Transit is Fun


A counterpoint to all the crime discussion…

An opinion piece in the Charlotte Observer makes a good case for one of the ways transit enhances livability: it makes experiencing cities easy and fun.


47 responses to “Transit is Fun”

  1. If your idea of fun is watching a 71 year old man beaten wtihin inches of death by a baseball bat.

    I guess transit is fun.

  2. When I travel, one of the things I look for is whether a given prospective destination city has good public transit that will let me see a lot of stuff I want to see. I don’t need to deal with car rental, finding my way around while driving, parking hassles, stuff like that. If a city lacks good transit, I simply spend my tourist dollars elsewhere.

  3. Anthony makes a good point, since no car driver has ever experienced violence of any kind. In addition, car drivers are never injured/killed due to accidents either.

  4. Right you are, Mark. And since pedestrians are never attacked on sidewalks or in alleyways, transit is the only weak link in an otherwise safe and law-abiding urban environment.

  5. “Ride the 12 line…I doubt you’ll find anyone that calls riding that bus “fun”.”

    I was on it at 1am on Friday night. It was fine, sure, I was a little cold but that might have been from my wait, and there was a free newspaper onboard, which some people don’t like, but I read it, so… Driver was nice enough, and it wasn’t too crowded, (5-10 people or so.) I don’t know if I’d call it fun, but it was a ride, and it got me to where I was going, so… However, what is your point?

  6. Transit itself is not an alternative, its a must, just like police and fire.

    And some bus routes are indeed fun. Come ride my 48 or my 89 and see for yourself the atmosphere in the bus, everybody knows everybody else, the driver is just part of the social scene.

    ITS GREAT!

    Only small suburban routes get this type of service however.

  7. Hawthorne,

    If you have read so many of my posts, you would see very specific examples of how TriMet could improve the TOTAL TRANSIT SYSTEM in Portland so that riding transit (yes, even one of those lowly pathetic busses that so many “transit advocates” refuse to acknowledge in Portland are a major part of the transit system) can be fun, or at least relaxing.

    Instead TriMet makes riding the bus so incredibly difficult that it is not “fun” or even in many cases enjoyable. Overcrowded busses are not fun. Missed trips are not fun. Extremely late busses are not fun. Waits at crowded stops in the pouring down rain, with no shelter, is not fun. Busses that lack air conditioning in the summer, or are extremely humid in the winter (and the windows are so fogged up you can’t see outside) are not fun. Busses that break down is not fun. Failure to plan for expected demand is not fun (i.e. not having enough capacity; poor planning in ice/snow conditions).

    And while I can’t personally attest to it, being repeatedly hit with a baseball bat while walking away from a mass transit vehicle, I don’t think was very fun for a poor old 71 year old man. Watching a drug deal is not fun. Sitting near a (legally defined, by the police department) gang who is being boisterous, obnoxious, swearing and hitting is not fun.

  8. yes, even one of those lowly pathetic busses that so many “transit advocates” refuse to acknowledge in Portland are a major part of the transit system

    Erik, you’ve made this accusation time and time again. Can you name any transit advocates who “refuse to acknowledge” that buses are a major part of the transit system?

    Seriously, name one person with any kind of influence whatsoever who makes such a refusal.

    – Bob R.

  9. I live in Austin and this article is quite relevant for us, we have been back and forth on light rail for a long time here. My boyfriend and I went on vacation in Portland in August for 10 days. I had thought we would have to rent a car but we got around the entire time on public transit and bike and it was the most fun vacation I have had since Southeast Asia – where coincidentally I got around on buses and bikes and trains (and a couple of boats and an elephant but that is another story). It was quite a letdown to get back to Austin and wait 30 minutes everytime we want to take the bus – I think the longest we ever waited in Portland was 10 minutes or so, and we rarely had to walk more than a few blocks to our destination. What a great city!

  10. There is simply no better way to see the heart of this city and its people than from the far back seat in a Portland Streetcar. I can’t wait for Streetcar across the Burnside Bridge with its great views in every direction. In the meantime, Streetcar to the Tram with its dynamite views will have to do.

  11. I have a sister that lives in England. Of course, I have been to visit and there is no need to rent a car there. They have transit that goes EVERYWHERE. It is truely the best way to see the country. By contrast I grew up in California and it is my opinion that it is necessary to rent a car there. The transit systems are just too unreliable.

  12. Bethany –

    I think there are a lot of people in Portland who don’t know what they have. For a city of its size, Portland has an amazing public transit system system. And that includes the bus service as you noticed.

    Of course, the suburbs don’t have that level of service. But that is changing. Twenty years ago elected leaders in Washington County were focuses on a bypass. Now they are building a commuter rail line and talking about the development opportunities it will create.

  13. I have been riding public transportation daily for almost 30 years in New York, Washington DC, and now Portland, and in recent years I have used metro systems in places like Paris, Shanghai, Boston, San Francisco, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Marseille while traveling. Transit is BY FAR the best way to get around any city worthy of the name.

    But in the “Keep Portland Weird” department – in all those years and all those places, Portland is the only place where I’ve ever seen a fistfight break out on public transportation (the #20 bus at about 10:00 on a Saturday night, and both combatants were well over 70 years old). You just don’t get that everywhere! No harm was done; the driver stopped the bus, put both men off, and told them that if she ever saw either one of them again she was not going to pick him up.

  14. Seriously, name one person with any kind of influence whatsoever who makes such a refusal.

    I’ll name a few:

    1. Fred Hansen, TriMet’s General Manager.
    2. Richard Van Beveren, TriMet Directors
    3. Tiffany Sweitzer, TriMet Director
    4. George Passadore, TriMet Director and President
    5. Sue Van Brocklin, TriMet Director
    6. George Richardson, TriMet Director
    7. Bernie Guisto, TriMet Director (and Multnomah County Sheriff)
    8. Robert Williams, TriMet Director
    9. David Bragdon, Metro Council President
    10. Rod Park, Metro Councilor
    11. Carl Hosticka, Metro Councilor
    12. Kathryn Harrington, Metro Councilor
    13. Rex Burkholder, Metro Councilor
    14. Robert Liberty, Metro Councilor
    15. Tom Potter, Mayor of Portland
    16. Sam Adams, City Commissioner (and Transportation Commissioner)
    17. Dan Saltzman, City Commissioner
    18. Erik Sten, City Commissioner
    19. Randy Leonard, City Commissioner

      So I’ve named a lot more than one. Do I need to quote the numerous TriMet sources that back up my claims, as well as Metro’s planning documents and websites, and the City’s website as well? Or are you once again going to conveniently ignore the facts and then use your position as a forum moderator to criticize me because I don’t agree with the continued pattern of disinvestment in the bus system to favor MAX and Streetcar investment? I have TriMet’s financial reports, budgets, TIP, etc., that show how much money is being put towards the MAX system, and even the “smoking gun” document that clearly states that TriMet is intentionally putting off certain bus investments. I have the bus stop planning document that states what TriMet should be investing in, along with the TIP that states that TriMet is only going to spend 1/3rd of what it does. I have Metro’s MTIP that shows virtually zero investment in bus related projects.

      Now, show me someone who is an elected or a politically appointed official, or an outspoken transit advocate who gives a damn about bus service in Portland, has made it public, and is doing something about it.

  15. Erik,

    That is just over the top and flat out wrong. I dare say, what you have listed are lies and speculation at best. Hard to have any credibility when you use the same tactics you claim TriMet and Metro use…

    Give us a break.

  16. Do I need to quote the numerous TriMet sources that back up my claims, as well as Metro’s planning documents and websites, and the City’s website as well?

    Yes, Erik, I’d like to see that. Please show us where ANY one of those people you cited has “refused to acknowledge” (your terms) that buses “are a major part of the transit system” in Portland.

    Any statement that “Portland has no buses” or “buses are not significant” or anything on those lines will suffice.

    “Or are you once again going to conveniently ignore the facts”

    So far, you have not presented a single “fact” for us to ignore. Just a ridiculous list.

    Here’s a fact. From 1998 to 2002, Tri-Met expanded its network of frequent service buses from 4 to 16. Scarcely the actions of an agency that doesn’t value bus service as transit.

    Here’s another fact. Tri-Met’s Transit Investment Plan lists “expanding frequent service” (which means buses) as one of its top four priorities. In fact, two of the top four priorities are bus related, and a third one covers both rail and bus service.

    Another fact. The TIP projects add two new frequent service lines and expanding hours of operation on four existing frequent service lines in the next five years, and already has expanded service hours on #9 Powell.

    And another: Tri-Met plans to deploy 40 new low-floor buses annually.

    Also, Fred Hansen commutes daily to work on the #17. Sounds to me like he’s aware buses are pretty significant to the system.

    Once again, Erik: you set the terms. Show me anything where any of those people actually deny — or simply “refuse to acknolwedge” — that buses are a major part of our local transit system.

  17. Erik,
    Once again you are spouting half-truths at best and outright lies at worst.
    1.)I have already stated that Trimet will be purchasing new busses starting FY 08 and gave you as my source of information the Trimet employee newsletter. That newsletter was sent out in October-two months after the printing of the FY 08 budget was. It is apparent to me that some adjustments have been made to that budget since its printing.
    2.) It is also common knowledge around Trimet that Fred Hansen lives close to line 17 and takes it to Center Garage at least once a month, if not more often. I do not always agree with the management at Trimet, but to accuse them of not caring is beyond the pale.
    3.) Bus service in the Tri-county area is currently one of the best systems in the U.S. for the size of our city. It is obvious that you do not understand this!

    It seems to me that you are a negitive person in general and that you have a particular prejudice against Trimet. That is unfortunate as you DO post some valid arguments, but your own bigotry tends to ruin them. UGH!

  18. Erik –

    Really… that’s just a bit silly.

    Your original claim was that there are those who “refuse to acknowledge” that buses in Portland are a major part of the transit system.

    Either back off from that claim or PROVE it by posting quotes where any of these people you’ve listed have made such a refusal.

    You may think they’re overprioritizing on rail, you may think they’re neglecting bus service, but none of them have ever “refused to acknowledge” that buses are major part of the transit system.

    These absolutist claims of yours seem pointless if you’re trying to convince anybody of your arguments.

    From TriMet’s own web site, on Page 1 of their fact sheet, it says:

    Weekday boardings averaged 309,900 trips:
    – 205,700 (Bus)
    – 104,200 (MAX)

    Note that it clearly states buses first, above MAX, and clearly shows the higher total, right there on Page 1.

    Boy, that sure sounds like a blanket “refusal to acknowledge” to me. How nefarious.

    Maybe they hid their blanket refusal to acknowledge buses on the back cover, Page 4, let’s see:

    Passenger Facilities
    • 92 bus lines
    • 1,050 bus shelters; 180 equipped with
    solar-powered LED lighting units
    • 606 buses including 321 low-floor buses
    • 7,600 bus stops
    • 18 transit centers where buses and trains meet
    • 105 MAX vehicles and 64 MAX light rail stations
    • 22 TriMet Park & Ride lots, totaling 8,221 spaces
    • 258 LIFT buses and 15 sedans provide door-to-door
    service

    Yeah, that’s it… doesn’t even mention buses, does it?

    – Bob R.

  19. If you had to wait in the freezing rain for up to an hour how would you feel about bus service?

    Well that is what happens on some of these bus routes.

    And yes Erik is partly correct, management is fully aware that some of these bus routes don’t work, yet they do nothing to fix it.

  20. Seems like some folks aren’t going to be satisfied with TriMet until there are fully-enclosed, climate-controlled, coffee shop-equipped shelters at every stop on every bus route, along with 3-minute headways 24 hours a day. Would that make you happy?

    Get real and give us all a break from your negativity. No transportation mode is perfect – roads are filled with potholes or not even paved in some neighborhoods, many streets have no sidewalks, cyclists are getting hit almost daily (or so it seems). The question is, how are you trying to make it better? Somehow, I don’t think wild, sweeping non-factually based generalizations make much of an improvement.

    I ride the bus nearly every day – the 14, which is a heavily-used line. Sometimes, it’s crowded and I have to stand, it’s stuffy or cold, the person next to me is leaking some sort of fluid or odor, or the trip is unpleasant in some other way. But so what? I used to drive to work and there were plenty of days where that totally sucked too. Drunk or inattentive drivers, congestion, car trouble, high costs. Compared to all of that, my bus trip is relaxing, comfortable and enjoyable.

    Compared to many other cities around the world, Portland has a wonderful transit system. OVERALL, it’s clean, safe, easy to use, and convenient. Not to say that it can’t get better in all of those areas. But just because the glass isn’t full to the rim doesn’t mean it’s completely empty, either.

  21. I just ran into a fellow from Des Moines, Iowa. He was downtown, visiting Portland for a few days, and asked if I could point him to a cheap meal. We were walking the same direction and he volunteered what a beautiful city we have here, and then talked about how wonderful it was to be able to just go straight from baggage claim, pay $2, hop on the light rail and now he’s downtown. He raved about MAX as the Coolest Thing Ever for about half a block.

    I’m putting him down as a vote in the “transit is fun” column.

  22. Seems like some folks aren’t going to be satisfied with TriMet until there are fully-enclosed, climate-controlled, coffee shop-equipped shelters at every stop on every bus route, along with 3-minute headways 24 hours a day.

    That would be awesome!

  23. That would be awesome!

    I agree. There needs to be some fantasizing about perfect transit, not just good transit. I once got shouted down for suggesting the goal ought to be to have a seat for every rider. I suspect three minute headways would give you that on most lines.

  24. “Erik, you’ve made this accusation time and time again. Can you name any transit advocates who “refuse to acknowledge” that buses are a major part of the transit system?”

    >>>> Some “advocates” on this blog appear to actually be “railfans” masquerading in disguise
    (Now, Bob, I’m not talking about you here). But these others know who they are. Telling from the tone of their posts, it seems that they are not really interested in buses like they are in trolleys of various sizes. Oh, of course they’ll say buses are important if pressed, otherwise their biases would be too obvious.

    But just look how at some of them rationalize or minimize anything away when some aspect of their beloved MAX/Streetcar is criticized.

    I’m not going to name any particular posters on this blog, as Chris does not like anyone getting “personal” here. But you can tell just from reading their posts over a period of time who they are.

  25. “I once got shouted down for suggesting the goal ought to be to have a seat for every rider.”

    As one of the people that disagreed, the problem isn’t that I don’t want to see it it, the problem is that it needs to be compared against the costs. I compare a seat for every rider to a freeway that never dips below 50 mph at rush hour. We could build a freeway that big, but at what costs? And would it be easier to just convince people to just leave at slightly different times?

  26. That is just over the top and flat out wrong. I dare say, what you have listed are lies and speculation at best. Hard to have any credibility when you use the same tactics you claim TriMet and Metro use…

    Prove me wrong, Hawthorne. Prove me wrong. You can’t, so next comment.

    From 1998 to 2002, Tri-Met expanded its network of frequent service buses from 4 to 16. Scarcely the actions of an agency that doesn’t value bus service as transit.

    You’re right. Before Fred Hansen was in charge of TriMet, TriMet did invest in bus service. In 1997 TriMet made a massive investment in bus service on the westside, opening up a number of new routes, buying new busses, etc.

    In 2002 that all ended. Sure, we got a few new busses here and there; but TriMet promised articulated busses stating that they needed the capacity that only an articulated bus could provide (Fred Hansen cancelled that order), and TriMet stated they would order busses each and every year instead of large orders every several years (and that was not maintained, as several years went by with no new bus orders.)

    Here’s another fact. Tri-Met’s Transit Investment Plan lists “expanding frequent service” (which means buses) as one of its top four priorities. In fact, two of the top four priorities are bus related, and a third one covers both rail and bus service.

    Yeah, let’s look at the TIP.

    That “investment” in bus service in FY05/06? 10 new shelters were added. 100 should be added per year, per TriMet’s Bus Stop Guidelines (on their website).

    Solar power lighting installed at 45 stops. That’s less than 1% of the bus shelters that TriMet currently has installed.

    39 new busses. TriMet needs to order a minimum of 50 per year; the previous year TriMet ordered zero. That’s 39 out of 100.

    In FY07 TriMet will order 35 new shelters – again, should be 100.

    Address low performing lines. How about addressing high performing lines?

    No mention of adding high capacity bus transit.

    Frequent service – 76 was supposed to go frequent service in 2007. Now it’s removed, and there are no new frequent service lines planned (just the 76 and 35 demoted to “proposed” status. In fact I have the 2006 TIP that clearly shows that the 76 and 31 should be added, and the 4, 8, 9 and 15 should be frequent service for span of route/service day; with “tier 2” status given to new line 35, extending frequent service on 31, 33 and 54, and span of service day/route on 12 and 33. How is that an improvement?

    Also, Fred Hansen commutes daily to work on the #17. Sounds to me like he’s aware buses are pretty significant to the system.

    Good, maybe he can ride the 12 line with me someday, and not request that he be issued a TriMet owned Prius for “company use” so he can get some more time on the busses.

    And how often does a 17 route bus operate with a 1400, 1700 or 1800? How often does the 17 line run late? Does the Center Street bus stop have just a stop sign or is it “decked out” with the shelter, solar lighting, benches, etc.?

    I have already stated that Trimet will be purchasing new busses starting FY 08 and gave you as my source of information the Trimet employee newsletter. That newsletter was sent out in October-two months after the printing of the FY 08 budget was. It is apparent to me that some adjustments have been made to that budget since its printing.

    Where is the FY08 budget? It certainly isn’t in the FY07 budget, nor is it in the TIP, or the fiscal forecast document.

    If you’re so sure about the bus replacement, where are the funds coming from?

    Your original claim was that there are those who “refuse to acknowledge” that buses in Portland are a major part of the transit system.

    Bob, why don’t you stop getting so offended by my posts. I thought you were for bus improvements, but now you’re just angrily justifying TriMet’s lack of investment.

    Why isn’t TriMet investing in the bus service? Why isn’t TriMet doing anything to encourage/improve bus service? Why isn’t TriMet adding 100 shelters a year per their bus stop guidelines, or replacing the full 50 busses a year EACH YEAR, EVERY YEAR? Why isn’t TriMet making plans to replace busses at 12 years when the FTA considers a bus to be replaceable? Why does TriMet consider a “major investment” new bus stop signs? Why do you justify TriMet ordering new single-occupant vehicles instead of TriMet taking the lead by demanding that their employees use the transit system that they operate? Why do you justify TriMet allowing poor bus performance, and not doing anything to improve it?

    I certainly love the attack statement, Seems like some folks aren’t going to be satisfied with TriMet until there are fully-enclosed, climate-controlled, coffee shop-equipped shelters at every stop on every bus route, along with 3-minute headways 24 hours a day. Would that make you happy? No, I never ONCE suggested anything even remotely like this.

    But since it seems that my demands for reasonable, quality bus service are going to be turned into exaggerated demands for Starbucks on busses, and that the “transit advocates” justify poor performance, late and non-performing busses, unreliable busses. If a bus is supposed to show up every 15 minutes it should. If a bus is frequently congested, shouldn’t capacity be added? If not, then there is NO REASON why we should have MAX/Streetcar, because isn’t MAX/Streetcar the answer to congested bus service?

    Or, is TriMet now just a glorified development agency – and that this has nothing to do with providing transportation?

  27. So basically, Eric, you’re talking through your hat. You have yet to show even one instance of ANYONE refusing to acknowledge buses are a major part of the transit system.

    Instead, you’ve demonstrated that Tri-Met is spending money on buses and bus shelters, but just not as large a share of their budget as you think they should be spending. That doesn’t even come close to proving your original point.

  28. But just look how at some of them rationalize or minimize anything away when some aspect of their beloved MAX/Streetcar is criticized.

    The reason no one is defending buses is because no one criticizes them. One of my favorites was the complaint about crime at the “MAX stop” in Beaverton. The stop with all that crime is a transit center where every bus in the area stops. It would more accurately be called a bus terminal given the number of buses that stop there compared to trains. Pretty soon people will be complaining about the crime on Washington county commuter rail and pointing to the same place as a “commuter rail station.”

    The problem is that it needs to be compared against the costs.

    No one has ever evaluated the cost of what it would take to reach that goal. But I think folks who use Interstate MAX ought to be thinking about what will happen to their seats once MAX crosses the river. The trains are likely going to be full of Vancouver commuters before they get to the first stop in Portland. And that doesn’t appear to be a problem in the eyes of either Trimet or a lot of transit advocates.

  29. But just look how at some of them rationalize or minimize anything away when some aspect of their beloved MAX/Streetcar is criticized.

    The reason no one is defending buses is because no one criticizes them. One of my favorites was the complaint about crime at the “MAX stop” in Beaverton. The stop with all that crime is a transit center where every bus in the area stops. It would more accurately be called a bus terminal given the number of buses that stop there compared to trains. Pretty soon people will be complaining about the crime on Washington county commuter rail and pointing to the same place as a “commuter rail station.”

    The problem is that it needs to be compared against the costs.

    No one has ever evaluated the cost of what it would take to reach that goal. But I think folks who use Interstate MAX ought to be thinking about what will happen to their seats once MAX crosses the river. The trains are likely going to be full of Vancouver commuters before they get to the first stop in Portland. And that doesn’t appear to be a problem in the eyes of either Trimet or a lot of transit advocates.

  30. So basically, Eric, you’re talking through your hat.

    The same claims will be repeated in a couple days, again with the demand that people refute them or admit they are true. There is a point at which it is pointless. Some folks are long past that point, despite occasionally having a pearl hidden somewhere in their truckload of garbage.

  31. Erik: “Prove me wrong, Hawthorne. Prove me wrong. You can’t, so next comment.”

    “Actually Erik, you don’t (well, you did) put out baseless claims and then put the burden of proof on those who call you on it. But I’ll take two minutes and what do I find on Portland Transport? Why this quote from Rex Burkholder:
    Busways on toll lanes may work for longer commutes (Clark County into Portland?) but busways also have promise as low cost high capacity transit a la Curitiba. We need to ask whether we can wait 20 years to have light rail on Barbur, 217, TV Highway, etc or whether bus rapid transit might take over existing road lanes, at least during rush hour, on these routes, either as permanent option or to build ridership until light rail can be built.”

    Doesn’t sound to me like someone who refuses to acknowledge that busses are a major part of the transportation system.

  32. The trains are likely going to be full of Vancouver commuters before they get to the first stop in Portland.

    If demand is that high, can’t we help fund more trains to turn back to downtown Portland at the Expo Center? It’s our light rail, we can do what we want if we need to.

    Just like the CRC, why hasn’t anyone pushed for a 3+3 local/bypass bridge, with light rail that will smooth out through traffic, and still connect everything?

    How about to placate the Bus People we add in something to any state or local funding package for the CRC that provides for C-Tran and TriMet bus route improvement plans, to help gain more riders? I drive the CRC regularly, but also every time I use the MAX, a bus is involved. I wouldn’t mind seeing nicer facilities as well.

  33. Erik said: I certainly love the attack statement [snip] No, I never ONCE suggested anything even remotely like this.

    I know you didn’t. Your name was never mentioned in my post. It’s an absurd exaggeration for the purpose of making a point.

    This thread was about the fun side of transit and what it can add to the urban experience. The article Chris posted doesn’t claim that transit is perfect, nor do any of the comments. But, it’s pretty darn good in a lot of ways. Too bad you and some others can’t see that and that everything has to be so negative. Lighten up – have some fun once in a while. Life is too short to be pissed off at TriMet 24/7! :)

  34. “But I think folks who use Interstate MAX ought to be thinking about what will happen to their seats once MAX crosses the river. The trains are likely going to be full of Vancouver commuters before they get to the first stop in Portland. And that doesn’t appear to be a problem in the eyes of either Trimet or a lot of transit advocates.”

    Just the same as I can’t use “my” freeway? That is a big reason why I got rid of my car, taking TriMet/bike home is faster than sitting in the I-5 traffic… But I was on the yellow line at 9pm this evening, and I didn’t get a seat. A lot of that was that it was a single car train, but still… However, unless the train is so full that it is denying boarding to people during rush hour at Overlook, I have a hard time imagining that I won’t be able to get a seat at Kenton… The math just doesn’t work that way, to make all the N Portland people stand, you’d have to be running 2 car trains every 5 minutes or so, and lets face it, I’ll be happy to stand if I only have to wait 2.5 minutes on average…

  35. Matthew –

    However, unless the train is so full that it is denying boarding to people during rush hour at Overlook, I have a hard time imagining that I won’t be able to get a seat at Kenton…

    Are you saying that to have capacity for the folks in North Portland you have to have empty seats at Kenton? I can believe that, but what are the boarding numbers that make you think so?

    Aren’t there some trains now that are so full in the morning at Hollywood and Lloyd Center people wait for the next one? I would be happy to be proved wrong, but I don’t see how you add a bunch of people in Vancouver without taking seats from people in Portland.

  36. So basically, Eric, you’re talking through your hat. You have yet to show even one instance of ANYONE refusing to acknowledge buses are a major part of the transit system.

    Silence is golden.

    Where is Fred Hansen saying that “TriMet is committed to the bus system, and therefore will invest $XXX million towards improving the quality of the bus experience by adding larger bus shelters, expanding capacity, lowering the average age of busses (implying a more reliable fleet), etc. etc. etc.?)

    Where are bus improvements in Metro’s MTIP?

    Why is it that Portland’s city council sees fit towards spending city dollars on rail improvements, but not bus improvements – when it doesn’t run the transit system?

    If all of those people I named are so committed towards bus service, why aren’t they talking about it? Why isn’t Fred Hansen up front saying how great his bus system is and how he’s going to continue to make it even better?

    Why are TriMet’s financial reports full of ways to cut back on “poor performing bus routes” but adding rail service? Why isn’t there any mention of adding bus service, other than an extremely vauge statement about adding “A” line in Tigard?

    I would think that if TriMet were really serious about adding transit users, AND having those riders be on the bus, that there’d be stated improvements in various financial documents and on their website; that Metro would have at least some of those projects listed in the MTIP and on their website; and that the City of Portland would be committed to helping TriMet by improving sidewalks/bus stops along City streets.

    Silence is golden. If TriMet’s bus system is so great and wonderful, then why are many of the contributors on this forum talking about extending the Streetcar to the eastside when there is already adequate bus service – the line 6? What’s wrong with that?

  37. Why is it that Portland’s city council sees fit towards spending city dollars on rail improvements, but not bus improvements – when it doesn’t run the transit system?

    Because the city is in the business of economic development and they think street cars spur development. But, in fact, the city does invest in bus improvements. And they aren’t hard to find. Just go look for yourself.

  38. Silence is golden.

    Ah. So now, “refusal to acknowledge” means you can’t find a statement that meets your own personal definition of pro-bus on the internet. Therefore, they must not consider buses to be important.

    You’re right. Before Fred Hansen was in charge of TriMet, TriMet did invest in bus service. In 1997 TriMet made a massive investment in bus service on the westside, opening up a number of new routes, buying new busses, etc.

    In 2002 that all ended. Sure, we got a few new busses here and there; but TriMet promised articulated busses stating that they needed the capacity that only an articulated bus could provide (Fred Hansen cancelled that order), and TriMet stated they would order busses each and every year instead of large orders every several years (and that was not maintained, as several years went by with no new bus orders.)

    So, let’s see… for the first four to five years (1998-2002) that “anti-bus” Fred Hansen was in charge, Tri-Met expanded high-frequency bus service to sixteen lines. Most of that occurred in 2002, after Hansen had been in charge for quite a while.

    Since 2002, they haven’t added a whole lot of bus service, according to Erik, and wound up scaling back a lot of their planned improvements. This, of course, is because of a completely secret anti-bus bias on the part of Tri-Met, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the surge in world oli prices since 2002. Because Tri-Met, of course, runs its buses on solar power, not diesel fuel, and would have no need whatsoever to cut back on service or forego planned expansions just because fuel prices soared far beyond their projections based on the previous 20-year baseline.

    Nope, can’t be that. It just has to be that all those folks that run Tri-Met “refuse to acknowledge” buses are an important part of the transit system. I guess they just haven’t noticed yet how much they’re spending to keep these useless accessories on the road every day. (I’m being facetious here, just in case you missed it.)

    You know, Erik, you have access to a lot of good information, but you seriously undermine your own credibility with these bizarre attacks on the motives of people who don’t share your “buses uber alles” priorities.

  39. It isn’t so much that Trimet is anti-bus. It’s just that when resources got tighter, rail construction projects became a priority over bus enhancements. You know, the general irrational rail mania that exists in Portland.

    I think that if Trimet had the funds, bus enhancements would definitely be done.

    As for rising oil prices, the above is a false statement; Trimet raised fares several times just to address this issue.

  40. Fare increases only covered part of the increased fuel costs. Service cuts took care of the rest. Tri-Met had been raising ticket prices a nickel a year anyway, but kicked it up in 2005-2006. This included an unprecedented 15 cent fare increase in January 2006, because of fuel costs. But at the same time; they also cut service (“eliminated low-ridership trips”) which they dubbed “increased service efficiency.”

    If they had to cut service in addition to raising prices just to meet growing fuel costs, it’s pretty evident that they could not have increased service the way they wanted to. It also seems pretty clear that things like new bus shelters might need to be cut if they need more money for fuel.

  41. It’s just that when resources got tighter, rail construction projects became a priority over bus enhancements.

    I think that is correct. But why is that the wrong decision? MAX is ultimately cheaper to operate than buses serving the same customers. Its a long term investment. When money is tight, don’t cost saving investments take priority?

    If the problem is that there are not enough resources to do both, the answer is more resources. But if your argument is that the problem is they are “wasting” money on MAX, then why should the public cough up more money for bus improvements?

  42. I have lived my entire life in Columbus Ohio. I’m envious of your ability to be ungrateful about money being shifted here or there in your transit system. Enjoy the freedom of transportation without a car.

  43. I have lived my entire life in Columbus Ohio. I’m envious of your ability to be ungrateful about money being shifted here or there in your transit system. Enjoy the freedom of transportation without a car.

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