6-year-old WES commuter gets a holiday surprise

Jeff Lowe is the director of operations for TriMet’s WES Commuter Rail service.

From conductors to mechanics to office staff, all of us who work at WES Commuter Rail know 6-year-old Joey, our youngest WES commuter.

Joey’s been a regular WES rider since we opened the line in February 2009. He and his dad, Joe, go to work together (where they have an on-site child development center).

This year, Joey started kindergarten, so now he only goes to work with his dad when school isn’t in session.

We missed the little guy, and we knew he was on his holiday break from school, so we decided to surprise him. On Monday, as he and his dad got off the train in Wilsonville, Conductor Tad Johnson presented him with a big basket filled with WES promotional goodies.

Usually, Joey is quite talkative, but he really didn’t know what to say. He gave a big smile, hugged Conductor Tad, then sprang off to board their connecting SMART bus.

Like those of us who work at WES, Joey really loves trains and knows all about them. According to his dad, this obsession began when he first rode the Oregon Zoo Train, and now Joey’s a big fan of WES. He especially likes the retro “Alaskan” train cars that we use as backups when a regular WES car is out of service.

Back in August, when Joey came to our Wilsonville facility to pick up a toy from Lost & Found, he said he wanted to talk to the “fixer” because his favorite Alaskan train cars weren’t running. We told him we were waiting on parts. A few days later, Joey gave one of the conductors a fistful of handmade money—including a $13 bill and a $49 bill—to help pay for repairs. We distributed the paper money to the mechanics and staff as performance bonuses!

We hope you enjoyed the surprise, Joey. We sure did! Happy holidays to you, and to all our riders!

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Jeff Lowe

I’ve been the Director of Operations for TriMet’s WES Commuter Rail line for four years. Previously, I served as chief operations officer for the Northern Indiana Commuter Rail Transportation District, and I spent 24 years in management at Amtrak. My career began as a locomotive engineer.

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We’re phasing out non-foil tickets

Old-style TriMet tickets
Older-style TriMet tickets don't have a foil strip. If you have any tickets that look like these, use them up by April 30.

Got old tickets lying around? Use them up soon!

In 2009, we added a foil strip to our tickets for better security and to help speed up the fare inspection process. Now, we’re phasing out all of the older-style tickets.

So check your backpack, purse, wallet or junk drawer for old TriMet tickets (without a foil strip), and be sure to use them up by Monday, April 30, 2012—after which they’ll no longer be accepted as valid fare.

Adult pass and ticket example (with foil strip)
Since 2009, tickets are printed with a wavy foil security strip with holograms that change colors.

Exchanging your old tickets

If you want, you can trade in your old tickets before or after April 30, 2012, at the TriMet Ticket Office at Pioneer Courthouse Square, located at 701 SW 6th Ave. in Downtown Portland. You may exchange your non-foil tickets at the TriMet Ticket Office through December 31, 2012.

7-Day Pass scratch-off discontinued

As part of this transition, we’re also discontinuing the scratch-off version of the 7-Day Pass as of April 30. (You’ll still be able to purchase a 7-Day Pass from a ticket machine or the TriMet Ticket Office at Pioneer Courthouse Square, pre-validated for immediate use.)

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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.

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Seen and Heard: toys for tots, a sleeping babe, and two Santas

Two Santas on their way to Portland Santacon.
Featured photo: as seen by @carries06 at one of our MAX stops.

“Seen and Heard on TriMet” is a bi-weekly 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 two weeks:

carries06:

Getting ready for the Max train, heading to #nopdxanticon instagr.am/p/XJ7uF/

Kaizerin:

Very young father tenderly watching his sleeping infant, totally absorbed in the kid. So beautiful! #trimet

yuetsu:

sunset pdx, early winter 2011, se belmont & caesar chavez blvd. @ Trimet Bus Stop 428 instagr.am/p/WsT8O/

SiteSmiths1:

Just watched a bus driver get out to help an old blind lady cross the street. Awesome. #trimet

PDXKtv:

Toys for tots motorcycle drive at Trimet yards today. Thousands of choppers! yfrog.com/kgmcsqoj

doctor_jeff:

A cyclist festooned in battery-powered Christmas lights just got on the train. Safe and festive! #trimet #hohoho

VinnyQH:

daily observation on #trimet: If you ride at the very back of max, it’s like a #rollercoaster! wheeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!

TimBers_:

Son #2 more thrilled with the PDX Max train than the airplanes. instagr.am/p/YJr6p/

furiousjonny:

#leaves and a #bench @ TriMet PGE Park MAX Station instagr.am/p/YNMKZ/

brockmon:

a nice little message to brighten my morning on the MAX. #TriMet http://t.co/VEb6hQBN

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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.

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6 holiday events to celebrate with family and friends

Are you heading to any holiday events this month? Gather the family, grab some 1-Day Passes (just $5 each), and enjoy the festivities. From Santaland to the Grotto’s Festival of Lights to ZooLights, there’s an abundance of family fun happening all over town. Let us get you there and back, without the hassles of traffic, parking and gas.

A Broadway Rose Christmas Revue
November 23-December 18

Combining classic carols, holiday pop songs, and original offbeat material created especially for local audiences, Broadway Rose Theatre Company’s A Very Merry PDX-MAS pokes fun at our “ever green” city with the perfect mix of local humor and holiday heart. Plan your trip

Christmas Ship Parade
December 8-20

Check out the 57th annual Christmas Ship Parade on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.

The Lights on Peacock Lane
December 15-31

For many people, going to see the lights on Peacock Lane – Portland’s Christmas Street is a must during the holidays. The lane has been known for some of the most impressive Christmas decorations in Portland since the 1920s. Have you joined in on the tradition yet? Plan your trip

Santaland
November 25-December 24

Haven’t had time to fit in that visit to Santa yet? At Macy’s Santaland in Downtown Portland, not only can you take the kids to visit Santa, but you can also get a family photo taken in the Monorail Memory Room or the Train Village. Plan your trip

Festival of Lights at The Grotto
November 25-December 30

The Grotto has over 500,000 lights, 150 choral performances, a petting zoo, carolers, puppet shows and hot chocolate for you and your family to enjoy. Plan your trip

ZooLights
November 25-January 1

More than a million lights transform the Oregon Zoo into a luminous winter wonderland filled with moving sculptures, forests of lighted trees and animal silhouettes. Starting Friday, Dec. 16, the Oregon Zoo doubles its usual public transportation discount for ZooLights visitors. If you ride the MAX Light Rail or a bus to ZooLights, you can get $3 per person off ZooLights admission. Plan your trip

Marisa Scheidegger

I’m TriMet’s marketing communications coordinator. I write content for TriMet’s web and social media, and customer-facing print materials.
When I’m not working, I’m spending time with my husband and two incredibly bright and funny kids.

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Seen and Heard: fall colors, staying great, and spinning

Trees in their fall colors seen at a MAX stop.
Featured photo: as seen by @fwickafwee at one of our MAX stops.

“Seen and Heard on TriMet” is a bi-weekly 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 two weeks:

fwickafwee:

Damp fall day at the #max station #trimet instagr.am/p/UKU9_/

chizeck:

The bus driver on this 15 bus looks like David Crosby. What a mustache! #Trimet #PDX

alisonhallett:

my whole MAX car is trying not to crack up as a dad explains to his kid “why a trimet girl is getting married to a recycling guy” in an ad.

expowiz:

Time to leave Portland. Riding on TriMet Max rail is a great way to & from the PDX airport.

fraqturedsound:

Photo: Locked… (Taken with Instagram at TriMet Convention Center MAX Station) tmblr.co/Zq5cxxBurZPO

japuvian:

Lady on my bus wearing cute pollyanna dress, white rights, black penny loafers and blasting what sounds like death metal. #trimet #pdx

Kaizerin:

Warm, bright bus is a welcome sight on cold, dark night! #Trimet

katebingburt:

Wet. Fall. Portland. @ TriMet Stop ID 7772 instagr.am/p/UddSV/

sallyreb:

Loving the fellow @trimet rider who gives a loud “Stay Great!” shout-out to #bus driver every morning when she exits

imagine_enigami:

Just saw Santa on a passing MAX train. #trimet #holidays

munchkinheather:

Photo: Moving MAX train. Downtown Portland, OR. 11.2011 (photojournalism, moving object with blurred… tmblr.co/ZGy8gwBxzyQP

knitguy:

Things that are good about spindles: I can spin on the MAX train. twitgoo.com/4zt9q1

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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.

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The right place at the right time: Operator Richard Silverman rescues toddler in traffic

Operator Richard Silverman
On Tuesday, TriMet Operator Richard Silverman was driving along 82nd Avenue when “a little pink thing” dashed across the lane to his right. Photo courtesy Kate Mather/The Oregonian

Somewhere in NE Portland’s Sumner neighborhood this Thanksgiving, there’s a mother who’s grateful that a bus driver was in the right place at the right time.

In the thick of Tuesday morning’s record-setting rainstorm, Operator Richard Silverman was driving his Line 72 north on NE 82nd Ave., not far from the airport. As he prepared to make a left turn on to NE Killingsworth St., “a little pink thing” dashed across the lane to his right. He stopped the bus and saw a little girl in pink pajamas and rain boots toddling across the busy street in the blinding rain, right toward his bus.

Richard stopped the bus, positioned it at an angle to block traffic in both northbound lanes, and contacted Dispatch. The bus was about half full; one of the customers got off and retrieved the girl, who looked to be about two years old. The police arrived within minutes, with the mother—who had also called 911—on their heels. Richard says the little girl was drenched but calm, “not saying anything, just busy looking at everybody looking at her.”

Sobbing, the mother told Richard that the first floor of their apartment was flooding, and that the little girl must have slipped away in the confusion as the family relocated upstairs. After interviewing the mother, the police left; mother and daughter went home; and Richard and his riders resumed their trip toward Swan Island.

In December, Richard Silverman will begin his 15th year as a TriMet operator. Before TriMet, he drove trucks and taxis and was a steelworker—“Whatever would help me feed my family and raise my kids.” As a bus driver, Richard’s seen a lot, but rescuing a toddler from traffic? “That’s a first for me,” he says. “I’m just glad it had a happy ending.”

Jessica Bucciarelli

I work in internal communication at TriMet, which means I help employees stay in touch with what the agency’s doing and get the information they need to do their jobs. Sometimes I’m sitting at a computer writing a newsletter, other times I’m out at a bus stop at the crack of dawn with my notebook and camera. I grew up riding TriMet, and today I enjoy having a “behind the scenes” view of the service I use just about every day.

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55 new buses to join the fleet in 2012

This rendering shows what our new buses will look like when they arrive from the manufacturer in fall 2012.

Great news for bus riders! We’re adding 55 new buses to the fleet next year.

As riders can attest, many of our buses are overdue for replacement. (About 150 buses in our fleet are more than 18 years old.) They’re noisy and bumpy, and some don’t even have air conditioning. Not only are these older buses uncomfortable for riders and operators, they are becoming too unreliable and expensive for us to maintain.

That’s why, using grant funding and debt service, we’re replacing 55 of our oldest buses in 2012. We’re also planning for future bus purchases, starting with a “State of Good Repair” grant from the Federal Transit Administration that will fund an additional 14 buses in 2013.

The new buses are currently being designed at the Gillig factory in Hayward, California.

In addition to air conditioning, automatic stop announcements and low floors for easy boarding, they’ll feature:

  • vinyl seats that are easier to clean
  • LED lights on the mirrors that alert pedestrians and motorists of intent to turn
  • an innovative electronic cooling system based on auto-racing technology
  • a longer, more gradual boarding ramp capable of carrying heavier loads
  • a streamlined front end

Four of the buses will be next-generation hybrid-electric vehicles, which we will test for performance, maintenance needs and fuel efficiency.

The electronic cooling system, dubbed “mini-hybrid” technology, is already in use on more than 100 of our buses and has been shown to improve fuel economy by more than 5 percent. It uses an electrified subsystem to operate at an optimal temperature range, as opposed to a standard hydraulic or mechanical fan system.

Our goal is to reduce the average age of our bus fleet from 13 1/2 years to 8 by 2020, and to replace all remaining high-floor buses (those with steps at the door) with low-floor vehicles by 2013.

A prototype bus is expected to arrive in Portland next spring, and the rest will begin shipping from the factory in the fall. Stay tuned for more details!

WEIGH IN ON FACEBOOK: What are you looking forward to most about our new buses?

Dave Whipple

I’m TriMet’s manager of marketing and rider communications. I oversee the agency’s web and mobile initiatives and help build useful and usable online tools for riders. I also moonlight as a musician in my spare time.

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