FWHOOH!!! Sorry, that was just me blowing the dust off this blog. It's been too long.
So we start 2014, and things are different. I find myself in a slightly different position that I had been before. For the past year, I was the kid who just floated about on the blogosphere, agreeing or disagreeing with whomever I wished, and playing more of a supporting role to other, more well known players in the field.
But things have changed. TriMet has successfully shut down Lane Jensen, the second most well-known blogger in the TriMet world. I look around trying to find anyone else to fill that void, and I see no one. Lane used his blog to post facts or his interpretation of facts in order to make people aware of TriMet's issues by the numbers. That voice is gone, unfortunately. And unfortunately, that void will not be filled unless someone rises to the occasion.
I don't want to be that person. I want to just sit back and write about autoblock signals, random facts about transit centers, and why bus 2809 has this strange band wrapped around its roof at the front by the side ID numbers. But, TriMet is the nonhuman thing I love most in this world, and letting that void be left unfilled would be like letting a good friend die of starvation when you have the biscuit in your hand. So, therefore, I will step up to the plate to help make the change I want to see.
One of my main demotivators, besides the holidays, has been the pressure I have from both sides. The same day TriMet IT people graciously met with me to go over the inner workings of the CAD-AVL and radio systems, my friend Lane was arrested a second time by the Transit Police. Now I had two posts to write, one telling of the great complexity and promise of the IT system, and the other to call out another part of TriMet for its continued devaluing of transparency. One side trying to get the truth out, another trying to shut up people from telling the truth. This saddens me, and my trust in the agency drops to a near all-time low. (My trust in certain people and departments in the agency, however, has gone up. I wish I could say the same about everybody.)
So my hope here is that, as you read what I post here, you will become more aware of the truth. This truth is really hard to find sometimes, and it will take some real digging to find it. And just because you think that you know what the truth is, you may be wrong. This goes out to both the blogger side and the TriMet side. I hope that whatever truth I can find helps everybody to see what's really going on, what is actually good, and what is actually very, very bad.
I won't be Lane Jensen. He had a knack for facts, but at the same time he had a knack for ticking people off. I don't seek to ruffle anyone's feathers. I'm not going to call people out on podcasts. I'm not going to try to arrest board members. That's Lane's thing, and he was remarkably successful in it. But what I will do is try to make public what is hidden in a way that maintains levels of respect and decency.
I would rather just go ride the lines, memorize bus stops, and compute bus schedules. But unfortunately, desperate times call for desperate measures. Let's hope and pray that by the end of 2014, we see improvement and much brighter future for the agency.
Next up will be the posts about Lane Jensen's silencing and the development and design of the radio system. This should kick off a very interesting and enlightening year for everyone in the TriMet world.
And, oh, I should leave you with this picture. I don't know why it's there, or even why the font is so very different but there is something weird about this bus and that band going around it. If anybody knows, please email me or comment. Thanks!