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Friday, September 28, 2012

Eastside streetcar ridership skyrockets

At 5:10 p.m. yesterday, there were six people on this one, at Grand and Burnside:

The trend is favorable. Looking good! All aboard for Chapter 9!

Comments (28)

Are they charging for rides?

I work over by Lloyd Center and see people getting off from time to time. For the most part they have a look of total bewilderment, like where the Hell am I?

94 days...

Five on the last Eastside streetcar I saw!

Just in from TriMet's crack Marketing department:

Portland Streetcar ridership skyrockets 400% in first week of operation; WES ridership up 15%!

Portland commuters continue to flock to our newest forms of transportation, the Eastside Streetcar and WES. Streetcar ridership has exploded 400% from its first opening days, and WES continues to be popular with riders with its 30th consecutive month of ridership growth.

MAX ridership continues to grow with a 4% increase, and 10% increase on the Green Line from 4,000 daily riders to 4,400 daily riders.


Meanwhile when you look at the ridership report, bus ridership is up 3% - from 200,000 daily riders, to 206,000 daily riders. That means in real numbers, more people are riding the bus! But it's all about the percentages.

I am wondering if this is really going to backfire on The Planners.

You already have incipient revolts over light rail, "car-free" apartment bunkers, and infrequent trash pickup - I wonder if the spectacle of empty new streetcars tying up traffic will be the last straw.

I mean, WES is a disaster, but you have to be paying attention to notice that. Empty streetcars on Grand and MLK are a lot harder to cover up...

Success is determined merely by the act of having spent the money.

You all do know what's under NW 23rd?

Don't worry we are building rail for the future.

In the future, after the city finishes clearing out all those crummy, family wage job, businesses along the route. And in the future as the city takes even more money from social services, schools, police & fire to give to Homer for 300 sq ft condo bunkers, it will become such a desirable place that millions of people will flock there.

Then ridership will improve. (Assuming that Trimet still exists then, and has the money to waste on rail transit.) Of course it would probably have been cheaper to just buy every transit dependent rider a car.


That money's been spent. Might as well climb on!

Eric H., truly another good (bad) example how TriMet uses percentages and all to show their success. Going from 3 people to 5 people is:

"Almost a 100% Increase".

That is how the Oregonian would regurgitate the TriMet press release.

"That money's been spent. Might as well climb on!"

No matter where it goes, or doesn't.

Just ride baby ride!

Ride, get off, get on, ride again, repeat.

Smile while riding. Say Hi to people.

Be happy you live where such rides are possible.

Bless the brave and wise politicians who made it possible.

However, they need more money to spend.

No wonder nobody is on it. They aren't really running the whole route yet. If you want to go from SE to SW, you have your original wait, your transit time to NW via Lloyd Center, your four block walk to the end of the other line, your wait for the next on on that line, then your transit time to your SW stop. But, of course, they aren't publicizing the gap, because that would look bad! Then, they've got windows that don't open, but the artificial HVAC is on the extra-super-cheapo-econo setting, so, no air. Going to go bang my head on the wall for awhile, now.

The little train things don't really go to where nearly everyone has to go. They go somewhere between and only where the rail goes.

Not quite from where you are or to where you need to be.

So's ya has to figger someways to git to the railway then finds anutha ways to finish the trip.

Plus the timing aint always so nifty.

If ya git to the tracks a minute too late the damn train already left. Ya sit there steamed til the next one pulls up.

When ya get on board riding along is pretty keen as long as you don't have to hear any crap or rub up against or smell stuff.

But then the darn things are always stopping. Sometimes when only invisible people get on or off.

At the end it feel good to get off till I realize I'm 13 blocks away from where I had to go.

The return trip is much better. I call a pal and get a ride.

You all do know what's under NW 23rd?

Jimmy Hoffa?

Whew! Hoffa would be OK -- I was thinking Tanner Creek and worrying that TriMet was working on submarines. "Light Submersibles from The Zoo to The Pearl." Well, downhill anyway.
Go Multi-modal!

If Portland truly wanted to create a streetcar system that was functional, it would take its best performing inner-city bus lines - lines like the 14 and 15 lines - and turn them into Streetcar routes.

Such would be a win on so many levels - a streetcar on fixed rails would be far safer than the bus that has to swerve in and out of the narrow lanes on Belmont and Hawthorne. The trains would be larger than the buses currently on the route (that are consistently crowded). Having more doors would allow faster boarding. And larger platforms would be better for the community and the riders.

And most of all - the streetcar would actually go somewhere - after all, those streets are crowded, the parking is already scarse, and the buses are crowded at all hours.

Instead, Portland has used the Streetcar to compete with buses and pitting residents against residents - those who have the gold-plated streetcar (and pay nothing to ride), and those who ride dilapidated, old, unreliable, non-air conditioned buses and pay $2.50 for the "privilege".

And even better - building a Streetcar wouldn't have to be an all-in proposition - building new bus stops with larger platforms, shelters and ticket vending machines could be done for the bus lines; diesel buses could be replaced with electric trolleybuses - by the time the route is ready for streetcar, it's only a matter of installing rails and buying the vehicles. The stations and overhead wire was done years ago for better bus service.

Instead - we have a streetcar that goes nowhere in a big U shape...and buses that go somewhere are unappreciated by politicians because they're nothing but functional and serve the public.

"Such would be a win on so many levels - a streetcar on fixed rails would be far safer than the bus that has to swerve in and out of the narrow lanes on Belmont and Hawthorne."

Except that being on a fixed path in a narrow lane, all it takes is one delivery truck a little too far out on the street to block the streetcar. Far more sensible would be the electric buses they have in Seattle and San Francisco, which have the capability to maneuver around obstacles.

Things will pick up. Gang bangers and wannabe teens are smart enough to stay away until the hoopla dies down.

Just open the market to alternative forms and ideas never before thought of in city hall.

They reduced the ticket price for riding the streetcar by half, which would be undercutting the buses if the streetcars actually went where many people want to go.

$1 a ticket . . . six riders . . . $6 for the Portland Streetcar LLC! At that rate the idea that it will ever pay for itself is a pipe dream (hey, I just realized that since the streetcar shenanigans began I haven't heard squat about the Big Pipe.)

big pipe?
I heard it's screwed up because it fills with sediment due to lacking the automated rinse system cut to save money.
The city is now having to flush it with massive amounts of water.
Could this be true?
Or a ridiculous rumor?

Yes indeed, the streetcar is working out just wonderfully.

Far more sensible would be the electric buses they have in Seattle and San Francisco, which have the capability to maneuver around obstacles.

You're absolutely correct. A streetcar's load capacity is still greater than an articulated bus (although there's a lot of hoopla of double-articulated buses), and on streets like Hawthorne it's probably best that a large vehicle stay in its lane (even a current 102" wide TriMet bus has difficulty doing this.)

That's why I support an incremental approach - diesel bus, bus stop upgrade, hybrid bus, electric trolley bus...and THEN Streetcar. Not the use of streetcars on purposeless circulator routes that compete with existing, purposeful bus routes that actually go somewhere.

The folks that are planning Streetcar have this LSD inspired vision of what Streetcars are - they conveniently gloss over the fact that the "original" Streetcar/Trolley/Tram routes were built by land developers to transport residents from the far-flung Streetcar Suburbs into the central city - they served a purpose and didn't just go around in circles for businesspeople to take to lunch and back to work.

Al - Yesterday (Saturday mid-day) The streetcar was running late (according to schedule at top, NW 23rd & Northrup) heading in to downtown and, coming back from NW 10th & Glisan, two other people and I waited seemingly forever for the streetcar to arrive. Notices about delays raced across the screen in the bus (er streetcar) stop and at one point it old us that it would be 161 minutes until the next streetcar.

The two other people finally gave up and walked away to catch a bus. I stuck around and fortunately had the entertainment of watching a Hispanic wedding photo shoot on one of the metal benches - very exciting! Ten minutes later the streetcar arrived - stuffed full - standing room only.

The NW loop cars now carry cardboard signs with two letters on them. I have no idea what they mean but why didn't TriMet choose something that was understanda le to dub that line? The city that actually troubles itself to NAME tram cars and elephant babies can't be more inventive? (I still call the tram cars "Boon" and "Doggle", having no memory for the nice but mostly unknown people they were named for).

Only $1 to ride, but most folks didn't seem to be paying and nobody was checking tickets . . .

About nine o'clock in the evening I saw the Eastside streetcar.

Completely empty.

We can kill two birds with one stone: on your old garbage collection day, put it on the Streetcar (no addresses, please).


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