Thursday, April 29, 2010

Editorial: Neil McFarlane

Yesterday as many of you know, TriMet named Neil McFarlane as the new GM set to take over on the first day of July. His salary will be $217,000, sure thats a nice $39,000 savings, but he gets bonuses. Bonuses, for what? The agency is sinking, how do you get rewarded when things go South? Oh right, follow the lead of our banking industry.

McFarlane went on to thank the Board for the support for him. I do not have a high respect for the Board, because in most cases they do not act in the favor of the riders, they act in the favor of the General Manager, or whatever works for TriMet. If the Board was elected by those who they represent, you might see things occur differently. TriMet is an agency that continues to push forward with new projects, such as the Milwaukie Light Rail, when they can't even maintain the current service levels.

McFarlane was the head cheese of Capital Projects, i.e. RAIL. So this bears the question, is Fred really leaving? Sure, Fred Hansen is leaving, but as far we we can predict, Freds ways of running TriMet are here to stay. McFarlane was a big part of WES, you know that dismal failure that once again was pulled off the chopping block (with no reason as to why). I expect to see more rail press on, while the bus riders of Portland continue to suffer. Also, TriMet makes it seem they are in the business to turn a profit. They are not, Police, Fire, Elections, DOT, theses are services that come from your tax dollars. TriMet comes largely from tax dollars as well, yet fares and service are a large (that what seems as normal) role in the budget process. TriMet has too many Admin personnel, 2 spokes people? Really? And is it me, or have you noticed since Fred announced his resignation, Fred has taken the camera a lot more in the last 6 weeks than the last........long time? The GM can be the spokesman, poof, 2 Admin jobs smaller, keep going (offer them Operator Positions). TriMet is here to provide Transportation services for the residents of the greater Portland Metro area, these residents continue to call on TriMet to provide BETTER Bus Service, Shelve Rail Projects (at least for now), cut back WES, buy new buses, buy Hybrid buses, and see the General Manager step up and take responsibility for running TriMet efficiently, not building it bigger. Slow down, make TriMet a world class system again, then build on that.

Will McFarlane do this? His "Experience" says no, but hey, this could be his challenge to prove me, Al, Erik and the residents of Portland wrong! Best of Luck!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's Official: TriMet's new General Manager

It is a current TriMet employee, Neil McFarlane (right), Executive Director of Capital Projects. He is also a rail lover, but will it bring the change TriMet really needs?

Feel Free to Weigh in!

(Updated 4/28/10 11:07a)

FTA Transit Security Video features TriMet and more

Agencies such as TriMet, Sacramento RT, OCTA, Boston MBTA, BART and more are featured in the Transit Security video. It is 15 min long

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sound Transit Board approves Fare increase

April 22 , 2010

Simplified fare structure to go into effect June 1, 2010, June 2011

On April 22 the Sound Transit Board approved fare changes for ST Express bus and Link light rail services. These fare changes will:

  • Increase revenues in response to higher operating costs caused by inflation
  • Simplify the ST Express fare structure by eliminating the three-zone system, and
  • Bring fares more into alignment with other local transit agencies.

The proposal is two-phased, with one set of changes in June 1, 2010 and another in June 2011. ST Express bus fares have increased only once, in 2005, during the 11 years the service has operated.

Under the new structure, by 2011 there will be only two different fare levels, one for trips within the same county, and one for inter-county trips.

Effective June, ST Express fares will be as follows:

June 2010
June 2011
Adult$1.50-$3$2.00-$3.00$2.50 / $3.50
Youth$1-$2.50$1.00-$2.50$1.25 / $2.50
Senior/Disabled$.50-$1.50$0.75-$1.50$.75 / $1.50

The June 2011 $0.25 increase in Link light rail fare for adults will enable Sound Transit to generate the revenue needed to cover a larger portion of operating expenses while allowing for the flattening of Link light rail fares for youth and seniors.

Details on all of the fare changes can be found here:

2010 ST Express changes
All trips that cross a county line will be considered an inter-county trip equivalent to the current three zone fare. ST Express fares for some adult trips will increase by up to $0.50 in 2010, while fares for other trips will remain unchanged. There will be no changes for youth fares in 2010, with the exception that the current two-zone youth fare of $1.75 will change to $2.50 if the trip crosses a county line. Two- and three-zone senior and disabled fares will not change in 2010, except the current two-zone senior fare of $1.25 will change to $1.50 if the trip crosses a county line; one-zone trips will go up by $0.25.

2011 ST Express changes
Zone boundaries within King County will be eliminated. Adult fares will go up by $0.50 in June 2011, with the exception that there will be no fare change for trips that are currently two zones trips within one county. Adult fares under the simplified structure will be:

  • $2.50 for all in-county service
  • $3.50 for all inter-county service

For youths, two-zone fares will decrease by $0.50, while inter-county youth fares will not change and one-zone fares will go up $0.25. Youth fares under the simplified structure will be:

  • $1.25 for in-county service
  • $2.50 for inter-county service

For seniors and persons with disabilities, fares for trips currently classified as two zones will decrease by $0.50, while fares for all other trips will remain unchanged. Fares under the simplified structure will be:

  • $0.75 for in-county service
  • $1.50 for inter-county service

The new fare structure for Link is:

June 2011
$1.75 to $2.50
$2.00 to $2.75
$1.25 to $2.00
$0.75 to $1.25

From the Base to Your Stop - Metro Video

What happens before your bus hits the road and takes you to work or home.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Metros RapidRide Bus on Display

Metro had the RapidRide bus on display at Westlake Center for Earth Day. Service is looking to start Oct 2nd, but look for these beauties to be running on the 174 next shake-up!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My drives to/from the Training Center

As inspired by Ranting Al, heres a time-lapse of my commute to the training center and back home. 1st is TO work, Second is FROM work.

TriMet revises September Service Cuts Proposal again

The new proposed service cuts are here, changes from the last proposal are in italics. A handful of bus service was spared, only 2 lines are looking at being cut, and the growing excitement over WES possibly finally getting some cuts never materialized. Some mid-day MAX Service was also spared extra cuts. Also a 5 cent fare increase is still on the table. I can't wait to see if things improve for the better after Hansen is gone!

You have one last chance to comment:

Web: Feedback form

Comment line: 503-962-5806

Fax: 503-962-6469

Mail: TriMet-MK2, 4012 SE 17th Ave., Portland, OR 97202

TTY: 503-238-5811 (7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays)

48 Years ago, the Space Needle and Monorail debuted

Century 21 World's Fair opens in Seattle on April 21, 1962. Essay 5396 : Printer-Friendly Format

On April 21, 1962, at 11 a.m. the Century 21 World's Fair opens in Seattle for a 184 day run. The 74-acre fairgrounds are located at Seattle Center, north of downtown Seattle at the foot of Queen Anne Hill. The World's Fair was conceived to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, held in 1909 on the University of Washington campus. Its theme is to consider the possibilities of life in the twenty-first century.

Launching Century 21

Actor and comedian Danny Kaye read the Fair’s credo, followed by opera diva Mary Costa singing the national anthem. Broadway star John Raitt (father of musician Bonnie Raitt) sang “Meet Me at the Needle.” A 21-gun salute was fired with a 334-year-old cannon recovered from the Swedish warship Vasa. A countdown clock started by President Eisenhower in 1959 clicked down to 000:00:00:00.

At that moment, President Kennedy, on Easter holiday in Florida, pressed a telegraph key to start the fair. The key, festooned with gold nuggets, was the same key that President Taft had used to open the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle in 1909. This time, instead of a simple coast-to-coast electronic signal, the key triggered a radio telescope in Maine, which picked up an impulse from a star 10,000 light years away. This impulse was directed towards the fairgrounds to start the festivities and open the gates to 51,510 first-day visitors.

The Space Needle Carillon clanged its 538 bells over 44 loudspeakers, and 2,000 balloons with “See You In Seattle” printed on them were released high into the air. Water-skiers gaily circled a course set up within the stadium, while aerialists rode a motorcycle on top of a cable running between the stadium and the Space Needle. Aerial bombs burst, raining tiny flags down upon the attendees, and 10 Air Force F-102s roared overhead.

The event was marred when one these crashed in Mountlake Terrace, killing two residents and destroying several homes.

Century 21 was truly a World's Fair. In addition to a major science exhibit and dozens of corporate and state exhibits, 59 countries were represented in 20 foreign exhibits. It featured the Space Needle and Monorail, which would become Seattle landmarks. The fairgrounds would become the Seattle Center.

This article from

Monday, April 19, 2010

punkrawker4783 Soundtrack

I from time to time, get messages from viewers on what songs are being used in my videos. I decided to make a playlist and upload it to iTunes. I created an iMix, a place you can look and download if you like, some of the songs I use easily. Not all songs are there because iTunes could not match it to a track in the store, but a handful are, check it out if you liked some of the tracks in the videos.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Day out in Seattle

Real Stories of Metro's unruly Passengers

From the Seattle Weekly, Real Stories of Metro Transit's Meanest, Weirdest, Cheapest, Horniest and Smelliest Passengers show some actual operator reports of passengers who evade fare, have anger problems, or are just on their own channel.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Move & an Anniversary

As it has been mentioned a time or 6, I am moving to Seattle this weekend. A move I have actually tried for for a few years, but never succeeded. I have even been to a job interview in Seattle for the vary same place that kicked me to the curb 16 months ago here in Portland. Now I have a reason to go, tho the timing is a bit off, but I will make do. I take with me my blog, which I will continue since I have been covering from Seattle to San Diego. My videos will see a change, more will be from Seattle, but you might see those pesky Portland ones show up every now and again since it is so close and easy to visit. I hope to not lose touch with my fellow Portland Bloggers, I might even make a Transit Beer, if one should surface again soon. Maybe I will meet some new bloggers, only to make transit blogging stronger, and more fun.

I never blogged from my starting point of San Diego California, but thats where the transit interest began. I rode NCTD route 341 everyday to school my Senior year of High School (the route has since been changed), took the Coaster train at least 2 Saturdays a month, in which involved transferring to the Trolley in San Diego. The Coaster just turned 15 years old last month. I remember when the trains were only 3 cars long, and it was $7 for a Round-Trip. Don't forget you could get a $1.50 discount for having a transfer. I used to ride Amtrak, and Metrolink to Orange County, to ride a few routes on OCTA. That was 9 years ago, Boy does time pass. Now, my blog here, turns 1 today. That's right, if you look at the archives, the first post was April 9th last year. My friends thought the blog would not last a month, tops. Now I have readers like you who stop by and check-in, read my rants and raves, and watch my videos. If it wasn't for you, the blog may have not lasted long. I am glad it did, It is fun for me, and I hope its fun for you. Now lets see if it will last another year.

See you from Seattle, once I take a week to get settled in.

Thanks for reading!

14 Things to Do at a Bus Stop

From user HypotheticalHifives Very entertaining.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Eva - EMS blog on the move again

Just a Blogger note, Eva has reopened her Light Rail blog, just to tell you shes got a new blog....again. It is titled Getting older is all about deciding what you will do when you grow up...

I have updated the link on the right as well, check it out if you have followed her before.

Sound Transit Considers Fare Increase, Community Transit Cuts service

Sound Transit is considering a Fare increase for its services. 2005 was the last fare increase for ST, while the surrounding 3 agencies in which areas ST serves have done so 2-3 times in the same time frame. They are looking to make County line fares instead of Zone fares. There will be one fare to travel within county lines ($2.50), and another to cross them ($3.50). The also want to raise (in my opinion) the already overpriced LINK fares as well by $0.25. Sounder fares seem to not be included in this fare increase. The info is here, along with ways for the public to comment.

Also, Community Transit has decided to slash Sunday Service! Looking to close a $16 million gap in the next 2 years, Community Transits CEO thinks this was the best course, that will effect the least amount of riders. Even the new Swift service will not run on Sundays. This includes days a Sunday Schedule would normally be ran. Also the Local fares will increase by $0.25. In addition, many changes were made to local and commuter routes that mainly shortened them, or eliminated trips. The full story and info is on their website. I don't really know what to think yet, since no one can find CEO Joyce Eleanor's Salary. I am guessing it would make people sick if its kept such a secret. The budget says there are 8.5 people in the "Board of Directors and Executive" Positions. With a 2010 Staffing budget of $1,407,602, thats 165,600 each. Although, I doubt everyone makes that wage equally.

Dave Stubblefield Videos

Dave, known for his photos like the one to the left, has acquired a new camera. With this camera, he has been making new, High Quality videos. And he's been busy, check them out over at his YouTube page. He has some Seattle and Vancouver BC stuff so far.

A photo a day

An individual by the name of Roger is doing a "Photo a Day" LiveJournal. Its random, but its fun. Check it out!

The photo to the left is one from the site.

A TriMet LiveJournal?

So its not official, but interesting.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

New Poll

Hey my fellow readers, there is a new poll on the right side bar after the "My Blog" section.

Fred Hansen is Leaving TriMet. One says he's retiring, another says he's pursuing other courses. Whatever the case is, he is departing as TriMet's leader. How do you feel about that? Vote in the poll!

TriMet Supervisor Vehicle is not paying attention?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Transit Systems Cuts are Nationwide

A survey of 151 agencies released today by the American Public Transportation Association found that 84% are considering the actions to balance budgets. It found that 44% raised fares in the past 15 months. That's up from 2008, when 30% did.

USA Today Article In fiscal pinch, transit agencies offer less for more