I took a ride out to Gresham on the #4 recently, just to take a ride about town. The bus serving the frequency I got on today was one of the new buses. I have an official complain about these new buses.
TriMet recently purchased three new types of vehicles; New Buses, New LRVs, and the WES DMUs. The DMUs are beautiful, very quiet, ride smoother than anything in the entire TriMet system, and as for ride, are just unmatched. The new LRVs are also smoother than any other LRV in use on the system, smoother than any bus ride also, and generally as comfortable as one would expect a public transit rail vehicle would be.
But the buses, where did TriMet get these buses? These things are already a complete catastrophe. I’ve had to get off of buses about 15 times the entire time I’ve been riding TriMet over the years. 3 of those occurrences have ALL BEEN IN THE LAST 3 MONTHS on NEW BUSES! What gives?
In addition to the issues just described, it appears these new buses are low quality inside, with fewer amenities than the last series of low floor buses. The inside rattle horribly when the bus accelerates up to speed. Now, I don’t know about everyone else, but I seem to notice buses accelerate and decelerate a LOT. This of course means the new buses are pretty much rattle all the time. This makes these new buses very frustrating to work on (which, buses generally are more frustrating to work on, but the new ones just have a +2 to frustrate now).
Transmissions, let me tell you about the transmissions on the new buses. Alright, one of the 3 broken down new buses I’ve been on broke down because of the transmission. But it isn’t the first new bus I had been on that had a massive kick during gear shifting. When a bus lurches that hard core, it isn’t uncomfortable, is is DANGEROUS. Those goofy old folks, or those silly young kids, that just stand up at whimsical times would easily be tossed into something. As any bus driver knows, there isn’t a lot of soft things to fall onto on a bus, which means the driver and the injured passenger are going to have a headache to deal with if a young kid or old fogies gets tossed onto the floor, metal pole, hard plastic seat, or some other hard spot on the bus.
So the new buses have all of these issues, but what really just ticks me off, is the nanny state nonsense with non-opening windows. I don’t care if some idiot stick their arm out the window and gets it torn completely off. What I care about is that I have enough responsibility and discipline to enjoy the wonderful breeze of a cool day while riding the bus. Why I should be punished by some punk idiot eludes me. Sure, maybe single plane windows are cheaper, but I don’t care about that either. Don’t order as many buses, but give me windows that open for the love of sensibleness.
I do have a shining bright spot in all this complaint. At least the new buses have amazing air conditioners! Not sure if that has been part of the problem in reliability, but at least THAT works.
I’m not sure what realistic solution TriMet could take with the situation as it is. If a regular citizen bought a car from Toyota, Ford, or even GM, they’d have the lemon law kick in by now and get their money back or a new car. Hell, most car dealers wouldn’t even deal with the lemon law, they just hand someone a new car before that mess even starts (emphasis on USUALLY, some resist – like GM & Ford of the past).
If I where in charge, I’d demand an immediate repair of every single new bus, transmission replacements, or even if it where necessary new buses that are designed differently.
So really, after all that ranting, is there even a possible solution to all this? I really don’t want to hear the rattling racket of these new buses for the next 15-20 years. Does TriMet have other options that are reasonable that could be completed in the next few months, years, or soon? My personal option is starting to look like it is time to move back to the ole’ streetcar route downtown. I’ve kind of wanted to get back closer in anyway, so this might be one of the catalysts to do so. Living downtown I rarely have to use any transit except the MAX, the streetcar being merely optional downtown.
Well, we shall see over the coming months. I’ll be riding the #9 for at least 6 more months. So TriMet ops, if you read this, please do me a favor and don’t put any new buses on the #9 route! 🙂 I’ll love ya for it (or buy ya a beer – feel free to contact me and name your beer)