Fare Box, Take 2

Here’s the probably-close-to-final iteration of the Streetcar fare box graphics, based on feedback from this blog and the Citizens Advisory Committee.

Any last thoughts, now’s the time:

19 responses to “Fare Box, Take 2”

  1. I like purple. Any chance you can do purple?

    Or, more seriously, perhaps an arrow leading up from step 1 to 2?

    If I were designing the machine from scratch, I’d put 1 at the top, 2 in the middle, and 3 at bottom. Or left to right. It’s just, well, sort of a counterintuitive set-up.

  2. Evan –

    The colors and graphics were selected to match the maps and other interior graphics already present in the streetcar, as well as to echo TriMet’s scheme of using circles.

    Unfortunately, things are indeed counter-intuitive with the existing ticket machines — perhaps Chris should repost the “before” picture so you can see what we’re dealing with. The point of the new graphics is to make it as easy as we can to deal with a somewhat clunky and oddly designed ticket machine.

    – Bob R.

  3. Chris –

    I am pleased to see Braille included in the rendering of the latest graphics. Can you elaborate on the chosen Braille solution? (It looks from the rendering as though the vinyl graphics will be placed over the top of the Braille, or is the Braille being installed as a clear applique over the vinyl?)

    – Bob R.

  4. Bob, we don’t know how we’ll implement the Braille yet. We’ll need to work with the vendor (not yet identified) on this.

    Anyone know of vendors with these capabilities?

  5. Hi Anthony –

    A large portion of the initial streetcar route (but not all of it) operates in the downtown Fareless Square area. “Free” rides are handled under the same policies that affect TriMet buses and MAX.

    With each extension, however, more and more of the line falls outside of fareless square.

    Ever since the streetcar first opened, there have been some combinations of trips (and transfers to other transit lines) which require a fare. As extensions such as South Waterfront open, more and more trips will require a fare.

    The decision to put fare payment machines on-board the streetcar, rather than at station platforms, was a cost decision. It is cheaper to install and maintain machines on a few streetcars than it is to install and maintain machines on dozens of platforms.

    Someday it may be necessary to switch to platform-based fare payment. It will both free-up room for passengers on the streetcar and save time… some streetcar route segments are so busy that by the time someone has boarded and waited in line to pay a fare, their destination may be approaching.

    – Bob R.

  6. Chris –

    For my feedback, I think this is a great design and incorporates just about everything that was discussed at the CAC meeting.

    My only suggestion, and this is only something to change if it doesn’t delay the design process, would be to enlarge the size of the sample $1 and $5 bill graphics. There is plenty of empty space on the bill changer panel… making the bills a bit larger with both clarify what bills are accepted and draw the eye to where the money goes.

    – Bob R.

  7. I remember another issue raised before was that the numbers (“1”, “2” and “3”) are not the same colors.

    And along with the bill graphics, look in to making the coin graphics bigger (maybe make them vertical)

  8. Jason –

    Although the numbers are not the same color, they do represent a good contrast from the background color of each region.

    The earlier version had some numbers which contrasted well as colors but which did not contrast well as brightness. This could be problematic for color-blind individuals.

    In this revised version, the #2 and #3 are the same color and background, but the #1 is larger and higher-contrast. This achieves the goal of drawing the eye to the main starting place, which wasn’t obvious at all on the plain gray machine.

    – Bob R.

  9. Easier solution.

    1. Get rid of the fare machines.
    2. Charge a flat buck on the ENTIRE Streetcar line. $1.00 should cover the cost of the next step AND close to full operations. (unless there is some inefficiency that I don’t know about)
    3. With the extra revenue generated by the dollar far have a “fare collector”. They could act also as points of information, without increasing taxpayer burden, and at the same time significantly increase the popularity of honest Streetcar riders. In the evening they would provide a source of security for those too tepid to normally ride…

    etc., etc., etc.

    In all seriousness, would the ridership decrease much if this was put in place? Maybe by 3-15% depending on the time of day. Even the many fare evaders would pay, if someone actually was there to collect the money.

    Of course this would also mean the Streetcars would need to run at a reasonable frequency of 5-7 minutes during peak hours of 6:30-8:00am and 4:30-6:00pm and during the lunch hour peak at 11:45am-1:15pm. Otherwise the crunch periods might as well just be free.

  10. Let’s just run that out. $1/passenger x 9,000 daily riders (taking a little off for Sundays) is about $3M/year. That’s not that far off from the annual budget.

    If would not buy significantly more frequency however.

  11. Ok, so a buck fifty instead. Either which way, Portland Streetcar is WAY closer to getting to a real service level based on demand if they had some real revenue levels based on cost of operations. Putting in place a more realistic fare that isn’t going to be evaded so regularly is a good step in the right direction toward getting an objective decision for others to decide that it might be a good idea to increase the service level.

    As it is, every single person that points out the obvious cost of millions per year that are not covered by usage fares is an argument against the suggestion of increasing service levels.

    New Orleans RTA fare last I rode on Canal Street it was $1.50 each way, and St. Charles line is also $1.50 last I checked (That’s almost 9 miles one way!!!). I believe Little Rock also charge $1.25.

    That’s $3.00 bucks for a round trip, easily something Portland Streetcar could do. So realistically, especially if more reasonably priced Streetcars where purchased, the system could turn an operational profit easily. Validating the system against naysayers and encouraging increased service wouldn’t be a bad side effect – really – I mean, that would drastically remove the ammo JK and the anti-transit pro-auto ilk have against such modes.

  12. OK, but what you’re griping about is fareless square, not the Streetcar.

    Keep in mind that this is only an approximation. You have to take into account things like folks who have TriMet passes, transfers, etc., so Streetcar would never collect $1.00 or $1.50 from everyone (although the ‘system’ would, so you’d have to get TriMet to kick something in).

    And I really don’t understand the gripe about ‘expensive’ vehicles. The Czech vehicles ARE the inexpensive end of the market for modern streetcar vehicles.

  13. I like the general design and color scheme, but it looks (to me) too much like Tri-Met colors. I’d prefer seeing the deep, rich streetcar colors used instead.

  14. I think that the circle for #2 should be a different color from the circle for #3. Something brighter, more vivid, that by its color attracts the eye immediately from #1.

    Perhaps this would be a good opportunity to use purple. ;-)

    Seriously, I think Tri-Met has a good shade of purple that they use to good effect in various applications. Might be worth checking in with them to get the CMYK value so you can match it up. They probably also have good leads on vendors, including those who could use thermoplastic to create raised Braille symbols.


  15. waited in line to pay a fare

    Now THAT made me laugh. I’ve never seen anyone pay a fare, let alone “line up.” I paid for a fare once, then felt silly afterwards.

    What does 1,2,3 mean anyway? Wouldn’t “START here” be a better approximation of what we’re asking people to do? “Then PAY.” Then take their ticket.

    I think the point about charging all riders for their fares is well taken. It’s a “privately” operated entity anyway, why SHOULD people use Tri-Met passes, or be in fareless square. You don’t get to use your Tri-Met pass to ride a cab…then maybe you can let Tri-Met use its financial resources to pay for TRANSPORTATION improvements, not be just another development agency?

    Melbourne, Florida –where I’m visiting my Dad– has a few bus stops I’ve seen, though I haven’t spotted any actual buses. Which is strange because most people here seem over 70, as is the must-be-an-old-fart gated community where my Dad lives…which gets no transit service whatsoever. There are a LOT of old people driving who shouldn’t be. It’s weird to go to places that have dozens of handicapped parking spaces.

  16. Streetcar is not in any way a private service. It is a system owned and operated by the City of Portland. The City contracts construction and operations to Portland Streetcar, Inc. (a non-profit), but it’s still a City service.

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