Memo to TriMet: Street View Lies

Understand, I like TriMet.  The greater Portland area’s transit system is one of the best in the US.  Although it’s not perfect (the sooner we get more late-night service on my current primary route, the happier a lifestyle non-driver I will be), it’s generally very well operated.

But at the moment, I am laughing at them.

Construction has recently finished on a major intersection a couple of miles from Lone Penman HQ, which happens to be a significant transfer point on two bus routes I use regularly.  Service to most of the affected bus stops on both routes has resumed — except for one stop, where there is an orange plastic sign explaining that that stop is closed “due to construction”.

I needed that stop last weekend, and TriMet’s “Transit Tracker” Web resource appeared to indicate that the stop was alive and well so that one might expect buses to stop there.  No such luck; I found the orange sign and watched the bus I’d hoped to connect with zoom by to a stop two blocks away on the opposite side of the intersection.

So I went home — on the next bus, half an hour later — and wrote an aggrieved email, urging them to either revive the stop or to update the Transit Tracker data to show its true status.  On the plus side, they responded promptly: before the weekend was out, this Rider Alert had appeared on Transit Tracker:

“No service to the southbound stop at SW Murray & Farmington (Stop ID 4068) due construction until further notice.”

There’s just one thing wrong with this: there’s no longer any construction going on anywhere near this intersection.  Google’s street-view images may suggest otherwise, but they’re a good couple of weeks out of date.

Thus, I wrote another aggrieved email, urging them to correct the Rider Alert, and specifically pointing out that the trouble with the text was not the minor grammatical error (“due construction” ought to be “due to construction”), but the significant error of fact.  I may also have proposed a revised text for the Alert, suggesting “FOR NO GOOD REASON EXCEPT THAT WE SAID SO” (caps optional) as more accurate than “due [to] construction”.

I did not expect them to implement that suggestion…and indeed, they didn’t.  On the other hand, the text of the Rider Alert now reads:

“No service to the southbound stop at SW Murray & Farmington (Stop ID 4068) due to construction until further notice.”

Ah, well.  At least they fixed the grammar issue….