is stories about bus drivers that have no access to a restroom taking a piss in a parking lot and bus drivers having disputes with passengers in their face. What a joke  Click Here!

It did show up on the news, trivialized

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Trimet budget is a shell game

My colleague and comrade Jared Franz has an evergreen saying: “TriMet’s budget is just an elaborate shell game.”
What he means is that the company has the money it needs to operate a really great transit service that meets the community’s needs: fare-free, 24-hour service, more bus lines, and more. 

When you press TriMet’s senior leadership to spend money in ways that they don’t support, the excuse is generally that “we have constrained resources dedicated to specific funds for specific purposes; we can’t spend capital construction funds on operations, and vice versa.”
 Or, translating boss-ese to English: we can’t legally spend money the way the community wants; why are you mad at us when our hands our tied?

But when it comes to things like a $12 million transit jail, a $35 million investment in new fare cards nobody asked for, a new vanity MAX line to a well-off west side suburb, or whatever other shiny novelty management’s got its eye on, the money always seems to be there. 
Or, at least, they know where to find it.

We need to let go of the myth that TriMet’s funding is heavily constrained, because it gives the company’s senior leadership an immediate out to say, “well, we can’t spend money on this major community priority, we don’t have the right kind of funding.” That’s nonsense; TriMet’s senior management isn’t a bumbling bureaucracy. 
It’s acting deliberately, ideologically, against the public interest: TriMet bosses intentionally use “funding constraints” as an excuse to avoid justified criticism of their priorities as a company. 

We need to reject the idea that these supposed limits are real and material; they do nothing more than obfuscate the fact that TriMet is a property development agency that operates buses as a side hustle.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Trimet sock puppets meeting this wednesday

So lets see who's on the corporate Trimet welfare list this month.

Trimet Deacon in Blue examines the case of Jeff Roberts

Roberts has been with us 18 years, and all who know him describe him as a deeply caring, affectionate man. You can't operate in transit that long by being an asshole. He was suspended for four weeks while management considered his case. Mr. Roberts meanwhile, decided he enjoyed not being verbally assaulted while away from the job. After a long and safe career driving his fellow residents, he decided enough was enough.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


So Mcfarlane has decided to cash out his winnings. He apparently is hitting 65 so his timing is obviously to maximize his own private wealth. Full social security and his Trimet windfall. After 26 years at Trimet I estimate his pay around $5,000,000 not including whatever perks he received.

Joe Rose was the last person to estimate his pension which was $13,000/mo back then probably about $15,000/month now. And then there is the phony "vacation bank" (this is the way public officials get around pay raise caps, they have their sock puppets award them more vacation that they cash out later) which will probably net him $200,000 cash payment.

Under Mcfarlanes rule relations with the union and the union employees went horribly wrong. Previously there had been fairly decent relations with ATU757, at least the parties knew how to cooperate with each other. When Mcfarlane took over he made the decision to do everything in his power to "break" the union using all sorts of dirty tricks to accomplish that goal.

Lets take a look at some of his "accomplishments"

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Portland Bus Lane Project

I've been reading and digesting all the mail that comes from this latest activist group. 
It reminds me of the OPAL initiative to get a 2 1/2 hour transfer. 
For those of you who don't track the world of transit as closely as I do let me refresh your memory. 

When Trimet did away with the paper transfers they reduced the  amount of time transfers would be valid. 
Trimet operates with  neoliberal philosophy.
 Neoliberalism  seeks  to extract wealth from the citizens. 
Trimet has been slowly and methodically  extracting as much wealth from its riders and its employees as they can get away with.
Cascade Policy Group has documented that Trimet service levels to the public are not aligned to extraction of wealth from the public.
Where does all that extra wealth go?
It's not really clear.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Trimet loses again at the Supreme Court

Trimet officials steal from employees and retirees, squeeze the riding public for every Nickel while treating them like criminals, and low ball ordinary citizens that get In their way.

Mcfarlane and his crew represent the worst aspects of governmental tyranny.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The horror that is American public transportation

When I started all this blogging about the job and when the job ended I started researching not just Trimet but public transportation in general in United States and around the world what became apparent to me is the sheer brutality of the public transportation industrial complex in this country. 

When you rise above all the false propaganda that districts like Trimet spew out about their wonderfulness all you can really see is abuse. Abuse Of riders and of the people doing the work. 

From buses and trains that don't show up or show up more than 15 minutes late leaving riders stranded in whatever the weather happens to be at that moment or packing riders into buses and trains like dead sardines get packed in their cans the public transportation experience in the United States is more like A torture chamber

And the drivers, subjected to horrible working conditions like split shifts, schedules that just don't work, angry riders who have nowhere to vent their anger but the drivers, working so early in the mornings or so late at nights family life is just a fantasy, no weekends or holidays off for years in some instances, equipment that can cause injury or drive you insane, management that harasses you for being early, for being late, for wearing the wrong hat,for wearing the wrong shoes, for wearing the wrong shirt, that leaves you stranded on the road with no way back to your car if  you become ill in the middle of your shift,  constantly under suspicion for drug use,  It's a life of hard sacrifices  for the people that choose mass transit operation as a career.

The horrors of American public transportation are real, if only I had the talent to write a decent novel on this scam. 

The only people that don't suffer at the hands of the public transportation industrial complex are the technocratic aristocracy who get fat paychecks and huge retirements and spend their days 'working' 9-5 in nice air conditioned offices  doing who knows what  away from the tragedy they foist on everyone else. 

And then there is the Crony capitalism part that is skillfully hidden from the public. You know, the people that made a cool $35 million installing the HOP card, or the $1.4 billion installing that light rail line to Milwaukee. 

Yes there are winners in the public transportation field, just not anybody who actually rides regularly or finds themselves stuck operating the vehicles. They are the victims of the complex. 

Yes, being a bus driver will age you, or cripple you, and I know more than a few that didnt make it out alive.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Weird TriMet service alerts June, July, August

NOTE: Many of these alerts were written by dispatchers who are not expected to be language experts, may not have time to proofread, and make mistakes like all humans.  They may have many other tasks in progress at the moment, such as dealing with buses that are already stuck due to the blockage or situations elsewhere.  While those errors probably should be forgiven, they can cause confusion or problems for those who try to follow them.