Saturday, November 21, 2009

By Joseph Rose, The Oregonian

November 21, 2009, 8:37AM
TriMet is inspecting emergency intercom systems and doors on its MAX trains following two incidents in which young children were separated from their parents and left stranded at stations.

Read the full story about TriMet's plans and Aaron Bailey's ordeal after being separated from his son by what appears to be a malfunctioning on one of the new Type 4 trains.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that a parent has notified TriMet about a possible problem with faulty intercoms on its light rail trains.

On Sept. 13, Colin Fogerty called the agency after a closing door separated Colin Fogerty from two of his three children as they tried to get off at the Yellow Line’s Overland stop.

As the train left, Fogerty, a public radio editor with the Northwest News Network, said he started hitting the intercom button to let the operator know that his son, 7, and daughter, 3, were left alone at the last stop.

No one answered, he said.

“It took them two months to get back to me,” Fogerty said. But the TriMet customer service representative “couldn’t tell if they had looked into the intercom problem.”

Although the doors didn't malfunction, Fogarty had ridden the MAX with his kids enough for them to know how quickly to move. "At this stop," he said, "we moved quickly. We did not dilly dally."

Still, the doors closed on him and his second 3-year-old twin before they could get off the train.

While two of his children got off before him, Fogarty was left holding his second 3-year-old twin as the train started to roll again.

Fogarty also complained to TriMet about how the operator reacted when he confronted her about the train leaving the children at the last station. He said she became defensive, saying, "I didn't leave anyone behind."

Fogarty admits he was angry. But when he asked her to call for help, she reportedly told him, "I'm not calling anyone until you stop yelling at me."

TriMet officials did not immediately know Friday if a supervisor had met with the operator to discuss the incident.

Fogarty said he ran about a half mile back down the line, with his 3-year-old in his arms, bouncing on his hip, to find his two other children crying but being comforted by strangers.

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