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Tri-met's abusive drivers

While most drivers seem aware that they are prohibited from denying service to non-paying riders (apparently someone was short 20 cents, ended up in emergency psychiatric care, and then was killed by police two days later), other drivers have abused their position at the wheel of the bus by denying services and even calling in police to deal with non-paying riders.
I never pay the fare on Tri-met. As a homeless person here in Portland, I spent a month saving up cash to afford myself a room somewhere indoors before winter arrived, and barely was able to do so. Tri-met fares are so high that I would've been unable to pay to ride while looking out for my own basic winter survival needs.

While most drivers seem aware that they are prohibited from denying service to non-paying riders (apparently someone was short 20 cents, ended up in emergency psychiatric care, and then was killed by police two days later), other drivers have abused their position at the wheel of the bus by denying services and even calling in police to deal with non-paying riders.

Just tonight I was publicly humiliated by a driver who called the attention of the entire bus (which was full of people)to my lack of bus fare. I was allowed to ride at the cost of my integrity. Last month I was kicked off a bus for defending two elderly homeless people who had no fare and were being denied service by the driver. The two were obviously caught off gaurd by the driver's aggressive attitude and were hovering at the front door in a state of confusion when the driver lost patience, put the bus in park, and announced she was calling the police if they didn't move quickly. Perhaps a bit delerious from lack of sleep, the two slowly attempted to lift their belongings and leave the bus, while the driver gave a description of them to authorities. I simply stood up and asked her to think again before doing this to these people who were obviously in need. She shushed me, and then I put it out there one more time, asking her to reconsider the crime she was about to commit. She then placed another call to the police, this time describing me, saying I refused to leave the bus when asked (true enough, but something had to be done while other riders just sat there). I hung around outside the bus for a minute with the other two people, wondering what to do, and then had to run into an adjacent neighborhood to hide from the approaching sirens.

Let's all remind the drivers once in a while that they can't kick people off the bus who don't have the money to pay.

I Drove A City Bus For A Year 01.Feb.2009 17:08

blues

Now mind you, this was before The Hard Times (25 years ago). These people are all individuals. They have huge responsibility! And get paid bottom dollar.

Some are creeps, some are angels. It's really just a crummy job. You have some shred of "authority," but it amounts to very little.

Our policy was, we had to get the full fare. Rare exceptions happened. But for the most part, if we got less than full fare, we would get no fare at all.

The cops shot some poor person? That's the cops. You will never be shot by a bus driver.

i never heard this before 01.Feb.2009 18:43

any body else?

who told you bus drivers have to let people on who don't pay?

what makes you think this is true?

What if God were one of us....? 01.Feb.2009 20:00

Just a stranger on the bus

I ride the bus alot. Proportionately, I do not have many complaints about busdrivers as individuals. They have a very hard, often thankless job. I have noticed that there are SOME busdrivers who are ageist (mainly towards young people) and racist (towards people of color and/or people who have a hard time speaking English). I had to call in a complaint to the Tri-Met number (503-238-RIDE) recently because a busdriver gave our kid an incredibly hard time over a transfer. The transfer was valid, but the "Y," indicating youth transfer had not been "punched" by the previous busdriver and the busdriver chose to make an issue over it.

I don't know what Tri-Met policy is regarding passengers with no fare. I always thought the no-fare zone only applied to Fareless Square. HOWEVER, if there were other riders on the bus, I guess it would have been a random act of kindness for someone to have offered to pay the unpaid fare. (Although I am far from wealthy, I usually carry an extra bus ticket in my wallet just in case someone is in need and I have witnessed occasions on buses where other passengers have helped out others who have found themselves short of the fare.)

Sometimes, too, the newer busdrivers are more fanatical about adhering to Tri-Met policy because they fear getting reported by other passengers, so they might appear to be less compassionate than a "veteran" busdriver. Sometimes the busdrivers are just mean -- but that I have found is not usually the case.

Frankly, as a passenger, I have less of an issue with a busdriver letting a homeless person on the bus without his or her paying the fare. I am starting to have "issues" as ridership becomes more yuppified with certain passengers feeling that their bag is entitled to the seat next to them because they paid their fare. Maybe the fares of homeless passengers could be paid for by asking the yuppies to pay an extra fare for the seat that their bag is occupying.

TRIMET ORGANIZING MEETING FRIDAY 11 AM AT PSU FOOD FOR THOUGHT 02.Feb.2009 11:59

Lew Church, PSU Progressive Student Union Lew Church, PSU Progressive Student Union

TriMet Oversight Project, part of PSU Progressive Student Union, will be meeting this Friday, Feb. 6th, at Food for Thought, Smith Center basement, 1825 SW Broadway, and on other/related actiivst projects. TriMet issues include:

**bus drivers who are shown bus passes but insist on having riders show them again a second time, then harass paying customers/riders/citizens/people

**should TriMet be free to riders, not just in Fareless Square?

**TriMet is proposing again to abolish Fareless Square--the Oregonian story totally omitted that two meetings last year had overwhelming opposition to this proposal, and TriMet gave up, but is back again with the same proposal (allegedly, to fight crime)

**should cars be banned in downtown Portland, in what is now Fareless Square?

**should the TriMet Board be elected, not appointed by Oregon's governor? Is public transit important enough re: mideast wars for oil profits, clean air, public transit as a public space, global warming -- for the TriMet board to be elected, like city councils or state legislatures?

**should TriMet resurrect the old Owl busses, overnight, on six main arterial routes, so swing shift workers can get home, or people seeing a late movie can get home, etc.?

**your ideas

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503-222-2974
PO Box 40011, Portland, Oregon 97240