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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

There's nothing so relaxing...

... as a ride on a Tri-Met bus.

Comments (44)

That guy's certifiably insane. He must live close-in NE or SE. Try bicycling up Taylors Ferry Road sometime - or catching a bus. I suspect that Tri-Met'll run out of money before they can install a train line here. Oh, wait - they can't anyway; the grade's too steep. That's why CRC wants a 95' bridge, after all.

Nobody ever said that didn't work for some people in some places (some of the time).

Is a public agency allowed to use money from taxes to promote itself? I thought this was illegal.

I thought this was illegal.

In Oregon? Ha, ha. Not if it aligns with the "progressive" agenda.

NoPo, Kenton to be exact. I am insane, so instead of bitching and moaning my whole life, I decided to make the positive changes I want to see in my daily life. Crazy indeed.

Well good for you.
As for me, I live where there is no Tri-Met available so I am going to happily continue to drive my gas guzzling SUV or my sports car out to the burbs to shop and take car of business.
I am old and somewhat infirm so saving the planet by taking public transportation is no longer an issue for me.
Selfish and self centered I am, you say? Yup!

I don't buy any of that story.
I say it was nearly all made up. It touches all the bullets TriMet propaganda would.

"One of my favorite activities is showing Portland to my friends from out of town by bus and MAX."

Yeah sure. I doubt he even did that once. If he did once is that a favorite activity?

"a proud rider for the rest of my life.

"My favorite things to do while riding:
People watching."
Of course.

"Really think about what you are doing with that time you think you save by driving everywhere. I find that I have more time to relax and think when I ride"

Oh if you really think you'll realize transit saves time?

"instead of being angry and frustrated that I am driving in traffic".

What about all of the happy time driving in privacy and comfort from your home to anywhere you want?

Being stuck in traffic in a bus in WAY worse than being stuck in traffic in a car. Especially when you are standing in a crowded bus. I don't miss my days riding the bus to school and work.

The only time I ride "transit" nowadays is to and from crowded sports events. If I can park close enough, I'll walk. If I can't park w/i walking range, I'll ride the bus a short ways.

Can't say I ever found riding the bus relaxing. Cheaper than parking? Yes. Relaxing or comfortable? No.

What a howler, err, delightful testimonial.

Many of us work on positive changes in our daily life, however when the metro/city policies turn our neighborhoods into problems and want to socially engineer us, they are not staying out of our daily lives. How positive is that? Note the $11,083.02 your share of debt here, does that not concern you? How about a 56% increase in water rates the next five years and that is just a starter? Some are watchdogs and do think ahead, and have reason to be concerned about the future here. I guess it is nice for others to be able to stick head in sand for awhile.

There should be a law against government agencies being involved in any kind of propaganda. It just goes to perpetuate the idea that big brother knows best, and all those who don't agree must be subjected to further "education."

I suppose it's possible that some bloggers are being paid to write glowing P/R.

Yup--Tri-Met sure is awesome!!!

That's exactly what I was thinking when standing with my two young children at the 24 bus stop at the corner of Fremont and N. Williams today when the bus driver blew past us---and even failed to stop after turning around and seeing me shouting and frantically waving my arms to stop. The driver behind the bus even stopped to say--"That was shameful--there's no way he didn't see you."

You moved to Portland for the public transportation?


I had an meeting downtown a few weeks ago, and rode an inner eastside bus at rush hour. The bus was packed, and picked up no one for the last mile or so before the river, because there was absolutely no space left on the bus.

I thought, "what a miserable way to start your day - thank God I don't have to do this on a regular basis".

My favorite part about riding a Tri-Met bus? The nice man or woman who meets me at the stop after I get off the bus to make sure my ride was comfortable and enjoyable, and offers me a hot towel to freshen up after my ride.


Check out the Facebook comments. Probably not what Tri-Met was anticipating.

Russman, with all that extra time you have to "relax and think" while taking public transportation, you might want to use some of that time to develop insight into the fact that no one likes self-righteous, sanctimonious a**-wipes who presume to tell other people how they should be living their lives.

If you enjoy biking to work and getting around Portland by public transportation, that's your prerogative, but no one else gives a rip except maybe your mother. Call and tell her all about how wonderful you are.

I've more than paid my "public transit" dues, both in Portland and for years in the Bay Area. I hated every second, every minute of it. I value my personal space, my independence, and the convenience to go where I want, when I want. It is my express intent to never take public transit again, for any reason.

I predict that most of these younger, boasting, public transit advocating, bicycling dilettantes will end up in the suburbs driving an SUV or minivan and living in a house with a yard, not a condo, when they finally get married and have kids. With two-income families, I'm so sure that mom and dad are going to be dropping off and picking up kids at day care or school on bicycles. And, if they can afford it, they're not going to be wasting precious time standing around waiting for public transit with kids in tow when they have to get them to school and get themselves to work on time, or at the end of the day when they have to pick them up.

I predict that most of these younger, boasting, public transit advocating, bicycling dilettantes will end up in the suburbs driving an SUV or minivan and living in a house with a yard, not a condo, when they finally get married and have kids.

This is near-certain to happen, actually. It is the pattern/template of those who come here for "world class" transportation and other false amenities. Will they eventually turn on people like Sam Adams when they realize it's frustrating to live in a city that is a playground for 25-year-olds? Hard to say, but it will be fun to see the philosophical contortions that ensue.

Ironically this morning I had the kind of trip on TriMet that they'll never blog about.

This morning, I got to my bus stop with five minutes to spare. Short wait, right? Nope. Five minutes came...and went...and not a bus showed up. Well, I stand corrected, a bus - going the other way - showed up. Ten minutes later, two other buses going the wrong way, a Yamhill County bus and a LIFT bus came my way. Finally...after 20 minutes of waiting, a bus showed up. Standing room only.

At the other end of Tigard we became a crush load (standees all the way to the yellow line). But we pressed forward. At Barbur TC, we had to cram in even tighter to let a wheelchair on board. 20 other riders were left behind.

The bus showed up five minutes late, lost a couple more minutes at Barbur TC, on top of the ten minute wait plus the five minutes I waited for the leader bus that was a no-show. Stress-free?

How much work and relaxation can one get done standing on a moving TriMet bus? Not much. It's hard to carry your stuff...I somehow managed to use my phone to check up on e-mail, but it was hardly easy or convenient.

This afternoon, repeat - another crush load bus (I somehow squeezed on, barely) so at the first couple of stops I actually had to step off the bus in order to let other people get off at their stops. And of course, on a 22 year old, non-air conditioned bus, so it felt miserable inside.

I don't show my visitors the TriMet system I use each and every day...I'd much rather not. But since I get a free TriMet pass, have just one car for the family and would have to pay for downtown parking, financially it makes sense. Timewise, convenience, and in every other manner - it doesn't. If I drove downtown I'd be downtown (or home) in about 20 minutes, in full control of my transit. If there's a backup I can detour to an alternate route. Not on the bus. The "detour" is going to Beaverton - well outside of my route. And while TriMet is happy to tell me when MAX is broken, or WES isn't working...good luck getting any info when a bus is backed up. TriMet basically ignores any info for bus riders and leaves us on our own...so I have no idea if I should go to Beaverton or not. Flying blind.

Erik, due to many similar experiences over the last 12 or so years, I've stopped using TriMet altogether. I now bike, almost exclusively for the health benefits and the benefit of not riding TriMet. But that has its downside too (e.g. it means I have to share my commute with a certain amount of militant cyclists, who -- although fairly small in number -- are as contemptible a lifeform as there is in this city, and that's saying a lot).

I don't show my visitors the TriMet system I use each and every day...I'd much rather not.

I understand why not, but wouldn't it do a greater good to go ahead and do so, to get the word out and let the greater world see the reality, not the shiny B/S?

I wonder if some of these comments where posted on the Trimet page would they even try to delete them? That would be censorship and as I recall something they cannot do legally. I don't want to give anyone ideas of course.

Wow there is some real vitriol here. The bus system is generally a good thing that we should be trying to preserve and improve. It's been badly damaged by the people running it but there are a lot of people, including me, who truly enjoy using it. And yes I am a carless daily rider. I use Zipcars occasionally when I need a car but I mainly use my feet which is a key component of my overall well-being.

I find that I have more time to relax and think when I am driving and not worried about being jumped by a bunch of wanna-be gang bangers while riding the MAX.

"...People watch..." ??

Are you kiddin me?

I have been trying to get my Tri Met people watch images out of my head.

It's a recurring nightmare.

"The bus system is generally a good thing that we should be trying to preserve and improve. It's been badly damaged by the people running it but there are a lot of people, including me, who truly enjoy using it."

As has been noted earlier, the bus system in Portland was considerably better forty years ago than it is now. Of course, that is before the transit agency decided that it hated buses, and decided that light rail, WES, endless propagandizing, a huge bureaucratic superstructure, and absurd benefit costs for its employees, ranked far, far, in importance above running a decent bus system.

(Actually, it is interesting to notice how many other government activities were better in Portland forty years ago than now - the school system, street maintenance, etc. etc, etc. Of course back then, the key constituency was residents and not the government employees.)

I still can't believe public agencies do this kind of self promoting. When did we turn into a nation where telling someone how well you do something substitutes for actually doing well? When did the word "branding" trot off the range and into some PR hack's "tool kit"? All this effort to conceal the lack of effort in doing the job right in the first place. Reminds me of a crook who gets so little from his crimes that he would be better off just getting a real job.

I rode a standing-room-only 12 Sandy bus home last night. On it were three Japanese tourists, a young woman and her parents. It was an emblematic TriMet bus experience: the driver was friendly but a little herky-jerky with starts and stops, it was one of the older buses, the air conditioning didn't work, a wheelchair needed to be loaded, somebody was blocking the aisle with a huge bag, and we were delayed for several minutes due to a problem with the back door that was finally fixed by the driver telling a passenger to pull the emergency release handle. Couldn't help thinking of the tourists that this was quite an introduction to America and Portland. It must have felt like some kind of Third World travel experience. Ain't no bullet train, that's for sure.

Imagine their excitement when they ride the Portland version of railbased "rapid transit".

I look forward to the day people start bringing live chickens on the bus then we will know we've arrived at third world status.

My parents live in the midwest. They took a trip here with some of their best friends. While my parents got a hotel near our house in Gresham, the friends mistakenly booked a room at a Lloyd Center hotel.

Even though it was 10 years ago, those friends still tell stories to this day about their trip downtown on the Max and how frightening it was. Mentally ill people yelling at strangers. Thuggish teens selling drugs. And tattoos and piercings galore.

Needless to say, I bring friends to see Tri-Met when they visit, but only for the spectacle.

I suspect that "Russell" was computer generated to create the perfect TriMet spokesperson. He's got it right when he says his favorite activity on TriMet is people watching. If you don't keep your eyes peeled, alarming things may happen to you.

I think some folks here are mixing up a lot of issues:

Just because Tri-Met has made a lot of mistakes which impacts service, there is no reason to toss the whole thing in the dumper.

Tri-Met provides a valuable service to many commuters and persons needing transportation. Just because you have a reason (real or imagined) to not ride the bus, doesn't mean you should denigrate other folks that do.

If we got rid of Tri-Met tomorrow, just think how pleasant your car ride would be then.

I am no fan of Tri-Met management, but I am sensing some ill-founded projection of your fears about interacting with other people in the community.

your fears about interacting with other people in the community.

Commuting is all about getting from Point A to Point B in the quickest fashion possible. My interest in interacting with anyone, let alone "the community," during this stressful period of the day is less than zero. I'll interact with "the community" on my own terms, thank you.

The Portland Mercury has an article entitled "true tales of Trimet terror"


An addendum to my earlier tale of Tri-Met woe:

Got on the same bus, same time today and asked the driver what had happened. She explained that she'd been on vacation and another driver had been covering her route. A passenger then piped up and said she'd been on the bus and had told the driver to stop, saying, "That guy and his kids get on this bus at the same time every week---you need to stop!" To which he replied, "Ah, whatever...."

Talk about a heart of stone. Go Tri-Met!!!!

I don't buy any of that story.

Neither do I. Everyone knows there is no bus service left in Portland.

Tim wrote: If we got rid of Tri-Met tomorrow, just think how pleasant your car ride would be then.

Tim, I'm not suggesting to shut down TriMet in a wild and unplanned method. But I do believe TriMet's usefulness as a good government service has been outlived.

We need public transit. I use it - every day. More than the TriMet Board Members and much of the management of TriMet itself. I can tell, that TriMet's higher-ups don't care. They don't care about the basics, the day-to-day operations, the little details. They care about those big projects that they can claim credit for, that there are huge parties thrown for, when they can hold that imaginary oversized check that has lots and lots of commas and zeros in.

I do believe that TriMet should be replaced. But local transit agencies that have true and real accountability; that are focused on service to the citizens and customers. That provide a true service to neighborhoods and communities, rather than focused on how to get people only to and from downtown Portland.

I could see Hillsboro forming its own transit district along with Forest Grove and Cornelius (population 126,000). I could see Gresham, Troutdale, Wood Village and Fairview combining together to form a district (population 135,000). Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood, West Linn - all combine with Wilsonville to create a new and larger SMART system (population 138,000). Milwaukie, Oak Grove, Oregon City, Happy Valley and Gladstone could join together (population 78,000 in the incorporated cities only).

TriMet, if it continues to exist, would be simply a regional overlay, not unlike Sound Transit in the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett area that only arranges for regional services and owns/operates major transit centers and the rail network. But like ST, TriMet should be required to ensure funding equity, so that no one area can disproportionately receive funding over another. (This has meant less light rail, but all areas have decent express bus service and transit center facilities.)

Iced Borscht - I have started to ride more...I need to ride more. There are some scheduling difficulties that preclude me from riding especially in the morning hours (child day care), but I agree, and I think travel/trip statistics in our region are backing it up. The increase in bicycling in our region is equal to the decrease in transit trips. Those who are riding bikes aren't generally parking their cars - they're getting off the bus.

After the ATU lost their arbitration case, many operators staged a work slowdown that the agency won't admit to.

Some operators just stopped showing up, enough to where TriMet just couldn't cover for them all, nor admit what was happening.

The reserves they did have were the least experienced, and thus the least prepared to handle the trying circumstances (especially during the heat wave).

The slowdown seems to be over now, but it was bad during the peak commute.

As a daily rider for many years, I have concluded that TriMet is a basket case -- there's simply no way to improve bus service so long as this agency exists in its current form.

TriMet's primary mission is to cadge Federal matching funds for major construction, which of course is performed by friendlies.

TriMet's secondary mission is a pension and benefits fund for bargaining-unit employees. Don't be a non-bargaining unit employee, unless you're the boss.

After the feeding frenzy, whatever scraps that fell on the floor are used to pretend to operate a transit agency. That portion is rapidly approaching zero.

They'll never consent to a change in how board members are appointed. They will be inarguably, irrevocably bankrupt soon enough.

Let this agency die, and start over with smaller agencies that provide more tailored service for their local communities. This is disruptive, but necessary.

You do know why they started that blog right?
To counter MY BLOG!

Public transit in America is a miserable failure, and the reason for that is-it's is a cash machine for those working there.

At the top is the are the TRANSIT EXECUTIVES, making hundreds of thousands each year and crazy pensions, like FRED HANSENS $15,700/MO. The union employees do pretty well but nothing compared to the executive/management payrolls.

But really 100K in a year for driving a bus? Even I find it absurd.

The point I am making is that the structure of American transit is flawed and the entire industry must be demolished and redesigned.

The riders are just there, they have the least power and always suffer the worst under the executives rule.

Transit is about special interest and making money, not about transporting people.

And that's why its a miserable failure, not just in Portland but in most US cities.

And you wanna see another 'TRIMET PUBLIC RELATIONS SETUP'?

Watch THIS!

And it's funny---for a provincial city Portland has pretty decent public transit---I just wish I didn't hear, ad nauseam, how unbelievably great it is, usually parroted by people who live in the inner areas and tourists who stick to the downtown and inner-SE core, or those who never actually have to rely on it, but just love the IDEA of living in a city that trumpets its public transport while they drive everywhere.

Sam Adams lives in Kenton, surely not too far from the Max stop--and does he take it downtown to his office on a regular basis? I think not---and what does that say?

"Gee, I just love promoting how wonderful Tri-Met is, especially to the creative class I've tried so hard to lure here, but fuck if I'll take it! I'll drive---my time is too precious!"

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