Two 15-year-olds are accused of recently stealing a bus out of the Center Garage. Hard to believe? Perhaps, if you don't work for TriMet.
Many times I've walked into the yard, thinking how easy it would be for some fool to take off in a bus. When it happened, I could only shake my head in amazement the boneheads didn't get injured. Instead of immediately reacting to this with a blog post, I thought it would be interesting to see how it played out over the past two weeks; I'm glad I waited, but irritated at the outcome.
So far, management has blamed operators as being the main cause for this happening, which is out of line and insulting. Not a word from them about their own role, except they are "investigating" and studying how to keep it from happening again. Oh, come on folks. Without going into detail, since management would hang me for doing so, let's just say the blame is on the wrong foot. People trip when they wear their shoes incorrectly, and in this case, our management has also tied them together.
Frankly, I think it's irresponsible of me to list the many ways our management fails to secure our huge transit system's assets. My blog doesn't inform the public how to drive the beast, but TM loves to teach people (and brag about it on media outlets) how to drive buses. As another blogger brother of mine has pointed out, there are videos online which give too much information on how to drive a bus. However, I cannot stress enough how foolish these kids were to try such a stunt.
I learned how to drive a car by watching my father. When I was 10. Granted, I didn't possess critical problem-solving skills to drive safely, but the basics are fairly simple. A teenager watching a bus driver would quickly figure some things out on their own. The finer points require months of training by professionals and sometimes years of experience to master.
Considering a 15-year-old is hardly comfortable driving a standard vehicle, it's amazing they had the balls to steal a bus. Of course, they smashed it up a bit trying to maneuver it out of the yard, but they actually made it five miles down the road before police could stop them. It's simply amazing they didn't kill some other motorist(s) or themselves. Of course, they're probably going to brag about it for a lifetime, but someday they'll realize it was simply a foolish, ultra-dangerous stunt.
What I'm worried about is in the aftermath, it will happen again and somebody will be hurt or killed. Our management has a bad habit of blaming its operators for everything from its own financial blunders to lack of security and many things in between. A strong and effective leader would accept responsibility rather than throwing the blame on the worker bees. Sure, perhaps we could all do better keeping our properties secure. But it takes proper framework, organization, and leadership. An honorable response to this fiasco would include a resignation of an embarrassed manager; instead operators were treated to a memo blaming us for "training" those responsible.
It's obvious somebody tripped here, but it wasn't us. We know which shoe fits on each foot, but some manager clumsily tried to lodge his in our collective derrières. Sorry pal, you missed.