Your Questions for Neil: The Cycle

It’s a bit late this year, but it is now time for the fourth installment of Portland Transport’s annual interview with TriMet general manager Neil McFarlane. (The previous installments–including introductory threads, and links to videos and transcripts, can be found at this Google search; I’m too lazy to link to all of it now…)

Anyway, the format is (mostly) the same: Readers are encouraged to submit questions here, and in the third week of April we’ll sit down with Neil and present a subset of the questions to him. The interview will only go for about an hour, so not all questions may be asked; in addition, the interviewer (Chris) may ask follow-ups. Tough questions are more than welcome; though all questions must be civil. Bob R. will video the interview session, and videos of the interviews will be posted here on Portland Transport. All relevant material will be kept, though some editing may be done to the video footage–in particular, questions may be organized into themes and presented in a different order than they actually occurred. Time permitting, transcripts will be prepared, though we may seek volunteers for some of the transcription work, and transcripts may not be posted simultaneously with the video.

I don’t know if Neil McFarlane reads the questions posted here beforehand, but assume he does–he has every right to do so and makes no pledge otherwise. This is one reason Chris will frequently ask follow-ups not posted here.

The floor is now open for your questions and suggestions.

48 Comments

48 Responses to Your Questions for Neil: The Cycle

  1. Andrew
    April 3, 2013 at 1:05 am Link

    I am curious if there are any updates about the streetcar realignment near SW 4th & Harrison? I recall that some addition to PSU was going up along with a double-tracking of this currently single-track section. It was also supposed to cut diagonally through the block instead of maintaining the tight curves it has now. What happened to all that, and will the project ever get done?

  2. Max
    April 3, 2013 at 1:41 am Link

    In response to the recent hiding of raises in the contingency fund fiasco, TriMet (Mary F) pledged to be more transparent.

    If TriMet is truly committed to transparency, why is TriMet unwilling to open labor negotiations to the public, as ATU 757 is requesting?

  3. chrisw443
    April 3, 2013 at 3:14 am Link

    Will trimet be investing in more hybrid buses in the future?

    What are the chances of retuning more bus lines to frequent service?

    What are your thoughts on charging a tiny fee for parking at park and rides?

  4. Anandakos
    April 3, 2013 at 9:21 am Link

    What are the current thoughts (not “plans” at this time, of course) about a long-term solution to Steel Bridge slowness and congestion?

    Are there any plans to make the westbound signaling system in the Robertson Tunnel more flexible? As it is now, it appears that a train leaving Goose Hollow must wait for a leader to clear the platform at Washington Park before departing.

    And lastly, why is the signal timing north of Lombard on the Yellow Line so inflexible? If a train gets slightly late in that section it has to stop for every red light to the next station.

  5. Bjorn Warloe
    April 3, 2013 at 10:03 am Link

    Why do even our frequent service bus routes stop before closing times for the bars. Trimet clearly recognizes the role of transit in helping to reduce drunk driving, but even on a holiday like new years eve when fares are waived we still see the system shut down so early that many intoxicated people can not use it as an option to get home. Has any consideration been giving to adding one more late run at least to the drinking holiday service or including other holidays like St. Patricks Day in the fare waiver program?

  6. Bjorn Warloe
    April 3, 2013 at 10:06 am Link

    Why do the service times for the red line to the airport not mirror the hours of operation for the airport. We made the investment to build the train to the airport, yet many people can’t use it because it either does not run early enough or late enough for their arrival/departure time.

  7. Andrew Seger
    April 3, 2013 at 11:19 am Link

    How will you address the democracy deficit at TriMet?

    Given the last ballot measure in 2010 failed and the city of Tigard and Clackamas County have both passed measures requiring a vote on any new rail projects it seems reasonable to conclude that many voters wish to have more of a direct say on some TriMet decisions. What is an appropriate role for direct democracy with regards to a transit system?

    With this new environment and TriMet’s need for increased revenue to restore or expand service what should TriMet do next time you ask voters for more money?

  8. EngineerScotty
    April 3, 2013 at 12:03 pm Link

    1) Relations between TriMet and ATU 757 have deteriorated significantly in the past five years. Both entities are currently waging PR campaigns against each other, negotiations are not occurring, and there is little trust or goodwill remaining between the two organizations. Beyond the possibility of total defeat for one side or the other–how do the two entities rebuild good relations? You’ve argued that TriMet cannot function well long-term with the current financial structure, but can the agency function long-term with a disgruntled workforce?

    2) Assuming all else remains equal, how will the opening of Milwaukie MAX affect service on other lines, particularly those not made redundant by the new light-rail line? Will increased service to Milwaukie be “paid for” by service cuts elsewhere, or will the opening of MLR actually free up busses and operators and permit increased service elsewhere in the system?

    3) TriMet’s primary purpose is as a transportation company, but it is frequently asked to do other things, by various levels of government–ranging from the social service mission of LIFT, to environmental and land-use outcomes. A specific complaint is that TriMet (and the region at large) is focusing too much resources on trying to attract middle-class suburban commuters out of their cars, and/or to stimulate development in areas which are otherwise unattractive to developers and lenders, and that these trends are causing the agency to neglect the needs of its riders who dependent on transit, and who are unable to easily choose to drive should service levels deteriorate. What should TriMet’s core mission be? To what extent is TriMet being burdened by inappropriate or unfunded mandates?

    4) BRT has been talked about lots in the Portland context, and has been considered for several projects (including the initial eastside MAX line as well as MLR), and is presently being discussed as a likely option for the Southwest Corridor–but none yet has been built in the Portland area. Why do you suppose that is?

  9. al m
    April 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm Link

    (ONE MORE TIME SCOTTY?)

    The man is on a public relations binge.
    Going all over having his ‘coffee with Neil’ nonsense and now this and who knows what else they have dreamed up for him.

    Those raises killed him and he thinks he is going to come back and be trusted he can forget it.

    There are no questions, we already know all the answers he will give.

    And his talk does not match his walk anyway so what’s the point.

  10. al m
    April 3, 2013 at 12:34 pm Link

    I changed my mind, I do have a question.
    Ask him why he refuses to to follow the lawful orders issued by the ERB to reimburse his employees for his illegal imposition of health care costs.

  11. Lane Jensen
    April 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm Link

    Please ask Neil when he plans to stop giving himself and every non-union manager raises and restore the Line 12 from Sherwood to Gresham.

  12. Lane Jensen
    April 3, 2013 at 1:13 pm Link

    Please ask Neil when he plans to stop giving himself and every non-union manager raises and restore the Line 12 from Sherwood to Gresham.

  13. Reza
    April 3, 2013 at 2:17 pm Link

    Bjorn Warloe +1 to both questions

    1) What is the role of the streetcar (NS line specifically) in TriMet’s perspective? Is it merely for economic development and tourism like what the City of Portland and Portland Streetcar Inc. seems to think? Or is it meant to serve a legitimate transportation purpose? If it’s mostly for economic development, why did TriMet decide to decimate NW/Pearl bus service and force many people onto the streetcar, which does not even access the transit mall?

    2) Explain how the Division/Powell HCT project will resemble true, frequent, reliable, dedicated-lane (or separated) Bus Rapid Transit and not just a rapid bus project in mixed traffic from Downtown to I-205. Is converting auto lanes to bus lanes on the table for Powell? If not, please stop the diluting the term “BRT” anymore than it has in this country.

    3) Does TriMet believe that 17-minute “Frequent Service” headways is adequate to support a “no-car” lifestyle for someone who doesn’t ride a bike frequently. Do the current service patterns support no-parking apartments on Division, Williams, Fremont, etc. without resulting in new tenants parking their private vehicles on the street at public expense?

  14. Jason McHuff
    April 3, 2013 at 11:44 pm Link

    -The 1st question is really a Streetcar question and not a TriMet one. Someone else here (ahem) could better answer, but I believe the holdups are funding and/or the cancellation of the Oregon Sustainability Center which was to go onto that block.

    -“If TriMet is truly committed to transparency, why is TriMet unwilling to open labor negotiations to the public, as ATU 757 is requesting?” is a good one

    -TriMet is supposed to be getting some “good repair” money and used it to bring Steel Bridge speeds up to 15 MPH

    -Regarding Interstate signal loss, how often does that happen?

    -They’ve argued that few people rode the extra NYE bus trips when they ran

    -Regarding Airport MAX, there needs to be a shutdown for maintenance, but they could run bus service if they really wanted to.

  15. ROADKING
    April 5, 2013 at 2:05 pm Link

    How could you build the PMLR when knowing full well that the majority of Clackamas County residents did not want it—basically forcing 19th. century technology down our throats?

  16. Allan
    April 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm Link

    hyperbolic much? Only by doing it the expensive way and not reducing auto capacity.

  17. bjcefola
    April 6, 2013 at 7:32 pm Link

    It’s been suggested that a factor behind union health care costs is that workers are getting injured on the job but not receiving care through the Workers Comp system.

    Has Trimet done any kind of study of WC claims against experience from other transit agencies? How does Trimet’s claims frequency compare? How would you describe safety and loss control efforts?

  18. Anandakos
    April 7, 2013 at 1:42 am Link

    @Jason,

    It certainly doesn’t happen frequently, because there aren’t that many passengers getting on northbound at Lombard TC or southbound at Kenton. It happens when a runner grabs the door or someone holds it for a person using the ticket machine.

    It’s not something wrong with the signal timing; the operator has requested when s/he thinks it’s time to go but is then unable to leave the station. So the signal priority seems to “time out” just before the train gets to an intersection and the white vertical bar starts flashing far enough in advance that the driver doesn’t “run” the light. Correctly, of course.

    When it does happen it then means a stop of about 30 seconds at each of three lights for trivial little crossing streets that have almost no traffic — well, Fenwick has some….

    The point is that the lights ought to be rigged so that they operate like the gates on the westside: when the train approaches they start flashing and go down until the train passes.

    Since there is essentially no cross-traffic short of Lombard (which does have train-actuated priority), there’s no reason ever, except something going wrong with Tri-Met operations itself, to make a train stop.

  19. Anandakos
    April 7, 2013 at 1:59 am Link

    @Road”King”,

    I doubt you’ll get that particular loaded question included in the list. There are valid questions about the loads PMLR will carry and the savings it will generate versus bus operation, but insulting a GM who didn’t even participate in the negotiations isn’t really a great way to get heard.

    When the agreements were signed the Clackamas County council ratified them unanimously but for one vote. Actually, as several folks have posted here on PT, after the defeat of the North-South line, Tri-Met’s original proposal was for BRT but Milwaukie and Clackamas County requested that LRT be “added back” to the list of options.

    So how exactly was Tri-Met supposed to intuit that “Really now, the good burgers [spelling deliberate] of Clackamas County don’t actually want the system to which their elected representatives just agreed?”

  20. ROADKING
    April 8, 2013 at 11:11 am Link

    @Anandakos

    I doubt you’ll ever produce any evidence that the people of Milwaukie and Clackamas County requested “Blight Rail” be added back. How about some names?

    That was an invented excuse and it was mostly SE Portland residents who whined about light rail being dropped from consideration in Clackamas County.

    As for the loads PMLR will carry there will be barely (if that) than the current buses that will be truncated to force riders to transfer to finish their ride to Portland.

    The savings is a nasty dishonest concoction, never documented, which ignores all sorts of costs including TriMet millions per year from their own operations revenue used for debt servicing light rail. Costs for the many subsequent major changes, upgrades and maintenance are excluded as well.

    All along the way TriMet, Metro and Clackamas County commissioners knew the people of Clackamas County did not want light rail. For good reasons. They have seen what it is and means. And it isn’t your fantasy or the brochure version.

    The conspiracy to rig the process to force unwanted light rail upon communities was as real as it is today with the CRC in Clark County and the SW corridor with all the same tactics.

    It’s despicable and is ripping off tax revenue paid for other purposes.

    TriMet’s financial mess is being made worse with their bonding against operations. There are no “savings” to be had that will ever bail out the bankrupt agency or return and expand bus service.

    Anyone supporting the high cost of forcing unwanted “BLIGHT RAIL” upon communities who do not want it share the responsibility for TriMet’s demise.

  21. Anandakos
    April 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm Link

    You may be correct that that most of the requests to add LRT back after the North-South defeat came from southeast Portland.

    Still, the Clackamas County council ratified the SDEIS and the Locally Preferred Alternative back in 2007/2008 with only one vote against. Either the voters weren’t paying attention or they turned against the system later, probably because of the recession.

    I agree that there are serious questions to be answered about the potential operational savings of such a relatively short line. But the duly elected representatives of the county signed on the dotted line. You owe your relatively measly portion of the construction costs.

    You can petition the legislature to leave Metro and Tri-Met if you’d like. They might even agree to let you go, and you’d “escape” the horror of a few million dollars a year for future Tri-Met operations costs. But you have to make the payments to which your representatives bound you.

  22. Erik H.
    April 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm Link

    1. Why has TriMet not purchased high capacity articulated or double-deck buses, despite many calls from the public – and many overcrowded buses? Why has TriMet refused to seek out all available funding (including from Metro, ODOT and the FTA) for bus enhancements but makes every effort to seek those funds for rail projects?

    2. Why has TriMet failed to keep up with its own bus stop investment plan, and failed to install adequate shelters and other amentities, while spending millions on just a couple of MAX stops?

    3. Why is TriMet continuing to maintain unnecessary departments – its Capital Projects, Marketing and I.T. departments – costing some $25 million a year to operate, but are neither core responsibilities of the agency, nor vital for the day to day operations of the agency?

    4. Why does TriMet continue to maintain a bloated staff for WES despite its outrageous cost? Why does WES need a Director, several Managers, and several supervisors – when we were sold a bill of goods that specifically stated TriMet would have exactly ONE employee working for WES? And given its sub-par ridership performance, why was the WES Director given a pay raise – not a pay cut?

    5. Since McFarlane knew of all of these problems when he was in the Capital Projects department, why has he taken zero steps to improve the bus system since he was named the General Manager?

    6. Why does TriMet have the oldest bus fleet of all major transit agencies in the nation?

    7. What is TriMet’s fleet replacement plan for the 1600 and 1900 series thirty foot buses – now well overdue for replacement – and the 1600s should have not only been replaced, but those buses themselves replaced.

    8. Why does TriMet feel the need to spend money on internal, non-operating expenses first before vital operating costs? What about the cost to move management offices downtown; the cost to refurbish Center Street; the cost to maintain an empty building at Ruby Junction (whose offices will end up at Center Street), the cost to replace internal fleet vehicles, the cost of new furniture, the cost of management pay raises – while riders continue to suffer on old buses, with less frequent service, and more transfers? To paraphrase McFarlane’s own words: Is TriMet a transit agency, or a management company?

  23. Lenny Anderson
    April 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm Link

    Aren’t some of TriMet’s new buses running out to Tigard? I was on a 72 Hybrid today…very bright and quiet, except the Op drove down Alberta too fast. I hear more are to come.
    re MLR, I expect that TriMet will insist that contracts be honored, politics notwithstanding. The courts will agree; Clackamas seems to have the money to run up a nice legal fee on this.
    I recall that on my first ride to Hillsboro on MAX in 1998 it dawned on me why Clark and Clackamas counties were and remain so hostile MAX. First class transit does really bring them closer to Portland and visa versa, and the latter makes them nervous. Fearing cities is a long and even honored American tradition, ill conceived as it may be.
    I am happy to have folks from those counties come to work in Portland, but I would rather they leave their cars at home. I wish we could levy at $5 entrance fee at the county line, but that is not allowed. But why not a $5 toll on the Sellwood Bridge with all of us who pay the annual bridge fee getting a “Free card.” And the Mayor has it right on the CRC (if it comes to pass), “no tolls?, no LRT?…no bridge!” Again $5 sound about right.

  24. Ron Swaren
    April 8, 2013 at 6:01 pm Link

    ” But why not a $5 toll on the Sellwood Bridge with all of us who pay the annual bridge fee getting a “Free card.” And the Mayor has it right on the CRC (if it comes to pass), “no tolls?, no LRT?…no bridge!” Again $5 sound about right.”

    Multnomah Co, already has $19/annual vehicle tax.(Truthful derogatory comment deleted by author).. The Kafoury Crime Machine determined that the Sellwood Bridge had to be a $300 million project no matter what. Guess what? The expert scientists say that our area DOES NOT have high seismic risk; that’s down near the California border. So the KCM scrapped the Conde McCullough historic design for the rusty coat hanger style because it’s oh so trendy with libs. Just like the trendy piece of rusty scrap metal across from MultCo Kremlin.

  25. dave
    April 8, 2013 at 10:24 pm Link

    Aren’t some of TriMet’s new buses running out to Tigard?

    Are you serious? Come on out to Tigard and find out the ugly truth. TriMet is hiding their dumpy old Gillig Phantoms out on the 94. My guess is that TriMet sends them out on that route so that they have plenty of shinny new buses on routes that directly serve in Portland. It makes the public think they have more new buses than they do. i can’t tell you how often I see these buses broken down on the side of Pacific Hwy.

    I am happy to have folks from those counties come to work in Portland, but I would rather they leave their cars at home.

    It’s pretty tough to get to a job on Swan Island without a car. From the freeway like 8 lane wide freeway entrance to the island…to the sidewalks on only one side of the street. Sounds like a transit oasis!

  26. al m
    April 8, 2013 at 11:46 pm Link

    Another question from the peanut gallery.

    Ask Neil how much money the bus to cost and how many Trimet staff went to Salem (this coming Wednesday) to lobby the legislatures to get rid of binding arbitration.

    (I secretly hope he gets what he wants)

  27. al m
    April 8, 2013 at 11:48 pm Link

    (you know what I mean)

  28. Cameron J
    April 9, 2013 at 8:49 am Link

    Does public funds (fare box return, tax money) go to fund press releases from TriMet’s behalf, mainly efforts to talk about the union in the news? And do those funds also cover the costs of TriMet’s efforts to send people to Salem to protest against the union? If not, where do those funds come from? Personally I’m against being forced to fund TriMet’s efforts to bust the union due to my being lower income and transit dependent, but maybe it’s not what I think it is.

    Another question: I’m sincerely curious, why does TriMet prioritize the upper echelon of management more than its riders? I’ve been told that drivers have gotten raises, however, these are Cost-of-Living raises that adjust with inflation. Not only do TriMet executives make more than enough to scrape by, but their raises and bonuses were not only a misuse of contingency, but they were more than the standard COLA rate. Why does TriMet feel a need to prioritize the rich over the poor? I’m not being antagonistic, I’m deeply curious as to what his answer is, because it’s really what the question boils down to.

    Also, TriMet uses the union as leverage to any plans they have to restore service, improve amenities and level fares, and as the warning against riders that they’ll suffer more if the union wins. What exactly can we see if the union wins and they don’t face further cuts to their health care? How much of the blowback will be born by riders and how much will be born by executives?

  29. Lenny Anderson
    April 9, 2013 at 5:07 pm Link

    Swan Island is 8-12 minutes from four MAX lines, Streetcar and 5 bus lines via the 85 Swan Island(now low-floor!) Runs all day; Evening Shuttle runs until midnight. 72 Killingworth/82nd AVe., a FS line, runs to Swan Island as well, connecting to lots of bus lines and the MAX Yellow Line.
    SW Corridor is most difficult as there is no MAX line as yet and the 12 does not go to RQTC so an extra transfer is needed. So yes, if you choose to live in Tigard and work on Swan Island, transit is a challenge, but doable. We have riders who come in from Canby!

  30. Jason McHuff
    April 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm Link

    Why has TriMet refused to seek out all available funding (including from Metro, ODOT and the FTA)

    What evidence do you have of that?

    while spending millions on just a couple of MAX stops?

    What portion of that came from TriMet itself and not outside sources?

    unnecessary departments

    How are IT and Marketing “unnecessary” given the amount of technology TriMet has, and given that Marketing includes Customer Service and other functions that encourage and help people use the system?

    the oldest bus fleet of all major transit agencies in the nation

    Are you sure it’s “the oldest”? In any case, TriMet is now aggressively working on getting new buses. In fact, the largest single-series order since 1999 is due to start arriving next month.

    fleet replacement plan for the 1600 and 1900 series thirty foot buses

    The information I’ve seen said that replacement will happen this year or next (though it wouldn’t hurt asking for a clarification/update on that).

    What about the cost to move management offices downtown; the cost to refurbish Center Street

    These costs are being paid for by the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project. In addition, they will create efficiencies by:
    -having everybody (including the General Manger) in cubicles that take up less space
    -having employees being located together instead of in different buildings
    -eliminating leased space including on Holiday Street and in a building that needed to be demolished
    -being located closer to other government agencies with which the district interacts with
    -having certain functions/people be located centrally in the region instead of out in Gresham.

    And the Center Street building is in need of upgrades.

    the cost to maintain an empty building at Ruby Junction (whose offices will end up at Center Street)

    How do you know an entire building will be completely empty after the move, and that any areas will not be used for backup or other functions?

  31. Erik H.
    April 9, 2013 at 10:08 pm Link

    April 9, 2013 5:23 PM
    Jason McHuff Says:

    Funny.

    Your Questions for Neil: The Cycle

    It’s a bit late this year, but it is now time for the fourth installment of Portland Transport’s annual interview with TriMet general manager Neil McFarlane. (The previous installments–including introductory threads, and links to videos and transcripts, can be found at this Google search; I’m too lazy to link to all of it now…)

    Anyway, the format is (mostly) the same: Readers are encouraged to submit questions here, and in the third week of April we’ll sit down with Neil and present a subset of the questions to him

    I never knew that Jason McHuff was:

    1. Self-appointed moderator,
    2. Self-appointed question cleared,
    3. Neil McFarlane,
    4. An employee of TriMet,
    5. Asked to respond to anyone’s questions

    And not to mention, why Jason McHuff continues to seek me out and harass me in multiple forums because Jason McHuff has a personal vendetta against me and which serves ZERO purpose for furthering this forum, any other forum, or the goals of improving public transit in our region.

    But I guess any question I want answered, I am not allowed to ask, which is ironically the point of asking the question…because Jason McHuff sees to it himself to disavow any question I would like to have asked, because Jason McHuff feels that he is a bonafide representative of TriMet as well as a Moderator to determine which questions may or may not be asked of anyone. And Jason McHuff is now deciding that questions I would like answered, I am supposed to have the answers to (which defeats this entire exercise).

    So, given this is a moderated forum, why is Jason McHuff allowed to publicly discredit me in a targeted manner?

  32. Chris Smith
    April 9, 2013 at 10:31 pm Link

    Erik,

    There is no question that Jason has questioned your assertions. That kind of debate is part of what this site is for, the exchange of ideas and information.

    He has NOT called you out by name as you are doing in the prior comment, or questioned your motivations (only your facts and ideas).

    Play by the rules.

    Thank you.

  33. John Sporseen
    April 10, 2013 at 8:33 am Link

    The old P&W line right of way that parallels is owned by ODOT Rail. Has it ever been considered as an extension of the Red Line with a transit facility at CP and Hwy 26. As it appears to me this would take pressure off the Sunset Transit Center. I am certain that I know two of the answers, lack of money and simply not on the radar. I know one person that would have used it numerous times in the past, ME.

  34. John Sporseen
    April 10, 2013 at 8:38 am Link

    The old P&W line right of way that parallels Cornelius Pass Rd is owned by ODOT Rail. Has it ever been considered as an extension of the Red Line with a transit facility at CP and Hwy 26. As it appears to me this would take pressure off the Sunset Transit Center. I am certain that I know two of the answers, lack of money and simply not on the radar. I know one person that would have used it numerous times in the past, ME. I have made this suggestion a number of times over the years and the only person who ever bothered responding was Bob Melbo and, to be truthful, his comments were positive although there was nothing he could do.

  35. michael_pdx
    April 10, 2013 at 12:01 pm Link

    A little surprised no one’s asked this yet…

    Any thoughts on a realistic approach to improve TriMet’s frequency and utility in the suburbs?

    The more detailed version –

    1) Given the widespread recognition of gaps in service outside the central city (e.g. few & limited north-south rides on the eastside, and suburb-to-suburb connections on the west and south sides), which really hamper suburban residents’ access to jobs and services and make a car-free or car-light lifestyle for those folks a real challenge, and

    2) Given much-detailed resource constraints

    … is there any foreseeable path to improving service? Given the massive value TM delivers to the metro region, is there no appetite to even float the idea of increasing the payroll tax? Or VMT or some other revenue source?

    Yeah, I went there. Warts and all (and no doubt there’s room to contain some costs), I think TM needs much more revenue to provide adequate service to the whole metro area.

  36. michael_pdx
    April 10, 2013 at 12:10 pm Link

    Not a question for NM, but for some of the commenters:

    Why in the world would you think public negotiations with the union will help anything you hold dear?

    Maybe I’m missing something but this seems completely off-base to me. Since when does anybody anywhere negotiate critical things in public?

    Successful negotiations require developing some trust and flexibility on both sides, neither of which are helped at all by being done in real time in the open. Accountability comes from the fact that both sides have to sell the result to their stakeholders.

    That may not seem perfect, but it sounds better to me than a public environment where trolls and cranks shout down people who disagree with them….

  37. dave
    April 10, 2013 at 4:25 pm Link

    Are there plans to fix the awful seating configuration on type 4 max vehicles with the layout proposed for the type 5 vehicles?

  38. al m
    April 10, 2013 at 6:48 pm Link

    Successful negotiations require developing some trust and flexibility on both sides, neither of which are helped at all by being done in real time in the open

    ~~~~> Baloney Michael, pure baloney. This is tax payer funded business and it should always have been out in the open. We need to end this ‘smoke filled’ room nonsense when it comes to our government!
    No more secret anything!

    That may not seem perfect, but it sounds better to me than a public environment where trolls and cranks shout down people who disagree with them….

    ~~~>Are you turning fanatic on me Michael? Obviously there would be rules that won’t allow any interference from the observers strictly enforced.
    I suggested that they bar the public but film the proceedings and post them publicly

  39. al m
    April 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm Link

    I think TM needs much more revenue to provide adequate service to the whole metro area.

    Either that or just get rid of benefits for union workers, its all the rage worldwide.

    It’s All About Resistance | Dissident Voice

  40. Jason McHuff
    April 10, 2013 at 7:22 pm Link

    Regarding the Type 5 MAX vehicles, this is what TriMet says about them.

  41. al m
    April 10, 2013 at 8:35 pm Link

    It appears that the union is CAVING all of a sudden.
    I wonder what this is all about.

  42. Anandakos
    April 10, 2013 at 11:24 pm Link

    The Type 4 air-conditioning system was originally designed for “peak performance” (100-degree temperature and full passenger loads).

    Hmmm; I guess they forgot to include a dial?

  43. dave
    April 11, 2013 at 8:38 am Link

    Regarding the Type 5 MAX vehicles, this is what TriMet says about them.

    You missed the point of my question. Can the seating improvements be moved over to the Type 4 trains?

    Moving seats around isn’t that big of a deal. Heck, I remember in the ’80s TriMet would test different seating configurations on their buses. There was one bus that had no traditional rows, rather all of the seats were up against the windows, leaving plenty of room for people to stand.

  44. Dan L.
    April 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm Link

    I’ve be wondering why TriMet won’t add more standing capacity to some buses that run rush-hour only? It seems like if they took out one of the bucket seats or both on either side of the aisle we’d have more standing capacity.

    It would certainly make things more comfortable on a packed bus where people are frequently boarding and exiting, not express service but heavily used frequent service lines.

    This wouldn’t be that big of a modification and if the buses we’re rush-hour only I think people might not be so upset not getting a seat if it means not feeling like a sardine.

    More of the seating could be designated as priority seating only so older and people with disabilities can still find a seat more quickly.

  45. al m
    April 11, 2013 at 1:12 pm Link

    Hmmm; I guess they forgot to include a dial?

    ~~>LOL!LOL!

    You have to remember the people that buy and design these things never actually use any of it.

  46. Erik H.
    April 12, 2013 at 7:24 am Link

    There is no question that Jason has questioned your assertions. That kind of debate is part of what this site is for, the exchange of ideas and information.

    He has NOT called you out by name as you are doing in the prior comment, or questioned your motivations (only your facts and ideas).

    Play by the rules.

    Chris, let’s review those rules:

    Constructive disagreement is welcome, but simply repeating your disagreement is not. If your disagreement is simply to protest our point of view, you should find another outlet for your views.

    Jason McHuff has repeatedly repeated his disagreement with me expressing my viewpoints and has targeted me personally. He has failed to actually address any of my viewpoints and instead criticized me. He quotes MY statements so even if not using my name, is using my statements that can be directly traced back to me and me only.

    Passion and robust debate about ideas are what Portland Transport is about. Passion directed at individuals is not, and will be deleted promptly. Please confine your remarks to policy, opinion and data.

    CLEAR violation by Jason McHuff – by showing his “passion” directed at individuals (me). He has failed to make remarks to policy, opinion and data.

    While you are welcome to disagree, you are not welcome to be disagreeable. Please treat fellow participants with the respect you would give a guest in your home.

    Again, Jason McHuff has repeatedly shown to be disagreeable to me personally. He does not treat any other commenter on this board with the same level of disrespect as he repeatedly and continually displays publicly to me.

    Please stay on topic.

    The topic is questions for Neil McFarlane, not an attack thread.

    So, again, Chris Smith, MODERATOR – I have demonstrated that said person has attacked me, and now you are suggesting I am breaking the rules – YOUR rules – that show otherwise. So again I am going to ask that you do your role to ensure this is a fair and transparent process or once again you will show your true colors of this forum being a place where anyone opposed to the “Portlandtransport.com” View (i.e. full support of streetcars, light rail, and the TriMet/Metro/City of Portland opinion) is a target for personal attacks and vendettas.

    And it should be known, Mr. McHuff has been warned elsewhere to stop attacking me. Does this forum allow cyberbullying? It appears so.

  47. Douglas K
    April 12, 2013 at 8:20 am Link

    “Cyberbullying”? “Personal attacks”? “Vendettas”?

    Hyperbole much? NOTHING Jason wrote in response to your proposed questions to McFarlane came anywhere close to any of those things. His response to your post asked reasonable questions and made reasonable points. You’re the one who went ballistic over having your points questioned/challenged.

  48. Chris Smith
    April 12, 2013 at 9:34 am Link

    I’m going to suggest that Erik and Jason go out for a beer and work out their differences. Let’s all keep it civil here please.

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