bikes and buses

Amtrak’s trains keep getting bike-friendlier, but its buses aren’t keeping up

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 20th, 2015 at 12:36 pm

bikes on Amtrak bus

It’s sometimes possible to talk bikes onto an Amtrak
bus, but the variety of contractors is an obstacle.
(Photo: Mark Hogan)

As Amtrak invests in improving its trains to carry bikes, some customers are warning that Amtrak’s buses are falling behind.

The Amtrak Cascades line, between Eugene and Vancouver BC, is both one of the most-ridden regional rail lines in the country and maybe the bike-friendliest. For $5 on top of your fare, you can easily check an unboxed bike to most stops on the line and reclaim it like any other bit of luggage.

The service has been so popular that the hooks in Amtrak’s baggage cars started filling up. So two years ago, the Cascades added more hooks, boosting its bike capacity by 67 percent.

[Read more…]

TriMet steps up efforts to keep panniers and buckets off bus racks

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on July 15th, 2013 at 3:49 pm

TriMet bus with rack

TriMet says its drivers are temporarily emphasizing a longstanding rule that bikes loaded on its bus racks ares supposed to be stripped of bulky accessories before boarding.

According to the transit agency’s bikes-on-buses policy, these rules apply to “panniers, child seats or any object that could block the headlights or the operator’s vision.”

We heard about this after two readers sent accounts of bus drivers telling people to remove such add-ons before boarding. TriMet Bicycle Coordinator Jeff Owen confirms that it’s “a reinforcement of our messaging for a while.” The issue may take new importance due to TriMet’s newest bus model, which improves driver lines of sight by extending its windshield almost as far down as the rack.

[Read more…]

The Oregonian exposes ‘culture of exhaustion’ among TriMet operators

by on January 7th, 2013 at 11:03 am

Sunday’s front page.

On Sunday, The Oregonian published a major front page story on the issue of driver fatigue at TriMet. The report was the result of an eight month investigation into driving records and the findings are quite disconcerting to say the least. As someone who regularly shares the road just inches from buses and MAX trains, the thought that a driver might be drowsy or asleep at the wheel is very scary.

The Oregonian story recounts several anecdotes and backs them up with TriMet’s own reports and other documentation. In one example, reporter Joseph Rose wrote that, “In a 2010 case a veteran Line 75 driver decided to retire rather than fight a report that he fell asleep at the wheel ‘almost every day.'” When a rider complained that one driver had completely fallen asleep at a stop, the driver was never disciplined.

TriMet Director of Operations Shelly Lomax told the paper, “We do not have a policy against closing one’s eyes.”
[Read more…]

TriMet focuses on safety with close-call videos, bus/bike training bulletin

by on July 12th, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Still from TriMet WES video.

TriMet is trying to get the word out about safety when it comes to WES Commuter Rail trains and conflicts between buses and bikes. As part of a summer safety campaign that kicked off Monday, the agency has released five videos showing close calls between people crossing tracks in front of WES trains. They have also sent out a new, in-depth training bulletin to all bus drivers that is focused specifically on bicycling.

One of the videos shows a person on a bicycle crossing the path of an 80-ton WES train that’s a mere 60 feet away. According to TriMet, WES trains traveling 55 mph take about a half-mile to come to a stop. The incident with the bicycle rider happened on September 15th near SW Scholls Ferry Road in Beaverton. Here’s the video:[Read more…]

TriMet pulls plug on audible turn warning system

by on May 27th, 2011 at 9:51 am

random shots need to edit

(Photo © J. Maus)

TriMet has just announced that they’ll discontinue the audible warning system they’ve been testing in an effort to improve safety of people biking and walking near buses.

In a statement, TriMet said they stopped the test, “because the announcement didn’t activate at the appropriate time—either too soon or too late in the turn—but did activate at other times, such as when the bus was making a lane change.”
[Read more…]

To improve bus safety, TriMet begins testing turn warning system

by on March 2nd, 2011 at 9:07 am

Portland City Tour ride -16

External speakers will warn people
that bus is turning.
(Photo © J. Maus)

TriMet has begun testing an audible warning system that will notify people when a bus is turning. Here’s how TriMet explains it in a statement released last night:

“Ten buses have been equipped with the external audible warning system. When the operator turns the steering wheel to enter a turn, an external announcement is triggered, announcing “Pedestrians, bus is turning.” The announcement will be made in both English and Spanish.”

[Read more…]

Thoughts on TriMet’s safety task force report

by on October 22nd, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Bus and bikes

TriMet now has a road map to
improved safety. Will they follow it?
(Photo © J. Maus)

On Wednesday, the TriMet Task Force on Safety and Service Excellence released its final list of recommendations. The task force was put together following a tragic incident back in April where a TriMet bus operator drove into five people in a crosswalk in downtown Portland, killing two of them.

Here’s an excerpt from the cover letter to the report written by task force Chair (and former TriMet GM) Tom Walsh, [Read more…]

Police cite bus operator for unlawful turn in transit mall crash – UPDATED

by on September 10th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Richard Krebs’ bike rests under the
wheel of a TriMet bus after the
collision last Thursday.
(Photos: Bill Jackson)

In a major update to our story from last week, the Portland Police Bureau has issued a citation to TriMet bus operator John Nations in a crash that occurred August 12th at SW 6th and Morrison in downtown Portland.

According to TriMet Communications Director Mary Fetsch, the bus operator, 39 year-old John Nations from Beaverton, has been cited in violation of ORS 811.335, “Unlawful or unsignaled turn.” Here’s more from Fetsch:[Read more…]

More details on transit mall crash from TriMet, Richard Krebs, and the police report

by on September 2nd, 2010 at 7:35 pm

What happened?
(Photo: Bill Jackson)

Richard Krebs, the man who was involved in a collision with a TriMet bus on SW Morrison and 6th on August 12th, has come forward with his side of the story. He takes issue with several important parts of TriMet’s official statement and says he was under medication from his injuries when he made incriminating statements to the police. TriMet says they stand by their version of what happened, but they acknowledged today that the bus operator did not perform his left turn correctly prior to the crash.
[Read more…]

Further clarification from TriMet on transit mall bus/bike crash

by on August 31st, 2010 at 12:29 pm

[Unofficial graphic, not created by TriMet.]

Graphic showing location of vehicles just prior to collision.
(Graphic: BikePortland)

[Read more…]