PORTLAND, Ore. – A TriMet driver who speaks his mind on a personal blog has prompted concern in the community after he posted videos that appeared to have been recorded while he was behind the wheel.
TriMet says they have known about the driver's blog, Rantings of a TriMet Bus Driver, for years and they have been keeping an eye on what he posts online. They say they fully support his right to post on the web but they are revising their policy after five complaints were reported within the last week.
It all started with a BikePortland.org article about a recent accident between a bus and a bike.
"Then we found out the incident on Hawthorne was totally the guy on the bike's fault, so people criticized me for putting out a story about alleged aggressive TriMet drivers," said Jonathan Maus, editor at BikePortland.org.
Maus says one of those criticisms came from bus driver Al Margulies, who commented on the story under the name 'Al M.'
"He started making these personal messages in these videos about what had happened and calling out BikePortland, reading people's comments on his videos," said Maus.
Maus says Margulies directed people to his own blog and once he got there, Maus says he found videos that Marguiles took while driving a bus.
In one video on the blog, it appears Margulies is holding a device while it's recording and talking to a passenger while driving. In another, he demonstrates and narrates while someone else is recording him and, in another, the camera appears to be mounted. He also makes notes of passengers, records them and then posts the videos on his blog.
For Marcus Griffith, who sent four complaints to TriMet over concerns the bus driver could be distracted, he said he doesn't understand "how anyone can think some of his videos would ever be acceptable."
"This particular driver is driving a bus that can be full of a few hundred people," Griffith said. "There's a few hundred people in the roadway, so there's a lot of people depending on this bus driver (to drive) in a very safe manner."
The bus driver in question does have a stellar driving record - he's been driving a TriMet bus for 14 years. We tried to reach out to him for his take on the story but he did not respond to our request for an interview.
As for TriMet's take on this, they say some of the videos in question are older but they are instituting a new policy that no personal communication, like recording videos, should be done while a driver is on the job.