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Complaint to TriMet on offensive radio on public transit

Date: June 5, 2007

Dear TriMet,

I am a consumer of TriMet’s LIFT service, and would like to comment on the ride I took from downtown Portland to my house on Tuesday, June 5. I was picked up at Portland State University at around 4:15pm, and was dropped off at 5:45pm. The number for the van was 9426.

For the entire hour and a half I was being transported, the driver blasted radio through TriMet’s equipment. It was so loud that I could not help but hear the radio even though I tried to block it by listening to music on my iPod.

Worse, he was listening to one of the right-wing political talk shows, in which the host repeatedly described Mexicans as “criminals,” “rapists and murderers,” Muslims and Arabs as “terrorists” and “uncivilized,” among others. The host also attacked the civil rights of gays and lesbians, as well as women’s constitutional right to reproductive freedom.

My question is, is there any standard for what is appropriate for drivers to play on the TriMet’s radio? For that matter, I’ve never seen drivers on regular bus services subject their passengers to any radio program, but why are LIFT riders treated differently than others?

I wanted to ask the driver to turn off the radio, or at least turn it down, but I was afraid to do so because I was not sure how the driver would react, as I was surrounded by three other passengers and a driver, all of whom appeared to be white men. The driver’s choice of radio program while driving TriMet van seriously hinders my ability to use LIFT service in the future without fear.

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