Neil McFarlane is TriMet’s general manager.
You may have heard I hosted our first-ever Twitter town hall on the topic of TriMet’s budget last Thursday. Anyone could participate by posting a question and tagging the tweet with #askneil. Over the course of an hour, I answered a variety of questions about our budget. Not being an active twitterer (tweeter?) , it was quite an experience for me. Of course, I had help—I definitely can’t type that fast!
Overall, I think it was a success. We had about 30 people asking questions, and I answered 35 questions. That’s not a huge turnout, but I think it was a useful forum. We’re already talking about how we might use a Twitter chat, or something like it, to discuss other topics of interest to riders. For the rest of you who aren’t on Twitter, or if you weren’t following along last Thursday, here’s an archive of the questions I was able to answer within the hour:
Of course, Twitter is just one of many tools we use to reach out and get people involved. We also built an interactive web survey and discussion guide, and we’re holding open houses and meeting with business leaders and community groups to get feedback about our budget options. All of this helps to guide our decisions throughout the process, and keep everyone informed along the way.
Speaking of the web survey, I want to extend a big “thank you” to everyone who has provided feedback so far. As of today, nearly 4,800 of you have weighed in!
This overwhelming response is a reminder that not only do riders and residents care deeply about transit in our region, they are eager to participate in the decision-making process and make their voices heard. I am truly impressed by the level of participation so far, and, naturally, I share your passion.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to visit the website now and take a few minutes to read about the issues and submit your feedback. The survey closes today at 5 p.m. Keep in mind, the survey isn’t your only opportunity to weigh in… We’ll prepare an official proposal that you can react to in a few weeks. You can stay in the loop by signing up for email updates about TriMet’s budget process.
Most of all, thank you for riding TriMet! I’ll see you on board.