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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 8, 2011 7:48 AM. The previous post in this blog was Tri-Met MAX citations: Plead guilty, only $50.. The next post in this blog is Second biggest Portland water user is -- huh?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

More dismantling of Fareless Square ahead

The folks running the Portland Streetcar say they want to pull out of Tri-Met's "free rail" zone. Once upon a time, all public transit through the downtown core was free, but Tri-Met jerked the buses out of that program, leaving it strictly to the MAX trains and streetcars, just after the pointless renovation of the downtown transit mall was complete.

Now the streetcar folks are finding that they're running out of money, just like Tri-Met, and they're proposing to end their participation in farelessness. That would leave only the MAX trains free through downtown. One less reason to go down there.

The streetcar staff is also talking about increasing fares (and maybe even figure out how to get people to pay them) and jacking way up the price of an annual streetcar pass. But hey, we're going to bring this wonderful exercise in fiscal stewardship to Lake Oswego and beyond, doggone it! Go by streetcar! [Via Portland Afoot, which dissects the whole package here.]

Comments (25)

And don't forget, the average person can walk faster than the streetcar from point A to point B.

Good point, Mike. It's amazes me how there's no Tri-Met service over huge swaths of residential areas (Max or otherwise), but then a stop every block around the Convention Center. It makes you wonder, who's Tri-Met really for? It reminds me of how the City recently decided to subsidize rental bikes for tourists but passed on putting in a real bike trail for eastside/downtown commuters. It all seems to be about giving tours to people who might get them a job somewhere else.

They really should take the name "car" out of streetcar. It just ain't cool no more.

How about railslow?

Portland agenda, meet drain.

fare + streetcar = ghost trains

Since the streetcar is for transit-oriented development, maybe the developers could contribute since it is there for them.

Portland's Rail Transit system has been enormously successful spurring more than $8 billion in economic investment.

Cheers from down under,

Fred Hansen

As a retired officer that served in the TriMet Detail, I find this absolutely hysterical. When I was assigned to the unit in 2001, we were not allowed to do *any* fare checks on the streetcars.

A full 50% of the exclusions we wrote were overturned by TriMet, and miscreants were routinely allowed back on the system.
A minority of these exclusions were for simple fare-dodging. Most were for drinking, drugs, disruptive behavior, or other "quality of life" issues for the riders.

When I asked why we couldn't fare check on the streetcar, and why our exclusions kept ghetting overturned the answer from management (a PPB Captain) said: "It's poitical, TriMet gets Federal money based on ridership. They don't want anything to impede the numbers of riders." The result was MAX became a rolling crime scene.

This came to a head a few years back when Gresham politicians became alarmed at the increase in crime on MAX within the City limits. The Gresham Officers assigned to TriMet insisted that tough enforcement was the answer, but TriMet balked at this concept.

Finally, the GPD officers assigned to TriMet threatened to resign from the unit en masse, and Gresham made noise about pulling out of the TriMet detail. The Chief in Gresham supported the officers actions, and TriMet relented.

Due to some dedicated police work, within 6 months there was a 17% decrease in violent crime on MAX, east of 162nd.

It is utterly astounding that TriMet has taken 10 years to figure out that enforcement of fare evasion and behavioral standards aboard public transportation are necessary for a safe and secure system.

....and streetcar Charlie wants back in!
...to build more?

HMLA-267, so basically trolleys are mere means to siphon federal dollars. And then add on the parking meter revenues they suck, like from SoWhat and state gas taxes through STIP gas tax dollars and we get one big sucking sound. Trolleys have little to do with mass transit.

Between the streetcar fare ($2.00) to ride from 11th & NW Johnson to NW 23rd and the prospect of the new parking meters to be installed on NW 21st and 23rd, the merchants and neighbors of Goose Hollow, Nob Hill and Slabtown are understandably leery. I think if the city could figure out a way to charge pedestrians a per mile fee (I was going to say "sidewalk tax" but in my neighborhood some streets don't have them) to walk around town, it would not hesitate to do so.

Here you've got cars increasingly computerized, and it's not hard to imagine this computerization leading to high levels of safety, energy efficiency and all the while maintaining large elements of trip flexibilty (a truly 21st century adaptation); and yet government at all levels robotically seeks to spend billions on a fixed line, inflexible largely 19th century technology (less than a couple of percent of people significantly utilize).

Maybe these government robots, like Hansen who made bank at TriMet and moved on up before the bills came due, are like HAL in the movie 2001. They have taken over and can only control people by putting them in cattle car like vessels (really another form of nazi-ism). Doesn't matter to these robots what kind of behavior is allowed in and around these vessels; as the primary mission is to control people for the benefit of the robots.

David Wu might have been on to something when he said there are cleons in the white house. He should have extended it to stump town city hall and Metro.

It may become a ghost train, but Charlie Hales said "I cites the streetcar work as evidence of My walking the walk when it comes to promoting the livable, sustainable values Portland prides itself on. “I’ve proven that that was real, not just a notion of mine,”
http://portlandtribune.com/news/story.php?story_id=131543434137401200

I use the halfway house on wheels sometimes when I have something heavy to carry back to my place and the streetcar is coming. Otherwise I walk. The streetcar only saves me one minute between stops because you can almost walk as fast as it goes. If they start charging for it in downtown, I wont ride it. Other than tourists, drunks, and junkies, who would?

Good point, Mike A - even on a plus 90 degree day!

And, doesn't some of the streetcar operating budget come from the City of Portland's Transportation Bureau (PBOT)?

management (a PPB Captain) said: "It's poitical, TriMet gets Federal money based on ridership. They don't want anything to impede the numbers of riders."

I once had a TriMet mid-level manager tell me essentially that TriMet doesn't see the area citizens or riders as "customers".

TriMet's "customers" are those government agencies - the Federal Transit Administration, Metro, ODOT, the cities - that pay TriMet to build and run light rail.

To TriMet, light rail is a product. The buses are just an annoyance and a leftover from TriMet's original design and intent but needed to protect TriMet's taxing district (which TriMet denies, but then why is TriMet fighting so hard to keep Boring in the district, while TriMet gave a pass to the South End area of Oregon City a few years back?)

We're just cargo, Erik.

"....Doesn't some of the streetcar operating budget come from the City of Portland's Transportation Bureau (PBOT)?"
Yes, it does. And one of the basic services provided by PBOT that had to go because of the streetcar was the ticketing of vehicles illegally stored on the street. This directly affects the livability of neighborhoods; in fact, there have been three accidents* on my block since 2007, all caused by illegally-stored vehicles.

My neighbors and I pay a large price every day for the streetcar, having to look at and avoid hitting illegally-stored vehicles. As far as I'm concerned, it's way past time for streetcar users to share in that inconvenience.

*Results from these accidents: three totaled vehicles, one person taken away in an ambulance.

Trimet is a profit making business. It just gets its profits from a source other than customers.

Trimet is a profit making business. It just gets its profits from a source other than customers.

~~~>It sure is,at least for some people.

I believe it was Mr Jack Bogdanski that came up with this LIST!

We were just in Brisbane and were FLOORED by the absolutely seamless transit system. Noone bothers with trains or streetcar BS. There is a bus, every 10 minutes, from everywhere to everywhere, with dedicated lanes, and available all days of the week. AND, you need to pay the driver, or buy a transit card which you touch to an electronic sensor in front of the driver. You can give the drivers money but it is disliked. Ubiquitous convenience stores and transit centers sell passes for any amount of money you want to put on your transit card.

Bike-haters, this is a city that has so much bicycle infrastructure it actually feels safe to ride there, which we did, for 3 days, all over town. Something I would never do in Portland.

I saw only one homeless person on the street during a pretty wide-ranging exploration of Queensland. At a Woolworth's at 8 in the morning, I alerted a checkout clerk about a shrieking man with an animal kingdom appearance, kicking the wall outside the store. She went outside, took a cautious look, came back and said, "he doesn't look familiar. Best not to make eye contact, yeah?".

"Yeah."

Also, the male airline attendant on Virgin Australia called my tween son "honey", more than once. The overland train guys routinely called me "dahlin". The airport security guard called the hubby "mate" as we were being screened.

EVERY SINGLE AIRLINE SECURITY PERSON SAID THANK YOU AND SMILED. TSA, please put out a memo. Smiles and friendly demeanor are good. It makes getting around SO much more fun.

NW Portlander wrote:
Between the streetcar fare ($2.00) to ride from 11th & NW Johnson to NW 23rd and the prospect of the new parking meters to be installed on NW 21st and 23rd, the merchants and neighbors of Goose Hollow, Nob Hill and Slabtown are understandably leery. I think if the city could figure out a way to charge pedestrians a per mile fee (I was going to say "sidewalk tax" but in my neighborhood some streets don't have them) to walk around town, it would not hesitate to do so.
Excellent idea! Look for the next charrette to propose how the city could charge, not a sur-tax, but a chaussure-taxe. Taxes, like meals, are more palatable in French.

We're just cargo, Erik.

You ought to see how much attention the freight railroads give to cargo. Some of those new refrigerated cars are pretty damn nice.

TriMet bus riders are BELOW cargo.

The caption writer for the photo of Charlie Hales in the PTrib's (Anderson) piece on him in the Sept 8 edition notes:

"Hales has one of just two lifetime streetcar passes. The other belongs to Congressman Earl Blumenauer."

To the victor the spoils have always belonged.

Is it likely either Mr Hales or Mr Blumenauer will voluntarily surrender his free ride?


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