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PORTLAND -- TriMet will have more than two dozen talking buses on area roads starting Monday. An automated voice will warn pedestrians when the bus is about to make a turn.

We're excited to do something we hope will make a difference for transit agencies, said TriMet spokeswoman Roberta Altstadt. It will make a difference for waking up the distracted walkers out there.

Two women killed in April 2010 when a TriMet bus ran them down were not distracted. In fact, the busdriver was cited and later fired.ButTriMet has to wonder if atalking bus would have prevented the tragedy.

The father of one of the victimsdoes not think so.He said the new warning system is a smoke screen. He said safety will not improve until driver training does. Other riders wespoke with agreed.

I don't see that being the totalanswer, said a rider Saturday morning.

TriMet officials do not believe it will hurt. That is why they submitted a proposal to the Federal Transit Administration. In returnthey were awarded$400,000 to install the new warning systems on a number of buses.

Our focus atTriMet is to provide safe transit for ourriders and our community, said Altstadt.

This isa trial. TriMet will assess the experiment and report back to the FTA in the fall.

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