TriMet Employee Reviews

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What Looks Good on Paper Doesn’t Always Turnout Well in Reality
Operations (Current Employee) –  Center Street (Operations Headquarters)January 27, 2019
TriMet management does not live up to it’s current motto: “The TriMet way, Do the right thing.” An agency supposedly devoted to providing public transportation for the Portland, Oregon metro area has morphed into a political entity and a construction company. It is top heavy with excessive management while they struggle to hire and keep enough frontline workers, the very workers that make sure that buses and trains get out of the yard. Instead of having enough staff to meet demand - be it bus and rail operators, road and rail supervisors, dispatchers and controllers, or actual support staff for those positions - TriMet just hires more managers, most of which come from other areas of the country and even from out of the country, in the case of the general manager who incidentally was fired by Translink in Vancouver BC before coming to TriMet.

They stress that “safety is a core value,” yet bus operators are forced to use portable toilets set up in homeless camps, one location in particular a bus operator was stabbed and a portapotty was actually burned down! Currently, employees who work out of a temporary facility must take a train or a bus to go to the restroom a half mile away because portapotties that had been placed there were vandalized and broken into by homeless every night. The people in charge of safety and security say that it would cost too much to have the temporary facility patrolled. So I guess the potential of OSHA complaints is okay instead.

Another aspect of potentially unsafe operations is the big push for “on time performance” or “OTP.” It used to be
  more... that TriMet believed in safety before schedules. That belief has gone by the wayside. Management’s unreasonable focus on buses and trains being on time no matter what, in an era of unprecedented construction and a population explosion, only places added stress on bus and train operators. The insinuation is that if you run late, you must be doing something wrong.

Aside from management, pencil pushers who in most cases have never driven a bus in their lives are convinced that they know what’s going on in the field better than the frontline employees who actually face it five or six days a week. Again, what looks good on paper or a computer monitor rarely works well in real life. The number of degrees one may posess is no substitute for real-life experience.

A definite “us against them” atmosphere exists between union and non-union employees. Non union employees, especially management, make it very clear that union employees are subserviant. You are not an individual, you are merely a dispensible number. Management, including labor relations, consistently makes attempts at violating the working and wage agreement with ATU local 757. Grievances filed are not handled in a timely manner, and there are grievances that are several years old still waiting for arbitration. What’s more, recent “back room deals” between 757’s president and TM’s labor relations run buckshot over affected employees. The employee has no say and isn’t infomed of any decisions until weeks after the fact.

Whether the salary or hourly wage is adequate depends on the position. All bus operators start off being part time (mini run operator.) At a maximum of 30 hours a week with limited benefits, it is impossible for someone to survive with Portland’s cost of living. Even some fulltime positions like customer service or maintenance helper barely make enough to afford average rent and other expenses.

The medical and dental plans are nowhere near as good or affordable as they were prior to 2011. TriMet uses a broker for these plans which evidently refuses to allow carriers other than Regence Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente to bid on providing coverage. Yet toward the end of every labor contract, management makes a point of how expensive medical coverage is. Well, duh! When you have a duopoly in place, there is little competition. Regence and Kaiser know this, as well as TriMet’s broker Mercer. Yet they won’t open it up to other insurance providers which would create competition and lower the cost.
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Pros
None
Cons
See narrative
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5.0
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Great benifits
na (Current Employee) –  Portland, ORDecember 10, 2018
great place to work, awesome benefits and people depending on which department you work in. HR is behind the times and slow moving. Pay is a bit low, they seem to higher more on the outside than from within especially for higher level positions making this a place that could be more of a stepping stone rather than a long term career choice.
Pros
8% 401k included not matched, medical and dental are great, time off is good
Cons
some departments leadership skills are poor
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5.0
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Great Public Organization
Supervisor (Current Employee) –  Portland, ORNovember 8, 2018
I am enjoying the excellent work schedule, veteran-friendly organization, the opportunity for career and skillset development and very friendly workplace culture.
Pros
Health benefits, tuition reimbursement, vacation package
Cons
No short term disability, Pay target close to midpoint
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4.0
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Good agency
Administrative (Current Employee) –  Portland, OROctober 26, 2018
I have worked for several years at TriMet. I really like the work, co-workers and management. Moving up from within isn't as easy as I would have hoped. With that said- it's a good agency, great hard working people and rewarding work.
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3.0
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Good benefits and pay, unstable environment
Bus Operator (Former Employee) –  Portland, ORSeptember 21, 2018
Pays well and has good benefits. Management and Union are always fighting each other and causing disruptions in work life. Poor schedules, long split shifts, not a family friendly job unless you've worked there 20 years and have high seniority.
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1.0
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The beatings will continue...
Management (Former Employee) –  Portland, ORJuly 14, 2018
Do not under any circumstances come to work here. They put on a good show for interviewees but once you’re in the mask comes off. The upper management is very hostile to its employees. They expect a 50 to 80 hour work week with work done on weekends (for non hourly employees). You are expected to work on your vacation days to get last minute projects finished. And these projects usually are never completed as a new one crops up the next day.

Departments are perpetually short staffed and people are fired at a moments notice with no action or development plans leaving the work on whoever is left.

The executive management berates employees and piles extra projects on top of daily work so they can have an excuse to fire at any time for cause.

This place is cancer. Avoid at all costs!
Pros
Pay and benefits
Cons
Inefficient and antiquated systems, endless unproductive meetings, micromanagement
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4.0
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Manager for TriMet
Manager of Maintenance (Current Employee) –  Portland, ORMay 29, 2018
Good work life balance, many different personalities come together to keep the agency moving forward. I have enjoyed my time here, and have learned alot in regards to transit as a whole.
Pros
work life balance
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3.0
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nice place
BUS OPERATOR (Former Employee) –  Portland, ORMay 26, 2018
was a fun place to work. liked the people i worked with, enjoyed the customers and the pace. i liked the training opportunities that we could take if we wanted to do trains, mechanics or office options.
Pros
pay, days off
Cons
some management
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3.0
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Trimet
Engineering Training Supervisor / Project Manager (Current Employee) –  PortlMay 22, 2018
Position I was hired for requires me to do other jobs and I'm not compensated for those others dues. We're currently under staff and nothing has slowed down. A salary employee doesn't get overtime and is required to meet every deadline.
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5.0
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I loved working at Trimet
Operations Analyst (Former Employee) –  Portland, ORMay 16, 2018
I spent most of my time working with data and preparing reports. My boss gave me all the tools and support I needed to do well at my job. My coworkers were knowledgeable, professional, and supportive.
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3.0
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Glad to have a job.
Clerk (Current Employee) –  Portland, ORMay 9, 2018
Happy I am employed. Not wanting to share any more than I already have, but I guess they require a certain amount of information in order to use the site.
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1.0
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Bad
Bus Operator (Former Employee) –  Portland, ORApril 26, 2018
Horrible hours. Low morale. Bad pay. Rude coworkers. Rude customers. Bad management. No compassuon for employees. Dangerous work conditions. Would not recommend.
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5.0
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Provides for career advancement and personal growth
LIFT Eligibility Coordinator (Former Employee) –  Portland, ORMarch 30, 2018
I loved my years working for the agency. My role provided for both personal and professional growth and fulfillment. If my family situation had not brought about a need to relocate I would still be there.
Pros
Fair compensation, excellent benefits, positive working environment
Cons
Can't think of a thing
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5.0
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Reveiw
Bus Operator (Former Employee) –  Portland, ORMarch 21, 2018
I really loved working for Trimet. I was very sad when I had to leave my typical work days was driving a bus around the Portland metro area. The work culture was amazing and I learn how to maneuver a 40 foot bus with ease. The hardest part about the job was learning new routes.
Pros
getting to meet new people on a daily basis
Cons
nothng
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4.0
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It was a hard working fast paced office setting
Imtern (Former Employee) –  Portland, ORFebruary 21, 2018
Everyone was very nice, but hard at work. I filed a lot of papers, and inputted information into a excel sheet for financial documents. The work place was very relaxed for me due to me being only an intern.
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4.0
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Hard on probationary employees
Bus Operator (Former Employee) –  Portland, ORNovember 26, 2017
I enjoyed the job, but being on probation it makes it extra stressful and any small incident they will discard you without trying to help you succeed.
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3.0
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Lots of changes
Driver (Former Employee) –  Portland, ORNovember 14, 2017
There are a lot of changes taking place. Will be and exciting place to be once they get more pinned down as far as process goes. People here stay here for a very long time in most cases.
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4.0
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Take the advice the veteran drivers give u
Full Time Bus Operator (09/26 (Former Employee) –  Portland, ORNovember 11, 2017
I worked there a yr 9/16-9/17. It is stressful, but the pay, benefits, co-workers, and opportunities r worth it. Management sucks cuz they don't care about the drivers and look for reasons to fire u, gotta worry about getting assaulted or dealing with stupid passengers. the trainers r all great they teach u everything u need to succeed, they warn drivers not to go full time while in probation; if u dont take their advice, dont blame the company. Once u get past probation, the opportunities are limitless.
The CEO is a coward, talks about how safe trimet is, but won't even go on the Max without security guards.
Pros
Pay increases, medical/dental, co-workers, frequent breaks, advancement
Cons
Stress, risk of being assaulted, dealing with stupid people, hours can suck
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1.0
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This place is toxic
Full time bus operator (Current Employee) –  Portland, OROctober 26, 2017
I was a FT bus operator for only 9 months before burning out. I went full time one month into probation. While this sounds great, it is very stressful. They can summarily terminate you for just about any infraction and with all the cameras and supervisors out there you are going to make tons of mistakes which, in the right hands can lead to termination. The risk management people are so ridiculous with the expectations. Things like you are never to talk to dispatch while the bus is in motion, or you are supposed to be 80% or better on time despite the fact that almost all the runs are scheduled around outdated traffic algorithms. Scheduling will tell you point blank they know the schedules are impossible. So guess who ends up paying the price 1: you the operator being stressed out constantly 2: the customer who is angry you are late 3: you again because this late time eats away at your scant breaks.

As others here have pointed out, the probationary time is off-the-hook strict. Out of my class I am one of 7 who made it from an initial class of 20.

The work-life balance is also a huge problem. Even if you dont have kids you will hate working here for the first year or two. PT work is not a lot better as they have you working all five days but only 5 hours per. I don't know who came up with these ridiculously outdated, rigid requirements.

There is one last thing I want to warn you about. It is very cliquish. Alot of the old-timers are hostile and unfriendly towards new people for some reason. I am not sure. Reminds me a lot of high-school. Everything about the way you
  more... are treated is based on your badge number, so if you are a high number (new) you are going to be taken less seriously no matter how hard you work or professional you are. Everything from talking to dispatch to dealing with station agents. Its like a caste system.  less
Pros
steady pay and increases
Cons
work-life balance, stress, double-speak
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3.0
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Not for single parents
Bus Operator (Former Employee) –  Portland, ORJuly 23, 2017
It is hard to survive your first year there. I quit after three months. I had completed the training, which was grueling but excellent. I was driving my own routes and excited about it, and was looking forward to continuing to learn. I was proud of earning my CDL and even got a customer service commendation right off the bat! But the shifts they gave me were terrible part-time split shifts during peak commute times (5-8am and again from 4-6pm), and because I am a single parent, I could not make it work. I tried and tried and struggled half to death. But these are the standard shifts everyone gets at first and you are stuck with them for years, the drivers told me. We started out making $14/hr and I could not afford that much child care to work a split shift --those are the hours you have to get your kids to school and pick them up! If you don't have kids or your kids are grown or you have a stay at home spouse or grandparent willing to sit for free, you can probably hack it until you can get a decent shift. But if you are a single parent, fuggedaboutit. Also, you don't get any sick time or vacay for the first six months you are on probabtion, and also the Family Leave and Medical Act does not apply to you yet because you have to build up a certain number of hours before you can use it. So god help you if you get sick or your kid gets sick or your kid gets suspended or something. Oh, and during the nine months of training+probabtion, you can only be late or sick TWICE total. Brutal.
Pros
free bus pass for you and your immediate family
Cons
split shifts, brutal hours, part-time at first, strict probation
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