Guest Column: Fare Increases for Honored Citizens

Joel Weishaus is a neighborhood activist in NW Portland and a member of the Northwest Elder Advisory Team, a program of Friendly House.

He writes that he has sent this letter to TriMet (PDF) [linked document removed at request of author] regarding the impact of fare increases on senior citizens. The letter was copied to Mayor Potter and Commissioner Adams. He indicates that to date no response has been received.

4 responses to “Guest Column: Fare Increases for Honored Citizens”

  1. Over 80% of the cost of a ride on TriMet is picked up by taxpayers, making it welfare for every rider.

    Why don’t we set the fare at actual cost then issue low cost or FREEE passes to the needy?

    This would force a lot of highly paid bureaucrats and downtown lawyers to pay their fair share of their transit usage.


  2. Despite the rhetoric, the fact is that the percentage of poverty for seniors are actually LOWER than those of the general adult population, because of Social Security and SSI. The proper response should be discounted passes provided by the regular social service agencies instead of yet another bureaucratic program administered by the transit agency. Raise the pass fare gradually but steadily to 50% of the adult pass fare (the maximum allowed under ADA) and refund some of that money to senior centers, area commissions on aging, etc. so that the well off seniors pay their fair share while the ones that are truly at poverty pay less.

  3. Hank:

    I agree with you that, thanks to Social Security, many seniors are well off. That’s why I’m suggesting a monthly price of $12.00 for seniors and people on SS Disability who are living below the poverty line and don’t own a car. That’s pretty stringent, and also twice the price being paid by similar people in Seattle.
    Your plan seems too complex. This one could be run simply. In any case, something needs to be done, as oil prices will continue to rise, and Tri-Met has only one solution. I’m not saying that the price of Honored Citizens passes shouldn’t rise, I’m saying that a sub-category is needed.


  4. I don’t see it being too complex. Social service agencies in many areas dole out bus tokens and tickets to welfare recipients all the time. Look at decentralized food pantries, for instance. The point is that it would be handled at the very local level, instead of within the Tri-Met bureaucracy.

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