Saturday, August 9, 2008
On Thursday August 7, 2008 I had a short meeting with managers Lyle Pereira and Greg Larsen at Merlo Garage. I learned that managers at TriMet do not any authority to issue or initiate exclusions to unruly and dangerous passengers. Only road supervisors and transit police can do so.
In my case, where a individual called TriMet customer service on July 31, 2008 not once, not twice, but three times within a one hour period and threatened myself, the bus operator, there is no policy at TriMet which allows a process to try and remove such people from the transit system.
TriMet would rather have someone act out on his threats and allow an incident to happen rather than take a more proactive approach and prevent it. TriMet is gambling that nothing bad will take place. Is that a chance that should be taken? I don't think so.
In conversations with Lyle, this particular individual has made a promise not to ride my particular bus but has not been excluded from the system. I am expected to pick up this person if he is waiting at a stop and make a call to dispatch only if he acts up. Judging from his prior behavior, I don't know if he can be trusted to stay away from my bus and not stay out trouble. I was offered a open 43 route for the remainder of the Summer sign up if I wished to avoid the chance of meeting up with this individual. While that offer is still on the table, I would rather continue doing the 62 route. I feel I shouldn't have to hide from anyone while performing my job duties.
I also feel that this person also poses a threat to all TriMet personnel since he has also screamed and cursed at other drivers and customer service this past week. I also feel that this person has not been made accountable for his actions. Simply saying that he is sorry and will stay away from my bus is not enough. As a bus operator, I am so closely watched under the microscope for the tiniest of transgressions, it is disheartening to once again learn that TriMet will allow almost any kind of behavior from a passenger, even allowing threats to be made to the front line workers. Everyone should be accountable for their actions, including passengers.
As a private citizen, I would be very uncomfortable to witness this kind of behavior directed toward a bus operator. I could expect this person to go after me or another passenger if he is allowed to treat a bus operator this way. Is it any wonder that the public has questions regarding the safety of the TriMet transit system. The bad guys ride the bus along with the MAX.
I would like to put this entire episode behind me, but on Friday August 8, 2008, the first day after I was assured that this individual would not be riding my bus, he was back waiting at his usual stop. Since I was told that I was required to let him board, I did so and fortunately he kept his mouth shut and did not cause any problems....this time. To him, a promise means nothing and I should not be surprised that if he has no respect for me, why would he keep his word with the Merlo Station Manager, Lyle Pereira. Once again, I don't see any accountability.
In conclusion, I will continue to perform my job duties to high professional standards, knowing that most of my colleagues will do the same. It is sad that TriMet's high level management fails to appreciate the topnotch workforce they have.