Blogs and safety

A post doesn’t feel right to me unless it has a picture of something, even if it’s a total non sequitur like this one.

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.

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4 responses to “Blogs and safety

  1. Got me on what blogs they may be talking about.
    It can’t be mine, currently on volume 4, since I am far too controversial, supposedly a “snitch”, “cyber stalker”, “racist train wreck” etc., arguments put forth publicly by some of the less mentally balanced people I have unfortunately run into in my blogger travels!

  2. You make some very good points, and I hope that TriMet will start an official blog of some sort related to safety issues. It is sorely needed. They have a good web site with a lot of information, but a blog would be easier to follow, easier to respond to.

    There is so much that can be blogged about in regard to safety, and a properly handled blog could give TriMet management a lot of good input and a quick way to get a feel for how our customers feel about various aspects of our safety efforts.

    The new Safety Committee is just not being advertised or attended well enough to have any sort of real impact as far as getting the word out, so more should be done, beyond the TriMet web site.

    Anyway. that’s my 10 cents worth…

  3. Eva, Steve Banta had this in mind, unfortunately he left before he was able to make any real changes here.

    I agree, and official Trimet blog, where employees can write comments directly to the management on not only safety, but on a variety of issues would be excellent!

    But that wold lessen the managements strangle hold on workers, why give us a voice when they don’t have too!

    They can just make more and more regulations for us to follow.

    Weather we agree with them or not is irrelevant to the management, hell, we are all just “dumb bus drivers” right?

    What do we know about anything!

  4. I think the consultant was not referring to any blog in particular, or any blog that writes mostly about transit or about TriMet. I think they’re referring to anybody’s blog that writes an entry about TriMet.

    Check out Google’s blog search where you can subscribe to search results based on a specific query and get an alert any time a new article appears.
    http://blogsearch.google.com/?hl=en&tab=wb

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