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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Even Tri-Met honchos won't ride MAX

An alert reader writes:

A picture is worth 1,000 words. The following image shows 4 TriMet vehicles parked at the JeldWen MAX station for what appears to be some meeting yesterday morning around 9am. Each vehicle had one driver and no passengers, and I'm guessing they all came from the same point of origin. I wonder why they just didn't commute by train to this destination since it's 20 feet away?

Seems like a fair question.

Comments (19)

We already know the answer... what's good for the masses isn't good enough for the elites.

If I see it correctly the four cars are parked in the bus stop and squeezed perfectly between two No Parking signs.

Anyone want to wager how the Oregonian would run this story

T'would be fun to file a Public Records Act request with TriMet for car logs and all other documents showing to whom at TriMet these cars were assigned for March 30, 2012.

Joseph Ropse, are you listening? Is the WhOregonian interested in covering TriMet?

This actually isn't very remarkable - those are supervisor vehicles, not office pool cars. Road & rail supervisors are hardly "honchos" - they're union schlubs just like the operators. They'll get permission to park there (or in the special events track next to the westbound platform), and they'll be there for fare missions or to set up for events at Jeld Wen Field. They're not typically coming from the same place, and yes, it's definitely worthwhile for supervisors to be able to leave quickly and go somewhere specific in case of an emergency in their own vehicle rather than being held to the schedule of the trains, especially if the emergency involves a broken-down train in which case NO ONE is moving.

Maybe the driver is in each car, with engine idling. It looks like the rear car has its headlights on, shining on the one in front of it, and similar smaller 'glow spots' appear along the line. Maybe it's a field trip for facilities inspection. Or maybe it's relief MAX conductors waiting for their assigned trains to arrive, then they replace the one getting off who - switcheroo - hops into the car and goes back to the office, clocks out another workday, and heads home or to a bar.

Maybe it's a secret sleeper terrorist cell rehearsing their roles in a complex take-over plot. But I've been thinking lately it is the 1% rich people who are the true and only terrorists there are, anywhere on Earth, and since rich people always drive expensive cars therefor it means this line of economical cars isn't a terrorist gang.

"Anyone want to wager how the Oregonian would run this story"

I'm no fan of The Oregonian, or of TriMet. But my guess is, The O's reporter would contact TriMet and actually ask what was going on before publishing the photo. The answer might well be spin, and the spin reproduced verbatim in The O, but at least there would be an "official explanation" the pundits could find fault with rather than providing what is, essentially, baseless speculation.

This picture is worth considerably less than 1000 words.


How dare anyone skip out in front of an "official explanation".
Ask TriMet? Come on. Their reputation precedes them.
Does WES work? "Officially", yes.

Really, at this juncture any "baseless speculation" thrown at TriMet is well deserved. Primarily because their answers to everything are mostly offensive.
This little jab at a photo is small stuff.

Ask: baseless speculation is never deserved, and can get in the way of justified disagreement. If anything, it can give the one being disagreed with (read: TriMet) opportunity to lump justified criticism in with baseless speculation and defend themselves against both in the same breath. I.e. politicians who defend themselves only by discussing the tinfoil types who attack them rather than addressing the real problem. Keep your eyes on the real problem, unless of course you KNOW what the situation was with these 4 cars and KNOW that it was nefarious in some way.

I'm no expert, but I suspect Maxfaqs has it right - they look like the rigs I see following the occasional bus around. I don't know what their actual job is, though I suspect that it may have to do with ensuring that the buses are more or less on schedule.

Once in a while, I need to be somewhere in a hurry, or at a certain time. Evidently, public transit isn't for me.

Maybe they're fare checkers & security people. Tri-Met what's the truth?

I'm just impressed at how TriMet cries poverty when it can't afford to replace 22 year old buses - you know, the ones that exist to serve the public, earn revenue and so on - but TriMet found a way to buy its Supervisors brand new sport utility vehicles with air conditioning, stereos and other amenities not typically found on a bus.

I've never, ever seen a Supervisor actually use all of the seats in their vehicles, either - despite the number of times TriMet riders have been stranded due to broken vehicles, or revenue vehicles that do not make their runs. I've seen Supervisors smoke in their vehicles, smoke on the platforms, stand near their vehicles at Transit Centers far away from riders, and even my favorite - as we were on a bus that crapped out in the center lane of Barbur - a Supervisor showed up, walked up to the bus driver's window and lit up a cigarette. And the bus driver was stuck to tell us that he can't keep us on the bus, but if we get off the bus (remember - we're in the center left-turn lane on Barbur Boulevard) and get hit it's our own problem. And never mind that those Supervisors are equipped with lots of flashing orange lights and other emergency equipment that COULD have been used to briefly stop traffic, to safely get us off of the bus so that we could catch another bus. His cigarette was more important than our safety.

(I reported that to TriMet as a complaint and in typical fashion, there was no response.)

I'm sure MAXFAQS has a justificiation for why the Supervisor ignored the safety of myself and the 25 or so other passengers on that 94 bus stuck in the center left-turn lane on Barbur Boulevard and why he felt it was more important to smoke a cigarette on company time than tend to us low-life bus riders. And why TriMet - which prides itself on its "Culture of Safety" - refused to even address the matter despite a written complaint.

Here's a vehicle that TriMet SHOULD be purchasing for its Supervisors:


Of course as a fleet vehicle - in white paint, delete the radio, OnStar, Bluetooth, USB and SirusXM, and air conditioning. Buses can't go off-road; neither should Supervisor vehicles.

Seems like back in the early to mid 80's print and broadcast media pounced all over the Tri-Met Board for NEVER using buses or MAX but instead driving their cars everywhere, everyday. Has that changed?

No, Erik, I don't have a justification why you had a bad interaction with a supervisor one time, nor is it my place or obligation to give you one. I'm not a spokesperson.
And as for your other comment, so you're saying we should abandon the fleet of supervisor vehicles we currently have and go purchase a bunch more? Good, that makes a lot of financial sense. And I'm assuming your logic to take out the a/c is because so many older buses don't have it? Well applying that same logic, neither should our NEW bus purchases!
Look, if people want to critique the TriMet board for using their personal cars to get around (especially to board meetings) feel free. Or criticizing management from driving back and forth between Center Street and Holladay instead of taking the 70, that's fair game too. But sorry, I can't bring myself to get worked up over field operations personnel having the ability to move around as the situation requires in order to keep the buses/trains moving.

Why did TriMet go out and buy SUVs even after it claimed it didn't have money to replace revenue vehicles? Why did TriMet choose to buy a vehicle much larger and luxurious than necessary? Why did TriMet even buy an SUV and not an economy car; why did TriMet outfit the vehicles with unnecessary options?

I can't bring myself to get worked up over field operations personnel having the ability to move around as the situation requires in order to keep the buses/trains moving.

I can't bring myself to paying for Supervisors to have cushy rides so that they can pull up behind immovable buses, get out and take a cigarette break while ignoring the riders trapped on that bus. Keeping buses moving...uh huh. I guess there was a bus that did move - it drove right past us without stopping to pick us up when the Supervisor should have stopped it, stopped traffic to let us safely out of the stranded bus and onto the other bus...that Supervisor was utterly worthless. I wouldn't trust him as a janitor.

With the GPS-enabled "heads" in every bus, it hardly takes a fleet of gas-burning SUVs to keep track of where they are.

Maybe they were preparing to assist the transit police with crowd control during the big footie match? Hey, it could happen.

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