Items of Immediate Interest to Tri-Met Operators
A message from General Manager Fred Hansen 1
Attendance winners for August 2001 4
August bus operator attendance 3
Boarding customers aren’t on a time limit 3
Change in Federal Drug & Alcohol regulation 2
Employee & dependent ID photos 4
Farebox Spanish #67 4
Interview with Gayle Reis 2
Keep heat under control 4
Need a ride to work in the morning 4
The rest of the bus fraud story 3
Interview with Gayle Reis
by Jeff Muceus, Center Operator
Some time ago I had the pleasure of assisting the person who is responsible for making sure Tri-Met's safety-oriented work force stays drug and alcohol free. I thought it would be fun to ask her a few questions and publish her answers here, so here goes:
Q: What is your job title and who do you report to?
A: I am the “Drug & Alcohol Program Specialist.” My immediate supervisor is Tom Schmitgall. My job, which is within the Safety Department, is to coordinate and facilitate the random and follow-up drug and alcohol testing.
Q: Many of the drivers think of you as the "The Drug Test Lady." Is this a fair assessment?
A: Not really. Keep in mind that I am not a collector or tester of specimens, I am the coordinator and facilitator.
Q: Most of us know about the random testing. What other types of tests are done?
A: Post Accident
Return-to-Duty (after a positive drug test or an extended time off the job)
Return-to-Duty (after a positive drug test or an extended time off the job)
Q: Can you briefly describe how people are chosen for the random tests and how you schedule them?
A: Tri-Met has computer software, “HEIDI,” which meets software requirements of the US Supreme Court as a true random generator. I have nothing to do with this process. Once a month I receive a list of about 125 names, which I then spend about 8 hours trying to schedule in order to meet the FTA (Federal Transit Authority) regulations. These tests have to include beginning, middle and end of shift tests as well as Saturday, Sunday and Holiday testing too, and somehow I have to do it efficiently.
Q: How many random drug tests are you expected to conduct during an average year?
A: Fifty percent of the total number in the Safety Sensitive Pool = Approximately 1100 random tests will be conducted during the calendar year.
Q: Are you expected to test other employees besides operators? If so, who?
A: Yes, operators are not alone. I test all employees in the Safety Sensitive Pool. They include: bus and rail operators, bus and rail supervisors, bus and rail training supervisors, bus and rail maintenance employees (LRV & MOW), rail controllers, bus dispatchers and fare inspectors. Basically it is anybody whose job that has the major portion of his or her work considered “Safety Sensitive” by the FTA.
Q: I remember having 3 random tests within a 4-month period. Is that unusual?
A: It is statistically possible due to the requirement that the employees names go back into the pool for the next draw.
Q: What happens if a Breath Alcohol or Urinalysis (UA) test comes back positive for an illegal substance?
A: Tri-Met policy requires a minimum 5-day, unpaid suspension. The employee must also talk to Tri-Met’s substance abuse professional, complete a program determined by the substance abuse professional, pass a return-to-duty drug test and sign a return-to-work agreement. The employee will then have a follow-up drug test per a schedule mandated by the FTA and with the recommendations of the substance abuse professional. Probationary employees are excluded from this policy and lose their job after the first positive test.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: I enjoy the conversations I have with Tri-Met’s best customers - our employees!
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions and for helping us keep Tri-Met a drug-free workplace.
If you have questions not covered in this article please see your station management personnel for answers or clarification.
Change in Federal Drug & Alcohol regulation
August 1, 2001 there was a change to the Federal Transportation Drug & Alcohol regulation.
Tri-Met must comply with the DOT/FTA requirement that all employees being tested must, upon request of collection technician, empty his or her pockets and display items to ensure that no items are present which could be used to cheat the test. If nothing is present that could be used to cheat the test, the employee may place the items back in their pockets. The employee mustallow the collection technician to make this observation.
If you have questions contact your Manager or Tom Schmitgall/Tri-Met Drug and Alcohol Program (503) 962-4937.
The rest of the bus fraud story
by Butch Pribbanow, Tri-Met Attorney
This Spring there was an article in Operator’s Report which told of three women, all working in housekeeping at the Best Western Rose Quarter Hotel, who conspired together in falsifying two Tri-Met injury claims. Here’s the final chapter to that story:
Michelle Williams claimed she was injured in an accident on a Tri-Met bus in 1999, although she wasn’t even on the bus involved in said accident. However, Tri-Met originally awarded her $6,500 in damages.
The second woman, Traci Smith, lied and claimed to have been on the same bus and also filed an injury claim against Tri-Met.
The third woman, Kelly Hannah, was on the bus involved in the accident, and told the two other women about the accident so they could file claims. She did not, however, file a claim against Tri-Met herself.
Last week the criminal sentencing of Michelle Williams, Traci Smith and Kelly Hannahconcluded. The following is a summary of the court's sentence:
Michelle Williams: Perjury I, Theft I, 8 days jail, 3 years probation and restitution.
Traci Smith: Perjury I, Theft I, 15 days jail, 3 years probation and restitution.
Kelly Hannah: Perjury I, Theft I, 0 days jail, 3 years probation, restitution and mental health counseling.
Michelle Williams will also provide Tri-Met with a $3,300 check she’s obtaining from an unrelated, but valid, Workmen's Compensation retaliatory case in which she prevailed.
Boarding customers aren’t on a time limit
by Liz Coffelt, Mobility Trainer
Many of you have no doubt experienced some frustration when you’re on a tight schedule and circumstances conspire to make you late (or later!). One of those things may be a customer in a mobility device that takes what seems like a long time to board the bus.
The Bus Operator’s Guide (BOG) provides that we need to allow ample time for mobility-impaired or elderly customers to board and deboard. That’s not just a courtesy—although that’s important too—it’s also the law. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the law that includes requirements for transit agencies to provide accessible service, provides that:
“The entity shall ensure that adequate time is provided to allow individuals with disabilities to complete boarding or disembarking from the vehicle.”
If you have questions regarding lift requests or boarding procedures, refer to Accessible Service Requirements, page 50 in the Bus Operators’ Guide (BOG).
Remember, there is no time limit on boarding the bus, and if a person is new to riding transit, keep in mind there is a learning curve. Most of our customers are doing the very best they can to board quickly and efficiently. Some may have difficulty, but we have resources to help. If you, or one of your customers would like some one-on-one training in this area, please feel free to call me at 503-962-4904 so it can be arranged. Just leave a message with your name, phone number and the best time to reach you.
August bus operator attendance
Overall Attendance (Bus Operators)
Dif. over last yr
Detailed Bus Operator Attendance by Garage
August 2001 Ctr Pow Mer Ttl
Need a ride to work in the morning?
Did you know operators have an off-line tripper bus Monday through Friday? It’s Train 7003 from Center as follows:
4:05A: From garage via 17th, left Holgate, left 26th, right Powell, left 82nd, to Division at 4:20A. Right on Division, right 92nd, left Powell, right to Garage layover zone 4:27A. Then via left Powell, left 92nd to Holgate at 4:32A, right Holgate, right 17th, right Center to garage.
Attendance winners for August 2001
Here are operators who won a day off. Congratulations!
Center: Fred Schultz and Michael Baucom
Powell: William White and Dana Nafziger
Merlo: James Harris and Jeff Gallien
Ruby: Ivan Semenyuk
Elmo: Phillip Emerson
Keep heat under control
Since it’s getting nippy in the early mornings and late evenings, please heed the following customer’s message:
“…While this morning was a bit cooler than recent mornings, it was still warm enough to wear shirt sleeves. Nevertheless, when I got on the 10, the driver had the heat cranked with the blower on. Since the bus was packed, there was no opportunity to open a window. (Besides, with all the body heat, one needs to ask why there was a need for additional heat on the bus.) For someone like me, who tends to get car sick, with all the stopping and starting on a too warm bus, the trip into downtown was absolutely excruciating.
Since I started taking the bus to commute to and from work in downtown Portland last year, it is still amazing to me that some drivers just don’t seem to understand how uncomfortable it can be with excessive heat on the bus. When you step back and think about it, it just doesn’t make any sense. Even during the coldest weather, before people get on the bus they are dressed in a way to protect themselves from the much colder conditions outside. Then they get on the bus still wearing their coats, sweaters, etc.
Nevertheless, some drivers still keep their buses so warm that it’s like sitting in one’s living room, fully bundled up, with the heat cranked (except this time the living room is stopping and starting). Those of us who tend to get too warm on the bus, besides shedding layers, ultimately have fewer options than those who tend to like the bus warmer.
Please, please, please…whatever you can do about this would be much appreciated. The problems with excessive heat notwithstanding, I would still prefer to take the bus rather than drive to work.Thank you.”
Employee & dependent ID photos
ID photos are taken every Tuesday between @ Holgate Plaza, 4413 S.E. 17th Ave., 1-4:30 p.m. on a first come, first serve walk-in basis.
If unable to come in during these hours, please call 503-962-7574 to schedule an appointment. This is required if you or your dependent(s) are unable to come in Tuesday. No exceptions please!
English: I’m very sorry.
Spanish: Lo siento muchisimo.
Emphasize the bold: Lo see-ayn-to moo-chee-see-mo.
A booklet of collected Farebox Spanish phrases is available free either from your garage or the Training Department. An audiocassette that accompanies the booklet is also available at no charge. Want one? Leave a message with Joe Smolen at 503-962-7411.
Congratulations to winners