I ride the MAX more than 10 times per week. I feel safer on MAX and TriMet buses than I do in anyone's car. I also feel safer than I did when I was driving my own car, more than eight years ago.
I feel safer than when I rode a bicycle in Portland.
Let's take each one in turn:
• Riding in someone's car: I never know another person's driving style.
Will they stop somewhere to have an alcoholic beverage - with me dependent on them for a ride home? Will they drive out of the way to my house on some errand? Do they tailgate other drivers?Do they bristle if I ask to see their license and insurance card? Give me MAX any day.
• Bicycling: Before I sold my bicycle, I interviewed a couple dozen gung-ho bicyclists. You know - young people who work in the bicycle shops, as well as some older bicyclists. All but one had been hit by a car at least once. I'll take MAX any day.
• Driving my own car: Besides the costs of driving and insurance, there is the issue of dodging other drivers, and having road rage directed at me for being a defensive driver.
I'll take the MAX or a bus any day.
And I do. Every day. In the extremely rare instances where I feel unsafe, I just get off and wait for the next train or bus.
One rider has little confidence in change
I myself have become burned out writing TriMet about problems on my almost daily trips on the MAX (Fear rides the MAX, Nov. 9).
I hope that because of the Portland Tribune's and Mayor Shane Bemis' efforts, this thing can be turned around.
I've lost count of how many times I've told myself I'm never riding the MAX again.
Of course, I keep going back because it meets my commuting needs so perfectly.
Except for the fear factor. If only the average working-class citizen like me could once again feel consistently safe on board and on the platforms. I'm almost driven to start carrying a handgun.
A security guard at my workplace tells me he will not ride the train anymore.
And even my own son, a high school senior, refuses to ride because of the intimidation he experienced on his first rides.
This is all anecdotal evidence, I know, but very typical of what I hear so often on board from total strangers.
There's so much that needs to change.
I want to be an optimist, but sad to say, I'm skeptical much will get accomplished after the hoopla dies down, as long as TriMet plays such a principal role in a holistic solution.
If only I could shed the nagging feeling it'll do everything it can to thwart real solutions.