Author Archives: Nancy D'Inzillo

About Nancy D'Inzillo

I'm TriMet's web coordinator. I assist in developing and maintaining TriMet's web and social media content (in addition to general writing and copyediting assignments). In my spare time, I enjoy freelance editing, learning new recipes, and reading books of all genres.

Ask TriMet: How can TriMet afford new buses if there’s a budget shortfall?

“Ask TriMet” answers some of the questions we get frequently from riders. Have a question? Send it to ask@trimet.org and we may feature it in a future post.

3000-series bus on streetWhen we announced that we were purchasing 55 new buses last year, many riders asked us how we could afford them when we’d just raised fares and cut service due to a budget shortfall. Here’s the answer:

Bus replacement is as much a cost of service as the driver and mechanic. We delayed purchasing new buses as we weathered the last two recessions. We now have one of the oldest fleets in the country, and we simply can’t delay buying replacement vehicles any more. Not only are the aging buses uncomfortable for riders and operators, they have become too unreliable and expensive for us to maintain.

The Federal Transit Administration requires a minimum life of 12 years or 500,000 miles out of the type of bus TriMet uses. Thanks to our creative and innovative maintenance staff, we are able to keep our buses on the road a lot longer. Our maintenance staff are able to calculate the life of many of our bus parts and swap them out just before they fail most of the time, which helps prevent in-service break downs. We also go beyond upkeep by making improvements to our active buses in the fleet.

But like any vehicle that is heavily used, our buses are only useful for so long. The buses we are replacing are well beyond their useful life of 15-16 years. (As several of you have pointed out, some are over 20 years old!) As such, they have higher maintenance costs and can only be used to a limited extent in service. We will continue replacing the oldest buses in our fleet over the next few years.

We received $20 million in grant funding from the FTA to pay for replacement buses. The 55 new buses we purchased in 2012 are now in service, and we’ve already purchased 70 more that will go into service this year. We will replace about 60 more each year from 2014 to 2016, and about 40 more each year after that.

By 2017, we will have replaced all of the remaining high-floor buses (those with steps at the door) in the fleet and the average age of a bus in our fleet will be about 8 years. This is an essential investment which will improve the reliability, efficiency and safety of our buses, while reducing our costs over the long term.

Learn more about TriMet’s new buses

Have a question? Send it to ask@trimet.org and we may feature it in a future post.

Seen and Heard: New bus smell and transit swagger

People crossing at a crosswalk in front of a MAS train

As seen by @ElliotIs

“Seen and Heard on TriMet” is a regular compilation of some of the funny, entertaining and uplifting content we see posted about our system every day.

Want to get in on the fun? Just include #trimet in your tweets, and your content could be featured here on our blog.

Here are some of the highlights from the last few weeks:

ElliotIs:

The daily village crossing. #pdx #trimet @ Pioneer Place instagr.am/p/S_l5ovSmot/

The_CJG:

In line with two other guys for the @trimet 15, all of us wearing black peacoats. #random #awesome #Portlandia

pymander:

New bus smell is like new car smell times ten. #TriMet instagram.com/p/UVCEz5riAn/

FallMoonlitRose:

My fiancé and I are on one of the new #trimet busses! It’s fancy and new, lol! #buss #traveling

joshuakagi:

Moonrise over Sunset. @ TriMet Sunset Transit Center instagr.am/p/TwuGPMg7V3/

briaceves:

Lady on the max was reading this book. Thought it was cool that its in a different language #different #different #language #book #reading #cool #portland #trimet #lucky #Chinese ? instagram.com/p/UScM36M2IR/

johnpierce77:

Now this is the socially reasonable thing to do. #trimet #portland #newyears @ TriMet Mall/SW 4th Ave MAX Station instagr.am/p/TywHKghVHh/

anissa_is_about_that_life:

Bus rides with Bert(: #bertandernie #pdx #bus #max #trimet instagram.com/p/UCqHGzJ5W5/

thepineappleburner:

Photos on the bus! #cute #couple #bus #ride #trimet #her #smile is #perfect instagram.com/p/T9_T5kHrA5/

pssshyah:

Some #New (#old) #TriMet #transit #swagger instagram.com/p/Tb0GH0m_xG/

TALK ABOUT IT: Discuss this post on Facebook

Seen and Heard: Human-powered bus and wedding-attire transportation

A gentleman and his two children dressed up in one big TriMet bus costume.

As seen by @HalesforMayor

“Seen and Heard on TriMet” is a regular compilation of some of the funny, entertaining and uplifting content we see posted about our system every day.

Want to get in on the fun? Just include #trimet in your tweets, and your content could be featured here on our blog.

Here are some of the highlights from the last month or so:

HalesforMayor:

Human powered Trimet Bus. #MonsterMash #Sellwood #pdx #pdxmayor #halloween instagr.am/p/RWNPn5Lmpa/

andrewmatia:

I’m blown away by the stillness. Life is never this quiet. I’d imagine stopping time would feel somewhat similar. @ TriMet Elmonica/SW 170th Ave MAX Station instagr.am/p/RPHvJxRPec/

CheyenneSimply:

Took my niece to school on the Trimet bus and she was freaking out and screaming because she was so excited. It was cute :)

nategarvison:

Autumn morning in Quatama. #pdx #sunrise @ TriMet Quatama/NW 205th Ave MAX Station instagr.am/p/RiC616xJld/

daisy_madison:

These new Trimet busses are blowing my mind. It’s like I’m in a spaceship or something… #engineering #build #it #better #portland #educate #recreate #innovation @ Cleveland High School Track & Sports Field instagr.am/p/RbX6LEp5Co/

michellekfisher:

Waiting for the Max to take us to the instameet!! @ TriMet SE Division St MAX Station instagr.am/p/Rx2oIAtHop/

dooleyerinm:

The bus #tinyplanet #trimet #pdx instagram.com/p/SWaenILUgY/

jenncrowell:

Just saw nine adolescent deer in a full-moon-lit urban garden. Unfazed by a MAX train & my gleeful daughter. Awesome.

Will_Thomas:

Rainbow at the transit center this morning. @ TriMet Beaverton Transit Center instagr.am/p/SqQjGhHRtI/

brockmon:

Transporting my wedding attire rental by @trimet and #bicycle tonight. Active tux-portation! #ftw pic.twitter.com/9BB5S9H2/a>

SuziQoregon:

another perk of going to work early – get off the train downtown & the trees lit up for the holidays are pretty. @ TriMet Yamhill District MAX Station instagr.am/p/SlL69QvKvv/

TALK ABOUT IT: Discuss this post on Facebook

By sleigh or by bus, “Santa Bob” delivers the spirit of generosity year round

Operator Santa Bob Foster in the driver's seat, smiling at oncoming passengers.From time to time, someone calls TriMet Customer Service to say, “I want to thank a driver who did something really great. I don’t know his name,” the rider admits, “but he looks like Santa.” At this, one name snaps into focus: Hillsboro resident Bob Foster, a TriMet bus operator since 1981.

Bob first donned the red suit more than 25 years ago—“when I had to use a little white shoe polish to gray up my beard”—for a holiday party at TriMet’s Merlo garage in Beaverton. For a while, he shared the honor of playing Merlo Santa with a couple of other operators.

“The spirit of Santa is the gift of wonder. The feeling that I am trying to exude is that it is OK for us to expect good things to come our way.” — Santa Bob

But as the years rolled by, Santa service became a bigger part of Bob’s life. He started scheduling his vacations so that “Santa Bob” could visit families all over the metro area. His stops include a local tree farm, Breakfast with Santa in Mitchell, a toy store in Northeast Portland, and the Hillsboro School District’s holiday party for the Life Skills Classrooms.

Want to know where Santa Bob will be visiting next? Like his Facebook page

By now, it’s a Merlo employee tradition to bring your children, or your grandchildren, or somebody else’s children to visit Santa in the drivers’ break area. A bus garage can be a busy, gritty place, but on Santa’s lap next to the tree, the only thing that matters is the children’s hopes and dreams for the holidays.

Operator Bob Foster, dressed in his Santa costume, with two children, each on one of his knees.To Bob, “The spirit of Santa is the gift of wonder. The feeling that I am trying to exude is that it is okay for us to expect good things to come our way.”

Bob displays this spirit—along with the apple cheeks and snowy beard—every day in the driver’s seat. He says, “We operators are the attitude of Portland. Each morning, I’ve got about 100 people who are going to reflect all day on our interaction. Maybe it’s conscious, maybe it’s unconscious, but at some point in the day they’re going to remember the nice operator who maybe brought a little joy and humor into their day.”

It should be noted that Bob Foster isn’t the only TriMet employee who’s especially attuned to the spirit of Santa. Dave Kay in bus maintenance and Shirley Block in field operations are said to be responsible for Mr. and Mrs. Claus’ attendance at the union holiday party.

But if you’re on the bus and hear Westside high schoolers yelling, “Where’s your reindeer?” or a wide-eyed Washington County child whispering, “It’s him!” there’s a good chance you’re riding with “Santa Bob” Foster.

TALK ABOUT IT: Discuss this post on Facebook

VIDEO: See the feature about Santa Bob on KOIN Local 6

Ride with us to tree lighting events

Lit-up holiday tree in Pioneer Courthouse Square

Lit-up holiday tree in Pioneer Courthouse Square

Get in the holiday spirit and leave the driving to us this holiday season as you head to tree lighting events. There are seven tree lighting events in the greater Portland area that are accessible by bus or MAX.

Friday, November 23

Are you headed to the Portland tree lighting ceremony? Please note that the following three MAX stations will be closed 4-7 p.m. due to the large crowd expected at the square: Pioneer Courthouse Square North MAX Station, Pioneer Courthouse Square South MAX Station, and Pioneer Courthouse/SW 6th Ave Station. Get off the MAX a stop before or after these platforms to reach the square. And please remember: the Free Rail Zone in Downtown Portland was eliminated in September, so you’ll need to have a valid fare to ride MAX.

Friday, November 30

  • Tigard’s Liberty Park (corner of SW Main Street and SW Pacific Highway), 7 p.m. Plan your trip

Saturday, December 1

Friday, December 7

Avoid the hassle of traffic and parking by hopping on the MAX or a bus to get to the festivities.

TALK ABOUT IT: Discuss this post on Facebook

Seen and Heard: A runner costumed as MAX, “cryptic poems,” and Greekfest-goers

Greekfest-goers

As seen by @pinkessa

Want to get in on the fun? Just include #trimet in your tweets, and your content could be featured here on our blog.

Here are some of the highlights from the last few weeks:

pinkessa:

Who knew @trimet MAX was a runner?!? Rocked the @Foot_Traffic Run Like Hell! pic.twitter.com/y4BnY5Ot

StockingCo:

Crowded bus. People standing. Lady w/infant & bags gets on. I’m about to offer my seat, 20 something girl beats me to it.Happy&Sad. #Trimet

ArmstrongDavis:

Ready to run!! #colorrun playing @ejdown. #dreamrole @ TriMet Kenton/N Denver Ave MAX Station instagr.am/p/QKdxYiPfn2/

_Caprietta_

Before the fest #GreekFest #2012 #Trimet #Bus #DejasRealHair #Happy #Smile #FunNight #GreatFood #RatchetPeop instagr.am/p/QeDW52qbTd/

abrittonkitten:

This is #why I ride #trimet #max to #work everyday…to #avoid that #parkinglot on #highway26 #portlandorego instagr.am/p/QSO9DJnvaP/

xasiamarie:

I miss trimet… I miss MAXing around aimlessly for hours. Portland is the only city that will accept MAX as a verb.

mulan13:

Rediscovered the joys of public transpo. Gotta love Portland! #Portland #Trimet

MukawaM:

Heading to the airport… @ TriMet Oak/SW 1st Ave MAX Station instagr.am/p/PzVxkbt30h/

jermaine5150:

Riding on the train :-) @mrs_jojones @sweetbrown666 @ TriMet Library/SW 9th Ave MAX Station instagr.am/p/QbgCH5yUFH/

sarahmirk:

I really like these cryptic poems painted on @trimet construction sites. blogtown.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/ar…

TALK ABOUT IT: Discuss this post on Facebook

Seen and Heard: Shadow puppets, sliding doors, and sunsets

Hay Caramba!'s shadow-puppet show

As seen by Julie Keefe and John Klicker.

“Seen and Heard on TriMet” is a regular compilation of some of the funny, entertaining and uplifting content we see posted about our system every day.

Want to get in on the fun? Just include #trimet in your tweets, and your content could be featured here on our blog.

Here are some of the highlights from the last few weeks:

Hay Caramba! posted a slide show of photos from the surprise shadow-puppet show they performed at our bus stop at SE 20th & Belmont on September 23 as part of the Big Egg Project, funded by the Regional Arts and Culture Council. The goal of the Big Egg Project is to present Hay Caramba!’s 5-minute pop-up shadow-puppet show in unconventional places. You can see their next show Wednesday, September 26, at 7:30 p.m. at the bus shelter on the corner of NE 9th & Multnomah, near Stanford’s, outside the entrance to Lloyd Center Mall.

Autumn's first MAX ride

As seen by @TabathaYoast.

TabathaYoast:

Autumns first max experience. @ TriMet Gateway/NE 99th Ave Transit Center instagr.am/p/Po5DLwPBbU/

FallMoonlitRose:

On the MAX train, in which my Fiance saw this and pointed out that.. It’s me. <3 #sign #precious #lookup #tr instagr.am/p/Pkl8IsF7vv/

jadecloud21:

My day made marginally better by a bus driver recognizing me and stopping to let me on. Thank you, Trimet!

itsoinky

@trimet @pdxcommute Guess what stop I was at when this was created! #max #trimet cinemagr.am/show/15009340

Erikmyers4:

This city, is my city, and I love it, yeah I love it @ TriMet Washington/SE 12th Ave MAX Station instagr.am/p/O2yLGrk6eZ/

purplepurple:

Now, on TriMet vehicle número dos, I am sitting next to a heavily tattooed old man in a bowler hat. Because Portland is a wonderful place.

HuzHe:

This sunset is awesome. On the bridge again. Division, westbound. @ Trimet Stop 1501 instagr.am/p/PlCx41ngTc/

jusstpeachy:

Can I have a sequin suit? #maxlife #portland #gresham #blueline #public #t @ TriMet E 162nd Ave MAX Station instagr.am/p/PqTs3RLUM9/

doctor_jeff:

Sunset highway inbound looks like a parking lot full of single-passenger cars. I waved at them as the train zipped past. #Trimet

xiaohanzhang14:

Picture perfect @ TriMet Old Town/Chinatown MAX Station instagr.am/p/PVh44ICAhl/

TALK ABOUT IT: Discuss this post on Facebook