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Thursday, June 25, 2009

You can't have it!

We rode through the Transit Mall yesterday on a Tri-Met bus. The bus stops have gotten fewer and further between, now that the trains are coming. And it looks as though pretty soon you'll have to board those trains, or the slug-like streetcar, if you want a fareless ride through the downtown core. The buses aren't going to be part of Fareless Square much longer.

Less service, higher fares, higher taxes -- that's Tri-Met these days. At least Fred gets to play genius in Australia.

Maybe they should try this.

Comments (10)

You should check out the cluster***k at the city hall bus stop during rush hour.

Ya.... they really did a number on the mall. It was just fine as it was. Needed updated shelters and that was it. And in other infuriating transit news, creepy broke ground on the streetcar loop to nowhere this morning.

What do you expect. Tri-Met is just a public money trough for Fred to hand out no-bid construction work to his cronies, to enhance the property values of still other cronies, and provide cushy, do-nothing jobs and luxurious retirements for everyone in his network. When they use up all the money, no problem. Just say how tough times are and slash service to the bone, cry hardship and get a tax increase.
Wouldn't they be emberassed if a private company were allowed to compete and operate at a profit on a sliver of the overhead Fred needs.
And we are not supposed to make any sort of connection between the WES operating defecit and the millions after millions thrown into that overseas railcar manufacturer who took ol' Fred for a ride?

In most parts of the city, downtown notwithstanding, there are far to many bus stops. In my neighborhood (Westmoreland) There are stops at least every other block from Bybee to McLoughlin on Milwaukie. This contributes to a very long commute on #19 to downtown. How about cutting the number of stops in half. We could walk 3 blocks instead of one and cut the commute time considerably.

One problem is that Trimet riders only pay 20% of the actual cost, so riders don't matter. What matters is Trimet's ability to wring cash out of the taxpayers.

This also means that increased ridership also increases Trimet's losses.

More riders = WORSE financial condition! So they have to cut service.


Fares over service is upside down world. Does he go to Australia? ... or Argentina?

Ah yes....fareless square, now brought to you exclusively by de facto Farelss MAX. It goes around, and comes around....self- fulfilling everything we've always known. TriMet Fred should be proud!

Next thing to look out for at Tri-Met comes from today's WSJ (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124595679614655491.html):

Metro Delayed Upgrades Because of Tax Shelter

WASHINGTON -- Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority officials told safety regulators a few years ago that they wouldn't replace aging subway cars involved in a fatal crash Monday because of tax-shelter leasing arrangements that Metro had entered into with banks.

Check out this story - there's more that sounds much like Portland.

I have to say, the new transit mall just reeks of stupidity and waste. And as much as those MAX tracks swerve around, I'd swear they were engineered and constructed by drunks. It was fine the way it was with the buses.

I was raised here.

I remember Rose City Transit and the Bridge Transfer.

It got me where I needed to go when I couldn't get there easily on bike or walking.

Tri-Met gave it reach, and punch, but they wasted a shipload on the MAX fixed rail white elephant. But I was still happy, because the freeway they intended to build was an even bigger waste of money and a community killer, to boot.

But the bottom line for any transit operation is whether it can offer reasonably comfortable, reasonably reliable, reasonably affordable, AND can get you where you are going in a decent time-frame.

They actually print a statement of promise to their users that they will provide a certain level of service. They cannot, or will not, deliver that level of service. They cannot reliably deliver me to my destination in a decent time-frame.

My time is money, and I adjudge the value of my time away from home, particularly when I have just completed a days work. I finish my work day at 10 pm at night. A Tri-Met bus was supposed to have a bus stop directly outside the building in which I work at 10:14. That bus was supposed to deliver me downtown to 4th and Salmon at 10:26, where I was required to walk one block, to 3rd and Salmon, to catch the bus which would deliver me home, which left at 10:32, having held over there, waiting for transfer passengers from other lines.

This latter is their stated purpose.

But it is a lie.

Their drivers cannot make it to 4th & Salmon before 10:32.

Well...to be more accurate, there was one driver who proved that it could be done 99% of the time, but he lasted only a little while before they went back to the 80%+ miss rate.

So...Did I want to be in downtown Portland, at night, in the rain and cold, an extra half an hour every night? At that point, I decided the discounted rate I was paying for an annual pass through my employer was a waste. My time was worth more than the $6 in parking that my car would supply on those days I went to work. I, a long time regular bus user (like 35 years, plus) have abandoned Tri-Met as unreliable.

It's unsafe and uncomfortable at eleven at night, too. That's both downtown and Tri-Met.

It's sad really. But I've come to the realization that Tri-Met largely sucks...for passenger service at night, at least.

There were drivers who, more than 80% of the time, could not

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