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the driver on the bus says move on back

I too love MAX for stroller usin', although I think technically you *are* in fact supposed to fold your stroller up on the train, too - the problem or unintended benie w/ MAX [surprise] being that they don't/can't enforce that particular rule.

We've had less of a problem w/ waiting on the bus, because the bus stop is right at our house on the corner. But if I were to have a wish list, I'd like to see Tri-Met routes that do NOT all head for the Rose Quarter or downtown. There's actually relatively little reason for my family to be downtown and having to travel that-a-way just to transfer or just because that is the inevitable route is seriously aggravating... A bus trip from our house in North PDX to OMSI takes an hour because we have to head west across the river, hit downtown, then head back east. There's no efficiency in that for us.

Happy travels to everyone.

rae ann

you busin' mamas are brave in my book. i just can't bring myself to give that challenge a whirl. it's hard enough to keep both of my hooligans wrangled when we take the MAX.

i have to say that my biggest complaint with tri-met is how late they can be. my poor DH was relying on MAX for his commute from beaverton to NoPo. i can't even begin to tell you how often it happened that the train would be 20+ minutes later than the schedule said. it was so frustrating for him and for me if i had a particularly "rough" day with the kiddos.

another deal breaker for him was how often the trains seemed to break down. it seemed like he was getting stuck in down town at least once a week because one of the trains was being repaired.

i think we're going to try out the bikes this spring and see if we can reduce our car travels by that route. we might give tri-met a shot again a little while down the road, but we're just too fed up right now.

the driver on the bus says move on back

Rae Ann: you're absolutely right [and may the transportation gods smile more kindly on your poor husband] - MAX needs to work all those bugs out. Delays, breakdowns seem regular w/ them. And you reminded me of all the times I've been frustrated by the non-working MAX ticket machines at our stop. Annoying!

olivia

We are very regular Tri-Metters (more so in the past before we started whole biking more). The MAX transit tracker is messed up and it bugs the crap out of me. I am not sure what is wrong with it, but the transit tracker (the one at the station) that reads when the next train is coming once changed from "2 minutes" to "19 minutes" and stayed at "19 minutes" for the next 10 minutes before changing to "6 minutes", at which point the train was pulling into the station. Weirdness. You'd think it would be even more precise than the bus satellites.

What I love about TriMet: Transit Tracker. I love it. I keep track of all my frequented bus stops so I can quickly see if it makes more sense to take the #35 or #44 home or even the MAX. Transit Tracker minimizes our wait in the cold/wet or at least prepares us for it.

What I have also appreciated about TriMet: responses to customers. I used to do an afternoon commute to pick up one child at NE 50th and Burnside then traverse town to get up to North Portland to pick up the other child. If one bus was running late, it would mess up all my connections and I'd get to my other child's school late and get dinged with a fee. After experiencing a lot of lateness, I wrote TriMet, explaining that the bus was often late and that sometimes it would pass my stop if it was too late and if the next bus was right behind. Within a week, I got a nice long explaination from the route supervisor with stats during my commute time for the past 4 weeks, explanations (there was a substitute on one of the days that it was extremely late), and also some commentary about how that particular bus-line needs to be refigured because it runs from Gresham to Beaverton and is too difficult to manage.

Point is: if you email them, they email back and you get a ton of info and perhaps even urge them to consider changes.

I log comments in TriMet a lot (it is handy if you have the time of incident and bus line # and even operator # -- posted inside the bus). I like to think it makes a difference to let them hear from us.

Regarding the stroller: I know what you mean - it is a pain in the booty to fold it up. I have gotten on and then off a bus before when the driver told me to fold it up (and my kid was napping). But, I think you have to. I understand the thing, when open or even when folded, is a major tripping hazard. Plus, the elevator device, though sometimes used for strollers, is really intended for wheelchairs. We rarely take the bus if we intend to use the storller; we take MAX instead.

In sum, my tips? Transit Tracker, complaint or compliment online whenever possible, don't hold high hopes for using a stroller, travel as light as possible and make the kids carry a backpack too.

Becky

We have a very hard time using TriMet in general. Living in SW between 45th street, just south of Multnomah Village, and the Garden Home, Thriftway area, there is not an good bus to take. If you take the 1, it goes in some crazy directions and all over before heading to downtown and you can take the 45? (its been a while), but you have to walk a very long way to get there. You can also head into the Village, but like I already mentioned, it takes so much longer than just hopping in the car. If my husband has to take the bus, the entire commute 1 way takes him about 1 1/2 hrs b/c first you have to walk that far and then you have to wait so long for the bus to show up and then you still have to hit every stop en route to where you want to go. It takes me 10-15 min to get him to work, and at most an 1/2 hr to get back at home. Plus we were rear ended this past fall and I'm not excited about walking on this street with my group in tow. We only have 1 car, and try to coordinate all our trips and run our errands at the same time that way we are not always driving.
I would love to support the whole bus/max system more, its just not very good in this area at all. And so far we can't transfer to using bikes more b/c we don't own them yet, a goal we are working toward changing, but I'm still pregnant and then even when I'm not, I was told my kids are still too little to be in the carriers. (Does anyone know what the ages for the different bike carriers and accessories are off the top of their head?)

ProtestMama

I want limited stops bus lines, like the Bay Area. Most heavily traveled lines had an Limited stop and local (every stop) bus. Sometimes even an express.

Meaning that instead of stopping every block, some buses would only stop every few blocks. I can't spend over an hour on a bus across town.

About the stroller thing, it's pretty loosely enforced here. When we were in SF, the busdrivers simply wouldn't let you on with a stroller that wasn't broken down. Sometimes they'd drive off while you were taking it down. I had an umbrella stroller for bus riding because it was easier to take down. I don't think it's okay to block the aisles with those big ol' strollers, you young whipper-snappers have now. I had no car until my daughter was 4, so I did work, school, childcare, grocery shopping on the bus or walking.

Lisa

Thanks Olivia for the contact TriMet advice and experience, I e-mailed today re my route always being late & then full today. I'll let everyone know what they say! Felt good just sharing my thoughts/issue in hopes that it can be worked out! I also suggested cutting stops from every 2 blocks to every 3 here and there to make it go faster. Two blocks in between seems excessive, plus aren't we trying to get people to walk more in this country??

KMat

I come from an area of the country where the bus (only two routes) only ran once an hour, between 7am and 6 pm. The train ran once a day. Once a day! That's ridiculous.

We sold both of our cars before we moved to Portland, so we've been car-free for about 6 months now. The public transportation here is so much better than we were used to. Yeah, DH could get to work in 20 min if we had a car, as opposed to the hour it takes him on the bus. But the bus only costs us $65/month, and he uses the hour to talk to friends back East, read magazines (lucky him, I get motion sickness), listen to his iPod--basically he gets a little unwind time before he gets home, which is cool, since he doesn't always get it at home.

I usually take the bus a few times a week--to work, or on Mondays when my little guy's playgroup is too far to walk (Fridays we walk 20 blocks each way). I generally just pony up the $1.75 when I get on the bus, but because I generally get the same bus driver, I sometimes get a free ride.

We also do FlexCar. My two boys are in car seats--the 3 y/o in a big clunker of a seat, the 5 y/o uses a booster. I try to run most car-necessary errands while the big guy is at school, but if not, he has to carry his own seat. I hitched a strap onto the back of the little guy's seat--you'll see me walking around the NE with a car seat hanging over my shoulder, my pregnant belly sticking out and a 3 y/o dragging random sticks around. It's actually not as bad as it sounds, although I am lucky in that there are several FlexCars within 7 blocks from my home (ie. walkable--no bus involved.)

Lisa

So I heard back from Tri-Met the other day. Wow, impressive customer service. Turns out they are adding a few extra buses on my line, so I must not have been the first to complain! Or I iamgine they track this stuff internally. I am thinking of suggesting a parent rider advisory committee (why not?). Anyone interested?

Evelyn Wangari

This is great

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