All posts by Tia York

I’m a Public Information Officer for TriMet. I’m here to help you understand our system, its people and how we all work together to make this place the best it can be. There was a time when I only took transit during emergencies, but the Orange Line changed everything. I hopped aboard one of the first trains to Milwaukie and never looked back. Transit transforms, empowers and unites.

Celebrating The Extraordinary Women of TriMet

Here’s something you may have noticed if you’ve spent much time on our trains and buses: some truly exceptional women work for TriMet. The entire region benefits from their abilities, talents, and commitment.

For Woman’s History Month, we hosted a TriMet Women’s Pioneer Panel that featured ten extraordinary TriMet employees. Here are three of their stories.

Darlene Gastineau
Internal Audit Manager

Darlene was asked about the biggest obstacle she’s encountered and how she overcame it. In response, she told the story of her immigrant parents and large immediate family from China, so poor that everyone, even her mom and dad, slept in twin bunk beds.

She recalled working steadily in some form since she was a child. When in kindergarten she picked berries with her family.

Darlene continued to work and took out student loans to put herself through college. She became a single mother and at one point was forced to take legal action to protect herself against a man with whom she once shared a relationship.

What was most poignant and inspiring is that Darlene never saw these as obstacles and never let them stop her from moving forward in her journey. She had not even considered them challenges until asked to think about this question.

Darlene has been with TriMet for 11 years and serves as TriMet’s Internal Audit Manager.

Cindi Deibert
Manager of Bus Operator Training

When asked how she juggled work, family, school and other commitments, Cindi shared the time she was still a part-time bus operator.Cindi Deibert She worked a split shift – driving a route in the morning and another in the afternoon. At the same time, she was a wife, mother to twin girls and in school, pursuing a bachelor’s degree. One of her daughters is on the autism spectrum. She managed her 20-hour day through strict organization and prioritization.

Cindi urged the audience to set priorities and stay focused on what matters most – family. Cindi continues to help care for her daughter with autism, now 32.She works full-time as Manager of Bus Operator Training and is pursuing her master’s degree.

Cindy Kassab
Bus Operator

Cindy started driving for TriMet on April 6, 1976. She was 23 years old. More than four decades later, she’s still behind the wheel of a bus. Cindy hopes to extend her career with TriMet to at least 50 years, maybe longer.

Cindy KassabShe remembers a time when it wasn’t as easy to be a woman bus operator. She recounted a memory of a man who refused a ride when he saw who was behind the wheel. “Oh, it’s a woman driver,” he said. “I’ll wait for the next bus.” With a laugh, she told how the next bus came along and it was another woman driver.

Cindy’s interest in interest in photography began around the same time she joined TriMet. She’s now a master photographer of nature and wildlife. Cindy Kassab studied at the University of Portland. You can view her stunning photography on her website.

One definition of the word pioneer is to lead the way. What we learned from the panel is that these woman leaders of TriMet have been doing it all of their lives.

Interested in joining our team of extraordinary employees? We’re hiring.

Tia York

Tia York

I’m a Public Information Officer for TriMet. I’m here to help you understand our system, its people and how we all work together to make this place the best it can be. There was a time when I only took transit during emergencies, but the Orange Line changed everything. I hopped aboard one of the first trains to Milwaukie and never looked back. Transit transforms, empowers and unites.

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Leave Something Behind? Check Lost & Found

If you ever forget something on a bus or train, don’t despair. Found items are constantly being turned in to our Lost & Found department, and there’s a good chance we’ve got what you’re looking for.

Last year, we processed 24,000 (!) lost items. Here’s what we saw most often:

  1. Phones
  2. Wallets
  3. ID cards
  4. Bags
  5. Hats
  6. Bicycles
  7. Keys
  8. Personal items/mementos
  9. Umbrellas
  10. Backpacks

Everything we find is sent to our headquarters on SE 17th Avenue, where Lost & Found staff sorts and tags items. Claimed items are held for at least 14 days, though we’re happy to work with you if you need more time. Unclaimed items are eventually donated to charity (or destroyed if they contain personal information).

We’re still hanging on to this Portland Traction Co. student pass from 1948. (If you recognize the owner, let us know!)

Even though keeping track of your stuff is common sense, we know it’s not always easy. (Especially in the winter, when just your layers can be a handful!) So if you think you left something on one of our buses or trains, give us a call at 503-238-RIDE (7433) or report it online. We’d love to reunite you with your stuff.

Tia York

Tia York

I’m a Public Information Officer for TriMet. I’m here to help you understand our system, its people and how we all work together to make this place the best it can be. There was a time when I only took transit during emergencies, but the Orange Line changed everything. I hopped aboard one of the first trains to Milwaukie and never looked back. Transit transforms, empowers and unites.

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Our New 3700-Series Buses Are Rolling out Now

Something about that new car smell gives you a sense of opportunity. And right now, many of our riders are getting that same feeling as we put dozens of new buses out on the streets. These are the Gillig 3700 series, and by the end of January, we will have 57 of these American-made machines in service.

Aside from the smoother, quieter ride that comes with advancements in technology (and that new car smell), you may not notice many differences between the 3700s and the 3600s. But if you’re a regular rider, you will eventually experience a big change: fewer rides in older buses, many of which have out-served their expected lifespan.

Do you know the average service life of a bus?

It’s 12 years, according to the Federal Transportation Administration. During that period, a TriMet bus will typically have:

  • At least one new engine installed
  • One transmission replacement, maybe more
  • Between  750,000 and 1 million miles!

The 3700s, along with the addition of 64 more new buses next year, will help bring the average age of our fleet to seven or eight years. We’ve already started retiring and decommissioning some of our oldest workhorses, many of which provided service for 15 or more years.

While new may be nice, the 3700s represent a lot more. They are a sign of the times, and of our commitment to more and better service. In the next few years, you’re going to see a lot more from us. We’re expanding and increasing frequency on our most popular routes, improving reliability in areas plagued by congestion and providing new service to meet our community’s growing and changing needs.

We’re also working to meet the needs of operators, who spend hours and over time, days, weeks, even months behind the bus’ 18-inch steering wheel. We worked with Gillig and other partners to make the operator area safer, easier to use, more ergonomic and more comfortable. There’s a new generation driver’s seat with a gel-foam pad, built-in bellows for lumbar support and air bellows for seat height adjustment.

Today’s buses still run on biodiesel, but the technology has changed. Our newest Gilligs use clean air diesel engines with built-in systems that remove many pollutants before they reach the air. (We’re taking our commitment to clean air even further next year, when we begin testing electric buses on Line 62.)

We are working to make transit better. Hop on board one of the 3700s and enjoy the ride!

Tia York

Tia York

I’m a Public Information Officer for TriMet. I’m here to help you understand our system, its people and how we all work together to make this place the best it can be. There was a time when I only took transit during emergencies, but the Orange Line changed everything. I hopped aboard one of the first trains to Milwaukie and never looked back. Transit transforms, empowers and unites.

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