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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In with the bus pass, some train porn

An alert reader whose relative gets an "honored citizen" bus pass from Tri-Met notes that this month's pass came with an insert in the envelope:

It's a powerful image, but the messages are decidedly mixed. Yes, that train is going faster than all those cars. But the photo also shows how many drivers simply won't get out of their cars to ride that train. To us, it proves that we shouldn't build more rail until demand changes.

More importantly, the mailer did not include a scratch-and-sniff feature. Nor does it get close enough to show how tightly the sardines are packed in that train car. Early in the day, it's okay, but from mid-afternoon on, MAX makes people wish they had a car, or at least that Tri-Met hadn't screwed up their old bus service.

Comments (26)

MAX only works if you are close enough to it, and going somewhere it goes. Fixed rail has its benefits, but that is the big drawback.

I use the MAX to get back and forth to work, only because both cases apply. I have to walk 10 minutes to get to the station, but it stops right in front of the office. If I was working somewhere else, then it would be useless to me.

It is busy during commute hours, but we need a much better infill and crosstown system. Mini-buses make sense, if they can solve the employee costs.

Ironically, the heavily congested freeway depicted in that mailer provides evidence that Tri-Met isn't reducing congestion.

Too bad the picture doesn't reflect the smells, the noise, the freaks, and the influenza possibilities spoiling the inside of that single MAX car.

Heh...TriMet keeps pushing this idea.

Everybody who is getting in my way could be moved over to using the MAX and they'd be out of my way....Sure, I'll help pay to remove idiots from my way on the roads.

I've done that again, and again, and again.

How come nobody is getting out of my way?

The problem, as you can see, is that _everybody_ is expecting other drivers to stop using their vehicles and start using MAX and the buses. TriMet has repeatedly used this tactic to get additional funding.

When TriMet can begin to offer riders a seat where the rider has no other riders impinging upon their personal space, control of the climate, music of their choice (or quiet), and point-to-point transportation without standing around in the crappy outdoor weather wondering whether the public transit ride is going to show up or not...then, maybe folks would switch.

In with the bus pass, some train porn

Isn't the 'bus pass' also good for the train?

If one views the word congestion as obstruction in movement, a block, to thicken or stick together, my response then would be that the congestion I am concerned about is the political congestion/scene we have here that continues to push/finance the “slow moving” and unsafe trains as viable and sticks together to block other options.

Here's an exercise to go with that picture. Remove drivers, put them in the train pictured then remove their car from the road. How much commute time have you just saved for the remaining drivers after filling that train? I'm guessing maybe a second but probably much less.

What the picture doesn’t show is that every transit passenger is receiving a politically motivated taxpayer funded subsidy of approximately $7.50 each just for the cost of operation of their one-way trip. The drivers on the freeway and their employers are being extorted to help pay that overhead.

I look at all that empty space in front of and behind the train and think ... what a waste of space, it could be filled with more cars.

I never understand why TriMet markets its services as "congestion relief" when the admitted intention of planners and local transit agencies i.e. TriMet is to increase congestion. And thereby maximize density and "incentivize" commuters to use non-car forms of transportation.

Congestion is what these guys want, am I wrong?

Why package New Urbanism/Smart Growth in the alluring rubric of "relief" when no such relief is sought, anticipated, or achieved?

Mind-boggling and annoying.

As a teen in the late 70's Tri-met was my transportation. I took it to school everyday, to any and everywhere all over the city, at anytime 24 hrs a day. My kids rely on Tri-met now and I must say the days of service are history. Excessive time spent waiting for a bus. missed connections (every day, same trip) route hours that start too late and end too early to accomodate retail work is the new Tri-met order. So sad to watch the deterioration of a once great transit system.

You're all wrong. Riding the MAX train DOES relieve congestion because it's so easy to buy Sudafed right on board from the many meth cooks who are riding at any given moment.

A "once great transit system?" But Tri-Met is "What Makes This Place Great!" Says so right on post card. And I thought it was stuff like views of Mt. Hood and the Columbia River. Silly me.

Wait, I thought we were supposed to make fun of transit with no riders on board. Now we are making fun of transit with too many riders on board? I'm confused.

It's not faster--at least, not the Green Line. I can commute by car from my home in Happy Valley to downtown, door to door, in about 35 minutes during rush hour. On MAX, I leave the house at 6:45 am, arrive at work at 7:50 am; leave work at 5:00 pm, arrive home at 6:05 pm. That's over an hour door to door each way; an hour a day more total than if I drive.

There are three lanes of road and ONE of rail in each direction for a total of four lanes. Trimet says the toy train carries 30% of the total. In other words it carries about as many people as ONE lane of freeway.

Now lets talk about where those people came from: BUSES! That's right about 2/3 of those people would be in buses, so the fabulously expensive toy only took about 1/3 of one lane worth of people out of their cars.

And it cost as much as several lanes of freeway. And it cannot carry freight. Or even a TV home from Walmart.

That is why we point out that light rail costs too much and does too little.

More at http://www.portlandfacts.com/


I'm going to see the data on that "30% of Hwy 26 & I-84 passenger" statistic.

Of course they have nearly STOPPED traffic on those two corridors during some hours, so I suppose once traffic STOPS, 3 Max riders MIGHT constitute 30% of commuters, but I doubt it.

It would take a parsing worthy of Bill Clinton to narrow down the meaning of any statistic that backs up THAT claim.

Wait a minute. 30%? I call BS on that, just using the evidence from this picture.

Two train cars ... What is the capacity? 150 people? There are nearly enough cars in that very picture to expect 150 passengers. Which means the cars in the picture and the train are carrying the same number of passengers.

Yet there are the same number of cars in the frame we would see in a picture a few seconds later, but it would be 12 minutes or so before another train came.

I can't believe nobody pointed out how fake that picture is...

The rear of the train is of a type 1, while the side of the train is a type 2 or 3.

They obviously copied the side of the leading car onto the side of the trailing car to "make it match better."

But what is the purpose of this insert? It was sent to someone who already had a bus pass? If it wasn't for the recipient.... Then who?

“The rear of the train is of a type 1, while the side of the train is a type 2 or 3.”

Good catch! One wonders how much of TriMet’s other propaganda is counterfeit, stage-managed or has been falsified.

The rear of the train is of a type 1, while the side of the train is a type 2 or 3.

Astute observation! Leads the question as to whether TriMet used several pictures of I-84 and then Photoshopped the pictures together...

Those brake lights also look awfully bright, given the bright sunny day; some of the cars don't have all of the brake lights "altered" so clearly Photoshopped...

Demand vs. Supply analysis gets twisted where Demand leads responsive Supply, like, by 20 years. So, yeah, bringing Supply online involves collateral rampage up of Demand which comes partly from natural adaptation where lite rail is the path of least resistance to travel, for some, and partly Demand is driven by promise, promotion, and snake-oily exaggeration or fibs. Try it, you'll like it.

Public transit worked for me in towns over a million and onerous car-usage fees.

But back to the simplistic Supply-Demand cause-and-effect egged chicken.
Or vice versa. As I see it
there never was a Demand for SUVs. MPG req'mnts made law in '75 were impossible to achieve because of in-house power scrums of domestic car makers. (It's about 'planned obsolescence,' it's about Dilbert engineering management - it's not about union labor issues in 1975.) So Dodge made a Caravan that a bribed Congress designated 'light truck' to drive it thru a loophole in MPG req'mnts for the breed, (or bribe). Otherwise Dodge had no MPG-legal product to sell to repay the USGovt bailout loan.
By imitation and incest car design(er)s went all SUV -- to evade legislated carbon austerity -- 1980-2001, until today there is the mess there is. Exception loopholes is not good policy nor best practice in the public interest.
But from 1980 to today, I never heard anyone say, 'we all oughta have SUVs, we DEMAND SUVs first & foremost.' It was simply that when buyers went to the dealer showrooms, SUVs was all there was, SUVs was the only SUPPLY dealers had.
All Supply, no Demand, that plague of SUV grotesquery is over-'bought into' all over the place. Ugly. AND stupid.

The other 'bizness' is TV. What twisted 'Economic considerations' SUPPLIES the hideous material called 'what's on TV tonight.' There is noooo DEMAND for it. I never hear anyone say, 'we all want to watch 30-minute Nordic Trak infomercials, we DEMAND overpriced enticements for our underpaid money.' But, again, it is partly possible to artificially drive Demand, or prod it with provocative promotional fibbing trickery to such an extent that some day we might hear, 'the commercials are the best part.' As if that could ever happen ... oh, wait, it's Super LVXII Sunday, that spells luxYOU'REiii. as if
Broadcast Markets never DEMANDED worthwhile good-quality TV content; everyone vapidly watched whatever was on their SUPPLIED TV. No one's last words of mortal regret said I wish I'd watched more TV.

Yet many have said, I wish I'd gone out in public places more, traveled, seen things, mingled with passengers on the choo-choo train and met new interesting people.

I'm sure MAX doesn't work for some people, but for many of us it is great. Yes, we have to walk/bike/drive to a MAX stop. The same is true for bus stops. It is far less expensive than driving to work, at least from the commuter's perspective. It might or might not be faster than driving, depending on traffic, but you can read while on MAX (or the bus). I rode the bus for around 20 years before MAX came along. MAX is far faster, more comfortable and more reliable than the bus in terms of arrival time and travel time. I don't have any affiliation with Tri-Met (other than as a rider), but still wanted to say that many MAX riders do not miss the bus one bit. Whether the cost of light rail lines compared to bus systems is justified is a fair question, but from a rider's perspective MAX is far preferable. (By the way, in the pre-MAX days I once had to take the bus from the airport to my home in close-in north Portland. It took three and a half hours.)

The MAX infrastructure remains a bit of a joke, though Matt. I tried paying for fare at three different machines the other night (with three different credit cards, natch). None of the machines worked. My 8-year-old and I were going to be late to the Blazers game, so we hopped on, knowing we did all we could do.

Of course, a fare inspector kicked us off the train almost immediately. Kicked an 8-year-old off the train, yes.

For failing to buy fare. Which we couldn't buy because the machines weren't working.

The City That Works.

You're right, Iced Borscht - broken ticket machines are a real problem. The workaround, which shouldn't be necessary but is still a good precaution, is to keep a few spare tickets in your wallet and hope that the ticket validators are working. If the valedators aren't working, fare inspectors have (at least in the past) let people ride to the next stop to validate their tickets.

Maintaining the infrastructure is Tri-Met's job, not the city's, but your point is still valid. Tri-Met also needs to give some serious thought to how the MAX system will operate if/when the Steel Bridge goes down for repairs or replacement. Using bus shuttles to get across the river for 10 to 15 years doesn't look like a viable option.

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