Encouraging New Transit Users


Via Planetizen:

Apparently for a variety of transit systems in the Bay Area, today was “try transit for free” day, trying to get new users to check it out.

Maybe TriMet should give this a shot?


0 responses to “Encouraging New Transit Users”

  1. why should they when they can just raise fares and encourage even more people? it’s been their business plan for the 27 years i’ve been in Pdx, and it’s worked darn well.

  2. “why should they when they can just raise fares and encourage even more people? it’s been their business plan for the 27 years i’ve been in Pdx, and it’s worked darn well.”

    Huh?

    Are you saying that raising fares is the reason why we have seen increases in transit ridership? I think rising gasoline cost is a far more plausible explanation. And over 27 years? I don’t think that’s true…maybe in absolute numbers but mode share is down for transit over that time period.

  3. TRIMET doesn’t do the free service thing, except on air quality days, of which there are very few.

    I guess they figure they don’t have too, most people are stuck riding weather they like it or not.

    In case y’all haven’t noticed, this system was full long before the gas prices started going through the roof thanks to our “free market” wonderfully perfect way of doing human life on earth.

  4. I thought on MAX, every day was “free ride” day, since they don’t bother fixing the ticket machines, or checking fares…

  5. Actually, I have seen an uptick in fare inspections lately, especially around Lloyd Center. But I haven’t seen a corresponding improvement in ticket machine reliability.

  6. “You have to buy a ticket to ride MAX?”

    LOL!!LOL!!

    Only on some of them on some days!

    Most of them on most days of course not!

    This is Portland, and we want to keep it weird!

  7. Oh yea, and I forgot to mention, best to have a picture cell phone so that when you can’t buy your ticket because all the machines are broken, (and you just happen to be riding on one of the select trains one one of the select days that will actually have fare enforcement), you can take a picture of the machine(s) so when the unforgiving police and/or fare inspectors try to issue you a ticket you can produce a picture of the machine which will hopefully buy you some sympathy from law enforcement;

    BECAUSE;

    John Q Public is responsible to have the correct fare, even if all the ticket machines are not working, John Q Public must pay anyway.

    Sorta like the Iraq war, you pay whether you like it or not.

  8. I remember back in 1998 there was something like this on TriMet, which I think was sponsored by a TV station. Would’ve participated, but family and I lived in Newberg at the time, and… get ready for this… the family beater broke down. So we had no way to access TriMet service.

    Sorta like the Iraq war, you pay whether you like it or not.
    The Iraq “war” is worse, since it’s being “paid” for with debt. We’ll be paying on it plus interest for years and years in the future. But enough on that.

    TRIMET doesn’t do the free service thing, except on air quality days, of which there are very few.
    They don’t even do that anymore… C-TRAN has in previous years, but I don’t see anything on their website about it this year.

  9. “The Iraq “war” is worse”

    Oh yea, not even on the same scale.

    The only reason I brought it up was to illustrate the powerlessness of the citizenry in the face of government.

    In the TRIMET case, you can’t buy the max ticket because the machines are broke,

    BUT;

    If you don’t have your fare and you happen to hit one of the fare inspection sweeps you get cited anyway.

    The old catch 22.

    Fare inspector/cop:

    “can i see your ticket please?”

    John Q Public:

    “I couldn’t buy a ticket since all the machines were broken”

    F.I./cop:

    “Well John, its your responsibility to have the fare, even if you can’t buy the fare, therefore I must give you a citation.”

    Until somebody takes this lunacy into court nothing will change, because it doesn’t have too.

  10. Al M wrote: TRIMET doesn’t do the free service thing, except on air quality days, of which there are very few.

    TriMet hasn’t done this in MANY years.

    I can name a dozen specific ways of how TriMet can encourage new transit users, but each and every one of them is shot down by the pro-light rail/Streetcar rally because they directly support the bus network (which feeds into the light rail network) which serves the greatest portion of the Portland metropolitan area and provides door-to-door service including suburb to suburb service, instead of parking lot-to-downtown service. You don’t have to give things away for free (well, it works for the Portland Streetcar), you have to provide a good value.

    Can anyone here honestly tell me that riding a 1400, 1600, 1700, 1800 or 1900 yesterday (or today, or tomorrow, or Monday) was a “good value”?

  11. “Can anyone here honestly tell me that riding a 1400, 1600, 1700, 1800 or 1900 yesterday (or today, or tomorrow, or Monday) was a “good value”?”

    NO!

    AND I’VE PLANS AHEAD TO ILLUSTRATE THIS POINT!

  12. God I hate my bus now due to the heat, the 52-Farmington only gets those damn evil A/C less buses, it makes me want to buy a car. I used to ride only C-Tran and their buses are all A/C’d…

  13. “God I hate my bus now due to the heat, the 52-Farmington only gets those damn evil A/C less buses”

    I posted this on another blog:

    Doesn’t anybody else find it a little odd how nice this train is?

    For crying out loud, ITS 8 TRIPS A DAY!

    This little train, for 8 trips a day, is decked out like a luxury ocean liner,

    meanwhile,

    back at the ranch,

    you can’t get a seat on some buses, and on other buses you sweat your ass off because there is no air conditioning?

    What gives here anyway?

    What makes this train so special when thousands of regular commuters have to suffer every day?

  14. Last week, Fred Hansen was down in Wilsonville bragging to the media about how great the WES cars were, with oversized plush seats, free (in other words, it’s free for WES users but subsidized by bus riders) Internet access and power to recharge your laptop batteries, brand new stations with oversized shelters, and ticket vending machines that only accept credit and debit cards so anyone wanting to pay cash is discriminated against.

    Yesterday, Fred Hansen was at Ruby Junction bragging to the media about how great the Type IV MAX cars were, with the “observation lounge” seating at one end of the car that replaces the cab at that end, and of course air conditioned comfort.

    Today, I took a drive past Center Street Garage. I couldn’t help but notice that the bus lanes closest to the Ivory Tower had only new busses parked in them. Further south, by the garage, were lots and lots of 1400s, 1600s, 1700s and 1800s.

    Maybe the 17 and 70 busses need to have a 1400 on them for each and every bus. Maybe that will get Fred’s attention, since he claims to ride the bus to work. (What I think really happens is that he will use one of TriMet’s fleet vehicles, like the Prius with the E-plate on it. Because he is good enough for a hybrid vehicle, but apparently I am not.)

  15. Can anyone here honestly tell me that riding a 1400, 1600, 1700, 1800 or 1900 yesterday (or today, or tomorrow, or Monday) was a “good value”?
    Here’s another one for you: 2639. When I arrived at Milwaukie TC a little after 5 this evening, the operator said he was the next 75, but the air conditioning was out. He described it as a “sweat pit” to myself, other youth group leaders, as well as 6 or so middle and high-school kids. We took a sweat-drenched 15-minute ride to our destination. This was after being on a 2100-series bus with fully working air conditioning!

    I used to ride only C-Tran and their buses are all A/C’d.
    Isn’t that great about C-TRAN?! Very rarely have I been on one of their buses when the AC is out (one was on a free service day, not going to complain about that).

  16. Hi everyone, I do not have any ideas about Portland Trolleybus System? I know that Seattle/San Francisco/Vancouver, BC had their trolleybus system approximately 1 to 16 lines. I let you know that I had biggest upset that Portland abandoned trolleybus system last 1958, so I had submitted it to Portland Radio Broadcast, so I will try again to right radio news to help establishing Trolleybus Organization and any ideas. Trolleybus can set off fuel costs, so I need heard from any feedback messages about trolleybuses. Let me know! smile…

  17. Can’t we all just be happy that we have a bus at all, and not all boo-hooey that buses in tonier parts of town have better A/C? I mean, this is America.

  18. Hell, get 2800 series buses and I’ll ride more. My friend and I agree’d that we’d almost rather ride the 15 than get off at PGE Park today.

  19. Hell, get 2800 series buses and I’ll ride more. My friend and I agree’d that we’d almost rather ride the 15 than get off at PGE Park today.

    As currently planned by Trimet, all of the old high floor busses will be gone or in the reserve fleet by FY2012. So–if all goes well–as of FY2010 (starting next July) there shouldn’t be more than 80 or so HF non air conditioned busses left in regular service.

  20. “there shouldn’t be more than 80 or so HF non air conditioned busses left in regular service.”

    I bet they ship them to the step child service area!
    (westside)

  21. “I bet they ship them to the step child service area!
    (westside)”

    I bet they will…

    You know what would also encourage new and old transit users? Placing alerts on the Phone System, Readerboards, and online when Trains are running 20-30 minutes late westbound and seven minutes early eastbound for what appears to be no freaking reason on a Saturday evening.

    You know what else also helps? Buses [moderated] showing up not just disappearing into some bus void in the road causing a ten minute wait to become an 50 minute wait while TransitTracker is oblivious to whats actually going on. In fact its to the point that so many 52’s seem to just go missing that I normally walk 20 minutes to a 57 stop because at least if it forgets to show up another one comes. That 20 minute walk is in comparison to the 2 minute walk to the 52 stop near my home.

    I would also like to note that while C-Tran keeps its bus fleet up they also have very lackluster service schedules outside of the “4 Fourth Plain” and I have had more buses be running 20 minutes late with C-Tran then I have had with TriMet. C-Tran needs to do some serious re-writing of some of their schedules, most specifically the “37”

    [Moderator: Profanity removed]

  22. MRB wrote: Can’t we all just be happy that we have a bus at all, and not all boo-hooey that buses in tonier parts of town have better A/C? I mean, this is America.

    Yes. When TriMet agrees to cut out the Air Conditioning on a minimum of 50% of all MAX and Streetcar vehicles, under the guise of energy consumption (less load = less electric demand) and reduced maintenance requirements (no a/c to maintain).

    As for the comment that busses in “tonier parts”…well, maybe those “tonier parts” of Portland can pay a “enhanced transit” tax of…15% of income, while those less “tonier parts” of Portland get a transit tax break…2% of income, with no property tax assessment.

  23. Smooth Operator wrote: As currently planned by Trimet, all of the old high floor busses will be gone or in the reserve fleet by FY2012.

    The entire fleet of high floor busses should be in the reserve fleet TODAY, there is absolutely no reason why TriMet has them running on anything but rush hour expresses and relief busses.

    I frequently see 1700/1800s running the 1 and 12 lines, along with the 54 and 56 lines. The 12, 54 and 56 lines are Frequent Service routes which, according to TriMet’s very own website, should have a low floor on EACH AND EVERY trip. The 1 is hardly a weekday rush hour and should have newer equipment.

    In 2012, TriMet should be replacing the 2000s (the oldest low floors, purchased in 1997).

  24. The entire fleet of high floor busses should be in the reserve fleet TODAY, there is absolutely no reason why TriMet has them running on anything but rush hour expresses and relief busses.

    Aren’t you just repeating the same tired complaint…
    Aren’t you just repeating the same tired complaint…
    Aren’t you just repeating the same tired complaint…
    Aren’t you just repeating the same tired complaint…
    Aren’t you just repeating the same tired complaint…

    Actually, I do agree with you to some degree on this, but I also understand that Trimet had to soak up 40 millions in operating losses in 2005. This has delayed the purchasing of new busses.

    Also, as a side note those older busses are a lot easier to maintain than the New Flyers(fussy “hanger queens”).

    I frequently see 1700/1800s running the 1 and 12 lines, along with the 54 and 56 lines. The 12, 54 and 56 lines are Frequent Service routes which, according to TriMet’s very own website, should have a low floor on EACH AND EVERY trip. The 1 is hardly a weekday rush hour and should have newer equipment.

    Oh? Perhaps we could compare Trimet sites then. Because MY Trimet site says this:

    The following criteria are used to recommend lines for expanded use of low-floor busses:
    –Weekly ridership on the route is the primary factor used when determining where to place low-floor buses because the higher the ridership the more customers benefit from air-conditioning and quicker boarding.
    –Weekly boardings by honored citizens who especially benefit from not having to climb steps.
    –Weekly boarding rides that require the use of the lift
    –Running the lower-emission buses in neighborhoods with high existing levels of diesel emissions or on the Portland Mall

    In 2012, TriMet should be replacing the 2000s (the oldest low floors, purchased in 1997).

    Sorry! Not gonna happen in 2012…the 2000’s are scheduled to be replaced in 2013.

  25. Aren’t you just repeating the same tired complaint…

    To the same extent that numerous people repeat the same tired complaint about wanting more MAX/Streetcar service and fewer freeways.

    I also understand that Trimet had to soak up 40 millions in operating losses in 2005

    Accounting-speak, TriMet has an operating loss each and every year.

    Also, as a side note those older busses are a lot easier to maintain than the New Flyers

    I agree that one is not wise to place all their eggs in one basket, and TriMet’s recent purchases of busses are just that – they are all New Flyer D40LFs. Why not Gillig Low Floors (which C-Tran is using), or Orion VII (which Cherriots is using)?

    Because MY Trimet site says this

    http://www.trimet.org/bus/frequentservice.htm

    TriMet says:
    Air-conditioned, low-floor buses for easy boarding and a comfy ride
    For your comfort, all MAX trains and Frequent Service buses are air conditioned, with low floors for easy curb-level boarding. They have anti-slip flooring, panoramic windows, and wider aisles and doors. On our newest buses, you’ll enjoy more comfortable seats and bright, colorful interior designs.

    Let us review:
    For your comfort, all MAX trains and Frequent Service buses

    Now, let’s review the definition of “All”:

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/all

    Main Entry: 1all
    Pronunciation: ?o?l
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Middle English all, al, from Old English eall; akin to Old High German all all
    Date: before 12th century
    1 a: the whole amount, quantity, or extent of b: as much as possible

    Maybe TriMet needs to make another edit to their webpage, making it the third edit that I have forced them to complete (after they removed almost all reference to hybrid busses from their website, and a press release which stated that all MAX trains had automatic stop announcements since 1986 when ASA wasn’t introduced until 1998).

  26. As of 8:34 PM on July 2nd, 2008, TriMet’s publicly accessible webpage still advertises that ALL frequent service busses are low-floor AND have air conditioning.

    I saw three 12 line busses **this afternoon** that operated with 1700/1800 series equipment.

  27. “I saw three 12 line busses **this afternoon** that operated with 1700/1800 series equipment.”

    Now were they going to Gresham TC? Because that portion of the line is not FS so I wonder if Trimet exempts them because they are not fully FS busses.

    Then again without these buses the route would not be FS.

    Gooo Trimet.

  28. Now were they going to Gresham TC? Because that portion of the line is not FS so I wonder if Trimet exempts them because they are not fully FS busses.

    The 12 line runs between Gresham TC and Sherwood. The individual busses either run between Gresham TC and King City, or between Sherwood and Parkrose/Sumner TC, so few if any busses actually make the entire route.

    There are no busses that operate only the non-frequent service portion of the route, so whether a bus runs to Gresham or to Sherwood has no bearing on the fact that TriMet’s webpage declares 12-Barbur and 12-Sandy as a designated Frequent Service route (even if only a portion fo the route) and as such every bus is required to have a low floor bus on it.

  29. I hesitate to bring this up, and like others I hope the high-floor and/or non-AC bus situation will be a moot point in the near future, but…

    Would it be possible for a group of transit riders and a friendly pro-bono lawyer to work up some kind of class action suit? If a particular level of service is being advertised, and not being delivered but fares are still being collected, and passes are still being sold, do riders on advertised frequent-service lines have a claim?

    Or is there something in TriMet’s code or charter which would prevent such lawsuits, or something to do with TriMet being a public entity?

    Of course, riders _shouldn’t_ have to band together in such a way, but such legal avenues could at least be used to quantify just how often this happens and expose the internal decision-making processes that led to such a decision.

    (And no, I’m not volunteering for such an effort or even advocating for it… just throwing it out as fodder for discussion.)

  30. “Would it be possible for a group of transit riders and a friendly pro-bono lawyer to work up some kind of class action suit?”

    The only part that would work, in my limited understanding of the law is someone getting “fined” for not having proper fare when it was not possible to get the fare without duress.

    As far as bad service?

    FORGET IT, no way that could be a cause of action.

    I bet ya that there is some sort of regulation holding transit districts ‘harmless’ for bad service.

    It applies to lots of government services.

    I recall it coming up at various times

  31. Of course anybody can sue for anything, given enough money and an attorney to handle it all.

    Lawsuits always make good headlines, even if they don’t have one chance in a million of winning.

    Sometimes headlines is all you need.

    (rarely is this the case however)

  32. Actually, I think a lawsuit over quality of service would discourage people from using transit, rather than encourage them to do so.

    I think the best thing for a group of individuals who are passionate about quality and usability of transit services to do is form a group that meets in person regularly to discuss anything and everything transit-related including the amount of time it takes to get from A to B, air conditioning (working/broken/lack thereof), connectivity (especially with other transit systems and routes that run maybe once or twice a day), what happened at the latest transit board meetings, and promotes use of public transit over other forms of transportation whenever possible.

    The bike folks have done this, and look where they are now. Unless I’m mistaken, AORTA seems to be mostly a passenger-rail group, and is specific to Oregon (what about Vancouver, WA, or Seattle? Oregon isn’t completely encased in a “bubble.”). The “Portland Bus Riders Union” seems to have not been updated for a year. Is transit advocacy just something we talk about, rather than something we actually do?

  33. Bob R. Says:

    Of course, riders _shouldn’t_ have to band together in such a way, but such legal avenues could at least be used to quantify just how often this happens and expose the internal decision-making processes that led to such a decision.

    What decision? The decision to keep buses running past their usual sell-by date and re-direct that money to Operations so that operators and mechanics don’t get laid off? The decision to have the best mpg rate of any transit agency in the US?

    Are you seriously suggesting that there is a valid case that TriMet has defrauded you because some of the Frequent Service buses don’t have air conditioning? Really?

  34. What decision?

    The decision to run non-AC and/or non-low-floor equipment on routes specifically promoted as always having low-floor and AC equipment.

    This is apparently not a rare occurrence due to mechanical or scheduling problems, as I’ve heard multiple complaints about it from more than one person. So I’m asking.

    The decision to keep buses running past their usual sell-by date

    No. Personally I have no big problem with that policy. The question is why that equipment is being run on routes which are specifically advertised as NOT running that kind of equipment.

    This conversation is in the context of attracting new ridership, after all. If a new rider reads a web site and says “Hey, I’ll try that Frequent Service line near me” and then encounters a crowded, non-AC bus (or worse, shows up with a can or walker, expecting easy low-floor boarding), that represents a deterrent to new ridership.

    Repeated another way: I don’t really have a problem if TriMet wants/needs to use old equipment (well maintained, of course). But if TriMet actively promotes a service as having certain characteristics, and falls short of that for anything other than sporadic/extraordinary reasons, I’d like to know why.

    Are you seriously suggesting […]

    No. I’m asking. I’ve heard this complaint for awhile now (and not just from Erik). I *am* suggesting that if the problem occurs significantly often to a large number of riders (I don’t know), then would it be productive for those riders to band together and seek legal recourse?

    Let’s say a private cab company advertises air-conditioned town cars, and when I call one I get a ride in a non-AC subcompact, and charges me the same rate. The first time I’ll accept a simply “sorry, we’re swamped today”. The second time I might switch to a different cab company. But to keep the analogy going (there are no directly comparable alternatives to TriMet), if the cab company keeps doing this and I find out they are doing it to other customers, you can bet I’d suggest that those customers approach the regulatory body which franchises taxi companies in this town.

    Really?

    I hope I’ve made my reasoning behind raising this as a discussion point more clear.

  35. The decision to have the best mpg rate of any transit agency in the US?

    That sounds fantastic… can you provide more data? How do they fare in comparison to similar routes in Seattle, which uses a lot more hybrids in their fleet? (And can such a comparison be done without including express buses, which other cities may have more of than we do locally?)

  36. The decision to have the best mpg rate of any transit agency in the US?

    I have asked TriMet to back up this data.

    The only way they can make this statement is with the words “we believe”. In other words, they cannot prove it and as far as I am concerned, they could actually have the worst fuel mileage because – again – they can’t prove anything. Just because Fred Hansen has Mary Fetsch say something doesn’t make it gospel; I am not a member of the “Church of TriMet”.

    If a private company got away with stating some of the phrases TriMet gets away with, the Attorney General’s office would be involved (for false advertising). If TriMet isn’t going to put 100% low floor, articulated busses on 100% of their frequent service bus lines, then TriMet needs to remove it from their website and all other public-facing documentation.

    Back to the fuel economy argument, it should also be noted that a large percentage of Seattle’s bus fleet is articulated busses which do require more power (and thus get slightly worse) fuel efficiency. So while Seattle might say their bus fleet gets 3.6 MPG and Portland gets 4.1, Seattle’s fleet is still more efficient than Portland because Seattle is moving more people per bus. It should also be noted that Seattle’s bus fleet includes 59 Breda articulated trolleybusses and 100 Gillig Phantom trolleybusses; their “miles per gallon” is zero because they don’t burn diesel.

    Seattle’s busses might burn more fuel to get from point A to point B than a comparable Portland bus; but those busses in Seattle carry a lot more people than a Portland bus. The argument of “miles per gallon” is actually quite silly for a transit agency because it does nothing to measure productivity. TriMet could simply send all their busses on deadhead (non-revenue, non-passenger carrying) runs and still claim that their fuel economy is better – but so what?

  37. What decision? The decision to keep buses running past their usual sell-by date and re-direct that money to Operations so that operators and mechanics don’t get laid off?

    Then why did TriMet go all out to buy BRAND NEW vehicles for MAX and WES? If TriMet has such a belief that it can efficiently run older equipment reliably, then why didn’t TriMet save money by buying USED LRV cars from another agency, and USED commuter rail equipment (which is easily obtainable – in fact there is a string of used Chicago commuter rail equipment sitting in Milwaukie right now)?

    After all, saving money on vehicles would provide more money for something else. TriMet could have purchased used Budd RDCs, refurbished, for $500K per car. Instead TriMet spend $4 million (times three) for its Colorado Railcar DMUs.

    A company in Canada completely rebuilds RDCs from the frame up for $2 million. TriMet could have purchased capable equipment for half the price as what it actually paid.

    And a transit agency in Ottawa uses another design of DMU that only requires one Operator (and runs on a freight rail line); TriMet’s DMUs will require an Engineer and a Conductor for each train.

    Speaking of that DMU, it has two 600 horsepower engines, requires two crew members, and carries about the same capacity as two busses. Where is the cost savings as opposed to a bus – why couldn’t TriMet have installed HOV/bus lanes on I-5/217 with a short busway from 217 to the Beaverton TC?

  38. WES seems fairly disappointing, I did not really notice how few people it would carry until I saw the platforms for the train… That project seems like it was quite the ineffective use of money not to mention it does one thing that seems forbidden when trying to get “regular” commuters to take transit, they have to transfer to MAX or Bus to get downtown, it will take them 30 minutes on WES and then 20-30 minutes on MAX to get them downtown, about an hour which is not impressive.

  39. I’m not particularly a fan of WES (based primarily on the projected cost per rider), but I don’t think it’s primary purpose is to serve downtown-based commuters.

    There have been many criticisms of Portland-area transit from various quarters saying that the routes are too Downtown-centric. Here we have a piece of infrastructure which runs from Wilsonville to Beaverton, and the complaint is that it takes too long for downtown riders?

  40. “Here we have a piece of infrastructure which runs from Wilsonville to Beaverton, and the complaint is that it takes too long for downtown riders?”

    Bob,

    no sir, we have a piece of infrastructure that runs from Wilsonville to Beaverton, to the Max,

    ***TO DOWNTOWN PORTLAND.****

    Do you actually think that this would have been installed if it served Wilsonville and/or Beaverton?

    If it was a west side service it would have a train commensurate with the west side bus quality, as pictured here:
    http://static.flickr.com/43/83678432_2bd8417a20.jpg

  41. Then why did TriMet go all out to buy BRAND NEW vehicles for MAX and WES? If TriMet has such a belief that it can efficiently run older equipment reliably, then why didn’t TriMet save money by buying USED LRV cars from another agency, and USED commuter rail equipment (which is easily obtainable – in fact there is a string of used Chicago commuter rail equipment sitting in Milwaukie right now)?

    After all, saving money on vehicles would provide more money for something else. TriMet could have purchased used Budd RDCs, refurbished, for $500K per car. Instead TriMet spend $4 million (times three) for its Colorado Railcar DMUs.

    A company in Canada completely rebuilds RDCs from the frame up for $2 million. TriMet could have purchased capable equipment for half the price as what it actually paid.

    And a transit agency in Ottawa uses another design of DMU that only requires one Operator (and runs on a freight rail line); TriMet’s DMUs will require an Engineer and a Conductor for each train.

    Speaking of that DMU, it has two 600 horsepower engines, requires two crew members, and carries about the same capacity as two busses. Where is the cost savings as opposed to a bus – why couldn’t TriMet have installed HOV/bus lanes on I-5/217 with a short busway from 217 to the Beaverton TC?

    Why would they buy used vehicles? You would certainly be complaining if they bought used buses. Especially buying a used 55 year old diesel rail car and thats if you could even find a decent one for sale. They’d spend more money rebuilding the thing and bringing it up to current standards, nevermind the maintainance issue of a 55 year old vehicle. Luckily there was the American made Colorado Railcar model available as an alternative. DMUs are more efficient to operate for this operation and that decision was made when fuel was 1/3 of the price it is now, now they are clearly a very smart decision.

    Since this is the US with all its rail safety standards and that the train runs on existing freight tracks they have to run certain crashworthy rail cars, diesel light rail was not an option. diesel light rail (with single operator and which is operated in Ottawa) is not an option to run on these tracks unless they wanted to build a seperate passenger rail only line the length of the route.

    Where would one find used LRVs? Its not like quality used LRVs are on the market everyday. Infact the only time there was some was when San Jose made the stupidest decision to replace their entire fleet 8 or so years ago. Of course TriMet could buy Boston’s old lemon Boeings, try to run them once and then scrap them.

    Yeah spend hundreds of millions more that this low cost commuter rail project to add a third lane to 217 and I-5, rebuild the overpasses and underpasses along those roads for cars with 2 or more people and the occassional bus.

  42. Yes, but MAX also goes west to Hillsboro.

    Like I said, I don’t think WES is particularly worth it for the cost, but it is a regional-center to regional-center transit service which doesn’t have to be viewed as a Portland-centric route.

  43. Bob R: “There have been many criticisms of Portland-area transit from various quarters saying that the routes are too Downtown-centric. Here we have a piece of infrastructure which runs from Wilsonville to Beaverton, and the complaint is that it takes too long for downtown riders?”

    It only makes sense that WES is for people going downtown because the Westside bus service is horrible to commute with so unless people work next to a WES station and work the 9-5 I can see most of the riders going downtown.

  44. “but it is a regional-center to regional-center transit service which doesn’t have to be viewed as a Portland-centric route.”

    I guarentee you Bob,
    that if it didn’t go to PORTLAND,

    there would be no WEST SIDE SERVICE!

  45. “but it is a regional-center to regional-center transit service which doesn’t have to be viewed as a Portland-centric route.”

    Using your logic we could view the tram as not OHSU-CENTRIC, because it serves the Willamette river!

  46. Regarding fuel efficiency, I agree that any useful comparison of transit agencies must include passengers as a factor, otherwise vehicle types skew the results. One good way to measure this is passenger-miles per gallon (and convert gallons to BTUs if some fleets are Diesel and others are gasoline.)

    According to TriMet’s ridership statistics, in FY2007 buses provided 221,346,048 passenger-miles of service.

    According to this TriMet press release, TriMet consumes 6.6 million gallons of Diesel fuel annually. It’s not clear how much of that is LIFT service, maintenance vehicles, etc.

    Setting aside the imprecision of that number for a moment, it would appear that TriMet bus service achieves at least 33 passenger-miles per gallon (Diesel), perhaps more if LIFT service can be separated out.

    Can anyone dig up similar figures for other transit agencies?

    The press release makes the claim that TriMet’s bus fleet is “one of the most fuel-efficient in the nation”. That’s nice, but kind of vague. At least they aren’t claiming to be THE most, but ONE OF the most. But how many are in that club, and who does better?

  47. “Using your logic we could view the tram as not OHSU-CENTRIC, because it serves the Willamette river!”

    I disagree with that characterization, and I’ll leave it at that.

  48. First off, regarding WES: The buses get stuck in the same traffic as everything else. Despite the limited schedule, when it does run it will give people an option to get out of the traffic during what’s usually the worst time of the day.

    Westside buses: I agree they should put some of the new buses out there. When I moved back into TriMet’s service district (Tigard) in 2000, I was riding the 1700s and 1800s on the 76/78 runs. Today, if I use the same routes… I’d be riding the 1700s and 1800s!

    Something I found sort of interesting this Fourth of July is the link on TriMet’s homepage, complete with banner, touting “Take TriMet to the Fireworks.” It gives four different options, with trip planner links for them. Except I don’t need to use the trip planner to plan my trip, I know what the bus service is!
    Waterfront Blues Festival – downtown at Waterfront Park, so you can get to this one on TriMet.
    Fort Vancouver – The “plan your trip” link points to Jantzen Beach. I dunno if there’s any public viewing spots there (or anywhere you can see them where some security guard won’t ask you to move on). Perhaps Portlanders planning on attending the largest display in the area would be more interested in this link – http://c-tran.com/4route.html (and for those who don’t know – C-TRAN’s 4-Fourth Plain now runs until Midnight!)
    Oaks Park – the closest route to Oaks Park is currently the 70-12th Ave., which is blocks away on 13th Ave., or even further away on 17th Ave. And it only runs every 30 minutes until 7-ish, after when it runs every hour. This is excluding the 35-Macadam, which entails walking across the Sellwood Bridge to reach Oaks Park… even if you’re able-bodied and heights don’t get to you, I personally still don’t recommend that!
    Tigard 4th of July Celebration – The only route anywhere near Tigard H.S. (where the event is being held) is a route several people here know too much about… 76-Beaverton/Tualatin. And that stops running after 6:30 today, meaning the next closest service is 12-Barbur, over a mile away.

    Given these examples, perhaps TriMet could encourage new ridership by ensuring they provide service to events within the area, and conspicuous links to other providers for out-of-area events (yes, they do have a page of other providers, but that isn’t linked from this page). There’s a whole list of reasons why this might not work out as well as it would seem, but that’s another post for another day.

  49. “one of the most fuel-efficient in the nation”

    Strictly speaking, this statement would be true if Tri-Met was anywhere in the top 50%.

    As far as WES goes, I figure it’s a start, but I’m curious whether the track was configured to allow it to run at “Frequent Service” levels (15 minute headways) throughout the peak-hour commute, and add some mid-day trains, if the route gets popular enough. If they are able to expand service in the future to meet growing demand, it might be worth the cost. If it’s capacity is limited to a train every half hour at rush hours, it’s probably a waste of money.

  50. Bob R. Says:

    Jeff Said: The decision to have the best mpg rate of any transit agency in the US?

    That sounds fantastic… can you provide more data? How do they fare in comparison to similar routes in Seattle, which uses a lot more hybrids in their fleet? (And can such a comparison be done without including express buses, which other cities may have more of than we do locally?)

    It will take some digging, but I know there are independent numbers available. Probably not APTA but someone is keeping track and TriMet reached #1 a year or two ago, after being close for a number of years. Staff credits innovations by the Maintenance department, incidentally.

    Perhaps such comparisons are meaningless because of the differing types of service by different properties, but whether they’re really #1 or not, the agency’s fuel efficiency is extremely good and worthy of credit.

    Commuter Rail might be best considered like the camel designed by committee. The entire concept was driven by city and county governments on the west side over ten years. The best thing about the project, IMO, is that they used existing right-of-way although even that had to be rebuilt to bring it up to speed, literally.

    [Moderator: Italic tags corrected and attributions clarified.]

  51. Apologies, Bob. I know I put HTML tags for italics in there, but they have apparently disappeared themselves during the very long way to post. If you can add formatting to clarify that comment, I’d appreciate it.

    Happy Independence Day to all.

    [Moderator: Your tags were done correctly for normal HTML but the blog software here CANCELS all italics/bold tags at the end of each paragraph. When commenting here, you should surround each paragraph with the desired tags.]

  52. Why would they buy used vehicles? You would certainly be complaining if they bought used buses.

    You’re damn right, but that is exactly how TriMet treats the bus system.

    Run the busses until they are well beyond retirement age, when they lack BASIC amenities. I don’t see TriMet’s proudest cheerleaders lining up to ride on a crammed 1400 on a 90 degree day. I don’t see Fred Hansen himself doing a photo op for a TriMet billboard proclaiming how great TriMet is, while he’s STANDING in the middle of the 1400 sweating like a pig.

    Meanwhile he has no problem DRIVING to Wilsonville to trot out the BRAND NEW DMUs. I bet he DROVE to Ruby Junction a week later to show off the Type IV LRV. Why isn’t he at Merlo Garage showing off 100 brand new DE60LFs (or a comparable model bus)? Why isn’t he standing at a bus stop with a brand new shelter showing how he’s making a different for bus riders? Why don’t I see a picture of him on the “how are we doing” posters onboard the bus where he’s standing next to a 1700 bus?

    TWO-THIRDS OF PORTLAND’S TRANSIT RIDERSHIP IS ON THE BUS. Look it up, it’s on TriMet’s own webpage. Fred Hansen is only concerned about the ONE-THIRD of TriMet ridership that is on the train. Even if you are a transit rider that has to transfer from a train to bus (or vice-versa) the rule of the lowest common denominator comes into play. If TriMet doesn’t improve BUS service, TriMet is putting two-third of its transit ridership at risk for going elsewhere. A service improvement for the bus system costs far less than an equivalent service improvement for rail (partly because anything involving rail has to be gold plated). Look at the $117+ million investment for a rush hour weekday commuter rail line – that same $117 million would have given every bus route in Washington County a total makeover.

    Yes, there is the argument that WES doesn’t get stuck in traffic (not entirely true; just look at the WES alignment through downtown Beaverton.) Should we design transit so that you have to have a car to access it – or should we designing door-to-door (or at least neighborhood-to-neighborhood) transit where you don’t need a car? Should it be required that I drive from my home in Southwest Portland, to downtown Tigard (about two and a half miles) to access transit?

  53. As another note, as I was looking over the ridership statistics ( http://www.box.net/shared/static/r1dctc7k0w.pdf )

    and I was looking and a few things surprised me (like the number of boardings on the 72, damn!) So then I started thinking about Frequent Service and you have http://trimet.org/bus/frequentservice.htm which says “Line 76-Beaverton/Tualatin is the next bus line scheduled to be upgraded to Frequent Service.” and I just can’t help but wonder, why? The 76 only had 2730 boardings in 2007 but bus lines like the 20 Burnside/Stark has over twice the boardings, in fact the 20 has more boardings then some of the FS lines. Another thing is that isnt WES also going to be serving Beaverton to Tualatin, does the 76 really need to be frequent service?

    Just looking at all the bus lines that could be FS and they pick that one… hell even the 52 gets more rides then the 76…

  54. THE 52 IS THE 76 BTW…

    The wonder of interlining, and I suggest you come out some night with me and ride the 76, every single trip is packed on every single train (bus)

  55. The 52+76 is a hell route (aka meatgrinder) and is responsible for the ruination of many an operator.

    Maybe not as bad as the 72/4/8/6 and other hell routes that serve Portland, but it is definitely a hell route.

    The funny thing is TRIMET can’t seem to figure out why their bus drivers are getting sick and being rude and thoughtless to passengers.

    Put a driver on a hell route, and you get a bus driver that couldn’t care less about the public he serves because it becomes obvious to him (her) the company doesn’t really care about him (her) and you are just expendable and easily replaced labor.
    Much like the Asian laborer working for $1 a day.
    There are no unions in Asia but the attitude towards the work force is similar.

  56. Hey AL, I do know that the 52 turns into a 76 sometimes (Weekdays the 52 runs about every 15 minutes, while the 76 runs about every 30 minutes)

    It says nothing about improving the 52 schedule meaning they would most likely stop connecting these two routes because that would mean that they would need to improve the weekend service for the 52.

    Now the 76 does need more buses, but I don’t think it needs to be frequent service, I think it should run similar to how the 52 runs, because the 52 had more buses then the 76 but its still not frequent service.

    The 76 is only going frequent service so that there is a nice bus bus that connects with WES instead of the rest of the normal/horrible Westside service.

  57. AL M: “Ah, I bet that’s not the reason. 76 needs frequent service.”

    From the TIP summary ( http://trimet.org/pdfs/tip/tipsummary.pdf): “Add Frequent Service on Lines31 and 76 to complement Commuter Rail, MAX GreenLine investments”

    From the TIP ( http://trimet.org/pdfs/tip/tip.pdf): “Frequent Service on Line 76-Beaverton/Tualatin would provide 15-minute service along the Highway 217 corridor between Beaverton and Tigard, and along the I-5 corridor between Tigard and Tualatin. It would supplement the rush hour Commuter Rail service during midday,evenings and on weekends.”

  58. Well I dunno Robert-

    From where i sit, (the driver’s seat) the 76 needs frequent service.

    I don’t need a high priced consultant to prove it either.

    Al

  59. Al, I’ll give you that but if you still look at the numbers it seems to indicate that they need more service but not every 15 minutes, everyday, all day. Maybe they could pull a 52, every 15 minutes weekdays and then every 30 or so weekends, there is no way that line needs FS.

  60. “Al, there is no way that line needs FS.”

    Well Robert, I will quote our esteemed moderator:

    “”I disagree with that characterization, and I’ll leave it at that.””

  61. Al if you wish to prove me wrong I’ll board your 52 at my normal stop (Farm&160th) and ride back and forth down the lines with you, standing or sitting. Maybe not when its 80-90 degrees out though, riding the 52 for about 2mi is a bit too much, I’m not sure I could handle much more.

    Another note is that it appears they are going to turn the 76 into FS soon if it is to help supplement WES, will they have enough low floor buses to meet exceptions of FS?

  62. From the TIP: Frequent Service on Line 76-Beaverton/Tualatin would provide 15-minute service along the Highway 217 corridor between Beaverton and Tigard, and along the I-5 corridor between Tigard and Tualatin. It would supplement the rush hour Commuter Rail service during midday,evenings and on weekends

    I do agree with Al that the 76 needs more capacity. I’ve seen the 76, in the midday hours and on weekends (i.e. after 8:30 AM) packed like a sardine can. Since TriMet refuses to buy articulated busses, the only other option is to add busses.

    Robert – you have a good point, ridership on the 76 isn’t as high as some other routes. TriMet, about two TIP editions previously, had a much more ambitious rollout of Frequent Service bus routes, and many of those FS services have been cut back, eliminated, or in the case of the 76 line delayed. I do not know why the 20 line isn’t frequent service – that does not make any sense to me. The solution isn’t to not frequent the 76, but to add the other routes to the frequent service map.

    As to TriMet’s assertion that adding frequent service will supplement WES, that is a joke. The two routes are designed for a very different clientele. The average WES rider is not going to ride the 76. I’ve ridden the 76 and frankly it is a route I all but refuse to ride (because of the people who ride it) – although I might have to ride it just to ride with Al M.

    WES is going to have ultra-plush seats, on-board Wi-Fi access, and ticket vending machines that require potential riders to undergo a credit check (because they won’t accept cash or coin). WES, on the other hand, only accepts cash riders, and has no amenities.

    If TriMet truly wants to make the 76 line supplement the service on WES, TriMet had better go out and buy some MCI D4505s (which is overkill for a local route) because nothing that comes from New Flyer is going to supplement WES. (I guess some Gillig Phantoms, in commuter configuration, might work.)

  63. You guys are forgetting something–between Beaverton and Tigard, there is already 15 minute service (except Sunday), between the 76 and 78 lines combined.

  64. Line 76 doesn’t really supplement WES until it runs out to the Wilsonville WES station. If I were out there, I’d be less inclined to ride WES if missing the last train meant I needed to call for a pickup or get a taxi from Tualatin just to get back to my car. If Tri-Met guaranteed a bus ride back, even a long one, the train would be a better bet for commuting.

  65. “You guys are forgetting something–between Beaverton and Tigard, there is already 15 minute service (except Sunday), between the 76 and 78 lines combined.”

    That’s only between Beaverton, and Tigard TC.

    Tualantin needs more service.

  66. WES is going to have ultra-plush seats, on-board Wi-Fi access, and ticket vending machines that require potential riders to undergo a credit check (because they won’t accept cash or coin). WES, on the other hand, only accepts cash riders, and has no amenities.
    I’m going to guess you meant to say “76, on the other hand…”

    Another note is that it appears they are going to turn the 76 into FS soon…
    At the TriMet TIP meeting in May, I asked staff about this. The only improvements to 76 this fall is 30 minute service on Sundays. It seems Frequent Service is on indefinite hold.

    You guys are forgetting something–between Beaverton and Tigard, there is already 15 minute service (except Sunday), between the 76 and 78 lines combined.
    We’re already aware of that. I believe the area most are referring to in this discussion is the Tigard-Tualatin portion of the 76, which has never been served by the 78.

    Line 76 doesn’t really supplement WES until it runs out to the Wilsonville WES station. If I were out there, I’d be less inclined to ride WES if missing the last train meant I needed to call for a pickup or get a taxi from Tualatin just to get back to my car. If Tri-Met guaranteed a bus ride back, even a long one, the train would be a better bet for commuting.
    And 76 won’t be extended to Wilsonville.
    One, Wilsonville is outside of TriMet’s district (they voted out of TriMet, currently pay for the portion of 96 that goes to Commerce Circle, and will pay TriMet more for the Wilsonville portion of the WES alignment when that begins service. That “missed the last WES” ride home will probably involve riding a SMART bus to Commerce Circle, transferring to 96 (last one is currently at about 8:20 PM weekdays only), and riding to either Tualatin to connect to 76 or to downtown Portland.
    Two, as given in the above scenario, 96 already goes to Commerce Circle. TriMet isn’t even extending it to the new WES station.

    Tualantin needs more service.
    100% agreed.

  67. Jason Barbour wrote: At the TriMet TIP meeting in May, I asked staff about this. The only improvements to 76 this fall is 30 minute service on Sundays. It seems Frequent Service is on indefinite hold.

    Yet another TriMet broken promise over the bus system; we were promised new bus routes in Tigard and Tualatin for which TriMet failed to deliver, and now they are breaking the promise of investing and expanding the Frequent Service system.

    Hardly “encouraging new transit users”.

  68. I still not know about trolleybus news that TRIMET did not talk with me about trolleybus (electric bus), so I had been upset that they abandoned Electric Buses (trolleybuses)last 1958 that I told TRIMET. I just wonder if TRIMET had updated inform about trolleybus (electric bus) news? In addition, I just sent advertising letter to Portland Radio broadcast about endorsing trolleybus (electric bus)information. then I did not hear this news. Let me know about updated news.
    Smile, David.

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