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Thoughts on TriMet and a personal message from ‘Al M’

Posted by on June 18th, 2010 at 9:36 am

If you haven’t been following along in the coverage and comments (nearly 300 of them) about TriMet in the last few days, let me try and bring you up to speed.

On Monday, I reported about a collision between a bike and a bus on Hawthorne. A guy on a bike claimed a bus came from behind him and squeezed him into a parked car. Coincidentally, I had just heard from two readers with complaints about TriMet bus operators. With all of this in mind, I published a story the next day outlining stories of three “aggressive TriMet bus operators” (note the new and improved headline).

Yesterday, TriMet released onboard video that showed the man riding his bike on Hawthorne was clearly at fault for the collision and it didn’t happen quite as he recalled initially.

In the comments of both stories I was accused of jumping to conclusions without the facts and of unfair reporting about TriMet operators. I heard the feedback, I acknowledged that I could have been a bit more careful with word choices, and I engaged in comments with people who were critical of my work.

Just to make it clear. I have never lumped all TriMet operators together, nor do I have any resentment of them personally. However, I remain concerned about how some operators behave around people on bikes and the policies and training that influence that behavior. That’s just my job, and until bus/bike interaction is as perfect as it can be, I’ll remain concerned about it.

Hopefully all my readers at TriMet understand where I’m coming from and will continue to visit this site with an open mind, knowing that my goal is to make things better, not rile up anger and divide us.

On that note, I wanted to give the last word to Al M. Al is a TriMet bus operator who authors the Rantings of a Bus Driver from Portland Oregon blog and who commented several times in the last few days. He made a video statement just for BikePortland.org, which I’ve embedded below:

Thanks Al, I don’t agree with everything you say, but I hear it and it informs my work going forward. Also, thanks to “trimet chick,” all my friends at TriMet, and everyone who has been involved in this discussion.

Whether you drive a bus, ride a bike, or publish a blog, it’s impossible to be perfect all the time. But if we can maintain a productive dialogue, be open to criticism, and then learn from it, things will get better.

Maybe I should host a TriMet-themed Get Together event so we can air all this stuff out face-to-face? Until then, see you on the streets.

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Comments
  • bahueh June 18, 2010 at 9:42 am

    you should definitely host something like that and post the actualy results/dialogue of that discussion…
    if there are things riders can do around buses to make both parties happier, I would love to hear it…Al’s rants don’t quite reach the level of constructive criticism….and if TriMet drivers can hear the concerns of bike commuters, it may help them do their job more safely…

    as for the idiot on the bike…I’m guessing he still hasn’t learned any sort of lesson…and will probably continue to ride in such a way until his actions cause a more serious consequence…

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  • Dabby June 18, 2010 at 9:52 am

    As an ex messenger, I like to think I have spent much more time riding next to buses than most.

    As a result of this, I can safely say that many bus drivers will and do drive aggressively around cyclists, instead of carefully.

    I can also safely say that the situation of riding around a Tri Met bus has gotten worse, not better.

    Sadly, it has appeared to me that this is more of a majority problem than a minority one.

    Even the bus drivers themselves, (or at least a hundred of them) have admitted in writing that they cannot safely operate buses around cyclists.
    this was shown in the petition circulated in regards to the Rose Quarter changes.

    I cannot tell you the number of times that I have been run off the road, squeezed out of my lane, chased, honked and yelled at, etc. by irate bus drivers.
    These things have happened while being 100% in the lane, and in the right.

    Yet these drivers, when complained about, are protected by the union and Tri Met, and appear to be beyond reprimanding.

    I have been told before that the videos match my story, and that riders complained about the same incident I was involved in.

    Then to be told that I would hear no more about the incident to protect the driver.

    I believe fully at this point that each driver should be publicly held accountable for each incident, as any of us would.

    Tri Met has ruled our roads for too long. They over spend on new trains, while raising rates and cutting needed routes.

    They protect known aggressive drivers, and keep them on the road.

    While I do know that there are many good bus drivers out there, the fact is that it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch.

    Sadly, Tri Met has a few bushels of them….

    Screw Tri met and the great White Horse(or train) they rode in on…

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  • Shetha June 18, 2010 at 10:11 am

    I think it’s interesting that both the person who works for trimet (al m?) and that people on bicycles *both* believe that this is a bad situation. I believe there is a hole here to be filled by the company (trimet) to 1) train the drivers so that they have better understanding of protocol and more confidence on the road and 2) advocate for their employees when it is needed, and enforce punishment when necessary. Any amount of discussion we get into here won’t help that happen – it will be up to leadership within the company.

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  • Nipple June 18, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Jesus Christ, Al. If you’re that busy eating while you’re driving, you’re right. There WILL be accidents.

    Hang up the bun and talk.

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  • Joe June 18, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Why does Trimet not release other videos when drivers are clearly in the wrong?

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  • Carl June 18, 2010 at 10:18 am

    This video made me hungry.

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  • Marcus Griffith June 18, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Am I the only one who thinks operating a bus while giving an interview constitutes distracted driving?

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  • Andrew June 18, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Big fan of the TriMet Get Together idea, but could we do a two-parter? One on sharing the road, and one on finding a stable, long-term funding mechanism for TriMet?

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  • Vance Longwell June 18, 2010 at 10:39 am

    You’re a class-act Maus. I’ll give you that any day. This site, and the way it’s managed, is a gold-standard, plain and simple. Blogs are, in scope, all of the things the printing-press was combined with the pamphleteering movement of the later 18th century. This is virgin territory. I wish folks understood better the nads it takes to be out there doing the thing.

    The temptation to succumb to demagoguery is enormous, right? And where does Mr. Maus reside? Within the constrained, and tight-confines of, trying to do the right darn thing. It’s so easy to write from the heart, and with passion. It’s so not easy to be objective, and intellectually honest. It’s not easy to just give opponents a voice. It’s not easy to deal with the inherent negativity rampant within all of this. And most especially, it’s not easy watching so-called friends and fans, ditch you at the tiniest perception of a non-mistake.

    Vicious bastards.

    It just ain’t as easy as it looks. Mr. Maus has fairly mastered his craft, and still quite young. I hate his message, but it’s earnest, and just. I’m proud to have him in our community and feel a tremendous pride from the fact he writes this blog here. It’s easily one of the widest-read blogs around, of any kind, and he’s gifted Portland with the honors.

    Mr. Maus, despite a pile still steaming on the front-lawn, still gets it ‘righter’ than anybody, and Tri-Met bus operators, as a group, need an attitude adjustment. How does a ‘stranger’ in CYA-mode all of a sudden change all of this? Answer: It doesn’t.

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  • resopmok June 18, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Marcus, no, I agree with you fully as well. Al M, didn’t watch more than the first 30 seconds of your video since you were too rude to even stop eating before trying to talk to us.

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  • boneshaker June 18, 2010 at 10:41 am

    I always thought bikes & buses were more on the same side. We are both working to reduce the number of automobiles on the road, which, to me, more unites than divides us. Sure I’ve had my fair share of close calls with buses and tend to stay away from them as best I can. Just as with ever group of people there are some who play nicer with strangers than others. We have our fair share of cyclists who don’t play nice either, but by in large I think the TriMet bus operators are great drivers. I’d certainly prefer to ride near them than a garbage or yard debris truck.

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  • Vance Longwell June 18, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Dabby #2- Hi! Couldn’t agree with you more. I rode down here for 15 years, buses and cabbies are a real problem; and have only gotten worse.

    I have a different take on the ‘why’ though. One thing that never gets mentioned when we’re discussing how Tri-Met enforces policy, and reacts to complaints, is frivolous complaints.

    Can you imagine? Everybody with the tiniest beef complains. Certainly, many lie. So, as a company, as an entity, how does Tri-Met filter out frivolous complaints from legitimate ones? There-in lies the rub, IMO.

    See, I’m convinced Tri-Met just ignores people’s complaints, and this is supported by drivers only looking to protect their working conditions. They have every incentive to NOT respond to complaints. Add to this that, dare I say, most customer/citizen complaints prove to be false. Check out what JUST happened, right?

    So, here we have incentive to ignore complaints, combined with the reality that most complaints are probably frivolous.

    This doesn’t bode well for anybody interested in upsetting the status-quo. The union, and the bureaucracy, then work as fuel for the fire, in the flames of which, change burns to death. The result: Tri-Met can’t enforce serious policy ’cause of the union, and it’s in the driver’s best interest to keep calling the shots.

    I love unions. I hate having to say it, but that union needs to burn. Or grow a conscience, which I won’t be holding my breath for. As a group, and in general, just look at Al M and his little gang for Pete’s sake, Tri-Met bus drivers are the worst! And that’s really saying something because our cabbies are horrible as well.

    If driving a bus blows, feel free to find another job, right? I hate drug-testing. Have since day-one. I won’t work for anybody who does it. Do you have any idea what that does to my professional life? The snide advice I’m given is, “Don’t like it, work somewhere else.”, right? Which is unrealistic on the border of irrational, ’cause EVERYBODY drug-tests, right? I’ve made what you call a ‘sacrifice’ to live my principles.

    Well, it’s the same kind o deal with any job. Don’t like it, find another one. This thing where you just bend, shape, and mold it, into something that suits you is selfish. See: I’m ready to sacrifice so the majority may have their little drug-tests. So, why can’t you get a new job, rather than hide behind the union, and offer up bad-service, and endanger the lives of, the very people whom pay your salary. Given of course that I’m right in my speculation about the source of the problem being a bad-attitude precipitated by crappy working conditions.

    So, I’m serious when I say, “Don’t like driving buses, then find a new job.”. And I’m not even being snide, or facetious, either one. That’s a clunky point, logically, but it works out if you read it enough.

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  • peejay June 18, 2010 at 11:53 am

    I agree that bikes and buses are (or should be) on the same side. We’re both invested in making our roads better serve PEOPLE, not the vested interests of several powerful industries.

    Following from that logic, most drivers are on the same side as us, as well. They want what we want; they just can’t make the connection between their transit habits and the damage they cause. I was one of these drivers until just a few short years ago. I firmly believed in urban density, opposed suburban sprawl, and enjoyed only neighborhoods with actual street life, yet I drove almost everywhere. Once I stopped that habit, I realized what all that driving does, and how it worked against what I believed in.

    For me, it took the personal experience of cycling to connect the dots. It took a sense of investment. So, yes, I believe that dialog — if ongoing and not a one-time event — could help bridge this divide we have between cyclists and bus drivers.

    Please do this, Jonathan! (I realize how much you have on your plate, so maybe someone else could step up and organize.)

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  • naomi June 18, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    No way around it, the bus driver in the above video is spot on. The cyclist lied, and in the process some questionable verbiage was used in a headline on this website. Sometimes it’s bicyclists who have the lesson to be learned.

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  • John June 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Good coverage of this issue. Just a reminder to everyone that when you see a bus do something wrong or right. Remember the bus number, general location and approx time. Then write Trimet about it.

    While I haven’t written Trimet about any bad behavior, I have written them good comments about the drivers that have given me extra room, made sure I was clear of the lane before pulling over, etc.

    Good comments to trimet are as good as bad comments as they can help trimet track their drivers.

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  • Nick V June 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    I don’t normally like to judge people by appearance but this Al M needs to finish his breakfast, adjust his sunglasses against the blinding light of his computer screen, and get over himself. “You kicked sand in my face so I’m going to kick sand in your face.” Goodie. He looks old enough to be better than that.

    Jonathan, I think you do an outstanding job with this blog. I also think that TriMet bus drivers have a VERY difficult job. Finally, I do think that cyclist is an idiot for lying.

    It seems to me that both parties – Al M and the lying cyclist – are a bit too self-absorbed which contradicts what I think EVERYONE’S goal should be: Please remember that there are people on the road other than yourself. Be safe and be aware.

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  • matt picio June 18, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Vance (#8) – I’m not sure it’s so much “Tri-Met drivers” who need an attitude adjustment as “people”. Sure, there are bad bus drivers, but there are also bad cyclists, bad cops, bad taxi drivers, wait staff, civil service minions, and that annoying skinny dude at the DMV.

    The problem is we as a society have become a nation of over-priviliged spoiled individualists with no sense of community, decency, or consideration. Some might argue we always have been, and they might be right, or not. I believe that each person has a choice in any given situation to treat another human decently, or not. And frequently, we choose not to, and unfortunately we remember the negative interactions far longer than we do the positive ones.

    Everyone – at some point in the next week, stop what you’re doing, and go do something you enjoy. Relax a little bit and try not to think about all the stuff burdening your life. After that, the next time you interact with someone, be decent to them. (use whatever YOUR opinion of “decent” is) Even if they’re being a jerk. Maybe if enough of us start being decent to people who we feel don’t deserve it, some of that will get passed forward to the next person.

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  • Marcus Griffith June 18, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    In his “For BikePortland.org Revised” video, Allen Margulles, aka ‘Al M’; operator number #2387, conducts an interview for his personal blog while operating a Trimet bus in uniform and during his work shift (starts ~3:34 seconds into the video).

    I could care less if Margulles wants to blur the line between voicing his personal opinion and acting as a spokesperson for Trimet. I do very much care that Margulles appears clueless to the inherent risks associated with distracted driving. The irony of him engaging in unsafe driving while ranting about how safe he is around cyclists is one more thing Margulless was too distracted to notice.

    Adding to the steaming pile of irony is that recently Margulles was awarded a 14-year safe driving award and a few months ago attended (at Trimet’s expense) a defensive driving course.

    At this point, I am vested in knowing how will Trimet respond to video tape evidence (or would it be an admission?) of one of its driver’s engaging in unsafe driving? Out of curiosity, I am intrigued about how Trimet will respond to Margullles self-appointed stats as a Trimet spokesperson.

    For Future Reference:
    Concerned member of the public can report compliments or concerns about Trimet operators via Trimet’s online system at http://trimet.org/mailforms/comments_employee

    Or for more urgent matters, via phone, 503.238.7433.

    Of course, direct feedback can be provided to Margulles at his email address: alyourpalster@gmail.com

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  • Eric In Seattle June 18, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    it didn’t happen quite as he recalled initially.

    Johnathan, that’s quite charitable of you. It’s probably good policy at this point to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I’ll point out here that this might even possibly be a criminal act (falsifying a police report).

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  • AL M June 18, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    I am following all Trimet regulations,

    I AM NOT OPERATING ANY VIDEO OR AUDIO EQUIPMENT. Equipment is being operated by someone else.

    I am just doing my job, no distracted driving involved.

    What you see me doing in the video is what I do every single day on the job.

    Chatting with riders, etc.

    So get off your soap box and stop trying to make trouble for others.

    Second of all I have said, over a thousand times, I do not represent Trimet.

    I am a blogger, who blogs about transit, but local, national, and international.

    Of course I have a special interest in local transit issues.

    So your eagerness to have me “busted” is quite curious. I am a safe driver of 14 years, doing my job exactly as in the video’s. Camera on or not.

    I guess you hate bus drivers, or maybe you just hate me, whatever, I can’t help how you feel.

    Anyway Jonathan, I appreciate the post!

    Adios to BikePortland.org, until the next time!

    :-)

    ps: I was having dinner!

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  • AL M June 18, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    B801 Bus Operating Rules

    5. No audio or video device of any kind including headsets, wireless earpieces, and cellular phones, shall ever be used or visible while you are in the driver’s seat
    ———————————-

    The video device is not in my possession at all which means I am following all the rules.

    If they want to change the rules too:

    “NO PASSENGER MAY VIDEO OR AUDIO TAPE AN OPERATOR IN SERVICE”

    then we can re-visit this discussion.

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  • Tom June 18, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Is it time for some enforcement actions against UNSAFE cyclists?

    In the last couple of months, I have seen a spike in the number of unsafe acts by bicyclists. If I had not reacted quickly, I might have hit two different bicyclists who decided to pass another bike and suddenly moved into the traffic lane without first checking for oncoming cars. And there was another cyclist who started to turn left and then abruptly changed direction to turn right.

    The number of bad riders seems to be increasing. While I do not ride downtown or the other bus heavy streets, I have not witnessed bus drivers getting worse. Given my recent observations of numerous cyclists making sudden lane changes without checking for traffic, it is entirely logical that Tri met drivers want as much distance from cyclists as possible. The Trimet drivers are worried about a cyclist making a sudden move in front of them.

    I suspect that increased enforcement against UNSAFE bike riders (primarily bike riders who make sudden moves without checking for others who have the right of way) would reduce bike-motor vehicle, bike-pedestrian, and bike-bike accidents by a significant amount. While I am sure that some cyclists would be upset by this, a ticket is better than being killed.

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  • Tom June 18, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Also, the unsafe riders are creating negative perceptions of bikes, so reigning in unsafe riders helps maintain public support for bicycling.

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  • Amber Red June 18, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Al M: In the video you keep turning your head to look at the camera so yeah, you are being distracted while driving a bus.
    What you say in a Trimet’s uniform, in a Trimet bus while on Trimet’s clock easily comes off as speaking on behalf of Trimet.

    When you are in the driver’s seat, you are paid to drive the bus, not make podcasts.

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  • Josh Collins June 18, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Jonathan,

    Re: “I remain concerned about how some operators behave around people on bikes and the policies and training that influence that behavior.”

    I’m not sure that you’ve had the benefit of seeing our training programs or policies. I invite you to come in and sit with our bus training manager and me to look at our training materials and procedures specific to operating around bicyclists. We’d welcome your feedback, and I believe it would be helpful for your readers if you understood exactly how TriMet deals with the topic.

    Contact me if you are interested.

    Josh Collins
    TriMet Operations
    collinsj@trimet.org

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  • anthony June 18, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Tom, I have a sneaking suspicion that the “spike in the number of unsafe acts by bicyclists” is actually just a spike in the number of people riding their bikes. In addition to the overall increase in people choosing to ride bikes rather than use other forms of transportation, more specifically the weather has recently gotten nicer. To top it all off, it’s pedalpalooza, so there are more cyclists on rides, or coming from or going to rides, or even just engaging in the spirit of the thing and riding their bike more right now. With more cyclists on the road, their will be more unsafe cyclists on the road. It would be very surprising to me if there was somehow a spike ONLY in unsafe cyclists, rather than both safe AND unsafe cyclists (and even cyclists who are sometimes safe and sometimes not, because let’s face it, even some of us who consider ourselves safe do stupid things every once in a while).

    And unfortunately, I don’t think there’s much anyone can do about unsafe cyclists. There is more enforcement of the law with regard to cars, and yet, drivers do stupid things all of the time anyway. I think my point is, while I agree that enforcement IS a good thing, and better education for newer/less experienced cyclists would be a good idea as well, I think it would only do so much. As long as there are people who make poor or ignorant decisions, there will be cyclists, drivers, bus drivers, pedestrians, rickshaw drivers, etc. who make poor or ignorant decisions.

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  • bahueh June 18, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Josh (#25) do TriMet training programs encourage their drivers to produce pod-casts during their works shifts and distract themselves while eating? where does it fall with cell phone use and texting? all in the same category?

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  • BURR June 18, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I’d take with a large grain of salt any claims by motorists of unsafe cycling, because most motorists really don’t know the law as it applies to cyclists and are more than willing to believe, for example, that a cyclist legally taking the lane under ORS 814.430(2)(c) is practicing ‘unsafe cycling’.

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  • Barney June 18, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    We all come to BikePortland to get information. A lot of us come every day. Perhaps some come just to hang out in the comments section, but it would seem most come for the news first. If BikePortland was not a quality resource, we would stop coming. Al M would still be here, but everyone else would get our bike news elsewhere.

    The criticism Jonathan has gotten about this is excessive. I understand it sucks to be part of a group that gets criticized, especially if the criticism seems premature. But you know what, Trimet Bus Drivers? It only takes one of you to almost kill me for me to be extremely skeptical of the entire organization. That’s not some sort of messed-up prejudice, it’s self-preservation. There is DAILY evidence on the streets that there are aggressive busdrivers out there, so it’s really not a big deal that Jonathan called a few drivers aggressive.

    Journalism is not impartial. It is informed by the experiences of the person telling the story. That’s why I like BikePortland, because Jonathan tells stories like a cyclist who rides in the same city I do. He is also an extremely generous reporter, as evidenced by this post. He could be defiant and never consider how to do things better, but instead he constantly endeavors to improve the quality of the site, which can result in indulging the loudest complainers.

    He clearly wants to improve the conditions of cycling in Portland, and does more to accomplish that than all of us whiners on the message boards put together. Accountability is important, and it’s good that people write in to be critical when it’s necessary. But like I said, the criticism of this issue is over the top and excessive. So do him a favor and cut him some slack. Stop trying to ruin his weekend and let him do his job. It would be a shame if the quality of BikePortland worsened because instead of reporting, Jonathan had to spend all his time responding to the haters.

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  • mike June 18, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Burr, you are way off base. It is not hard to tell the difference between an unsafe cylist and one that gives a crap about people around them. If you want respect, follow the damn rules. If it is dark and you don’t have any lights, wear dark clothing, etc. it doesn’t matter if you are “taking the lane” you are still an idiot that needs to get off the road!!!!

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  • Steve B. June 18, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    I would welcome a forum that brings bus drivers, trimet decisionmakers, and active transportationists together.

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  • q'Tzal June 18, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    #25 Josh Collins
    When I was active duty military we had this policy foisted upon us: when confronted on any matters that related to the military, its operations and policies refer that person to your Public Affairs department. We were instructed not to make any public statements while in uniform unless authorized to do so.
    Al M has repeatedly stated that he is not representing Trimet but acts as if he is and people treat him as if he does represent Trimet. His demagoguery continues to pour gasoline on a fire rational people like Jonathan and yourself have been trying to put out.
    Perhaps Trimet should look in to instituting this sort of policy.
    As always thank you communicating with us in an OFFICIAL capacity.

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  • BURR June 18, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Mike #30 I ride with lights but there is no law saying what color clothes I must wear when I’m riding; and you certainly haven’t demonstrated that you know squat about the law as it applies to cyclists, it sounds to me like you’re one of those ‘I own this road’ motorists who thinks that cyclists should all be cowering in the gutter, riding on the sidewalk or on ‘some other road’.

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  • joel June 18, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Maybe I should host a TriMet-themed Get Together event so we can air all this stuff out face-to-face?

    absolutely. from personal experience, talking with bus drivers face-to-face in an off-the-street setting has been one of the most useful tools i have had in my years dealing with them as a cyclist on the road.

    and, as a current portland bike messenger, i would like to say that over the last 5 years here, my experiences with trimet drivers have been basically the exact opposite of dabbys. i really havent had any problem with them at all – but then, i have the advantage of having sat down at the table with muni/twu in san francisco for monthly meetings over the course of several years while i was working as a messenger there, and i daresay im probably a bit more understanding and observant of buses and their drivers than most, even those with as much traffic time as myself.

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  • mike June 18, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Uh Burr, I do ride a bike but I am also fortunate to own a car. Unlike you, I am able to see both sides clearly. In fact, I am commuting from work tonight and plan on being a rule following, courteous cyclist. Can you say the same for yourself?

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  • anthony June 18, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    mike and Burr, the incendiary tone does nothing to further the dialogue, and only serves to divide. we’re on the same side, no? so why are we fighting with each other?

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  • trimet chick June 18, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Did a little research this morning and found out that Trimet actually has an inhouse BICYCLE ADVOCATE for the community.

    Colin Maher
    maherc@trimet.org
    503-962-5854

    Problems, complaints, kudos, pony’s whatever. Give him a call or e-mail.

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  • Bruce June 18, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Marcus (#18) was spot on. It is not safe to drive a bus on a busy road while making a personal podcast.

    Trimet needs to deal with Al M’s video recorded stupidity quickly. If they don’t, I am sure lawyers in future lawsuits will reference this matter as proof that Trimet is negligent in dealing with unsafe drivers.

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  • Jerry_W June 18, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Al M said the same thing over and over, he said in 4 minutes what should have taken 30 seconds. Didn’t your Mother teach you any manners Al M??? If I was to eat and try to talk to someone on a video, my Mom would track me down and whip my ass! That was a pretty rude display, and if nothing else distracted from the message that you repeated over and over.

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  • Anonymous June 18, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    #27 bahueh: Our policies are specific about using electronic devices while operating a vehicle. Admittedly, we do not have a policy that explicitly addresses an employee being interviewed while driving and the potential for distraction that may be caused. Operators have to engage in conversation with customers routinely, informing them of what stops are coming, bus line transfers, directions and various other things. So that issue is not as cut and dry as prohibiting using a cell phone or holding a video camera.

    #32 q’Tzal: TriMet does have a blogging policy, and generally, Al follows it. So do a number of other employees who are active on blogs or twitter, and talk routinely about their experiences at TriMet. We support the free speech of our employees, even if they are questioning our decisions and policies—as long as they are clear that they are representing their opinion and not that of the agency. Your experiences in active service are much like my experiences in other government agencies, which predate the proliferation of blogs and social media. Governmental organizations, just like private corporations, have had to adapt and decide how the traditional “spokesperson” model can exist in a world with employees who blog. It’s tricky business for sure. In order to allow for conversation to happen, most organizations are having to become more comfortable with less control.

    Josh Collins
    TriMet Operations

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  • MIndful Cyclist June 18, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    I won’t argue whether or not Al is distracted or not. That is up for interpretation. I would like to know this: Is everyone on that bus aware that there is a video recorder going? Because I think it is very fair that people know that. Whenever I have gone to volunteer at the CCC and there are going to be cameras present, we are told that they are present and to let the coordinator know that no pictures of them are to be taken.

    While there is no law that prevents someone from taking a picture, I think people have a certain right to privacy. Just hope you don’t get a good shot of someone that finally got out of an abusive relationship and said abuser finds out what bus he or she takes.

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  • Vantuky Pride June 18, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    This is not Al M’s first video made while on the trimet clock. Going through Al M’s blog history shows tons of similar videos where he is driving a trimet bus while making podcasts. Guess he has no regards for public safety or actually getting work done.

    If I used my company work time to make a personal video, I’d get fired after the first time. Why is Trimet letting me keep doing it?

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  • Alex June 18, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Contained in Al M’s video archieves are inapprirote videos of trimet passengers. Al M himself, or one of his podcast crew, likes the zoom lens waaaaay too much. Look up the early 2010 and summer 2009 videos.

    rantingsofatrimetbusdriver.blogspot.com

    So what is trimet policey about employees making inappriote videos of unsusecpting passengers? Looks like Al M is multiple front liability for Trimet.

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  • Marcus Griffith June 19, 2010 at 12:57 am

    I am all for a meeting to discuss Trimet’s efforts to ensure safety, but as a person who has been singled out for slander and retaliation by a Trimet employee, can we address the concerns with that now infamous employee first as a sign of good faith?

    Issues at hand with Allen Margulles, aka Al M, author of “rantings of a Trimet bus driver” website:

    1) Safety concerns with distracted driving due to filming podcast while driving a bus on multiple occasions.

    2) His self-appointed status as a Trimet spokesperson.

    3) His disregard for Trimet filming rules ( located at http://www.portlandonline.com/mayor/?c=49431&a=304926 ).

    4) His unprofessional comments about the general public, his insults and accusations against Trimet General Manager Fred Hansen etc

    5) His public service ethics violations. After all, he is an employee of a public agency using his work time and equipment for his personal use.

    6)His documented history of his blog running amuck of Trimet’s polices in the past and his seemingly inability to correct his ongoing errors. Also includes Trimet’s apparent inability or unwillingness to rein in a rouge employee and unsafe driver.

    Any more I am missing?

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  • Vance Longwell June 19, 2010 at 8:05 am

    matt picio #17 – I appreciate the sentiment, I really do, and I think the position that it’s more an issue of human-nature has merit, but…

    Consider. I can observe a distinctly different pattern of driving ‘behavior’ engaged in by Tri-Met bus-drivers, than other humans exhibit. This behavior is observably different, even, from that of other commercially licensed vehicle operators. So, I believe these behaviors transcend mode. The counter point being, of course, that human-nature dictates these observable differences, and mode is then relevant.

    I just disagree, is all.

    Moreover, Tri-Met drivers get paid to operate their vehicles. This is the very definition of professional, right? And, in my opinion, professional drivers operate under a different onus than the rest of us. So, if human-nature were indeed our culprit, it shouldn’t be. Given that personal-transportation operators aren’t constrained by issues of professional conduct, then we again have a case where Tri-Met bus operators’ behavior is observably unique.

    Either way, human-nature, or a condition inherent in Tri-met bus operation, I believe it’s fairly safe to say that Tri-Met bus drivers follow a predictable pattern of behavior that is quite distinct from ‘the rest of us’.

    At which point my only question would be, “Why?”. If the common-thread were human nature we’d observe these behaviors in others, right? Alas, when we do, it’s usually an exception to the rule, as it were, and not an endemic, or pervasive, behavior. Since there’s an observably higher incidence of poor behavior among Tri-Met drivers I can only conclude that Tri-Met drivers are, in fact, more likely to exhibit poor driving behavior.

    Duly noted and all. But the underlying make-up of our control group is simply too distinct to ignore. The combination of relatively low-wages, union representation, special infrastructure, and a giant-sized Class-A vehicle, apparently turn ‘human-nature’ on it’s ear; and ultimately seems to be acting only as a catalyst for douchebaggery.

    In my opinion of course.

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  • Josh Collins June 19, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Customers and other TriMet employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy. I think it is fair to say that there are gaps in the policy when it comes to other people (non employees) filming and then providing that content to an employee for use. That will be addressed.

    Because there have been conduct questions here that we are obligated to follow up on as an employer, I will not be able to comment further on a specific employee’s conduct except to say that it is being investigated internally.

    Josh Collins
    TriMet Operations

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  • CommanderZ June 19, 2010 at 10:34 am

    First, Jonathon is a special gift to the Portland bike community: an advocate, but clear-thinking and honest. Buses freak me out when I’m riding, walking or driving. They serve a vital role in the transportation mix, but they are big, and potentially deadly. Driving a bus has to be an incredibly hard job. I want to live a long and healthy life. So I give them a wide berth no matter what means of travel I’m using. Anyone who takes excessive risks in a deadly serious situation like the incident on Hawthorne is foolish, and eventually their luck will run out. It’s curious why many people choose to ride unsafely, and/or not wear helmets, nor use lights, mirrors and reflective gear. Responsibility for one’s own safety and well-being should be more important than trying to take on TriMet, and point fingers at bus drivers. Yes, bus drivers have a responsibility to do their jobs safely, courteously and professionally. Some don’t. But, it’s like walking into a crosswalk without looking both ways; legally you can do it, but wouldn’t staying alive be more important than proving a point?

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  • Dabby June 19, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    “Because there have been conduct questions here that we are obligated to follow up on as an employer, I will not be able to comment further on a specific employee’s conduct except to say that it is being investigated internally.”

    This is exactly what we have been hearing for years………

    This is exactly what makes many suspect of the workings of Tri Met…..

    Joel and I do have a difference of opinion on the matter, but we also have different time frames of working on the streets of this town.

    He is very smart, so I believe his opinion on the “recent” bus matters could be a bit more perceptive than mine….

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  • Dabby June 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Also:
    “Customers and other TriMet employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

    Many “customers” are very quick to be shown, in videos released by Tri Met, to be caught in wrong doing, or having a complaint filed against them, and the process of investigation and punishment seems to be quite public.

    However, when it is a driver, and a complaint is filed, it immediately becomes a private matter.

    This is especially disheartening when complaints might involve a huge vehicle being used improperly.

    Can the Citizen’s Citation Initiative be used against a Tri Met driver?

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  • Marcus Griffith June 19, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    After been set to “private” Al M’s ranting of a Trimet bus driver blog is now open to the public again. Many of the alleged videos can’t not be found on the site anymore (did they exists or were they removed?). Anyways, Al M’s has now added to his list of attacks on his critics.

    I suspect he subscribes to the skunk theory–make a big enough stink and people will leave you alone no matter what you do. It seems to have worked for him so far.

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  • jackson June 19, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Dabby, 49

    “However, when it is a driver, and a complaint is filed, it immediately becomes a private matter.”

    Private until investigated. It then becomes public record.

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  • eli bishop June 19, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    when i saw al’s video interviewing other bus drivers about what should be done to bicyclists, my blood ran cold:

    http://rantingsofatrimetbusdriver.blogspot.com/2010/06/what-to-do-about-bicyclists-part-3.html

    i have had mostly neutral and some negative experiences with trimet bus drivers, but in general i still felt positively about the bus system. however, now that i don’t know which bus drivers might want to actively do me harm, it’s much more difficult to feel supportive.

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  • q'Tzal June 19, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Sure trying to have AL M removed as a bus driver is a laudable goal but for fun maybe someone familiar with Blogspot.com’s Terms of Service violation list can count up his violations (hate speech/incite to violence?) and forward that up to Blogspot.com admin.

    Yeah, I’m getting petty; don’t threaten my life.

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  • esther June 19, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    al also seems to lack an understanding of whom has the right of way, a bicycle going straight or a bus turning right.

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  • jackson June 20, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Cannot believe you revised it. Who he is is what we saw in the original video.

    I’m not interested in his message because his manner overrides it. He’s blatantly rude. Come on – he smacks his lips while eating and talking. Disgusting display. He also films himself going to the restroom. From the chest up but it’s more then clear. You can hear what he’s doing.

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  • ecohuman June 20, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    You were doing so well, Jonathan. Now, you’ve gone and made this story line about…Al M. I was partly convinced that you’d had a moment of honest reflection there, but this puts that in the can. You’re still equivocating about what you wrote.

    But it’s cause me to realize that I mistook your blog for something more than it was–a fairly reactionary, mostly one-sided view of an “issue”: bicycles.

    You had the opportunity to make a simple, one-time statement and own your own words and what they meant. Instead, you fell back on platitudes (“I just go with my gut”) and a cowardly judo move–shifting the focus to someone (and something) else altogether.

    Advocacy is fine; it’s not a dirty word. But that’s not what this is about.

    Let me put it another way: why did you go to the trouble to write this post? Because you felt treated unfairly? Seriously?

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  • eli bishop June 20, 2010 at 10:30 pm
  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 20, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    ecohuman,

    i don’t really understand where you’re coming from.

    I haven’t made this story line about Al M. I simply shared a video he made. I haven’t “shifted the focus”. I’m confused. Am I missing something.

    Oh, and by the way, speaking of advocacy, I might have some very exciting news to share in the next few days about this topic. Please stay tuned if you’d like to be part of working toward a better bike rider/bus operator future in Portland (seriously!).

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  • wsbob June 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    With dial-up, I can’t easily watch Al M’s video, …but I’ve read his comments here on bikeportland going back a couple years or so. Those comments range in the pseudo hostile bombastic outraged outrageous area of personal expression. Some of those comments are extreme in subject and criticism, which isn’t to say that they never touch accurately on reality.

    There seems to be a well established audience for that sort of obnoxious sophomoric behavior. I certainly wouldn’t want the world to be so staid and sober that guys like him couldn’t offer people a few laughs touched with a dose of reality. I never have read bikesnob much, but of what I have, he and this Al dude don’t seem that far unrelated from each other…or actually…from bikeportland’s own anti-hero longwell, except only one of the three apparently rides a bus.

    Next time I’m at a pc with cable connection, maybe I’ll think to take a look at notorious Al’s scarfin’ bus driver video. Really though, I’m more interested in stuff that deserves being taken seriously.

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  • wsbob June 20, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    D-o-o-h-h !!….correction: “…except only one of the three apparently drives a bus.

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  • kgb June 21, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Hi Al M.

    I just want to let you know I’m going to find your bus, I’m going to ride your bus and I’m going to film everything you do and say.

    I hope your on your best behavior.

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  • Body Paint Genius June 21, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Al M and his fellow anti-bike conspirators have just opened Trimet up to mega liability in any Trimet related collision. Its unbelievable that Trimet allows its employees to use work time and Trimet uniforms to film threats against cyclists.

    Maybe its Trimet’s way of saying how it really feels about sharing the road.

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  • Still Tired from WNBR June 21, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I don’t think Trimet is endorsing Al M, he just likes to waste work time making his podcasts. Al M is eating up this new found attention on his blog. Other than his bitterness towards Trimet, Fred Hansen, the media and cyclists, Al M also reveals in his apartment videos that he is noting more than an old lonely man with no one to talk to except his camera. Give him a break, his blog is the closest thing to a real relationship he has had in years.

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  • NoPo Slow Po June 21, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    How many other Trimet drivers share Al M’s seething hatred for cyclists? Ask yourself that next time you go near a Trimet bus. Me, I am sticking to non-bus routes from here on out. Better safe than Al M’ed to death.

    Gotta respect Al M. Not everyone has the balls to trash talk their boss on video. Right now, Fred Hansen is nothing more than Al M’s submissive cell mate. He keeps taking Al M gives him.

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  • jeff June 21, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Hey Al M – what route do you drive? I’d love to come for a ride.

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  • hxc June 21, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I was doubtful about Al M’s alleged inappropriate videos. Doubtful that was until I saw this video:

    http://amargul.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2007-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&updated-max=2008-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&max-results=28

    In the video, “Opportunities for women”, 12/15/2007, Al M talks about the career options for women. Ending with “ladies, here are your best options advertised right next to each other” and than he zooms to job ads for being a bus driver and being an adult ‘escort’.

    Does Al M really think a woman’s best option is to be abus driver or a hooker? WTF, no wonder he is okay with filming women however and whenever he wants.

    If someone ever told me or my daughter that being a hooker was even a career option, let alone the best option, I’d have some pointed things to say. Like +5 vorpal sword pointed..

    Al M, bad bus driver, even worse person

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  • Aghast! June 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    nothing against ladies who do a bit of escorting (tempted myself once or twice), but really? Women are so much more than the chauffeurs and play things of men!

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  • Viking Fun June 21, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Can we forget about Al M and focus on getting a serious discussion with Trimet about bike/ped safety issues? At best, Al M is a semi-official clown of Trimet, at worst he is just another Trimet related bike fatality waiting to happen.

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  • Marcus Griffith June 21, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Allen Margulles, aka ‘Al M’; Trimet operator number #2387, stated in one of his podcasts yesterday:

    “I am ready to go and face any music I have to face..its no big deal.. it doesn’t bother me, I will still blog.. there is no instance of distracted driver no matter how much Marcus Griffith wants to beat that drum… people sit in that seat all the time and I talk to them all the time… so sue me.”

    Allen Margulles than directed this question (via Portland Transport) to Neil McFarlane, incoming General Manager of Trimet.

    “What are you going to do to stop the continued deterioration and humiliation of your bus/rail operators by the failed public complaint system and the bloodthirsty reckless media.”

    Allen Margulles continues to behave as if it acceptable to simultaneous operate a Trimet bus while making his own personal podcast. I will continue to find that behavior unacceptable for a mass transit, or any motor vehicle, operator. Far too many lives depend on the safe operation of a Trimet bus for Margulles to rank his driving as a secondary task to his personal blog making. I view unsafe driving, esp of a full Trimet bus on a busy roadway, as an serious danger to all road users.

    His apparent distasteful opinions semi- endorsed by Trimet though Margulles use of his work uniform is a secondary matter, but one that is worth addressing.

    Refs:

    http://rantingsofatrimetbusdriver.blogspot.com/

    http://portlandtransport.com/archives/2010/06/your_questions.html#c736746

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  • Anna Szabo June 21, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Where are these videos of women that he’s taped riding the bus? I’ve been following this thread for a while now and as a woman who often rides the bus alone I want to see if I’ve ended up in any of them. Is there a link?

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  • jackson June 21, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    In between Al M’s links, YouTubes and all other anti-bicycling notices on his site he posted a link that said,

    “BICYCLIST RUN OVER AND KILLED BY BUS”.

    It’s no longer there. I took a picture and will send it to anyone who’s following through with Trimet.

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  • AL M June 22, 2010 at 1:18 am

    Look folks, I got a message from Marcus, can we all just drop all this mess please.

    I’ll get rid of all my stuff that you find offensive if you stop making me a target of your wrath!

    I NEVER WANTED A FIGHT WITH ANY OF YOU FOLKS!

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  • AL M June 22, 2010 at 2:07 am
  • Velophile in Exile June 22, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Al, I would like to personally thank you.

    Everyone who regularly rides on streets with TriMet busses has known for a long time that some TriMet drivers want to harm cyclists just for being on the road. But evidence of the actual malice has been missing until now.

    The information on your blog will make it much easier to win civil suits against TriMet drivers who intentionally attempt to harm cyclists, even if the Multnomah County DA continues to decline to apply the vehicle code to protect cyclists’ rights.

    I’m sure you have no idea how much liability you have exposed TriMet to. Although this will cause much brief for your bosses, this really is for the best. Ultimately, the information on your blog will help create safer roads for everyone in Portland.

    Seriously man, that is something you can be proud of. Best of luck to you in finding a new job.

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  • Ellen June 22, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Re: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWgjSKwMhEs&feature=player_embedded#!

    “Those videos were made for me. Some how people started watching this. I don’t know why.”

    I’ve been following this thread and haven’t wanted to respond until now.

    I drive a bus and commute by bike. I have not had any communication with Al directly or indirectly (for one year) since I discovered he secretly recorded a private conversation between him and I and then published it on his blog without my knowledge or consent. That act was the most shocking and unforgivable display of disrespect and contempt that anyone has ever bestowed upon me or anyone else that I know.

    What I know about people who video and audio tape others without their knowledge is that there is a whole lot more going on. And the thought of that send chills up my spine.

    You are your own worst enemy. Your choices are based on some convoluted theory that ’cause and effect’ doesn’t apply to you because you appear to no longer have the capacity to see how your behavior affects those that live their lives on the other side of your monitor.

    All of us vent. Cops vent with each other, firefighters vent with each other, Judges vent with each other, Waiters vent with each other, Bus Operators vent with each other…

    The Operators that you interviewed about bicyclists – DID YOU TELL THEM YOU WERE AUDIO/VIDEO TAPING THEM WITH THE SOLE INTENTION OF TAKING THEIR PRIVATE WORDS, THEIR PRIVATE VENT SOLELY ENTRUSTED TO YOU, TO A BICYCLE SPECIFIC SITE AND NOT ONLY EXPOSE THEM PUBLICLY BUT PUT BICYCLE ADVOCACY WITH BUSES BACK TO A PLACE WHERE CYCLISTS ARE IN FEAR OF SHARING THE ROADS? Al, did you do this to your co-workers, your union brothers?

    That would require a YES or NO answer.

    Anything at anyone’s expense regardless of the pain you cause just to create attention for yourself and you have the f*ucking audacity to wonder WHY “people started watching this…”

    FYI – bikes and buses only differ in size. We are one on the same path.

    Ellen

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  • al m June 22, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Ellen, everybody that has ever appeared in my video’s had granted permission, i EXPRESSLY ask since Trimet added that requirement.

    All the drivers on that video wanted to be heard, not all of them were sympathetic to the bicyclists.

    They don’t deserve to be heard Ellen?

    I say they do.

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  • Ellen June 22, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Answer the question Al. Did you tell them WHERE you were going to publish them?

    Yes or no

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  • jeff June 22, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Al M – What route do you drive? Why won’t you say? What are you afraid of?

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  • al m June 22, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Ellen;

    The answer is YES, they knew the comments would be on YOU TUBE.

    And in ordinary circumstances I would be happy to tell you, but there is too much hatred towards me right now to willingly invite anybody on my bus.

    Hell, for all I know some nut could shoot my ass over all this nonsense.

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  • al m June 22, 2010 at 11:34 am

    And it is nonsense.

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  • Ellen June 22, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Al, THIS IS YOUR LAST OPPORTUNITY TO TELL THE TRUTH. It will come out anyways when H.R. conducts their investigation.

    Did you tell the Operators you interviewed on your YouTube WHERE you were posting it?

    Yes or No.

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  • AL M June 22, 2010 at 11:48 am

    YES
    They are fully aware.

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  • AL M June 22, 2010 at 11:50 am

    And by the way Ellen, they would continue this conversation but I said no.

    Bus drivers I

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  • AL M June 22, 2010 at 11:52 am

    woops,

    as I was saying, bus drivers I know are tired of being beat up in the press and they are not sympathetic to bicyclists.

    Sorry to have to say that but its the truth.

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  • beelnite June 22, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Maybe this is final and food for thought. Some have asked me “why didn’t you report your incident.” And you know I’ve thought about it and here’s why:

    Because it happens. What I mean is – take a look at what TriMet drivers have to do all day every day. They HAVE to be aggressive downtown for sure – and on busy streets it is definitely a kill or be killed attitude. If they don’t get that bus moving and claim their space they’re going to get eaten alive by AUTOMOBILES.

    Check out the bus mall sometime – they’re used to coming inches from unyeilding and unrepentant pedestrians – they have no choice because many of us for some reason hug the curb on the mall.

    On the streets – how many times have you witnessed cars diving and speeding and trying to get around the bus by any means necessary – it’s a panic situation where auto drivers cause unsafe and unecessary stress for the bus. Many simply ignore the flashing yield.

    I guess I’ve come to the conclusion that asking a TriMet driver to ratchet down is like asking a NYC cabbie to put on his blinker and wait for someone to yield. So I forgive aggressiveness – but I certainly have no problem walking up to the window and reminding a fellow human to calm down. I consider it a reality check… sorta like getting resensitized to slower speeds after coming off a freeway.

    All that said – any implication that Jonathan Maus is a rabble rouser and contributor to TriMet bashing is ridiculous. Many have said it – Thanks JM for providing this forum and making the world a better, safer more connected place.

    Vive la Tour de Portlandia!

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  • AL M June 22, 2010 at 11:55 am

    And as far as I know, there is still free speech in this country and just because I am a Trimet bus driver I do not lose that right, even though many members of this blog want to penalize me for expressing myself.

    Trimet itself has no right to suppress my freedom of speech.

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  • beelnite June 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Al M – From where I sit in the saddle:

    It’s too bad many bus drivers have no sympathy for bicyclists, because it’s really obvious that most of us have sympathy for TriMet bus drivers. The organization seems to have pissed of quite a few folks, however.

    Someone said it earlier – aren’t we both sorta fighting the same battle here? Moving people – safely, environmentally, sustainably?

    I would add we’re also together in our “struggle” against an auto centric mentality where cars seem to rule the roads and have little to no patience for anything else (including other cars) on the roads.

    Al – We’ve both been put in risky situations I am sure by some Jackazz trying to save 3 seconds. I’m sure of it.

    So gang – What we gonna do to work together so we’re all safer?

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  • beelnite June 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    OK I swear I am not hijacking this thread – I just have a lot to say:

    I think a lot of bus drivers may think bicyclists “are the worst” because it’s more recognizable- and YES – UNIQUE.

    I feel that many may be decensitized to the atrocious behavior of autos because it’s just “the way it is.”

    I think that’s my final thought…

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  • eli bishop June 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    inflammatory speech is not always protected speech.

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  • Marcus Griffith June 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Al Margulies, aka, AL M, is no novice to causing drama for Trimet. Refer back to the issue with his alleged attempt to ban two girls kissing from Triment?

    http://blogtown.portlandmercury.com/2007/06/trimet_operator_removes_photo.php

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  • jeff June 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    #12?

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  • zagreus June 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Most TriMet bus drivers respect everyone using the roads. As Ellen said, we vent, but that does not mean that we bear ill will to anyone. If someone on a bike has a close call, I would wager that they vent as well. Some of the posters on this site generalize about “cagers,” just as others generalize about bikers.

    Having the right to free speech is something that I will always defend, even when I will not defend the wisdom of that speech. Free speech is the cornerstone of a free country, and censorship does more harm than good. Wise people consider the consequences of what they say or do, both for themselves and for others.

    I have known Ellen for over 8 years. She owns no car, is a full time cyclist, is safety conscious when operating a bus, and even she gets exasperated sometimes when someone does something to put himself or others in danger.

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  • Ellen June 22, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Re: Al M #76, 79, 80, 82.

    Al, I do not believe you.(#82) You avoided answering my question on #76, 79 and 80.

    If #83 and #84 were true then the Operators you showed on that YouTube would have followed you over to this blog and have had your back.

    You intentionally exploited the wall of privacy that exists between all people conversationally, just so you could troll on over here and frighten those who are different then yourself.

    I would like to see you on a bicycle sharing a road with Buses and other traffic just to see if your expectations regarding your own level of safety changes.

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  • beelnite June 22, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Wow… in my own world – read the Ellen/Al threads… um… Al… you sound rather despicable. Methinks it’s time you made amends with your fellow drivers and stopped being so shady.

    It is my sincer hope that you do not channel any frustration over getting caught red handed in sundry activity for your private crusade cloud your judgement on the road.

    We’re people – not just cyclists or bus drivers.

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  • NecroPsyChroNauTron June 23, 2010 at 12:45 am

    @peejay #13
    Same here, couldn’t have said it better.
    Matt
    @Matt Picio #17
    MOST IMPORTANT POINT TO BE MADE HERE.

    In general, I love how Al M is now everyones release valve for pent up frustration.
    Sure the guy is low brow, but thats not a crime.
    You people seem to think that with enough vindication,you can turn the tables, and make people like AL M and his [VILLAINOUS ANTI BICYCLE CONSPIRACY RING!] (seriously?) respect or fear you through punishment and prosecution.
    Really? How is that not going to worsen the sentiment, and make it even more US vs.Them?
    As for the videos he allegedly secretly taped, thats a no-no.
    I didn’t get a chance to see them, but I’m inclined to be slightly dismissive. Perhaps there’s something inexcusable I did not see in the removed videos. When I do drive sometimes, I too sometimes vent frustrations along the lines that some people need to be reminded what a ton of steel can do to them, and to exercise a bit more caution. I’ve seen such extreme reckless arrogance by cyclists around here. People trying to prove a point, thinking you can argue with physics.
    I ride like no one can see me, it’s the only way to go.

    Bottom line here is that we need cooperative dialogue, safe streets won’t be won by fighting, but by enlightening people to the attitude of sharing the road and understanding/caring about the danger that cyclists face.
    We need every potential ally possible. Even people like Al M are capable of being one of these allies.

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  • Caffeinated Bliss June 23, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Way to go Bike Portland. Your firestorm just moved Al M from filming on Trimet to filming secretly at local gyms. Real improvement.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYa-B2Hzvsc

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  • Skidmark June 23, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    I bet sue-happy lawyers are beaming now. They couldn’t of asked for a better Christmas present.

    I dunno which is dumper. His filming himself not paying attention to the road or him posting the films on a pro-bike blog. Did he think everyone here would be like, “oh, cool, look at how awesome the bus driver is, he doesn’t even need to look at the road?”

    c’mon, what the frag was he thinking?

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  • Skidmark June 23, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Ellen (#81 and a few other#’s)

    To quote Al M,

    “Of course you know all this blog stuff we’re recording is not personal, its a blog event”

    So yep, Al’s got permission to show people ranting about harming cyclists and speaking on behalf on Trimet.

    Al M’s blog is like a treasure hunt for multi-million dollar lawsuits.

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  • Shaun June 23, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    I’m not a cyclist and I rarely ride the bus or MAX but I am worried by the tone of many of Alm’s statements. I expect better of public employees than for them to smear the general public and say that no one has a right to complain about him. As a public employee, the public is his boss and pays his wages. He needs to stop acting entitled to his job and start realizing he is a paid professional with a job to do.

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  • Shaun June 23, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Is Alm following the proper public records request process for all the Trimet records he posts on his blog? Or is just walking out of the office with them?

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  • Ellen June 23, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Skidmark #98.
    Check out comment #40 above from Josh Collins of TM’s communications Dept. He explains TM’s policies.

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  • Vantuky Pride June 25, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Al M just made the news today for blogging-while-driving. Guess he is getting all the attention he wanted.

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  • q`Tzal June 26, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Hmm, seems something good has come from this: a change in Trimet policy.
    Link to KGW news segment:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKh6Fho_qxU&feature=player_embedded

    I exercised might right not to validate any more of his ranting and muted the volume when ever he came on screen: the rest of the segment is actually informative.

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  • 32jim2 June 26, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    i would like to point out that a bus and a bike travel at the same speed. the bike is riding down the street. the bus pulls into the bus stop and loads people as the bike passes the bus. the bus then catches up to the bike and sometimes even passes the bike as the bus stops every two blocks. the bus pulls over to load and the bike passes the bus. this continues all the way down the street until the bus or the bike turns off. a vehicle passes the bike and keeps on going. the bike and bus driver get frustrated over this repeated action. the bus is on a schedule that requires it to move along so it makes connections for the riders. it cannot drive on another street to solve the problem BUT the bike can.

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  • trimet chick June 28, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Al Margulies: Do you see that you have a role in all of this? Every single word and action from you since your visit to bikeportland translates into VICTIM. You’re not the only one here refusing responsibility but I’ll get to that shortly.

    Let me put this into perspective.

    1.) You made a video of co-workers venting their frustrations with cyclists. 2.) You then posted a bizzaro video of yourself on bikeportland.org calling the cyclists “LIARS”.
    3.) When that didn’t produce the attention you desired you took the video you made of your co-workers privately venting about cyclists (without their knowledge) and posted it on the bicycling site.
    4.) Like an unwelcome dinner guest you intruded on their blog basically demanding to be heard. And heard you were.
    5.) Jonathan Maus decided to give you your very own video at the top of the page so you could explain your rant.
    6.)You then made an attempt to explain. You wore dark glasses, you had a mouth full of food and were spitting pieces of it out as you went on another rant smacking your lips and continued to take more food in as you rambled on.

    I wonder how you’d feel had something similar happened over at your blog?

    At least 90 to 95% of the cyclists at bikeportland are people like you who know the rules and laws of the road, they are people who believe in transit, sustainability, environment, and health and fitness.

    *They ARE NOT the bicyclist who caused the problem with the Hawthorne bus.

    In fact, I would venture to say that your appearance on bikeportland was so unexpected and out of line that you frightened many of the people commenting. You were angry, unprofessional and disgusting. Your visit was insulting to the intelligence of many and your demeanor created an atmosphere where your message was lost. Your appearance at bikeportland was nothing short of mental. You and you alone directed people like Marcus Griffith, Jonathan Maus and others to your blog.

    Everyone enjoyed Freedom of Speech. You had your say and the commenters had theirs.

    Here’s the blame:

    1.) The bicyclist on Hawthorne. He DOES NOT represent ALL bicyclists just as you DO NOT represent all Bus Operators.
    2.) Jonathan Maus, former Investigative Reporter for using his ‘gut’ and ‘instincts’ to write an article that was NOT investigated. He did as much damage to Bus Operators as you’ve done to Bus Operators and Cyclists and he needs to become accountable and fix it.
    3.) Al Margulies.

    Al, you started your blog with a message. At what point did you abandon the message and make it personal? No one can hear you anymore. Anyone that is trying to make things better has to stay on point or the message gets lost. The interviews, the blaming, victimization, secretly taping, recording people and publishing them without their knowledge. ABSOLUTE unprofessionalism. NO ONE CAN HEAR YOUR WORDS. We can’t hear you because we can’t get past your rage! You arrived at the KGW interview ill equipped. No fact, figures, sources, nothing. Just rage.

    You are doing more harm then good. You are not the voice of the Operators. You are making us all look bad.

    Tom Hall, Jason McHuff. If they’re truly your friends they will intervene and get you some help. Al, you need to get re-centered, re-directed and mellow.

    You are however, right about multi-tasking, about all of the distractions on the bus and you should be allowed to continue having Jason film you just as KGW filmed Greg Johnson while he was driving a bus after the accident. Multi-tasking is our job – it’s what we do.

    The one with the most despicable behavior was Marcus Griffith. He took your voice away from you and pretended to be a Trimet passenger. Marcus, at tops we can get 47 people standing load. Not a couple of hundred. You had a right to complain but you did it dirty, underhanded. Shame on you! Perhaps this had more to do with the fear you apparently continue to have since your hit and run accident. Shame on you! Those types of tactics will come back to bite you in the end.

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  • zagreus June 28, 2010 at 11:13 am

    As usual, EF, you said it better than I.

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  • Marcus Griffith June 28, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Trimet chic: My email is Marcus.Griffith@gmail.com. If you would like to follow up directly with me I would welcome a productive dialog off-blog

    I am very much a Trimet passenger. I currently neither own a bike nor a car. I am therefore heavily dependent on C-TRAN and Trimet to get around. I logged about ten hours on Trimet buses and light rail last week alone. If that doesn’t make me a Trimet passenger, I am not sure what would.

    The hundreds number merely reference that hundreds of people ride each bus each day (even if not at the same time). Not sure why that world-choice is so bothersome to you.

    I question how my efforts to address a concern were “dirty” or “underhand”? I voiced my concerns to Trimet in the manner Trimet dictates.. ie the online complaint system. As an act of good faith, I even expressed those concerns openly and directly to Margulies so that he could respond to them properly in a timely manner. That openness allowed Margulies the opportunity to remove some of his more objectionable videos (including a few that upset you) beofre the media and most of Trimet supervisor could view them. It seems to me that I was quite fair and well above board in the matter.

    While Margulies chose the path of retaliation and escalation, I chose the path of sticking to resolving the concerns in a professional manner.

    As for the tactics I use to address community concerns? I seek to resolve concerns at the lowest and least formal manner possible giving critical weight to evidence based, logical decision making.

    If you are upset about the media coverage, I suggest you contact the news station directly. However, I would caution you to re-read the First Amendment prior to creating any missives on the subject of “news worthy” events.

    For the record, every concern I voiced about Margulies conduct was based on a video he created and posted online. Since Trimet is changing its polices, it seems Trimet agrees that my concerns have some degree of merit.

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  • kiol June 28, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    It’s great that Marcus followed through. Al M doesn’t have to like the new rule, he just has to follow it.

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  • jeff June 28, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    As a commuting cyclist and Trimet passenger (mode share on the 96 for at least 100 days a year – trimet chick, I pretend nothing), I just wanted to add my support for Marcus and the way he approached the matter. Thank you.

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  • trimet chick June 28, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Marcus Griffith #107

    You complained as though you personally witnessed the filming. You did not. And neither did you on the three additional complaints you filed. When a complaint is filed through customer service they ask questions as to date, line, train, bus number, direction of travel, description of operator, etc. You must have made up the information as you went along. If you e-mailed it in as one of your postings suggested then you lied on that form as well. You had his description from the videos and somehow gained access to his badge number.

    The video you complained about was an old one. If you were on his bus six months ago and observed filming you should have called back then, not now.

    I get the impression that you’re all for freedom of speech so long as it’s yours and yours alone.

    Josh Collins #25 left his e-mail address on this blog. Colin Maher’s #37 information was also posted. You could have contacted either one if you were serious about wanting a debate rather then retaliation.

    Thank you,

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  • Kevin June 28, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Hey, Trimet chick, has anyone other than Trimet HR actaully read any of Marcus’ complaints? If not, than how does anyone know what was in the actual complaints?

    If Marcus’ complaints were BS, than why did Trimet quickly come out and say it was changing its rules? Sounds like what ever Marcus put into the complaint was pretty darn compelling.

    You should find out what got Trimet’s rapt attention before accusing anyone of lieing.

    Marcus took a complicated issue head on. Despite the bs from Al M and others like you, he got Trimet to find a workable solution in a matter of days. Now, that is pretty impressive.

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  • Marcus Griffith June 28, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Trimet Chic:

    Are you aware that one of my complaints was Mr. Magulies recorded and posted videos filmed inside Trimet restrooms while he was in uniform, including one of a women’s restroom?

    My formal complaints to Trimet dealt with a lot more than just Margulies potential distracted driving. Perhaps, if you had paused to contact me prior to labeling me “despicable”, you would have seen the documents that supported my complaints. Again, if you want to discuss this matter further, you can email me. I can provide you with the actual complaints and you can decide if there was a better way to resolve the issue or if there was any deceit on my end.

    And yes, I did contact Trimet before filing a complaint and even exchanged a few emails with Collins and Margulies. It seems it is Trimet’s polices for citizen’s concerns to be routed through the Trimet complaint system.

    Both Trimet and Margulies acknowledged the merits of my complaints. Trimet is modifying its rules to deal with the underling issues. Margulies is still busy removing the thousands of questionable videos he posted.

    The truth of the matter is that Margulies got himself in this mess by disregarding even the most basic professional guidelines. My complaints had nothing to do with bike vs trimet war or cyclist conspiracy and everything to do with reasonable professional standards and public safety.

    Of course, you are free to defend Margulies for filming inside a women’s restroom.

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  • trimet chick June 28, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Marcus Griffith #112,
    “Are you aware that one of my complaints was Mr. Magulies recorded and posted videos filmed inside Trimet restrooms while he was in uniform, including one of a women’s restroom?”

    Were there any women in the restroom?

    Would you be as judgmental had he not offended you, personally?

    Reporting someone to their employer because you found a video posted on his site of the women’s restroom is petty. I’m confident now your complaints weren’t taken as seriously by anyone other then the media.

    I would suggest you focus on your own behavior and move on.

    Thank you,

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  • trimet chick June 28, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Kevin, #111

    “Marcus took a complicated issue head on. Despite the bs from Al M and others like you, he got Trimet to find a workable solution in a matter of days. Now, that is pretty impressive.”

    I don’t think they will be able to stop anyone from filming on the buses. If they do on the basis of ‘distracting the Operator’ then they’ll have to stop all communication to and from the Operator. Any change in policy could end up being a legal issue.

    Our jobs are customer service related which entails a myriad of duties. If they are concerned the Operator won’t be able to focus because someone on the bus chooses to video tape then they’re gonna have a problem with having us give transfers, directions, schedule times, general information etc. We are trained through the Smith System of Defensive Driving. We have mirror checks every 6 to 8 seconds. Between that time we sometimes turn out heads back into the bus as Al did in the video. It was only for a few seconds. Not the end of the world.

    I am not a fan of Al M’s. I understand Al’s behavior on your site led you to his blog. You and Marcus and everyone else in town – Bus Operators included – are upset at his behavior but Marcus took it a step further and decided to attack the content of his blog. I’m sorry he offended so many but the truth is he followed policy.

    I would like to see you guys expend some of this energy in getting Jonathan off his b*ike and seeing what he can do about mending relations with Bus Operators and the cycling community. Perhaps a public forum – town hall type.

    Thanks!

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  • Thom Thom June 28, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    As a cyclist, motorist and frequent bus rider, I am appalled by al’s “questionable” videos. He needs to delete them and apologize.

    Nothing about freedom of speech allows harassment. I can’t figure out why Trimet hasn’t fired him for harassing passengers.

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  • Thom Thom June 28, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Trimet chic, if Marcus’ complaints were petty, than why did Trimet and Al M react so quickly to yank all the videos?

    Going though Al M’s blog shows that Al M was the one sending interview requests to the media. It looks like Al M’s attention grab blew up in his face.

    Again, no one on this blog seems to know exactly what Marcus reported. We only know that whatever he found was enough to get Trimet to respond lightening fast.

    Right now, we are just beating a dead horse. Doesn’t matter if you agree with Al M or Marcus, Trimet is changing its rules and Al M is pulling his videos. By any count, this debate was decided in Marcus’ favor days ago.

    And there is nothing petty about reporting someone filming in a women’s bathroom.

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  • Trimet chick June 29, 2010 at 2:16 am

    Were any women in the restroom? If not then why would you care if someone films it?

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  • kiol June 29, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    really, the defense of AL M has been reduced to the “there were no women in the stall when he was filming in the bathroom” level.. um.. thats actually lower than the “I smoked but didn’t inhale” defense.

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