February 2013 Open Thread

Is it groundhog day yet? Is it groundhog day yet? Is it groundhog day yet? Is it groundho….

Regardless of whether or not Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, ’tis time for another open thread.

  • Longtime Portland Transport reader, and former TriMet bus driver Al Margulies is the lead plaintiff in a pending class action suit against the agency. The suit alleges that TriMet does not, and has not, adequately compensated drivers for so-called “start-end time”; time spend traveling between the start and end of their shifts, when their last route ends somewhere other than where their first route starts. TriMet is required to pay for this time–drivers remain on the clock until they get back to wherever their shift started. The suit alleges that when runs are late, TriMet pays based on scheduled time rather than actual time, does not adequately keep records to compute actual time, and makes it difficult for undercompensated drivers to make up the difference.
    Al has indicated that due to the legal process, he is unable to comment on the specifics of this case.
  • Portland mayor Charlie Hales is proposing dropping the YouthPass program, which was a source of some controversy last summer when former mayor Sam Adams strong-armed TriMet to keep the program in place. Apparently, the city’s contribution last year was from a one-time revenue source. A petition has been started to keep the program.
  • The new Clackamas County Commission is sending a letter to TriMet asking that PMLR stop at the county line; the report hints at further legal difficulties. The letter being drafted doesn’t make any demands, apparently–just a polite request. Of course, construction is proceeding in the county as I write this, none of the variants proposed in the FEIS (either the full line or the minimum operable segment) limit themselves to Multnomah County, and Clackamas County has already given TriMet their contribution to the project…
  • Metro with an interesting article on suburban transit. Getting suburban commuters out of cars can have significant environmental benefits–but the problem, of course, is that the development patterns in most of Portland’s suburbs are car-friendly and transit-hostile, and as a result, transit service outside the core is spotty.

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