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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 10, 2011 5:42 PM. The previous post in this blog was Wild night is calling. The next post in this blog is Mother Nature does the wave. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tri-Met gives up on collecting fares

The car-free kids have the story here, and their graph alone tells the story pretty well. Go by streetcar! It's pretty much free.

Comments (15)

My husband claims to have seen a fare collector on the streetcar once, by OHSU. I never have.

I like that hourly wage. Wow!

So someone who walks down a train saying "may I see your fare" makes more than me with my masters degree. I have so-so benefits and no pension.

This single fact just flipped a switch in me. I now support Governor Walker of Wisconsin and would support similar measures here.

I think I'm actually demoralized after reading this.

Teachers should make $67k a year plus benefits NOT fare inspectors!
And how much do all the Trimet managers make for doing nothing!
This is just too insane!

"This is just too insane!"
===

Uhhh, nope.

Weird.
Yep, Portlandia Weird.
Or Oregonian Weird.

And it is only gonna get better (or worse, depending on your perspective). Union wages only go up. COLA and Step. See the Portland Teachers Union. Raises in a recession.

I read somewhere in like Willamette Week fare inspectors on street cars are only there to "survey" how many riders have paid the fare. If these inspectors ask for your fare, you can just sit, continue riding and not answer them. They can not remove you. The article went on to say despite no enforcement it is estimated 80% or so still pay the fare. (the so called "honor system".)

This is really discouraging when you consider the fare represents less than 20% of the all in cost of the ride, mostly supported by payroll tax (no wonder the private sector languishes in Oregon when it has to pay for Portland city hall's expensive, money losing toy street cars.)

HA HA HA HA Portland! You get what you vote for. All of the comments here are so true. This town needs another volcanic event. It would be humorous to see all of the bicyclists trying to pedal away from the ash fall and all of the idiots waiting for the light rail to save them.

Portlandia, OR- Population: 589,436 and only 17 men.

I rarely ride the streetcar, but i've seen fare inspectors on there before. Actually once caught one in a video. There were a few people removed from the streetcar since they had no fare.
Just a few days ago i had my fare checked on a bus (yes, a bus!) at Milwaukie Park and Ride on the 32.
I've gotten my fare checked multiple times on MAX, but i don't ride it much(i usually stick with the buses).

The Streetcar isn't a TriMet operation, it's City of Portland.

However, in a strange arrangement, TriMet subsidizes the Streetcar - in FY2011, to the tune of over $6 million dollars, not including "pass-through" dollars in which TriMet receives federal funding and passes it onto the City of Portland Streetcar.

(I guess it should be a good thing, that WES costs $5.8 million a year, and the Streetcar has 10 times the ridership...)

The result is that the City has no incentive to enforce fares on the Streetcar knowing that TriMet will pick up whatever shortfall there is. (Heck, one can obtain an annual Streetcar pass for just $100; a comparable citizen elsewhere in the metro area who needs TriMet's bus service must shell out $847 for the same privilege.) And TriMet has no incentive to put fare inspectors on the Streetcar, because it doesn't get the fares anyways.

Therefore, regional TriMet citizens from Troutdale to Forest Grove are forced to subsidize a City of Portland project without any say in the matter; while the City of Portland with the full backing of Metro is able to steal those funds from TriMet. TriMet's cutting bus service left and right, but the Streetcar hasn't gotten a funding axe, even with Sam Adams' purported budget surplus that could easily fund 100% of the Streetcar's costs. And when the Streetcar is extended to the east side, TriMet's contribution is expected to top $10 million per year.

And, the bus services that are getting cut? Nowhere near the streetcar line, so it's not as though the Streetcar is replacing bus service which would at least somewhat justify TriMet's actions. Downtown properties that benefit from all of the tax abatements and credits pay less, and get more, while suburban residents pay more and get less. All the more reason for Washington County and Clackamas County to get out of TriMet and form their own transit districts...then all Portland could do is mooch off of Gresham (maybe hitting the tipping point in which Gresham finally splits off and joins Clackamas County?)

I thought that revenue from downtown parking meters was supposed to go to the streetcar.
How many potholes would that fix?

Maybe the subsidy should be cut. That would provide an incentive to start checking fares.

MJ: Problem is, Trimet loves anything that cries "RAIL"!! TriMet loves the Streetcar more than it does its own buses.

Best solution would be to have a publicly elected board (and not merge TriMet with Metro to accomplish that), force public votes on any TriMet spending more than a set dollar amount, force public votes on all capital projects other than routine replacement of existing assets, and eliminate cross-government subsidies.

Second best solution would be for TriMet to be abolished, and let Clackamas and Washington Counties go their own way; let Portland deal with its own problems internally. That way, the folks down in Lents can complain about City Hall cutting their bus service to fund Streetcar downtown, while Sam Adams can reply "well, you got a streetcar, be glad we can point to Lents on a map now!"

There's so much wrong with the way TriMet is run, it's hard to know where to start.

Lately they seem to rival the Mayor's office in the hiring of consultants and highly-paid managerial functionaries of dubious duties. All receiving generous benefits.

Perhaps when the streetcar goes somewhere other than a large half-free loop of downtown, there will be more attention paid to making sure people pay to ride. There's so much confusion presently for tourists (or people who routinely ride for free because they think it's beyond stupid that the top and bottom portions of the loop should require a $2.00 ticket while the downtown portion well into the Pearl is free).

Single tickets or transfers should be "time-only" and usable in any zone. The concept of zones is stupid and unnecessary.

And if someone purchases a monthly pass they should get some kind of discount vs. buying booklets of tickets or a ticket or two every day.

And while they're at it, restore some of the lost bus service and replace benches and the shelters that actually provided protection from the elements and were torn down.

$32.54/hour plus bennies?! I sure got into the wrong profession. Just shows you how screwed up things are here.

I'm fully with Erik H. I think "The WC" and Clackistan need to pull out of TriMet. I'm hoping that Boring pulling out might start a ripple effect. Metro also has designs on taking over TriMet (they've got a chapter in their charter allowing them to take over). Looks to me like there may be some interesting stuff to watch here in the coming months.

Metro also has designs on taking over TriMet (they've got a chapter in their charter allowing them to take over).

Actually, it's codified in the Oregon Revised Statutes.

ORS 267.020, to be exact.

However, I think TriMet's debt load so far has spooked off Metro for awhile, because I'm sure Metro would have loved to control TriMet for many years. And Metro has no experience running anything, except the Oregon Zoo, which has its own Board of Directors, Enterprise Fund budget...Metro has little control over the Zoo except to hire or fire the Executive Director.

Of course, that didn't stop TriMet from hiring Neil McFarlane, a project manager with absolutely ZERO experience running any operation. His experience was to build something, and the second before it opens to the public he bails on it. And even though Metro was upset that TriMet didn't let Metro have input into who would be TriMet's new General Manager, Metro even admitted that McFarlane was an acceptable choice to them (because of his prior project management experience, including at Metro itself.)


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