I’m still working my way through reader questions I’ve gotten. If you’ve sent stuff to me and are waiting on an answer, I am not ignoring you. It’s just that a combination of working a lot of hours plus having drafts that I’ve wanted to post on other topics and my obsessiveness with trying to have accurate posts that are understandable for people who don’t have a rail background (WordPress tells me that I made 25 revisions to the recent Time Lock Switch post within the 6 hour period before I posted it) means that it takes a while to move through the drafts that I have partially written.
So while I can’t claim that any of this is official, TriMet-approved information, please understand that I am doing my best to make sure that what I post is complete and correct and easy to understand. I like rail, I like writing about it, and while I know that a topic like light rail has a small following – especially when compared to, say, all of the cooking or parenting blogs out there – I know it’s a very dedicated following and I like the interaction this blog has with the people who read it out of a shared interest in the MAX light rail system.
Which brings up something interesting I saw recently – I watched the video recording of the last TriMet Safety & Service Excellence Committee meeting that Al M posted, because although I’m not personally involved with that committee, I like knowing what’s going on. Anyway, at about the 77 minute mark, the consultant that was hired to do a safety review of TriMet’s practices discusses the role of blogs and blogging. He mentions how blogs can be used to get system information and safety information out to the public. At about 79 minutes, one of the committee members asks if that sort of thing falls under the previously mentioned recommendation of expanding TriMet’s safety department. The consultant agrees, and again mentions the blogging community and how TriMet’s public information officer should be interfacing with the blogs. He discussed the importance of getting positive messages out to the riding public because there are a lot of positive things about TriMet (with regard to safety) but he said that TriMet doesn’t do a very good job of broadcasting that.
I’m curious what “blogging community” the consultant was referring to – as far as I know TriMet has no official blogs, though there is an official Twitter. There have been a number of unofficial blogs, such as EMS‘s which was one of the first that talked about safety at both rail and bus. And in mine, I write about safety (especially the details of the rail system that keep things safe but aren’t publicly recognized), but I am not officially endorsed/approved/authorized/recognized by TriMet and nothing I write can be considered official information. But I absolutely agree that TriMet does not promote a lot of the things that make the system safe – at rail alone there are ground inspections and ATS magnets and fit checks and so many mechanical failsafes that no one knows about because TriMet doesn’t make that information officially available. It’d be pretty great now if they did.