Bus drivers cant always call out
As a TriMet bus operator with more than nine years 'in the saddle,' I want to respond to the recent story on drivers' noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act mandate to 'call stops'(Visually impaired take TriMet to task, Feb. 10).
First, any time there is an occupational stress survey published, 'bus driver' heads the list. In addition to all the normal aggravations of driving a heavy vehicle in traffic, through all kinds of weather, contending with schedules, knowing the routes (some of us do not have assigned routes and actually drive different lines every day, sometimes several different lines a day!), we also have customer-service considerations that the average person is probably not even aware of.
We do our best to provide safe, reliable transportation for a public that is often rude and even abusive. We try to adhere to all the limitations imposed by a corporate structure that seems to take pains to curry the public's favor at the expense of the troops doing the grunt work.
About the 'calling of stops.' Yes, it is required by the ADA, and no, we do not always do it.We are not automatons or trained monkeys.
However, compliance with this rule does not ensure one's freedom from persecution:There are 'quality assurance riders' out there riding the system who might write up a driver this way: 'Operator was in uniform, wore his seat belt the entire time,greeted every passenger cordially, was consistently friendly and helpful to all who boarded, particularly those with physical limitations.He called stops at all major intersections and transfer points, but omitted calling the stop at ____ (fill in the blank).'
Yes, it happens.In the middle of navigating a busy street while avoidinga suddenly opened car door, an errant bicyclist, a jaywalking pedestrian, a wayward skateboarder Ñ a customer asks when the bus will be arrivingdowntown. In responding to the customer, the operator has neglected to call that one stop!
We are used to bicyclists riding without lights at night, riding on the wrong side of the street, ignoring all traffic control signs and signals. We deal with motorists who increasingly feel that turn signals are to be used only after the move already has been initiated, if at all, as well as pedestrians who make it a point to challenge the traffic by daring vehicles to interfere with their inalienable right to do something stupid. We also contend with the almost universal noncompliance with the state law which mandates that all vehicles yield to buses attempting to re-enter a traffic lane.
But we get blasted if we don't call those stops.
Bush-Cheney critics benign, concerned
I read with interest your article on the protesters at Vice President Cheney's fund-raiser dinner ('Little Beirut' fades as city gets crafty, Jan. 16). I am new to Portland, yet by the time of Mr. Cheney's visit, I had become intensely interested in understanding the points of view and concerns held by my Portland Peaceful Response Coalition and Sierra Club neighbors. Therefore, with my home video camera in hand, I attempted to navigate the half-mile from the MAX station through the marshy field toward the razor-wire fence.
Exactly what was being contained inside those 8-foot fences? My video footage bears witness to both young and elderly in attendance. My camera witnessed intelligent conversation on the issues and humor that engaged the social intellect. My footage witnessed smiles and voices framed in passionate concern for America's future sustainability and viability in the world. I personally felt joy in my heart at the participants' commitment to the world's common good.
My videotape belongs to all the people and will be aired on Portland Community Media (formerly Portland Cable Access) this month, titled simply, 'Inside Vice President Cheney's Protest Fence.' Mr. Cheney unwittingly brought together the heart and soul of America inside that razor-wire fence. No wonder it must be caged.