#askneil

Thus concludes TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane’s hour long Twitter chat on the budget. Just for record keeping, I posted the entire thing behind the jump (and apologies to the RSS readers because I don’t know if that will work for you so this is probably ridiculously long).

Edit – Since this was getting a lot of hits, I cleaned up the Twitter chat for readability, deleting a lot of the whitespace & redundant hashtags and resorting it so that top to bottom reads oldest to newest. I’d like to thank the “Find/Replace” and “Sort” functions of Microsoft Excel for making this possible.

The format of this is still a little choppy, so if you prefer, you can also read the chat on Twitter. You shouldn’t need a Twitter account for though sometimes older posts don’t load if you aren’t logged in. All of the chat and other posts tagged with #askneil can be accessed here.

talktrimet Join us for a live budget Q & A with General Manager Neil McFarlane Jan. 12 at 6 p.m. trimet.org/askneil 6 Jan

kevinfinch23: Why does Tri-Met constantly complain about budget problems and refuse to properly enforce fares and the smoking ban? @trimet 6 Jan

artnchicken: Oh man RT @trimet Join us for a live budget Q & A on Twitter with GM Neil McFarlane Jan. 12 at 6 p.m. bit.ly/x7uxnx 6 Jan

pipcityrockers: @trimet: Join us for a live budget Q & A on Twitter with General Manager Neil McFarlane Jan. 12 at 6 p.m. bit.ly/x7uxnx 7 Jan

MayorSamAdams: RT @trimet: Join us for a live budget Q & A on Twitter with General Manager Neil McFarlane Jan. 12 at 6 p.m. bit.ly/x7uxnx 9 Jan

bkerensa: When will #Trimet take a diligent approach to enforcing fares on Buses & MAX and other rules? 9 Jan

wiley_joe: tourist centric (streetcar) construction while commuter bus lines cut/suspended. What takes priority?10 Jan

JackPortlandia: RT @trimet: Questions about TriMet’s budget? Our general manager answers your tweets Thursday 6-7 p.m. trimet.org/askneil 10 Jan

DavidCruiseSF: Awesome! RT @trimet: Questions about TriMet’s budget? Our general manager answers your tweets Thursday 6-7 pmtrimet.org/askneil 10 Jan

BrockRides: @@trimet Why are you hiring a CRC transit bridge project manager if there’s no money for it?10 Jan

JackPortlandia: @GBLiquidations @SimonTheTam @patricksheehan TriMet’s having a twitter chat Thursday night on their budget issues -ow.ly/8oAy0 10 Jan

OPALpdx: The live chat with @TriMet GM Neil McFarlane doesn’t start until 6pm on Thursday, but you can questions using that hashtag now.11 Jan

wiley_joe: @trimet youtube.com/watch?v=b71gDa… 11 Jan

techieshark: @trimet: Know how to save money? Start by not wasting $100K+ on a manager for the unfunded, unbuildable #CRC megafreeway project. 11 Jan

EiACommission: RT @trimet: Questions about TriMet’s budget? Our general manager answers your tweets Thursday 6-7 p.m. trimet.org/askneil 11 Jan

sicklittlejag: Suggestion more than a question: give me a citation pad to ticket people who smoke under shelters & I’ll fix budget shortfall 11 Jan

coolbus18: Have the Feds been paid back the $20 million trimess owes them? And kudos for enforcing no smoking in shelter. 11 Jan

coolbus18: btw-I saw a supervisor ticketing a smoker downtown! yay! 11 Jan

coolbus18: yes, $500,000 for new managers and ya’ cut service! Sheesh! 11 Jan

JackPortlandia: RT @trimet: Join us for a live budget Q & A on Twitter with General Manager Neil McFarlane Jan. 12 at 6 p.m. bit.ly/x7uxnx 11 Jan

JackPortlandia: read guidelines for TriMet twitter chat. i have many questions and will post them all, but I may only get one answer ow.ly/8oz6M 11 Jan

JackPortlandia: @pdxmele @brianpdx hope to “see” you at trimet budget twitter town hall tomorrow. i have at least 20 questions ow.ly/8pGhq 23 hours ago

JackPortlandia: I count on TriMet to get around town. If you ever ride TriMet you need to be part of the discussion ow.ly/8oyEf 23 hours ago

JackPortlandia: RT @opalpdx: live chat with @TriMet GM Neil McFarlane starts 6pm Thursday, but you can questions using that hashtag now 23 hours ago

JackPortlandia: @@offhegoes if you have budget questions or issues for trimet, use the hashtag. maybe they will actually look at it. 23 hours ago

JackPortlandia: @TriMet will you share all the questions sent via with the TriMet board? 23 hours ago

JackPortlandia: south is in full revolt against trimet & trains. how would a renegotiation impact trimet’s budget deficit? ow.ly/8pH6b 23 hours ago

JackPortlandia: RT @brockrides: @trimet Why are you hiring a CRC transit bridge project manager if there’s no money for it? 22 hours ago

ORcot_Dude: Why does @TriMet have their own DA? 21 hours ago

JackPortlandia: RT @techieshark: @trimet: Know how to save money? Start by not wasting $100K+ on a manager for unfunded, unbuildable #CRCproject. 20 hours ago

APMARGULIES: -Hey Neil, how much did Trimet lose on the fuel futures contract? 20 hours ago

APMARGULIES: @-since we are discussing budget problems can you tell us how much Fred Hansen’s pension is? 20 hours ago

APMARGULIES: -How much was that WES bailout? 20 hours ago

PortlandAfoot: Updated our wiki page on TriMet’s budget w/ quotes from@maxfaqs & Portland Transport. bit.ly/zsX8iz More coming before . 20 hours ago

PortlandAfoot: @horsetail Yeah, I asked TriMet today to identify the bus lines that could be cut … hoping to get it ASAP. 19 hours ago

Intersection911: Why is Trimet hiring a CRC Construction Manager? Can we really afford that right now, especially with no construction dollars yet? 3 hours ago

talktrimet: Tonight: General Manager Neil McFarlane hosts budget town hall 6-7 p.m. trimet.org/askneil 3 hours ago

punkrawker4783: I’ll be busy driving for a better transit system during this, can someone y salaried employees wont take a pay cut? Set an example! 2 hours ago

sp_redelectric: blog.oregonlive.com/myoregon/2011/… 2 hours ago

sp_redelectric: Why does TM continue to treat bus riders as 3rd class citizens? Time to stop expecting bus riders to demand all the cuts. 2 hours ago

JackPortlandia: @@maxfaqs what? @trimet why is the salary for the CRC job posting going up while you weigh higher fares and cutting service? 2 hours ago

JackPortlandia: trimet budget twitter chat starts at 6pm, i’ve many questions to hope there’s lots of participation. thanks trimet for doing this. 2 hours ago

talktrimet: I wanted to begin by letting you know I appreciate all the feedback we’ve received so far via our online discussion guide. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: Hello everyone, and thank you for joining the chat! I’m Neil McFarlane, TriMet’s General Manager. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: If you haven’t already, I invite you to visit trimet.org/choices to learn about the issues and weigh in. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: The website gives a good background on our budget shortfall, what we’ve done so far, and what’s on the table. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: OK, we’re ready to get started. BTW, if you have questions about this chat or how to participate, go to trimet.org/askneil. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: We have one hour, so I’ll try to answer as many questions (one question per tweeter) as I can before 7 p.m. 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: Lets start with addressing these suggestions:blog.oregonlive.com/myoregon/2011/… 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @brockrides asked Why are you hiring a CRC transit bridge project manager if there’s no money 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @brockrides TriMet is not funding any design or construction of the CRC. Any staff time is fully reimbursed to TriMet. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@sp_redelectric asked Why does TM continue to treat bus riders as 3rd class citizens? 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: Hi @talktrimet – why do you continue to force PMLR down the throats of Clack Co despite wholesale public outrage? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @sp_redelectric I’m a bus rider. Bus service is core of system. Buying 55 new buses this year. 40 next year is our plan. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@johnlandolfe asked Why do fares always dance around difficult rates like $2.40? 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: By whom? RT @talktrimet: not funding any design or construction of the CRC. Any staff time is fully reimbursed to TriMet. 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: But TM has 175 buses that desparately need replacement causing increased operating expenses. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @ @johnlandolfe We’ve had a policy of nickel increases to minimize impact on customers. Future may offer electronic payment options. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @APMARGULIES asked how much did Trimet lose on the fuel futures contract? 1 hour ago

1 hour ago

talktrimet: @APMARGULIES There are no fuel future contracts in this year’s budget.

JackPortlandia: Multnomah County eliminated three top management positions to balance its budget, how many managers/directors will TriMet lay off? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@ORcot_Dude asked Why does @TriMet have their own DA? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @ORcot_Dude To ensure criminal acts against TriMet and our riders get the attention they deserve and are prosecuted 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: Try again … Hi @talktrimet – why do you continue to force PMLR down the throats of Clack Co despite wholesale public outrage? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@ChargerJeff asked why do you continue to force PMLR down the throats of Clack Co despite wholesale public outrage? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@ChargerJeff PMLR is a good project adopted by all of the jurisdiction including Clack. Co and city of Milwaukie… 1 hour ago

PDXtrimetrider: From @punkrawker4783: “why won’t salaried employees take a pay cut?” @trimet 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @ChargerJeff 95% of funding comes from other partners; we’re able to expand the system for small TriMet contribution. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@ChargerJeff PMLR very efficient – low cost per ride; helps stretch $$ in long run 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@punkrawker4783 asked Can someone y salaried employees wont take a pay cut? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @punkrawker4783 Salaried employees have had pay freezes for 4 years, increased health care costs, reduced staff. 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: buses are a good project adopted by the citizens…yet TriMet insists on cutting them first before other cuts. 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: new buses = more capacity, lower fuel burn, more reliability = reduced operating expense. old buses = higher costs. 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: But it is opposed by 80% of Clack voters. RT @talktrimet: PMLR very efficient – low cost per ride; helps stretch $$ in long run 1 hour ago

JackPortlandia: @talktrimet @ChargerJeff what is the cost per ride on MAX right now compares to bus? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@JackPortlandia asked Multnomah County eliminated 3 management positions 2 balance budget, how many managers will TriMet lay off? 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: @@JackPortlandia 72 line is most cost effective TriMet service. 72 is a bus line. 1 hour ago

grendle81: I hate driving to dwntwn PDX but the lack of security on the MAX is a huge deterrent, what, if anything, is going to be done? 1 hour ago

pdxcommute: @ChargerJeff curious: where did you get that 80% opposed number? I can’t recall seeing that. 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: @@talktrimet the voters in both Clack co and Clark Co strongly oppose light rail. why do you insist that you’re smarter than voters? 1 hour ago

JackPortlandia: @@talktrimet @punkrawker4783 what is the ratio of non-union to union employees at trimet now versus 2008? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@JackPortlandia We’re down 200 positions over the last 3 years at all levels. Also, 4 year salary freeze and increased … 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@JackPortlandia (cont) health care costs for non-union workforce. You can’t balance the budget on 13% of the workforce. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@ChargerJeff asked What is the cost per ride on MAX right now compares to bus? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @ChargerJeff Operating cost per boarding ride on bus is $2.86; $1.61 on MAX. 1 hour ago

JackPortlandia: @@talktrimet how non-union versus union in those cuts? what is planned for this budget crisis? 1 hour ago

engineerscotty: Budgeting assumptions seemed to assume victory against ATU757 in labor negotiations. TriMet is losing. Good assumption? 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: I didn’t ask that. I asked why you oppose Clack Co voters. RT@talktrimet: What is the cost on MAX right now compares to bus? 1 hour ago

JackPortlandia: @talktrimet @ChargerJeff does that include financing costs on the rail and trains? how much is paid in interest in 2011 for max? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @grendle81 asked I hate driving dwntwn PDX but lack of security on MAX is a huge deterrent, what, if anything, is going to be done? 1 hour ago

JoshinMinn: Enjoying watching the thread going on right now. Good to see you on Twitter, Neil! @talktrimet 1 hour ago

KXLJimferretti: , How do you count passengers on Max trains when not everyone pays to ride?1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: Who pays for TriMet police – bus riders don’t see transit cops, why do bus riders pay for that? MAX riders should assume 100% cost 1 hour ago

GregKeck1: @@talktrimet How many of those 200 all level positions are union versus non-union 1 hour ago

JackPortlandia: RT @sp_redelectric: @JackPortlandia 72 line is most cost effective TriMet service. 72 is a bus line. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @ JoshinMinn Hi back, wishing you snow in Minn. 1 hour ago

grendle81: what’s the ratio of incidents/trips in comparison to the Bay Areas BART with their secure stations & own police dept.? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @engineerscotty asked assumptions seemed to assume victory against ATU757 in labor negotiations.Good assumption? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@engineerscotty I’m asking that the budget be based on worst case scenario. The range between winning and losing is $5M 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @punkrawker4783 asked What is the ratio of non-union to union employees at trimet now versus 2008? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @punkrawker4783 Ratio unchanged: 87% union, 13% nonunion. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@KXLJimferretti asked How do you count passengers on Max trains when not everyone pays to ride 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @KXLJimferretti We have technology for automatic passenger counting at all train doors. 1 hour ago

PDXtrimetrider: @trimet why do you continue to leave so many buses w/ bad schdls/where drivers get near no breaks? Your bus drivers deserve better 1 hour ago

grendle81: what is the ridership to incident ratio of the MAX compared to that of BART? I want you to answer that. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@sp_redelectric asked Who pays TriMet police – bus riders don’t see them, why do bus riders pay? MAX riders should pay 100% cost. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @sp_redelectric TriMet pays for the 62 transit police officers. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @sp_redelectric Officers spend up to 70% of their time on the entire system, that includes MAX and buses. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@ChargerJeff asked I asked why you oppose Clack Co voters. 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: @talktrimet: did u hv rail passenger counting technology whn flawed ridership estimates wr submitted to feds to finance Green line? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@ChargerJeff I’m not – County Commission committed to project, as did Milwaukie City Council and other jurisdictions. 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: @@talktrimet so right now, if fight on 12b bus in tigard, where is nearest transit police? right now. 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: because light rail cannibalizes bus resources. RT @pdxtrimetrider:@trimet why do you continue to leave so many buses w/ bad… 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @grendle81 asked What’s ratio of incidents/trips in comparison to the Bay Areas BART with their secure stations & own police dept.? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @grendle81 Sorry, we don’t have BART data on hand. 1 hour ago

JackPortlandia: TriMet failed to document its final contract offer correctly. That’s what ERB ruled. – ow.ly/8ne1h 1 hour ago

grendle81: @@talktrimet that’s fine, you can reply to me when you do. I want this question answered. 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: Will you sue to make Clack Co pay, even after voters rejected? RT@talktrimet: @ChargerJeff County Commission committed to project 1 hour ago

talktrimet: One option is eliminating Free Rail Zone—what do you think? 1 hour ago

engineerscotty: Any thought to only building PMLR MOUS to Milwaukie, w/o Park Avenue, if Clack Co voters block county from contributing its share? 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: @@talktrimet Should have been done long ago. Stupid the MAX vs. Bus discrimination. Bus riders pay – MAX riders should too. 1 hour ago

JackPortlandia: TriMet mishandled evidence. It didn’t submit email attachment that may have favored them (page 4, para 2 – ow.ly/8neE1) 1 hour ago

JackPortlandia: @@talktrimet i support that and the pulling out of street car but there is no need for spending millions on marketing. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@ChargerJeff asked did u hv rail passenger counting technology whn ridership estimates wr submitted to feds to finance Green line? 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: How bout we respect the popular vote that was taken? Too inconvenient? RT @engineerscotty: Any thought to only building PMLR… 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: @@JackPortlandia Totally agreed. TriMet has 600 plus rolling billboards (aka buses). No need for marketing department. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @ChargerJeff We have accurate ridership counts on the Green Line–double digit growth most months; now near 22,000 weekday trips. 1 hour ago

JackPortlandia: @@talktrimet but you can reduce the impact. what is planned right now for the 13 percent to balance the budget? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: Let’s get back to budget questions 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: @@jackportlandia @talktrimet speaking of street car, how does removing or greatly slowing lane of car traffic improve congestion? 1 hour ago

JoshinMinn: Some pretty familiar axe grinding going on here… 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: @talktrimet why WES? 3 yrs old, still not meeting 1st yr projections. Costs 700% more than bus service. 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: These are budget questions. They’re tough, but they all relate to budget. RT @talktrimet: Let’s get back to budget questions 1 hour ago

JackPortlandia: Why should the public pay for TriMet’s errors in documenting its offer? Either through service cuts or fare increases? 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: @@talktrimet Why isn’t TM outsourcing I.T. and H.R. functions? Capital Projects huge expense but provides no service. Easy CUT. 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: CHOICE! RT @sp_redelectric: @talktrimet why WES? 3yrs old, still not meeting 1st yr projections. Costs 700% more than bus service. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @JackPortlandia said I support that and the pulling out of street car but there is no need for spending millions on marketing. 1 hour ago

KXLJimferretti: Rider numbers are at an all time high yet @Trimet dealing with very bad financial times. What is draining your budget the most?1 hour ago

maxfaqs: Speaking of marketing & budget, why did we outsource mrkting to ID Branding? Can we save money by using in-house Marketing Dept? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @JackPortlandia Marketing efforts are to share useful info with public to create awareness re: services & to prompt participation.1 hour ago

talktrimet: @GregKeck1 asked How many of those 200 all level positions are union versus non-union 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: Could rider numbers be inaccurate? RT @kxljimferretti: Rider numbers are at an all time high yet @Trimet dealing with very bad…1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: @@talktrimet when is last time marketing marketed a BUS line? i never see billboards saying how great bus is…but WES and MAX signs 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @GregKeck1 In 10 years, non-union positions down 10% — mgt only 13% of workforce 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@sp_redelectric asked Why WES? 3 yrs old, still not meeting 1st yr projections. Costs 700% more than bus service. 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: @@ChargerJeff passenger counters not installed on all buses, pass counts based on “surveys”. Hmmmm 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @sp_redelectric As more ride, it lowers cost of service; double-digit ridership growth on WES in much of past 2 yrs. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @sp_redelectric As everything is on the table, I’m open to looking at service efficiencies and savings. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @sp_redelectric Commuter rail systems often charge premium fares—should we consider for WES? 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: Buses are EVERYWHERE – why spend millions on already ubiquitous marketing? RT @talktrimet: @JackPortlandiaMarketing efforts are…1 hour ago

engineerscotty: how much of marketing budget is for customer communications vs lobbying/political advocacy?1 hour ago

ORcot_Dude: Why does @TriMet push so hard to expand against the will of the people? 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: Hmmm indeed. RT @sp_redelectric: @ChargerJeff passenger counters not installed on all buses, pass counts based on “surveys”. Hmmmm 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@maxfaqs asked Speaking of marketing/budget, why outsource mrkting to ID Branding? Can save money by using in-house Marketing Dept? 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: @@talktrimet and as more ride buses it lowers cost of service…yet trimet refuses to invest in bus and bus stop improvements. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@maxfaqs Marketing provides all the customer info/service tools for riders; returns 7X its cost through sales/ad revenue. 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: @@talktrimet should have been done from day one. wes fare should be $3-8 per ride, NO TRANSFER, PLUS parking fees. 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: Ouch! RT @sp_redelectric: @talktrimet whens last time marketing marketed a BUS line? i never see billboards saying how great bus is1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@engineerscotty asked Any thought to only building PMLR MOUS to Milwaukie, w/o Park Avenue … 1 hour ago

JackPortlandia: Are TriMet leaders responsible for the labor negotiation failure being let go? You can put their salary toward saving bus service. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @engineerscotty (cont.): if Clack Co voters block county from contributing its share? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @engineerscotty The petition drive in Clack Co is still an evolving process; too early to speculate. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @engineerscotty Clack Co has committed has to light rail and to the $25M contribution to build the line to Park Ave. 1 hour ago

JackPortlandia: @@talktrimet @maxfaqs how much in ad revenue was collected in 2011? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@KXLJimferretti asked Rider numbers are at an all time high yet dealing with bad financial times. What draining your budget most? 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: @@JackPortlandia how much ad revenue LOST to trimet self-promotion using revenue ad space 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@KXLJimferretti Fares make up only about 24% of the cost of the service; biggest drain is cost structure of union health care 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@engineerscotty asked How much of marketing budget is for customer communications vs lobbying/political advocacy? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @engineerscotty Marketing budget is all customer communication, safety education—not lobbying/political advocacy. 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: @@JackPortlandia why not increase ad at max platforms…ever see a rail station in europe? PLASTERED in ads. 1 hour ago

grendle81: RT @grendle81 asked I hate driving dwntwn PDX but lack of security on MAX is a huge deterrent, what, if NEthng is going to be done? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@ORcot_Dude asked Why does @TriMet push so hard to expand against the will of the people? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @ORcot_Dude We are responsive to our 100 million rides/year—and growing, for all but one year in last 23. 1 hour ago

1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@JackPortlandia asked how much in ad revenue was collected in 2011?

talktrimet: @@JackPortlandia $5 million and looking to add web advertising to expand revenues 1 hour ago

grendle81: sorry, disregard my last comment, 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @PDXtrimetrider asked why continue to leave so many buses w/ bad schdls/where drivers get no breaks? bus drivers deserve better 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @PDXtrimetrider We work hard to write good schedules—using good data, and feedback from operators for fine-tuning. 1 hour ago

JackPortlandia: 200 TriMet positions have been cut. How many positions were non-Union? How many actual PEOPLE were laid off? ow.ly/8ngL2 1 hour ago

maxfaqs: “A small TriMet contribution” for PMLR is still $75 mil. How will that affect future operations budget? 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: @@talktrimet WES ops get 36 minute break for every 90 minute work-bus ops work more stressful assignments with less/fewer breaks? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: This is great forum. We have about 15 minutes left, so make sure you get your questions soon. 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: @@talktrimet no way my employer would let me sit around for 36 out of every 90 minutes of paid time. easy common sense budget cut 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@sp_redelectric why not increase ad at max platforms…ever see a rail station in europe? PLASTERED in ads. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@sp_redelectric We’re looking into new ad revenue options. For example, there are ads now on TransitTracker by Text. 1 hour ago

JackPortlandia: @talktrimet so how is $5 million, 7x the $4 milllion budget for marketing in your budget docs? 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric:@talktrimet gardkarlsen.com/china/beijing_… shouldn’t be that hard to look for options. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @JackPortlandia asked 200 TriMet positions have been cut. How many positions were non-Union? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @JackPortlandia We answered that before: in 10 years, non-union positions down 10% – mgt only 13% of workforce. 1 hour ago

JackPortlandia: TriMet just posted jobs for bike planner and CRC manager. Why not freeze hiring until the budget is fixed? ow.ly/8ngQ4 1 hour ago

JackPortlandia: TriMet “anticipates” the feds will pay 50% of Milwaukie line costs, why build before that check comes? ow.ly/8niwG 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: @@talktrimet flickr.com/photos/sanola/… 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @kevinfinch23 asked Why does Tri-Met constantly complain about budget problems and refuse to enforce fares and the smoking ban? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @kevinfinch23 We enforce daily & can issue $175 citation/exclusion. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @kevinfinch23 For smoking, addt’l challenge is many stations/stops share city sidewalks. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @kevinfinch23 Not great source of rev due to TriMet receives up to $69/citation; rest going to county/state. 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@maxfaqs asked “A small TriMet contribution” for PMLR is still $75 mil. How will that affect future operations budget? 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@maxfaqs No TriMet funds have been spent to date on this project… 1 hour ago

ChargerJeff: Same reason as light rail bridge – if you build it they will come. RT @jackportlandia: TriMet “anticipates” the feds will pay… 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric:@@talktrimet why does TM pay for streetcar despite fare evasion…why not reduce tm contribution by amt of $$ COP refuses to collect 1 hour ago

talktrimet: @@maxfaqs TriMet’s contribution to PMLR less than 5% of overall cost of the project; our planned contribution is maxed at $50M… 1 hour ago

PDXtrimetrider: why does @trimet keep hiring (2 positions up for grabs now) while you guys cry ‘budget deficit’ of $17 million? 1 hour ago

sp_redelectric: @@ChargerJeff build more buses and they’ll come too but trimet isn’t doing that. 59 minutes ago

ORcot_Dude: Are you familiar with #Agenda21 @talktrimet 59 minutes ago

talktrimet: @@maxfaqs Contribution financed at low rates over 25 years 59 minutes ago

grendle81: fare checkers should be on every single train, it would reduce the amount of riffraff that wanders onto the trains 58 minutes ago

talktrimet: The fare system is complicated. What can be done to make it easier? What about a flat fare 58 minutes ago

ChargerJeff: @@sp_redelectric yeah but massive fed funding doesn’t follow buses, it follows trains of course we don’t consider unfunded mandate 57 minutes ago

JackPortlandia: You did “executive furloughs” b4? how many TriMet staff are “executives”? How much will you save with furloughs this year? 57 minutes ago

talktrimet: @@JackPortlandia asked TriMet just posted jobs for bike planner and CRC manager. Why not freeze hiring until the budget is fixed? 57 minutes ago

JackPortlandia: @talktrimet @maxfaqs is the finance cost for max tracks & trains included in your cost per rider estimates you posted earlier? 57 minutes ago

talktrimet: @JackPortlandia CRC not funded thru operating budget. No TriMet funds for design or construction of CRC. 57 minutes ago

sp_redelectric: @@ChargerJeff fta.dot.gov/grants/13094_3… 57 minutes ago

PDXtrimetrider: why are the @trimet board meetings always at such an inconvient time as 9:00 am while most people are at work? 56 minutes ago

talktrimet: @JackPortlandia Bike planner—helps make service more efficient. 56 minutes ago

ChargerJeff: Not complicated, unenforced. RT @talktrimet: The fare system is complicated. make it easier? What about a flat fare 57 minutes ago

talktrimet: @JackPortlandia Improving access to transit allows more people to get to service we’re providing. 56 minutes ago

talktrimet: @@JackPortlandia asked TriMet “anticipates” the feds will pay 50% of Milwaukie line costs, why build before that check comes? 56 minutes ago

JackPortlandia @ what about benefits for the position? what about retirement contributions and health insurance? what fund pays that? 56 minutes ago

talktrimet: @@JackPortlandia FTA Administrator said today $ on way – early local $ allowed take advantage of lower cost of early construction 55 minutes ago

talktrimet: @bkerensa asked When will #Trimet take a diligent approach to enforcing fares on Buses & MAX and other rules? 55 minutes ago

talktrimet: @bkerensa We have expanded staff and riders now have an 83% chance of either getting a $175 citation or exclusion. 54 minutes ago

sp_redelectric: @@talktrimet y trimet reduce investment in bus stops – access very important…tm spends big $$$ for stations, nothing for bus stops 54 minutes ago

talktrimet: @bkerensa A year ago, those odds were 35%. 54 minutes ago

sp_redelectric: @@talktrimet so when buses more expensive in future…u going to blame bus riders for tm failure to buy buses in timely fashion? 53 minutes ago

talktrimet: @wiley_joe asked Tourist centric (streetcar) construction while commuter bus lines cut/suspended. What takes priority? 53 minutes ago

talktrimet: @wiley_joe We provide service throughout region and focus on meeting demands; we need all modes of transit to keep region moving. 53 minutes ago

grendle81: how about upping that to 100%? I DON’T RIDE BECAUSE OF …WELL…RIFFRAFF…. 53 minutes ago

JackPortlandia: TriMet’s spending to catch fare cheats doesn’t pay for itself. Why keep paying for more ticket writers? ow.ly/8ni6j 52 minutes ago

talktrimet: @sp_redelectric asked tm reduce investment in bus stopsaccess very important tm spends big $$$ for stations, nothing for bus stops 51 minutes ago

ORcot_Dude : Trimet DA used to publicize crime? Then why did the beating of the 14yo just break? Where was the DA then? 50 minutes ago

maxfaqs: I agree – this is a great forum. Can we make these regularly scheduled meetings? 50 minutes ago

talktrimet: @@sp_redelectric TM puts $1 mil into bus stop improvements every yr.49 minutes ago

talktrimet: @@sp_redelectric Related see Ped Network Analysis – bit.ly/A3fuF8Need help from cities and counties. 49 minutes ago

talktrimet: I want to thank all of you for the thoughtful questions, and for taking the time to participate. 49 minutes ago

talktrimet: I hope this was helpful to you. This was our first Twitter chat, so please let me know how you think it went. 49 minutes ago

talktrimet: You can provide your feedback in person, if you prefer. We’re holding open houses in February. bit.ly/xAO5Zb 49 minutes ago

talktrimet: Let us know how you think it went and keep riding. 49 minutes ago

ChargerJeff: @@pdxcommute Hey I will have confirmation of that number tonight. It was actually 71% of surveyed voters who opposed PMLR in ClackCo 49 minutes ago

grendle81: it’s not a money concern, i don’t care what a ticket costs, i don’t want to see a 14 yr old girl bet beat up by 3 punk girls! 48 minutes ago

ChargerJeff : @talktrimet Thank you for the forum. 48 minutes ago

JackPortlandia: @@talktrimet thank you for doing this. will you provide more in depth responses to all the questions asked on your website? 48 minutes ago

JackPortlandia: The County has been reviewing the “span of control”, basically ratio of front line employees to others. Is TriMet looking at this? 47 minutes ago

JackPortlandia: @@talktrimet and can we keep posting other questions to and expect responses? 47 minutes ago

ChargerJeff: Great idea! RT @jackportlandia: @talktrimet will you provide more in depth responses to all the questions asked on your website? 46 minutes ago

JackPortlandia: TriMet employer taxes have gone up ow.ly/8njmK Will other areas do what Boring did and leave TriMet? ow.ly/8q0Nc 42 minutes ago

JackPortlandia: @talktrimet @trimet please share all the questions and comments you received with the board. unedited. thanks. 31 minutes ago

JoshinMinn: Really enjoyed @trimet‘s Twitter Town Hall tonight, where folks could about the budget. Great use of social media engagement. 44 seconds

6 responses to “#askneil

  1. Wow. A whole bunch of nothing. zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Hey you, wake up! You can’t sleep here! Executive Director of Miscommunication comin down the pike…get your resume ready!

  2. This is perfect for Trimet, I can’t make any sense of anything!

  3. Well it was an interesting test, one that I suspect TriMet will not repeat. I thought it was unfortunate that the conversation was almost entirely dominated by right wingers & whiners pushing TriMet hate on all sorts of meandering topics; rather than an honest budget discussion with some semblance of the actual public and/or ridership.

    Maybe the town hall meetings will be more productive.

  4. Wow sounded like a bunch of good roads movement retires took over the chat. haha. I really hoped to find some more info on that. Why are they hating on LRT anyway?

  5. thanks for pulling this together. i applaud the effort by trimet on this but the town hall was too short.

    these are the big questions that were not responded to or had incomplete responses (in part because 140 character limit):

    1) will you share all the questions sent via #askneil with the TriMet board?
    – no response from trimet. this question was asked a couple of times in different versions. and no response to requests for trimet to post full answers online.

    2) multnomah county eliminated three top management positions to balance its budget, how many managers/directors will TriMet lay off?
    – any questions related to layoffs, pay cuts, or furloughs for non-union employees went unanswered or were deflected with a reference to only 13 percent of the workforce being non-union.

    maybe that can’t balance the budget on non-union cuts but trimet needs to support their customers. is it unfair to expect them to try and do as much as possible before cutting service and raising fares?

    3) how does the cost of max compare to bus service? what is the debt service for max in 2011?
    – trimet quoted a number that showed max as cheaper than bus but there was no detail.

    they never answered the question of whether or not financing costs were included in the comparison. in trimet’s budget info online (i am no accountant), their debt service is $38 million per year (page 7 – http://trimet.org/pdfs/publications/fy12-adopted-budget.pdf ). how much of those interest payments are for max?

    4) what does cut 200 positions mean?
    – trimet’s budget game has “internal efficiencies” but provides no cost saving to connect it. http://trimet.org/choices/what-are-the-options.htm

    under “what we have done”, trimet says “we have…cut administrative staff.. eliminated 200 staff positions”

    who or what were the 200? trimet cut service in 2010 and 2009. how many of the “eliminated 200 staff positions” were union employees providing services to customers how many were “adminstrative staff”. how many actual people were laid off? and who where they?

    trimet has definitely laid off union workers but what about the other “13 percent”? how many of those folks have been cut?

    5) what is the real story on trimet’s marketing costs?
    – in response to questions about trimet’s marketing costs, trimet tweeted “@maxfaqs Marketing provides all the customer info/service tools for riders; returns 7X its cost through sales/ad revenue. #askneil”
    – in response to how much ad revenue did trimet get in 2011?
    “@JackPortlandia $5 million and looking to add web advertising to expand revenues #askneil”

    but the budget for trimet’s marketing department is always more than $4 million (again I am no accountant, see page 75 – http://trimet.org/pdfs/publications/fy12-adopted-budget.pdf)

    last time i checked $5 million wasn’t 7x $4 million. so what is the real story and where can some cuts happen in that area instead of bus service?

    speaking of stories, last but definitely not least,
    5) what is the real story on the union contract?
    – that question was asked a few different ways and trimet offered no response.

    lets look at the facts.

    in its budget choice game (http://trimet.org/choices/why-is-there-a-budget-shortfall.htm) trimet says:

    “A recent Employment Relations Board (ERB) decision removed certain cost-saving proposals from our final labor contract offer, so some measures we were hoping to implement—such as bringing wage and health care costs under control—likely will have to wait for a future negotiation (after interest arbitration, which is now delayed).”

    but that’s not the whole story.

    ERB made it clear (in lawyer terms at least) that trimet screwed up. they didn’t submit evidence it had about health insurance costs (http://www.oregon.gov/ERB/orders/UP01611.pdf?ga=t) – see page 4 paragraph 2:

    “the Union…argued that TriMet unlawfully included…a new proposal concerning employee payment of health insurance premiums..TrMet understood, or should have understood that (the email attachments TriMet failed to submit) prove that TriMet made (the proposal the union says it did not)…TriMet had every reason to offer these attachments as an exhibit at the hearing…TriMet’s failure to offer the February 11 e-mail attachments as evidence, whether an intentional or negligent act, does not provide a ‘good and sufficient reason’ to reopen the record…”

    in other words trimet had the evidence it needed to make sure its final offer wouldn’t blow its budget. but now even if trimet “wins” on contract, they (which means WE – the bus riders and taxpayers) will still have a $5 million hole to fill.

    trimet’s failure to submit evidence by “intentional or negligent act” that they “understood, or should have understood” was significant equals $5 million.

    take that one in for a minute.

    this was a $5 million error. but no press coverage. no outrage from riders or the board. no acknowledgement of this error at all. i found the info on a bus driver blog.

    but trimet implies in its budget game that its all union’s fault and because the law changed. it’s not trimet’s fault.

    the full cost of trimet’s contract negotiation failure? more than $10 million. it doesn’t stop this year and even trimet admits this.

    as it says in trimet’s budget game “(the health insurance cost in the contract) could have an impact of between $5 million and $10 million on our FY13 budget, and even more in future years.”

    and even more in future years.

    take that one in for a minute.

    surprised that trimet wouldn’t touch this on twitter?

    can’t wait for next year’s budget game, can you?

    skip the twitter town halls and online budget games, contact trimet’s board members directly:

    ttp://trimet.org/about/board.htm

    • Thanks for the comment. I’d like more developed answers to the questions as well – for example, I asked if Marketing costs could be saved by using the in-house Marketing Department instead of outsourcing (while still maintaining a Marketing Dept). The “response” I got was “Marketing provides all the customer info/service tools for riders; returns 7X its cost through sales/ad revenue” – but that really doesn’t have anything to do with what I asked, aside from being vaguely related to marketing in general.

      I’m not sure how much of that was a function of Twitter’s character limits, or perhaps just not having the relevant data on-hand to answer on the fly. I’d hope that moving forward knowing these questions still remain and similar questions are likely to be asked in the town meetings that thorough answers will be prepared and provided.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s