Saturday, January 19, 2013

Operators Report from 2001 2

Vol. 5, Issue 20
imageOperator’s Report
Items of Immediate Interest to Tri-Met Operators
September 26, 2001

A message from General Manager Fred Hansen

image Since the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, my thoughts have raced from trying to grasp the magnitude of death and destruction to trying to understand why this happened. Like everyone, I have felt sorrow, frustration and anger. I have also felt hope as I have watched our country and the world community form a special bond and strengthen our resolve against terrorism. Our spirit is far from broken.

At Tri-Met, I am proud of how each of us, as part of the whole, have risen to the events. We have continued to provide an essential public service in the face of powerful emotions and thoughts. We have displayed our faith in America by pulling our buses and trains to a stop for a moment of silence. We have American flag lapel pins for operators to wear, and we have installed American flag channel cards in our vehicles.  We have donated money and will donate blood.

I take great pride in how we, as a nation, responded to this tragedy with compassion. We have held firm to the beliefs upon which our country is built–freedom and respect for each other. We have reached out to and felt the sorrow and loss of all Americans. And we have not allowed the same kind of hate and evil that caused these events to fill our hearts as we interact with fellow Americans who hail from the Middle East or Central Asia.

We have stood firm and united against the mindless destruction and indiscriminate taking of life – in all its despicable, hateful and cowardly manifestations. Throughout our region, state and nations, Americans have come together, united in standing tall and proud as a nation. This has been abundantly clear among Tri-Met employees.

In the days, weeks and months ahead, I hope you can all take solace in how we have responded to the worst tragedy this nation has faced. Thank you for your courage, compassion and strength.

Tri-Met employees help victims of terrorist attack

·     The Center Action Team (CAT) donated the proceeds from its Sept. 14 breakfast - $2,200 to the American Red Cross, designated for the victims in New York City. Center Operations Assistant Linda Moore will continue to collect employee donations for the Red Cross throughout the month of September.

·     Tri-Met will host a blood drive Oct. 17 at Center Street. The Red Cross will continue to need blood donations for an extended period of time to help people injured in the attack. Tri-Met is working to schedule blood drives on other dates at Merlo/Elmonica and Ruby Junction.

·     Other actions planned by Tri-Met to show our support and patriotism is supplying American flag lapel pins, installing bus interior signs of the American flag, placing an American flag decal in the window of each bus and train, and displaying an American flag on the front or back of each bus.



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
Calendar  4
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:
Gayle Reis
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
Reasonable Cause

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)
Aug. 2000
Aug. 2001
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!

Farebox Spanish #67

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

image September Operator of Month Ettie Smith from Powell Garage.

Mini-Run Operator of the Quarter, July—Sept., Karen Asio from Merlo Garage.


Rail Operator of the Quarter, July—Sept., Janice Reddaway from Elmonica.
image R


imageOperator’s Report is published bi-weekly by Bus Transportation to provide operators with pertinent job-related information, and can be accessed on Tri-Met’s Global Bulletin Board/Public Folders/Tri-Met Global. Call Cheryl Kelly with suggestions/questions, 503-962-4913,

No comments:

Post a Comment