Posts Tagged ‘bus’

Stuck on the bus

Moving to Portland was partially to get out of a town I really really really despise, and partially to get to live in a place with an extensive public transportation system. I grew up in California, between the south SF bay area and a town north of Sacramento. As the time I spent there was all pre-driver’s license, I relied heavily on the public transportation there, which in the bay area (at least at the time) was awesome, but was severely lacking 100mi north. VTA (Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority) hours were long, the waiting time was little, and I felt safe on the bus and lightrail (in San Jose). One thing about the busses down there was that they were dirty – kids were always putting gum on the backs of seats and most of the windows had become translucent due to the myriad of scratches that had built up over years of wee taggers satiating their need to mark yet another solid with his/her scribble, as well as any other surface.

TriMet vehicles tend to be really clean and comfortable to ride. Sure, there have been a couple of late-night puking sessions on the MAX (not me, thankyouverymuch), those who don’t shower, and once in a while the bus and even the MAX get to capacity, but for the most part, our public transportation is great. The only big problem I have with TriMet currently is the sometimes missing busses (walked a full 2 miles along my path before the 71 went zooming by one day), and the damned machines that never work (but I have a monthly pass, so that’s moot to me for the most part). What do you love/hate about TriMet? Do you actually send requests into their “comment” lines? I might be notorious for letting them know at least once a week that the machine they’ve never fixed at the 60th Ave MAX stop is indeed still broken…

TriMet’s verbose peoplemovers

This is slightly old news, for those of you who read the same Portland-centric transportation blogs that I do, but TriMet is giving the buses voices! You read that right – not only will the buses announce their eventual destinations to riders at the stop on an external speaker, but they’re equipping the buses to do the same for major stops inside the buses, much like the MAX and Streetcar do per stop already. The lines taking on the system (powered mostly by GPS) are few for now, but so far I’ve heard the announcements on the 20 and the 75 (per the major stops). As I took my first ride on the 75 yesterday, and as I was preoccupied by my cat being freaked out (it was her first bus ride, full stop, and to the vet, no less), the announcement for the Powell stop, so clearly stated, was incredibly helpful. I know that some drivers speak the stops into their wee microphones as they are approaching, but in my near-year of bus riding here, I’ve only been able to actually hear one of these drivers – and I have excellent hearing. Thanks, TriMet, for improving upon our awesome public transit system! They’re not always on time, but at least I now know where we’re going on the bus.

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