Brompton takes a bus ride
I recently had a little chat with Trimet on the phone. After my third incidence of bus-driver melt-down over bringing my bike on board -- yes, I am indeed talking about my Brompton foldable -- I felt I had to inform them about their own policies. I received a positive response from the person who took my call when I suggested introducing the topic at their next staff meeting. She sounded completely enthusiastic about the idea and I have no doubt she'll see to it.
As you know, I usually use the MAX train, in combination with my bike. Lately there was some construction going which Tri-met dealt with by providing shuttle buses that ferried passengers past those areas. All the people would disembarked from the train and run over to a waiting bus which then took them to where they could pick up the train again and continue their trip.
To my shock, when I would wheel up to the door of the bus and prepare to fold, I was met with wild protestations from the driver!
Here's a composite of the way it's been going:
Driver: You can't bring that bike on!
Me: It's ok, I'm going to fold it down. [I flip the back wheel under.]
Driver: Nope! Sorry. NO BIKES on the bus.
Me: But wait! [I'm unscrewing the middle bolt.]
It folds way down! [I swing the front wheel to the back.]
Driver: I don't care what it does, NO BIKES ON THE BUS!
Me: What do you mean? [I push the seat all the way down on its post.]
This exact bike has been advertised on the side of tri-met buses! [I'm unscrewing the handlebar hinge.]
Driver: Yeah, well I haven't seen that.
Me: That's because you're always IN the bus. You can only see it if you're outside the bus. [by now I've collapsed it all the way down now, to its foldup size of a large typewriter.]
Driver: OK, so now where do you think you're going to put it?
Me: I'm going to keep it right next to me, just like a baby stroller, only much MUCH smaller.
Driver: Yeah, well what if everybody gets one of those?
Me: That would be a good thing. Tri met wants people to buy these. Really! I'm not making this up! If you call Trimet security right now, they won't come.
In each instance, I boarded the bus anyway. I don't like to be a smarty pants or anything... however..... since I knew without doubt that I was right, I made an exception and flouted authority.
I did not get kicked off. No one called security. But like I said, I later called Tri-Met to inform them of the discrepancy and they said they'd take care of it. Good grief, I don't want to have to do battle every time I board a bus. One driver even said I'd have to put it on the front rack. Can you imagine? That would be like trying to pick up a baby with a forklift.
I guess the drivers don't read about Trimet in the papers. If they did, they would've seen that foldups have been frequently mentioned as a great solution.