Friday, April 12, 2013

It's the Bomb-Sniffing Dog All Over Again

TriMet's latest security-related email concerns the new inclusion of police in plain clothes to enforce fare and code policies on MAX. It also concerns me, as it leaves me wondering if it is really necessary. (That was a pun; I'm sorry.)

Ask me two years ago and I'd tell you it's a good idea. But now? No. And here's why.

TriMet is trying to fight the fare evasion war by attacking the evaders. Which is okay - there are plenty of people who just think they are above paying their fair-share. But it's not getting to the root of the problem.

We all know about the dreaded Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) at the rail stations. The unreliability of those devices is astounding, but TriMet's unwillingness to admit the chronic issues that exist with the machines is really what is making people mad.

The other issue has to do with public perception, which TriMet PR doesn't seem to know how to manage. Public perception is created through both words and actions, and neither that TriMet is putting out makes the average rider want to trust them. If the PR department would just admit that the TVMs are faulty and assure the public that they have every intention of fixing it, then I'd be okay with the undercover cops. But they won't admit the real state of the TVMs, and even if they did admit it and promise to make amends, I don't trust that they would actually follow through.

TriMet, please convince me that you are honest and operating in the best interest of the community. Because frankly, right now I don't trust that you are. And that's sad, given how much I love the agency.

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