TriMet's general manager Fred Hansen has announced a wide-ranging crackdown on TriMet operators using their cell phones while in the course of their duties ("TriMet's chatty bus drivers draw complaints," Nov. 15). In the last six years in which I have ridden TriMet buses on a near-daily basis, I've never seen one of TriMet's professional operators use a cell phone or other device in an inappropriate manner.
Meanwhile, bus passengers experience TriMet's culture of bus safety by boarding overcrowded, crush-load buses. If the bus was a building, it would be closed up by the fire marshal. A fleet of increasingly aging and unreliable buses requires passengers to evacuate and wait for a replacement bus in unsafe locations. TriMet schedules operators in such a way that there little to no break time between long runs. Certainly Hansen has no respect for -- or simply ignores -- the duties of a bus operator during those routes. In this case, Hansen can claim action and blame operators for something that seldom happens, while doing nothing to instill a true culture of safety at TriMet.