Saturday, January 19, 2013

Operators Report from 2001 3

Vol 5, Issue 19
imageOperator’s Report
Items of Immediate Interest to Tri-Met Operators
September12, 2001


Free Ride Home pass distributed Sept. 15/16

Free Ride Home passes for airport MAX will be handed out at Airport Station opening weekend Saturday, Sept. 15 between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. & Sunday Sept. 16 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Customers will have to pay for their ride to the airport, and the passes will only be handed out at the airport to those in line to return on MAX. They are a valid ticket that will provide customers the opportunity to transfer between buses and the MAX Blue Line.

CLASS PASS now includes chaperones

Starting this September, chaperones can also travel under the Class Pass, Tri-Met's field trip fare instrument. Previously, they were required to pay their fare separately and received no discount. This change will make it more convenient for both the Tri-Met operator and the field trip group.
·     The cost is $1 per student, teacher and chaperone for the round-trip.
·     The Class Pass is valid for groups of 15 or more students, age 18 and under.
·     One fare instrument covers the entire group–no need for individual tickets for each person.
·     Teachers must schedule their trip two weeks in advance. Teachers can call Tri-Met at 503-238-RIDE to schedule their trip and order a Class Pass.



Calendar   6
CLASS PASS now includes chaperones   1
Customers are always watching    4
Farebox Spanish 66    6
Free Ride Home pass
distributed Sept. 15/16    1
Kudos from customers    4
Line 4 Rider Alert   4-5
Max David, August Operator of the Month   5-6
Review of Transit Mall procedures    5
Special ADA section: Issues & answers   2-4
Stretches can reduce chance of injury    6
Zella Stewart retires early    5

Special ADA section: Issues & answers

imageWhy is the ADA such a big deal

by Clyde A. Earl, Director of Transportation

It must seem like there’s a lot of concern about compliance with the ADA, and you may not have heard why. The main reason we are so concerned about compliance is our commitment to provide safe, reliable service for all members of the community—that includes those with disabilities. Calling stops, securing mobility devices and customer service all need to be done at a level at least as good as the ADA requires. We want to exceed those requirements in all areas.

Bottom line: Tri-Met can be taken to court if we don’t comply with the ADA. If one operator doesn’t call stops, a customer can initiate a suit. If a mobility device is improperly secured we could be on our way to court. A couple years ago two operators in a row passed up a customer in a mobility device and they did take us to court. The expense to defend the company was very high. Many other transit agencies have been sued and had to pay a great deal of money in damages. While the money and public exposure are good reasons to comply with the ADA, the reason we want to exceed the requirements is because at Tri-Met, that’s what we have always done with people of the disabled community.

We have always taken pride in doing more than what is required when it comes to customer service. I know there is a lot of pressure from customers and schedules, and it’s often hard to hide frustrations when someone reminds us of our requirements to follow the ADA. The only advice I can offer is to think of how you would want to be treated if you were to trade places with the disabled customer.

If you need assistance, please let your Assistant Station Manager (ASM) know, or contact the Training Department at 503-962-6418. Otherwise, comply with the ADA requirements and avoid being named in an ADA non-compliance suit.

Securement issues:
vAre securement belts in good working order?
After so much use and abuse, securement belts may become frayed, dirty/oily or severely twisted. If you have problems with securement because the belts aren’t in good working order, be sure to fill out a defect card. By checking the reply box on the defect card, Maintenance will let you know when the repair(s) has been completed.

vSecure all customers in mobility devices if possible:

Here’s what the Bus Operator’s Guide (BOG), page 51, states:

Operators are responsible for the safe securement of mobility devices. Even if the customer has an attendant who is willing to secure the device, the operator is still responsible for checking that it is properly tied down. Procedures differ according to bus series.
vSecurement Policy, as posted in the bus:

If a customer refuses any or all of the required securement system, and if, in the operator’s judgment, the unsecured device will present a safety risk, service to that individual may be denied. When securement is refused, operators will log the incident by sending OutMSG # 10. If the unsecured customer refuses to leave the bus, then press the LIFT key and send 2=Lift  Prob-Tied  Up to inform dispatch of your situation.

Tri-Met will not deny transportation to a customer if the mobility device cannot be secured satisfactorily by the available securement system.

vUsing yellow secure loops:

When a customer has yellow secure loops on
their mobility device, please make sure to use them. The yellow straps are placed on the mobility device where the customer wants them and where they are unlikely to do damage.

Not all customers will instruct operators on securement because they’re not sure if they are supposed to, so be sure to communicate with the customer. Oversee the securement if the customers do their own or have an attendant do it. It’s up to operators to assist with securement if the customer desires, even if an attendant is along.
vIf a sight-impaired customer is on the bus, let them know when a person in a mobility device is boarding:

Be sure to alert visually impaired customer, especially if they have an assistance animal, of boarding customers in mobility devices so they can move themselves and/or their animal to avoid being injured.

A frequent customer whose dog was hit by oxygen tanks and had its feet run over by wheels on mobility devices, provided this suggestion.

vDo you have a customer that needs mobility training?

Liz Coffelt, Mobility Trainer assisting a customer on proper securement. Please feel free to call her at 503-962-4904 with any securement issue.
If you have a customer that appears to need more mobility training, fill out an OCR (yellow) card with as much information as possible, or call Liz Coffelt at 503-962-4904, so she can contact the customer and provide assistance.

ADA Announcement issues:

vADA Announcements for visually impaired customers:

The answer to a question raised by a visually impaired customer regarding announcements at stops served by multiple lines is being passed on as a reminder:

If you make a stop where more than one line stops, a visually impaired customer won’t know which line you are driving unless you announce it. For the customer to hear the line number you may have to use the outside PA (public address) system. All of our buses have PA systems now for ADA compliance. The use of the PA system is mandatory for the required internal announcements. So on the Mall this becomes especially important. The Bus Operators’ Guide(BOG) page 55 says:

When operating as the second bus at any service stop, pull forward to the first position, open your door, and announce your line number and destination to prevent those with sight disabilities from being passed up.”

Realistically this could cause some problems both on and off the Mall. Often when approaching a stop used by more than one line (especially off the Mall), customers will wave to either go on or stop for them, and if you don’t see a sign from the customer, you must stop. It could be the customer has not given you a sign they want the bus because they are sight impaired. And, if you are the second bus back at one of those stops, you must insure when you leave the stop no one that might want your bus is left behind.

Requirements: Announce your line by using either the external PA system or voice when servicing the Mall or at a stop serviced by multiple lines, so customers with sight-impairments can catch the correct bus. When operating on the Mall and you’re the second bus back, you are required to pull forward to the first position and announce your line number to insure no customers are missed.

vWhen calling stops for customers in your bus, you must use the public address (PA) system.

Lift issues:
vLift not working—what to do?

A customer in a mobility device is waiting to board your bus. When attempting to activate the lift it won’t work. Try these tips:

Lift won’t function:

1)     500, 600 series: Move the lift button (the one that lights up) back & forth randomly until you see the Power On button (white one) is lit.
2)     Make sure doors are completely open.
3)     Use fast idle switch.
4)     Set the parking brake.

Lift won’t slide into track or slides under it:
All Flxible models: Run the lift up and down several times and try to stow it from the floor position. It will usually catch sooner or later. This happens mostly in cold weather.


Lift won’t stow:

1)     Make sure the lift is not jammed against or on top of the curb.
2)     Run the lift up and down several times and try to stow it.
3)     500-637 series: Make sure the Emergency Stop light is off.
4)     Make sure there are no objects on the lift platform surface.

If you are unable to pick up a person who needs to use the lift (the lift will not work, or the securement areas are already used by another mobility device) take these steps:

Stop and explain the situation to the intending customer.

a) Before leaving the stop, notify dispatch by pressing the LIFT key, selecting 3+Lift Pass up, and SEND. DO NOT leave until you have talked to dispatch and are cleared to proceed.

b) Ask for the customer’s name to pass on to dispatch, and whether he/she can transfer to a cab or is willing to wait up to 30 minutes for the following bus.
In all cases, whether it’s the LIFT or another type of mechanical failure, be sure to fill out a defect card. Even if the LIFT fails only once and works thereafter, fill out a card.

Customers arealways watching

by Clyde Earl, Director of Transportation

In the past few weeks I have had several comments, (some from operators) about operators on various buses riding to or from relief points. The three main comments are that operators are often talking inappropriately about customers, using offensive language, and that operators do not offer their seats to the elderly or other customers that would benefit from being able to sit.

As long as you are in uniform and/or riding on the system, it is expected that your behavior remain professional and appropriate. In fact, that expectation is reflected in the Bus Operator’s Guide in the following passages: “Operators define the public’s image of Tri-Met. Your attitude, professionalism, and conduct are instrumental in forging goodwill and respect” (top of page 4 under Operator Conduct), and “Operator’s may not verbally or physically assault, mistreat, or harass through speech, gesture, or bodily contact, customers, Tri-Met employees, district contractors and vendors, and/or the general public while in uniform” (page 7, under Employee Conduct Rules).

Not surprisingly, there are only a few operators that are making all operators look bad in the eyes of our customers. Please help out by keeping comments and language appropriate and, whenever possible, allow a customer that is elderly, frail or burdened with children or packages to have your seat on a crowded bus.

Thank you for your help and continued excellent performance.

Kudos from customers

Here’s the inaugural edition of Kudos from Customers, where each month employees have an opportunity to peruse commendations received for all employees. Copies are at Center, Merlo, Powell, Ruby and Elmonica so we can share accomplishments. Around the 20th of each month, the previous month’s commendations will be placed in the books by the Customer Service Department.

Searching for a commendation? If you don’t see the commendation a customer said they sent for you, take a look under the Unidentified tab, where those that couldn’t be matched to an employee are listed. If you see a commendation that belongs to you, notify your Assistant Station Manager (ASM).

Monthly Counts for July 2001:

Total Commendations Entered: 367
Center   116
Merlo   108
Powell     97
Rail      11
Admin.       9

Compared with 152 July 2000 commendations.

For questions or comments, please contact a Customer Service Representative: Anne Marie Ashford, Naomia Johnson-Dubose, Gail Jones, or Linda Venable at 503-962-2444.

Line 4 Rider Alert

Rider Alerts for Line 4/Fessenden customers will be in operator pouches soon explaining why the new schedule times have been reduced by several minutes due to Transit Signal Priority (TSP). The Alerts will explain how new technology allows buses that are running late to extend green lights for a brief period of time to allow the buses to move through traffic.

Zella Stewart retires early

 Zella Stewart
Powell Operator Zella Stewart sends a message to operators:

“I've retired, granted a little earlier than planned, but health issues made it a necessary choice. I've enjoyed working with all of you and consider many of you my friends. So to all, I say a fond farewell and may our paths cross again.”

Best wishes Zella!

Review of Transit Mall procedures

part III: using turn signals

by Jack VanOrman, Training Supervisor

Earlier I talked about three issues that make the downtown Portland Bus Transit Mall, the most complex area for new bus operator training. Due to this complexity, even operators that are not brand new get confused. This is the last in a three part series concerning Mall mistakes.

The first issue was Angling the front of the bus out from the stop. The second issue was regarding using the wrong stop. This third and final article will be on failure to use turn signals.

What we have here is a failure to communicate…(Strother Martin in “Cool Hand Luke”)

Oregon law is very clear on the use of turn signals and I’m sure most operators feel that they know the law fairly well. However, buses are still seen not signaling and possibly some operators may misunderstand some parts of the law. Most know that a change of lanes requires a signal before the maneuver. Some may not know that the law makes a clear distinction between travel lanes and non-travel lanes, or areas used for other purposes such as bus loading zones or parking areas. On the Bus Mall we have a travel lane and another area which is quite apparently a bus loading zone extending the entire length of each block. The bus travel lane is not marked off from the bus stop area by any painted line. This lack of lane marking lines may have allowed some operators to think that moving to and from the curb on the Mall does not require a signal. Since the purpose of the travel lane is clearly different from the purpose of the area near the curb, a signal is required to move from one area to the other.

Signaling is so basic that the best assumption about any Tri-Met operator failing to signal on the Mall is that he or she is simply distracted and forgetting this important part of the procedure. We all know how common distractions are as we drive in service—even for the most experienced operators. We need to maintain vigilance at all times. Even among our fellow professionals on the Mall, it helps to give courtesy and not make unkind assumptions—remember that they may just be having a bad moment.
Using the yield light on the Mall –
(Above heading is for illustration purposes only. The yield light is by policy NOT to be used on the Mall.)
As a side note, the distinction between the travel and the stopping lane on the Mall means that the yield light could be used on the Mall. Remember the yield light is to be used only when you are in passenger service and then only when moving from a non-travel area to a travel lane. The yield light cannot be used for changing from one travel lane to another. If the bus stop is served with the bus stopped in a travel lane (e.g. eastbound on Powell at Milwaukie, nearside—lines 9 & 19, and farside—lines 17& 70; eastbound on Canyon Road at 110th, nearside—line 58) the yield light by law, cannot be used when the bus proceeds.

Max David -August Operator of the Month
 Max David
by Anna Turner, Operations Assistant

Max is a Northwest native who was born in Portland and attended David Douglas High School. He later served in Vietnam as a Navy Seabee working in construction. When he returned to Portland after his tour, he got involved in the Head Start Program and worked with children.

Max has three children of his own and lives on five acres in Washougal, Washington with his family and two Australian Shepard dogs. During his time off he enjoys working on old German motorcycles and gardening. Even with the closeness of mountain lions and coyotes, he loves where he lives. He enjoys the view and the scenic drive to work.

Twenty-five of the last 26 years that Max has worked here have been safe driving years. When asked what he enjoys about work he says, “I love the Collins buses because they are so easy to drive and dependable. They don’t require much service.” He also likes driving the West Linn/Sunnyside Road shuttle.

Congrats Max!

Farebox Spanish #66

English: Your stop is right there.

Spanish: Su parada es ahi.

Pronounced: Soo pah-rah-dah ace ah-ee.

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

Stretches can reduce chance of injury
by Kurt Wilkinson, Safety Specialist

I began at Tri-Met this January after graduating from college in December 2000. One of my many duties as a Safety Specialist is to represent the Safety Department at the Center, Powell and Merlo Transportation Safety Committee meetings.

A recent topic of discussion at the safety meetings has been concern towards reducing the amount of bus operator strains and sprain injuries. The stretches in this and future issues, will provide operators with exercises that can be done during layovers or lengthy stops to reduce stiffness and tightening of muscles, and lower the probability of getting injured while driving.

This information came from TEI employees at Center Street. TEI is a great resource for preventing sprain/strain injuries. Although stretching will not prevent all injuries, a regular stretching routine can reduce your chances of injuring muscles or joints while on the road or at home. A small amount of time spent stretching may prevent a long painful recovery from a torn muscle.

Here are stretches for back, shoulders and arms:

1.  From a standing position, with your knees slightly bent (1 inch), gently pull your elbow behind your head as you bend from your hips to the side. Hold an easy stretch for 10 seconds. Do both sides. Keeping your knees slightly bent will give you better balance while you stretch.

2.  Reach behind your head and down as far as you can with your left hand and, if you are able, grab your right hand coming up, palm out. Grab fingers and hold. Many will not be albe to do this stretch without help. Hold only as long as fairly comfortable. If your hands do not meet, try one of these:

3.  Have someone pull your hands slowly toward each other until you get an easy stretch and hold it. Do not stretch too far. You may get a great stretch without having you fingers touching. Stretch within your limits.

4.  Drop a towel behind your head. With your upper arm bent, reach up with your other arm to hold on to the end of the towel. Gradually move your hand up on the towel, pulling your upper arm down, until your hands are touching.


Sept. 6Eastside MAX turned 15, and has racked up 134.8 million rides since opening Sept. 6, 1986, equaling 96 rides for every person living in the Portland metro area.

Today, Sept. 12Vote for Operator of the Month and Mini-Run of the Quarter from 4a-8p at all garages.

Operator’s Report is published bi-weekly by the Bus Transportation Training Department to provide operators with pertinent job-related information, and can be accessed on Tri-Met’s Global Bulletin Board @ w:\Global\Operator’s Report. Call Cheryl Kelly @ 503-962-4913, or e-mail: if you have suggestions or questions.

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