Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Freds Last Day!

Today, June 30th 2 thousand and 10, is Fred Hansen's Last Day as GM at TriMet.

Wonder where he will pop up next.

I just hope McFarland does not give a us a reason to say "Just Like Fred".

Bye Fred!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Editorial: Ranting Al, Your Pal

The blogger of Rantings of a TriMet Bus Driver is at the focus of a lot of criticism because of his blog. I have known Al Margulies, or "Ranting Al" for a little over a year now, and have been reading his blog for sometime longer than that. Al's blog has been up for a couple of years now. His blog features everything from his daily encounters as a transit operator, to news in transit to news of the weird. It is Al's outlet for saying what is on his mind, sharing stories he likes, and pointing out where TriMet is favoring spending money everywhere except on buses.

In a story he did for KGW News he points out how he has had a 14 year clean safety record, and does not feel distracted with passengers conversing with him. One guy in the story says "bus drivers should be respected, but [Al] is not one of them". I want to know why not? Sure, as a fellow transit operator for another transit agency, I will side with operators. On this case, theres is no reason not to respect Al, he drives safe, he tries to keep on schedule, and focuses on being a safe driver. The ever so positive speaking spokeswoman Mary Fetsch said "It's ok to have a blog, but while your operating we would like you to focus on driving the bus". At what point did that become a problem? He is not posting to his blog while driving, or at work. His blog, and driving happen at different times of the day. He does not film while driving, someone else might. That only proves that customers, riders, chat with operators. Chatting with riders is something the the job entails, and you see it on many of the buses traveling about TriMets system. Operators are not robots, they are not puppets or drones. They are Bus Drivers, Human, Tourist Information, Trip Planners, Tour Guides, Customer Service Counter, and so much more.

Al's blog is not causing any harm. Sure it might piss you off from time to time, but I certainly do not think its a distraction to his job of operating a transit vehicle safely. Al will gladly point out where TriMet spends money, link to a few of my posts and videos, and give you his opinion of calling out stops. And when the spokeswoman of TriMet has spent some time behind the wheel of line 72, then we can take her comments of distracted driving with a little more respect. Until then, how do you know what distracted driving is compared to everything else operators do in a days work?

Al's blog is a fun read for sure, and the critics should stick to rating movies. I hope to keep reading his blog daily, there would be a gaping hole in the Transit Blogging Landscape without it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Calling TriMet, heres a golden opportunity!!

Look at that beauty, and 226 are for sale at a discount. TriMet might want to have a look at it here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mariners shuttle will end next week

A Lawsuit brought on by private charter companies so they can provide the same service at 5X the fare to the rider. Hey folks, METRO is still a great price at $2 each way, even if you come from a bit farther, your King County Metro Operated Sound Transit Routes are only $2.50. I urge everyone to take METRO to the games, do not feed into the charter companies round-about ways of trying to make a profit. A part of another article said "Starline had to layoff 32 people", heres an interesting fact, METRO has hired about THREE times that since the beginning of the year. Support local, union jobs, your METRO driver. Support KC Metro as a service, and pass on the buses that are in it for a profit!

News Release from the SeattlePI, also read the other story in regards to this for more background.

It's official: The Mariners shuttle express is coming to an end.

After a federal court ruling last week, King County Metro Transit officials said Wednesday they are sending the Mariner's a 14-day notice they plan to end the service, as required by the contract with the team.

"That notice states that Metro's special transportation services for the baseball games will end after the June 18-24 home stand. This will allow time for Metro and the Mariners to give fans adequate advance notice, so they can make alternative transportation plans," Metro said in a news release.

The shuttle briefly resumed this year after Democratic Sen. Patty Murray fought for a provision in the federal transportation spending bill allowing the Mariners and Seattle Sounders soccer team to contract with Metro to provide shuttle service for fans. The "Murrary provision" was in response to Bush administration ruling that public transit agencies could not provide special service to games and other public events if private charter companies were able and willing to do so.

A federal judge struck down the provision last week.

The shuttle service was popular with fans, who could ride from Eastgate, South Bellevue, South Kirkland and Northgate for $5 each way. From a transit perspective, it also kept cars off the road. Private companies charge higher prices.

Fans still can take regular bus or light rail service to games.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What does your CEO Make?

As Transit agencies cut service, lower benefits and freeze pay raises, the CEO or GMs salaries typically comes into play.

So this brings the question, What does your Transit agencies CEO or GM make?

This was posted back in February, I have moved it up to reflect updated information.

Here are the Annual Pay Rates of Select NW Agencies head Transit Execs:
(From Highest to Lowest)
(Daily Ridership, Routes & Fleet B=Bus, LR=Lightrail, CR=Commuter Rail)

Fred Hansen, General Manager TriMet, Portland $256,954
(Neil McFarlane, GM As of July 1, 2010 $217,000)
(324,080/Routes 81B, 4LR, 1CR/Fleet 660B, 127LR, 6CR)
Joyce Eleanor, CEO Community Transit, Everett $204,341
(40,000/Routes 63B/Fleet 282B)
Joni Earl, CEO Sound Transit, Seattle $195,467
(57,725/Routes 30B, 2LR, 2CR/Fleet 240B, 38LR, 58CR)
Kevin Desmond, General Manger King County Metro, Seattle $170,869
(400,457/Routes 223B/Fleet 1443B)
Lynne Griffith, CEO Pierce Transit, Lakewood $169,180
(57,689/Routes 52B/Fleet 200B)
Mark Pangborn, General Manager Lane Transit District, Eugene $125,358
(38,376/Routes 38B/Fleet 102B)
Jeff Hamm, CEO/Executive Director C-Tran, Vancouver $123,496
(19,000/Routes 29B/Fleet 111B)
Mike Harbour, General Manager Intercity Transit, Olympia $122,990
(14,000/Routes 23B/Fleet 135B)
Allan Pollock, General Manager Cherriots, Salem $108,737 (apporx)
(10,000/Routes 24B/Fleet 65B)

Note: Puget Sound agencies have contracts to operate Sound Transit routes that originate in their county. These agencies numbers may not include Sound Transit Route ridership. Amounts are pay rates from 07-09, depending on the most current information available.

Originally posted 2/2010, Updated 6/2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Some fun in Vancouver BC

Other videos:
Ride SkyTrain From Stadium to Metrotown, 2 parts, Stadium to 29th Ave & 29th Ave to Metrotown

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Man Moves Entire Apartment Using the Subway, Loses Friends in Process

 Min promised Teng-Yu Huang (pictured here) dinner as a peace offering.

Min promised Teng-Yu Huang (pictured here) dinner as a peace offering.Photo: Jill Weiner

The Metropolitan Transit Authority boasts that it moves over 5 million people a day, but how many people does it really move? Last week it served that purpose for Young Min, 24, who packed up stuff from a Korean homestead in Flushing, Queens, and moved it all to a one-bedroom on the Upper West Side — using only the subway. While easy on his wallet, the move turned out to be hard on his friendships: To help him get all of his belongings from one place to the other, Min enlisted two friends from his language school. Together they moved his air conditioner, collapsible double-rod closet, dishes (including serving platters and utensils), laptop, linen, quilts, books, clothes, and assorted framed pictures, a soup cauldron, Korean medicine, condiments, and a 40-pound bag of rice onto the 7 train, then to Times Square, through the Times Square Station to the 1 train, and finally to the new place on West 64th. (Mid-trip, the air conditioner broke through the trunk holding it.) The next day, when he called for help moving his bed, again on the subway, his friends didn't return his calls and one even skipped their Kaplan class in order to avoid getting roped into another move. Min says he left assorted items at the homestead including a TV and a wooden dresser. “I do want my TV but it’s too hard," he told Intel. "I don’t want to go back. I can’t ask anyone else to help. They told everyone how hard it was and so there’s no one else to ask."

From the Daily Intel.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

BART Considering Fare REDUCTIONS

BART, after receiving unexpected funds from the State of California, wants to reward its riders, by DECREASING the fares. Public Workshops are planned to talk about it. Informations is here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

PSTO Blog presents: The Others

Which one are you, or which one is your favorite. Something I love about this job is the entertainment. Theres nutty people, theres people who do things that you have never seen before. This blog entry helps breakdown the entertainment value operators see everyday!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Now follow me on Twitter

For a while I have used my personal Twitter account, but I thought since I do tweet a lot of Transit Related stuff, I would open up an account just for that. Follow me for updates on new blog posts, new video uploads, and my random ramblings about riding or driving transit. I will no longer do transit "tweets" on my personal account, if you already follow me there.