Friday, October 29, 2010

King County Metro to try out Electric Bus

Not Electric Trolley buses, but battery powered electric buses. This keeps Metro on the cutting edge of bus technology, and looking to keep making our fleet one of the greenest in the nation.

Read the official Metro News Release for more info.

(Photo is for illustration purposes, and may not reflect the actual bus KCM will get.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

King County Metro Union reaches tentative agreement

King County Metro and ATU 587 have reached a tentative agreement that forgoes the 2011 COLA increase. Per the new article found on King County Executive Dow Constantine page, those represented by ATU, bus drivers, Link Light Rail Operators, maintenance and clerical transit focused positions will give up the increase for only 1 of the 3 years the contract will be good for. The rest of the details have not been released yet as they still need to be released to the union members for a vote.

This is good news that our contract is moving forward in a positive direction, unlike TriMet in Portland, who's contract was up 11 months ago, and no agreement in sight.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What is TriMet doing?

Articles, Letters, calls from the public pour in to the view of the world. They want light rail stopped, operators want a contract, the people of Portland want reliable and frequent bus service.

Where is TriMet and its "leadership" in all this? Oh thats right, pushing forward on light rail, reminding its front line workers they mean nothing to management, and cutting service tot he point where people are turning away. When is TriMet, mainly Neil McFarlane going to step up, and answer the public??

Building employee moral is something TriMet Management tossed in the garbage a few months back. Now, McFarlane steps forward, sends a letter to its union employees stating "Starting Jan 1st you will pay your medical costs, and a salary freeze also". This is what union negotiations are for, TriMet says it is at an impasse. Which means, its can't have everything it wants, and now its kicking and screaming like a little kids on the cereal aisle. If you want your employees to take a salary freeze, and cover portions of medical, you need to bring that to the table. If it doesn't fly, you need to rethink your plan.

Bus/Light Rail operators are the frontline workers, next are the mechanics, then Customer Service, without them, you, TriMet Management, have no service to run, and your out of a job!

To TriMet Management, and Neil McFarlane: Step up, get real, and Grow up, face the public, tell them why you don't want to serve the best interests of your riders. They have told you want they want, and don't want. Yet you still push on with your progressive rail agenda. Adding a bond measure to pay for buses, this was the biggest yell into the city "We have mismanaged our funds, we need your bail out". It's time you realize who cuts your paycheck, and makes your position available........the public (taxpayers) and your frontline union employees.

To TriMet Frontline employees: Don't give up, I see your strong bond with each other, your fed up, and its time for TriMet Management to step up to the plate, and be responsible for what they have done! Rock On! You have my Support!

TriMet, if your not answering the public, then....What ARE you doing with our money?

There is a poll to the right, mark your approval rating of Neil McFarlanes first 4 months as TriMets GM.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Seattle Transit System Map 1958

Courtesy of Oran Viriyincy, this is what transit in Seattle looked like in 1958. The weirdest thing to me is the absence of I-5. Click the image to go to the Original size on Oran's Flickr Page and check it out!

40 People By....

Very interesting to see how taking public transit, walking or biking actually leaves a smaller footprint. You can see what out roads would look like if people who took the bus, drove.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rant: The Impatient Road to No-Where

So much hostility these days towards bus drivers. So much in Portland and here in Seattle. We make too much, we have too good of benefits, unions are bad. Really? And what qualifies YOU to make that determination?

It seems to me, that many of the people who criticize transit operators, do not ride transit. I bet they don't know much about transit at all. So who are these people? Lets turn the finger around, and see how this sounds.

While driving my bus in normal daily interactions, I pick up 30-40 people per trip. These people get on, some smile, some say Hi, some thank me, some do not, most pay the correct fare and respect the bus by not defacing it. While I transport my bus load of people, I will get narrowly cut off by either a Luxury Car (BMW, Lexus, etc) or a SUV, carrying ONE person a handful of times a day. Why does this person feel the need to cut off my large heavy piece of equipment of 4000% occupancy rate of their vehicle? Its the impatient road to no-where. They are in such a hurry, they cut me off to save, thats right, up to 7 seconds off their day, and risk so much more.

Makes you wonder, What do these people do for a living? Well, Commissioned salesman comes to mind. Their goal, is to sell you insurance or products to enhance your daily life, and reap a commission off it. So, you, the customer get to pay MORE for your service to cover that commission, its not coming out of the companies wallet. Some salesman will tell you anything to get their commission, even if its a little white lie. They then take your hard earned money, and buy nice cars, and think they are the coolest cat in town, and behaving like a kindergartner is the best way to show it.

So the question is, why are bus drivers under fire for making 9,000-120,000/year, when higher management (not necessarily referring to transit here), commissioned salesman, and more of the like, take home MORE than that, and get left alone? The bus driver, whom must show up to work ON TIME, not on a flex schedule, does not get a regular lunch schedule to go out with friends or colleges, and sometimes miss out on happy hour, work their shift while dealing with self-centered, arrogant, asshole single occupant drivers that cut off and other wise take major risks to save 7 seconds, gets nailed by a Republican Party Group, meanwhile, CEOs of the same party take home MORE pay, for less credible work, and its ok? The bus yesterday that had to slam on brakes due to being cut off to close is a prime example of how disrespected bus drivers are on the road. A few people were injured as a result of one persons (the car) careless self-centered act. This is what bus drivers are paid to do, navigate a large bus of people from point A to Point B, and dodge the arrogant single occupant vehicles, its more than you think.

So before you leave nasty comments on this blog, or any other story about Transit operators wages and benefits, you'd better think that last time you rode a bus. Did the passengers make it unpleasant for you, take too long because it was stuck in traffic, well none of those are the drivers fault. If you have never ridden a bus, and you drive yourself to work, you have NO room to talk about what we make, and how we make it.

Remember this, all the bus drivers APPLIED for the job, no one is keeping us there against our will. We are there because the job posting was attractive, good pay, good benefits, and some of, well, a lot of us, enjoy the job. We have a corner office that offers some of the best views of the region. Now if you have a problem with that, then you should have applied to become a Transit operator. If your telling your self "No Way, why would I do that" (or you think your too good for that), keep your negative comments to yourself, they mean nothing. You should pick on someone your own size, like the single occupant traffic congestion causing CEO that will cut me off later this afternoon because he makes MORE than I do.

Friday, October 8, 2010

RapidRide Launch Day Video

Filmed by Dave Stubblefield, compiled and edited by me.

Friday, October 1, 2010