Thursday, November 26, 2009


I re-created the conversation as best I could from memory:

Veteran max operator when asked if the call boxes could be to blame:

-yea that’s entirely possible, we’ve had nothing but problems with those call boxes”

It was another type 4 malfunction.-

I asked about the lack of mirrors on those type 4’s.

-Yea they are camera’s, and they are another sad story, ½ the time you pull into a platform on a sunny day and you think a fog has just settled in, the view is as thick as pea soup.-

-He watched the video today for the first time, there was quite a gap between when they requested the ramp and when he closed the door. The operator definitely hit the door close button, overriding the ramp request. That is definite because you can see the door closed when all the other doors are still open.-

When asked why he would override it he answered:

-Strictly speculation, if your there at the platform and somebody requests the ramp after you have been sitting there awhile, the chances are good that it is somebody just bumping the button. At the time your getting ready to go you’ll now have to wait for that ramp to cycle, and its going to kill your time right there. If you’ve put a request in for a preempt, you only got one shot at that preempt or you will lose a couple of minutes if you have to wait for it to time out and cycle around and get it back. If somebody at the last minute hits that bridge plate, you’re going to want to close it and go. If you wait you lose your preempt. I’m not saying its right or wrong, it’s just a reason why an operator would do that. It might be a case where he has gates down and a signal, he’s only got 60 seconds before he gets out of there otherwise it could be a 90 second time out before you can get the signal again. In some cases, like Willow Creek, its 45 seconds before that gate will even start to come down. You’re requesting your signal as soon as you pull in because your stuck there for 45 seconds immediately. People don’t think it’s a big deal but two minutes is about your window of opportunity because by the time you get to Old town your gonna be cut off by the green line, or yellow line, whatever, now your gonna be 10 minutes late and you can kiss your schedule goodbye-

I asked if he thought the firing was justified:

-Based on his history, the answer would be yes. If it was just based on this one incident, If he did cancel that call then yes, he should be fired. If he deliberately cancelled the call then yes.

This operator was shocked that somebody would actually cancel a call for help and ignore it.

A road supervisor commented that if he had left the call on and answered it when he got to the next station that would have been acceptable.

The whole incident and who is too blame hinges on weather the call box worked, and if it did indeed, then did this operator INTENTIONALLY cancel the call.

If he actually did that, then the firing is justified. Nobody in the room disagreed.


MAX Redline said...

I wondered what your perspective on the incident would be; thanks for posting it.

My questions have revolved around the Type 4 design, as I've read that they have been more or less plagued by unreliable electronics.

Al M said...

One of the controversies that I have gotten stuck in is that I am aiding and abetting the forces that are trying to undo this agency and my union.

I am pro TRIMET, pro UNION, anti LIGHT RAIL.

I am not against conservatism on all issues.

I happen to agree with many of the issues that you bring up on your blog, and disagree with many others.

But the facts are the facts, they should be available to everyone,they shouldn't be hidden away somewhere.

There is still supposed to be freedom of speech in this country, and that is one ideology I refuse to give up without a fight.

I personally want to know what the facts are in any given situation, there is nothing to hide in that post.

Al M said...

Furthermore, I still think this operator was lynched by the press.

The feeding frenzy brought on by the attention this got is bad news for everyone working at Trimet.

I question the motives.