Getting to Seattle, One Transit System at a Time

A request from a reader:

This post recently came across the forums:
Hi folks,

I’ve heard that it is possible to get from Portland to
at least Seattle just by taking city & county buses –
have any of you done it?

I can see how to get from here to the north side of
Vancouver, WA / Clark county – then I’m confused until
Olympia. From Olympia, I’m pretty sure I understand how
to take buses & ferries onward to Port Angeles, WA /
Victoria, BC.

Perhaps Portland Transport readers could help out (and perhaps, popularize the this method of travel)

0 responses to “Getting to Seattle, One Transit System at a Time”

  1. Try Greyhound.

    Unlike city run transit systems, you can even feel good about actually paying your own way, instead of leaching off of taxpayers for 80% of the real cost.


  2. Hi Chris,
    I love your site and I voted for you in the primary. Therefore, as a loyalist of yours, I feel entitled to make the request that you just delete JK’s comments from your diaries. Normally I hate censorship of any kind but that fella adds nothing to the discussion except misinformation and hyperbole.

  3. Ron: Delete JK’s opinions because they don’t agree with yours? At least his are backed up with verifiable facts and a variety of different resources. Can you say the same about yours?

  4. It’s Jim Karlock. What do you expect? No flamewar, please.
    Now for the topic at hand:

    I would be very interested in making such a trip, just so I could ride back on my bike without having to worry about a car. I’m a student out for the summer, so my commitments are few, and time isn’t too big a problem. I would just like to do something like this as cheaply as possible.

    While I’m interested in traveling up into Washington, it would also be nice if the same could be done in Oregon, at least to Eugene.

    So far I’ve worked out the way to Salem from the Fisher’s Landing transit center down the street from my place in Vancouver.
    C-Tran 65 @ 6:20–6:30 to Parkrose
    TriMet 12 @ 6:35–7:08 to SW 3rd & Madison
    Walk/bike to 1st & Columbia
    TriMet 96 @ 7:16–7:50 to Commerce Circle
    Bike 2.3 miles to Wilsonville Cinema Park & Ride (you could walk if you took an earlier bus, but I’ve got my bike)
    SMART/Cherriots 1X @ 8:10–8:59 to Salem

    This is as far as I’ve gotten so far. One could ride a bus to Dallas, Silverton, or Stayton, but I doubt that this would help getting to Albany or Corvallis.

    Any ideas? Anyone know of a bus route that would work?

  5. Karlock’s opinions are backed up with “verifiable facts”? Only if you redefine “verifiable” to mean “distorted and wildly inaccurate” and “facts” to mean “ideological propaganda.” As “Ron” pointed out, misleading hyperbole that rarely adds any value to the discussion.

    Chris posted a very reasonable request from a reader, and Karlock’s response was not only completely useless, but flippant and somewhat rude.

    Thankfully, two-star came up with an answer.

    I tried to figure out the Portland-Eugene puzzle, and got stuck the same place John Russell did. If you have a bike, my best suggestion is to get to Salem by transit, take CARTS as far as Independence, and see if there’s a workable bike route to north Albany. I make it about 16 miles. Use buses to get as far south in Corvallis as possible, and then bike to Junction City to catch LTD. That’s roughly 23 miles by 99W and I can’t vouch for either grade or shoulders on that route.

    Even by using interconnecting public transit systems, there’s still about 40 miles worth of gaps.

  6. You have to go out to Astoria, then take coastal buses to Aberdeen. From there, you can ride into Olympia via many roundabout methods and then it’s a lot easier.

    Unfortunately there appears to be no way to do the I-5 corridor as there appears to be no connection between Longview and Chehalis.

  7. I’m the one who made the original post that two-star linked to. The key link (which he found) that ties it all together is the CAP Rural Public Transit which gets you from Salmon Creek (in reach of C-Tran) to Tumwater (in reach of Olympia’s Intercity Transit).

    The link actually has complete schedules to do a trip in between Vancouver, BC and Portland, Oregon. It’s a two-day journey (with an overnight in Olympia) which would have cost you $13 back in 2005, so probably about $16-17 now. So far I haven’t met anyone crazy enough to try it, including myself.

    I never could figure out the Salem-Eugene gap. I don’t think it’s possible without 20+ miles of self-powered travel, as discussed above.

  8. Actually, one of our guys from STB is doing this run from Seattle to Portland right now.

    Sound Transit Route 590 departs Stewart St at 9th Ave at 6:30 AM
    Arrives at Tacoma Dome Station at 7:30 AM
    Fare: $3.00

    Intercity Transit Route 603 departs Tacoma Dome Station at 7:47 AM
    Arrives at Olympia Transit Center at 8:45 AM
    Fare: $0.50 with Sound Transit transfer, $2.00 without transfer

    Intercity Transit Route 12, 13 or 68 departs Olympia Transit Center no
    later than 9:25 AM (buses leave every 5 to 15 minutes)
    Arrives at Tumwater Square no later than 9:41 AM
    Fare: $0.75

    Dollar Bus departs Tumwater Square at 9:55 AM (with stops in Centralia,
    Toledo/Winlock, and Castle Rock)
    Arrives at Longview Transit Center at 11:40 AM
    Fare: $1.00

    Dollar Bus departs Longview Transit Center at 12:10 PM (with stops in
    Kalama and Woodland)
    Arrives at Salmon Creek P&R at 1:05 PM
    Fare: I believe we will use a transfer, but have another dollar ready
    just in case

    C-Tran Route 105 departs Salmon Creek P&R at 1:43 PM (with stops in
    North Vancouver and downtown Vancouver)
    Arrives in downtown Portland at about 2:15 PM
    Fare: $3.00

    Find our way to Union Station by 2:50 PM (too many buses to mention)
    Fare: Ride free area in Portland

    Amtrak Train #516 departs Portland Union Station at 2:50 PM
    Arrives at King Street Station at 6:20 PM

    If we miss the train at 2:50 PM, then there is one at 4:20 PM (Coast
    Starlight with actual dining car) and then 6:15 PM.

  9. John Russell Says:

    While I’m interested in traveling up into Washington, it would also be nice if the same could be done in Oregon, at least to Eugene.

    ODOT sunk a lot of time (and money) into something that was intended to be a statewide (and then a bi-state) trip planner that even incorporated demand-response transit. It was a grand idea but always floundered because of the actual gaps in transportation options between cities. If you look at and select the “transit” tab, you will find a resource for planning inter-city trips — keeping the gaps in mind.

  10. Wow! $10 from Seattle to Portland! Sure, it takes six hours, but what an adventure!

    I think it may be in the cards for later this week or next.

  11. I could go without JK’s hateration on people who “don’t pay their way”.

    Everything we do in this country is subsidized on the backs of dirt poor farmers in central and south america (literally – in Haiti, the cost of dirt has gone way up); factory-serfs in Asia, indentured servants in African mines. Poorly paid technical workers in India.

    There is no escape from subsidization. Even if you walk from Portland to Seattle, the shoes you are wearing are in effect subsidized by suffering the world over.

    Anyone who uses public transit exclusively, 7 days a week, is subsidized about .001% more than the Montana survivalist who builds their own mud-brick house. Your clean air is subsidized. That your neighbors are well-fed, law-abiding productive middle class citizens rather than starving wretches on the street, that is also subsidized. No escape JK. You are subsidized too.

  12. Douglas K. Says: Karlock’s opinions are backed up with “verifiable facts”? Only if you redefine “verifiable” to mean “distorted and wildly inaccurate” and “facts” to mean “ideological propaganda.”
    JK: I take care to only post accurate data and facts. Most of it can be found on with links to the sources, including Trimet, quality papers and Federal agencies.

    Please prove your wild accusation by pointing out my specific factual errors and what the correct data is. Just a note: you DO NOT get accurate data from multinational corporations like the Sierra Club, industry owned sites like the Center for Transportation Excellence and most anything from Vancouver/Victoria BC.


  13. you DO NOT get accurate data from multinational corporations like the Sierra Club, industry owned sites like the Center for Transportation Excellence and most anything from Vancouver/Victoria BC

    Precisely my point. You dismiss all data that doesn’t match your ideologically pre-determined conclusions. Arguing with you is pointless because you will never admit your own mistakes even after the accurate data is posted and sourced. Besides, we’ve already done this dance with your global warming denial BS and I have no interest in going through it again.

  14. Why bother? Just take Amtrak …. I ride Amtrak all the time from Salem to Portland. I love Amtrak. Other than Greyhound its really the only option available on the weekend. I also find that the fellow riders are also nicer on Amtrak than Greyhound. Anyway a Salem – Portland 10 ride ticket only costs $61. (they just raised it from $58). I hear there is also a 10 ride option available to Eugene but not sure how much that costs. My only complaint with Amtrak is they don’t run very frequently. I bet ridership would go up if they offered frequent runs all the way down the Eugene – Vancouver BC corridor. Go by Amtrak!

  15. The “ten-ride” Amtrak pass that Greg alluded to is only available Portland-Eugene, and from Seattle to either Mt. Vernon or Bellingham.

    While it is admirable to see that there are bus-only options and that someone is exploring it, even I agree that it is rather unreasonable for a common traveller to want to ride a bus of this itinerary. If you truly need to get from Seattle to Portland, go Greyhound or go Amtrak. (Amtrak, IMO, qualifies as “public transit” as the Cascades trains is funded through the Washington State Department of Transportation.)

    However I am happy to see that our friends in Washington – despite often being derided as “highway happy” and “sprawl happy” – invests far, far more into public transit options than can be found in Oregon, especially in rural areas. I know quite a few “rural” transit agencies that have a decent fixed-route system using heavy duty transit busses in Washington; whereas in Oregon those types of systems are hard to find. Those systems that do manage a fixed-route system (Sunset Empire Transportation District and Tillamook County Transportation District come to mind) manage with a fleet of cutaway busses which are basically “cheap” – they aren’t designed for heavy duty usage but that’s all that can be afforded and are thus pressed into service.

    If anything, the fact that it is possible to use “rural” transit districts in Washington to get from Portland to Seattle ought to be a wake-up call for us Oregonians to demand a state-wide public transit network. Unfortunately, so many people are blinded by the light-rail everywhere myth, and until they dismiss their perceptions of busses as false and incorrect, Oregon will never have public transit along the lines of Washington and many other states.

    Heck, transit between Portland (largest city in Oregon) and Salem (third largest city, state capitol) is an absolute DISGRACE and Oregon should hold its head in shame for the lack of public transit between these two cities. Seattle and Tacoma, roughly the same distance between the two as Portland-Salem, has four-daily commuter trains, plus a reverse commute, plus half-hourly bus service (even on Saturdays and Sundays).

  16. To keep this completely on-topic, I can say that I HAVE personally done this trip (Portland to Seattle)… on September 25th, 2006.

    I took some pictures, but never got around to putting them online. I had no intention of ever keeping all of this to myself, but very few people seem to ask (or, they’re the type that will use it for some sort of anti-transit argument).

    At the time, IIRC, I had a two-hour wait in Olympia for what was then the 620. They’ve since replaced it on weekdays with midday runs to downtown Tacoma, instead of having to transfer to Sound Transit at SR 512 Park-n-Ride.
    CAP’s official website is here:
    The site loads slow on dial-up due to the number of graphics.
    From there, click on “Programs & Services,” then “Rural Public Transportation.” You then reach a page with general information, with a link to the schedule.

    BTW, when I rode it two years ago, when I reached Longview and told the first bus driver that I was going to Tumwater, he gave me a simple strip of paper and said it was a transfer to the other bus that I could give to the next bus driver. So, at that time, the trip from Salmon Creek to Tumwater was $1.

    It is very obvious the riders on the CAP buses are those that need to travel to and from for whatever reason, and probably can’t afford Greyhound or Amtrak tickets. Or, they are from a town that CAP serves but neither of the other two do.

    I rode Greyhound to get back to Portland that night.

    The entire trip was very enjoyable.

    I am happy to see that our friends in Washington… invests far, far more into public transit options than can be found in Oregon, especially in rural areas.
    The differences are incredible. BTW, something else I’ve known about for a while now is WSDOTs annual State Summary of Public Transportation. It comes out around the fall of every year and covers the previous year (2006 is the most recent and was released in late 2007). It’s amazing to see the number of systems there are in the state compared to Oregon (however, I sometimes Oregon/ODOT was able to publish a comparable report of Oregon systems).

  17. Luckily, I’ve got my bike if I want to get to Eugene, but it half defeats the purpose, and just plain ruins it for someone without a bike.

    It’s plainly obvious that Washington’s overall transit connections are superior, and it raises the question: What are we going to need to do in order to bring Oregon up to that level (if not higher)?

    Should we talk with ODOT, or would talks with individual transit providers work better on a per gap basis?
    Is there enough interest to extend a bus line from Salem to Albany like they’ve done to Wilsonville? What about from Corvallis to Junction City? I doubt that these routes currently would have enough ridership to work, but what could we do to fix these holes?

  18. I think if the ridership was there, the routes would be there. The problem is, there are no cities of any significant size (10,000+ people) between Salem and Albany, or Eugene and Corvallis. If there were, the various transit systems could probably justify extending a bus to support commuters from those towns.

    It’s plainly obvious that Washington’s overall transit connections are superior, and it raises the question: What are we going to need to do in order to bring Oregon up to that level (if not higher)?

    Oregon is 40% larger than Washington and has about half the population. Basically, Washington can support the public transit it does because it has 2 1/2 times the population density of Oregon. Add another 5 million people to Oregon and we can support a statewide public transit infrastructure like Washington’s. Personally, I’m in no big rush to see that happen.

    Anyway, this whole “can you cross the state using only municipal transit systems” thing seems more like a game or a thought experiment than meeting a real transit need. An interesting challenge, but not something I’m likely to do except for fun. As Karlock flippantly pointed out, Greyhound provides service on the major corridors, and it’s affordable to most people — at least those who don’t have to make the trip very often.

  19. Douglas K. Says:

    I think if the ridership was there, the routes would be there. The problem is, there are no cities of any significant size (10,000+ people) between Salem and Albany, or Eugene and Corvallis. If there were, the various transit systems could probably justify extending a bus to support commuters from those towns.

    There’s always some level of Catch-22 about these discussions. If the ridership existed, service would likely be created to fill the need, but there’s no way to build ridership unless there’s some service to start with.

    In general, though, you’re spot on in terms of how Oregon’s inter-city connections differ from Washington’s.

  20. Douglas K. wrote: The problem is, there are no cities of any significant size (10,000+ people) between Salem and Albany, or Eugene and Corvallis. If there were, the various transit systems could probably justify extending a bus to support commuters from those towns.

    Unfortunately that is not the issue; as Washington’s population density is very similar to Oregon’s. Outside of the Seattle-Everett-Tacoma area, the area is just as sparsely populated as Oregon is.

    Despite that – you have communities that have much smaller populations that have full-fledged, fixed route transit services. Most counties in Washington have some type of transit; even the “nowhere” towns like Wenatchee and Ellensburg and Moses Lake have full transit systems.

    I don’t buy the argument of population; after all when Portland built the original MAX line between Portland and Gresham, Portland was the smallest city in the U.S. to build a new rail system. There is no reason that Oregon can’t be progressive and ensure access to public transit for virtually all residents. Washington is light years ahead of Oregon, and yet it is Oregon that proclaims itself as the sustainability capital of the United States.

  21. The problem is, there are no cities of any significant size (10,000+ people) between Salem and Albany

    It should be noted, that I have seen numerous calls for “commuter rail” between Portland and Hood River – despite the lack of ANY communities between Troutdale and Hood River save for Cascade Locks – yet the distance between Troutdale and Hood River (MP 17 to MP 63) is 46 miles.

    Salem and Albany is only 24 miles apart from downtown to downtown. There is considerable traffic between these two cities as it is a very easy commuting distance (reference ODOT traffic counts; I-5 traffic plummets south of Albany compared with not). Commuter Bus service could make this run in about 35 minutes between the Albany Amtrak station and Salem’s Courthouse Square transit mall. Another bus could provide Portland-Salem service. Albany-Eugene service would be limited, but could provide a useful link to the smaller 99E communities. Junction City is connected to Eugene with LTD service (about 14.5 miles, with no other communities online).

  22. Unfortunately that is not the issue; as Washington’s population density is very similar to Oregon’s. Outside of the Seattle-Everett-Tacoma area, the area is just as sparsely populated as Oregon is.

    Washington’s population density is more than twice Oregon’s 88.6 to 35.6 That’s a significant difference.

    It’s even more pronounced if you exclude the Seattle Metro Region and the Oregon portion of the the PVBMSA – 50.2 in Washington vs. 15.4 in Oregon. [Note: That’s people/sq mile, all per Wikipedia].

    So although superficially Oregon and Washington seem similar, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

  23. If you exclude southeastern Oregon (anything east of U.S. 97 and south of U.S. 20 outside the Bend metropolitan area), then what is the population density comparison?

  24. Portland to Salem, weekdays, $3.75:

    Barbur Transit Center in Portland to Civic Center Park & Ride in Wilsonville

    Civic Center Park & Ride in Wilsonville to Salem Transit Center in Salem

    The same routes will take you from Salem to Portland for the same price.

    This site lists other transit agencies in Oregon (and nationwide):

    Some of the links are outdated, but it helped me find SMART, and it’s easy to Google anything if the link is broken.

    If someone can find a way to get from Salem to Eugene, you’re a genius.

  25. If someone can find a way to get from Salem to Eugene, you’re a genius.
    I believe your only options are Amtrak and Greyhound.

  26. My experience with inter-transit-agency connections (i.e. riding Cherriots 1x to Wilsonville, 201 to TriMet 96) is that they aren’t in the right places and you have to wait F O R E V E R. Take, for instance, the 1X Salem bus – wouldn’t it make sense to go up the road just a little further to Barbur? And what about weekend (Saturday at LEAST, Cherriots or Smart don’t run Sundays) service?

    I think Amtrak should have hourly commuter bus service Eugene to Seattle complimented with its current train runs for the benefit of those who want the “ambiance” of riding on rail. Something else I don’t “get” with Amtrak…. Why do they have a bus departing from Portland to Salem leaves at 5:45 then a train departing not even 30 minutes later? Shouldn’t they space it out a little better than this? When I was at Amtrak last time I asked one of the overly friendly (sarcasm) reps. She told me I should write a letter to ODOT.

  27. Regarding the Portland-Eugene Amtrak service…

    These two trains are funded through ODOT (currently, through the sale of personalized license plates). The busses that operate in conjunction with the Amtrak trains are actually self-sufficient and require no subsidy from the State (even through they are privately owned and operated, pay taxes, so on and so forth.)

    While trains in the Portland-Seattle segment are frequently crowded, Portland-Eugene trains run 1/3rd at capacity or less; with an average of 75 passengers total between Portland-Eugene (enough to fill two busses). A train is not “green” when it is running empty; it’s pulling a lot of dead weight.

    Oregon would be better served by dumping those two trains (which would then be redeployed to provide additional frequencies Portland-Seattle), and provide – as Greg alluded to – hourly bus service between Eugene and Portland, providing connections at Union Station for the trains to the north.

    For the comment of “the ambience of riding the rail”, I do not believe this is a responsibility of the state government. If anyone wants the “ambience” they can buy their own railroad (I know of at least two for sale in Oregon) and start their own passenger train, using privately raised dollars instead of tax dollars. Or they can ride one of the tourist railroads in Oregon – the Mount Hood Railroad, the Crooked River Dinner Train, the Eagle Cap Excursion Train, the Sumpter Valley Railroad, or the Willamette Shores Trolley.

  28. An e-mail just came in over the transom:

    My name is Evan Siroky and I would like to inform you about my website showing regional transfers possible using local transit agencies. Today I have just finished entering all of the routes that I know about. The web page has the complete schedules for all transit connections possible throughout the region. These range from Seattle-Portland, Seattle-Vancouver, BC, Aberdeen to Tillamook, and Yakima to Walla Walla to name just a few.

    Here is my web site’s address:

  29. tran•som

    1. a crosspiece separating a door or the like from a window or fanlight above it.
    2. Also called tran’som light”, transom window. a window above such a crosspiece.
    3. a crossbar of wood or stone, dividing a window horizontally.
    4. a window so divided.
    5. Naut.
    a. a flat termination to a stern, above the water line.
    b. framework running athwartships in way of the sternpost of a steel or iron vessel, used as a support for the frames of the counter.
    6. Artillery.a metal piece connecting the sidepieces of the tail or the cheeks of a gun carriage.

    So that was a joke then?

  30. You can use’s Transportation Options tab to do a city to city search. Eugene to Salem, for example, has 4 options:|
    Hut Shuttle
    Oregon Coachways

  31. Al, a transom is a ventilation window over a door. It’s a way to get unsolicited manuscripts past a closed door. It’s an idiom.

  32. Hey, good news! I came across a vanpool with routes from Salem to Eugene… does that count?

    Is there a prize to claim?

    I may just have to test this out. Beats the G’hound anyhow.

  33. July 15, 2008 5:51 PM
    Greg Tompkins Says:Why bother? Just take Amtrak ….

    talk about missing the point entirely.
    we’re talking about saving $20+ per trip. believe it or not, that makes a difference to people who… wait for it… depend on public transportation in the first place!

  34. Amtrak only costs $52 to go from Eugene to Vancouver, Canada, business class (or coach with a bicycle). It actually costs more in TriMet and Cherriots fare to go from Portland to Salem by bus than it does to take Amtrak, and takes five times as long. Seriously, you’re wasting your time and your money taking public transit long distance. Just take Amtrak: It’s your cheapest, fastest bet.

  35. JK, I’m a little surprised you dislike infrastructure to the point of promoting a bus company that’s about to go out of business, and lobbies regularly to prevent Amtrak from expanding service. Oh, and Amtrak serves more cities for less money ever since Greyhound stopped serving Oregon save for cities Salem-sized or larger.

  36. JK: Linking to your own site is called “original research,” and isn’t good form when you’re trying to convince other people of your cause. There’s a reason any credible reference doesn’t accept original research.

  37. While I don’t agree with much JK says, the only place were I’ve seen “original research” used in that fashion is Wikipedia–where the term is a polite way of saying “making sh*t up”.

    This isn’t Wikipedia–if JK wants to link to his site, he can. Of course, it makes it easier to point out what nonsense it is…

  38. Paul – it does take significantly longer to get from Salem to Portland using local transit, but it’s definitely not more expensive.

    Cherriots bus 1X to Wilsonville: $2.50
    TriMet WES with transfers to anywhere in the system: $2.30
    Total: $4.80

    Amtrak Cascades Salem to Portland: $12.00
    Amtrak Cascades Salem to Oregon City: $8.00

    I use both modes on a regular basis, depending on which one is a better fit. If I’m traveling on a weekday at rush hour, I prefer the local systems due to the cost. If not, I take Amtrak.

  39. It actually costs more in TriMet and Cherriots fare to go from Portland to Salem by bus than it does to take Amtrak, and takes five times as long.

    Huh? Where are you getting that?

    Amtrak, one-way from Portland to Salem: $12.00; and it takes just over one hour.

    Doing the trip purely by bus… well you need to make it a weekday morning or afternoon trip (no mid-day service), but:

    TriMet: $2.30 to take 96 from downtown Portland to Commerce Circle; depart 6:43 a.m. to arrive at 7:25 a.m.
    SMART: Free ride on line 5 from Commerce Circle to SMART Central; leaves 7:41 a.m.; 7 minutes
    SMART/Cherriots: $2.50 to take 1X (Wilsonville to Salem) at 8:00 a.m; arrive Salem 8:48 a.m.

    That’s $4.80 for a two hour and five minute trip. Neither more expensive, nor five times as long. And you’ve gotta leave really early to do it.

    But taking the trip by municipal bus saves more than $7.20, and takes about twice as long as Amtrak. Some people would find the extra hour to be worth a $7.00 savings.

  40. The 1X to Wilsonville is $7 according to the farebox; it’s the only route that takes a personal check. Also, that assumes that SMART and Cherriots run on time, which is a fact not in evidence.

  41. The proposed route doesn’t use SMART at all, just Cherriots and TriMet.

    Concerns about timeliness probably can be made about Amtrak as well.

  42. The 1X to Wilsonville is $7 according to the farebox

    The SMART website says it’s $2.50. The Cherriots website says it’s $2.50. And even if both websites are wrong and it costs $7.00, it’s still cheaper to travel that way than by Amtrak.

  43. JK’s comments were posted in this thread on July 14, 2008, almost a year and a half ago.

    BTW, back in October of this year I did a round-trip on Greyhound… they have some really good discounts *if* you buy in advance. Not the fastest or most comfortable way to travel between cities (if it goes where you need to go), but it works.

  44. Re: Amtrak timeliness: No, Amtrak Cascades has a 80% on-time rating, making it more reliable than traveling from PDX by air, and roughly as reliable as TriMet. The Empire Builder, which runs between Portland and Chicago, boasts a 90% on-time performance record (Source: WS-DOT, US-BTS).

    Compare this to the on-time performance of Cherriots lines 3, 11 and 20 at Chemeketa College. In the two years I’ve attended CCC, on-time performance was in the single-digits. Scheduled busses frequently fail to make any appearance whatsoever. Cherriots gets slammed regularly in the Chemeketa Courier and the Statesman’s Journal for being expensive and less reliable than a stoned teenager.

  45. Re: Amtrak busses. Amtrak only runs busses for times there’s demand for service, but Amtrak lacks funding or railroad timeslots to give proper service to. Be glad that amtrak is even able to run a bus at these times: Greyhound, not realizing that they’re competing against infrastructure instead of a real business, keeps whining to congress that they can’t overcharge for riding a cramped, drafty Greyhound and still keep riders on lines amtrak also serves.

  46. Re: Original research. Wikimedia Foundation is not the only group to use “original research” as a polite way of saying “making it up,” Wikimedia Foundation’s usage of the term happens to be congruent with it’s usage anywhere you would expect the preferred style guide to be APA or MLA.

  47. A Daimler Trucks on Swan Island a met an engineer who lives south west of Salem…used to work for HP in Corvallis. He drives to Salem, rides Amtrak to Portland every day, hops a bus or MAX to the Rose Quarter and the 85 to Swan Island. All in about 1.5 hours…not bad, and he gets lots of work done on the train.

  48. I’m thinking that WES DMUs would be better served adding more Portland/Salem runs, and then we can provide real mass transit (MAX?) along the I-5/217 corridor.

  49. Given that this thread sat mostly silent for over a year, and has heated up again quite suddenly, I think it is useful to separate the discussion into two distinct areas:

    1. The wonkish nature of figuring out the trip itself. Regardless of whether or not such a trip is genuinely useful, it is interesting to know that it _can_ be done.

    2. Rather than argue over general usefulness to the average person, can we at least accept that there may be some small subset of the population what would either _want_ to try the trip, or would _need_ to because it aligns with the best possible economic or time choice for that very small subset?

    I just don’t see the point in getting testy over whether or not this is a widely useful trip. I saw the original thread as being more of an intellectual exercise at the request of an enthusiast.

    Another way to look at it: Can you mail a letter with a few dozen 2cent and 1cent stamps? Well, it would be a big waste of your time and would look silly, but if that’s all the stamps you have… why not?

  50. I’m not sure WES RDCs are up for the passenger loads a regular Salem run would see: They’re rather uncomfortable and lack amenities that would make using those vehicles a reasonable idea. Namely, not nearly enough bicycle capacity (they have less capacity than MAX units, and the MAX doesn’t have nearly enough bicycle capacity to get ‘er done), and seating is far too cramped (all it takes is one fatass who hasn’t seen his feet since the Carter Administration to sit down to fill two seats and block half the aisle; even a 140 pound beanpole like me can’t fit in what’s supposed to be a 2-person seat without sacrificing the ability to move one or both arms without elbowing a wall or another person).

    I don’t know how Colorado Railcar did it, but they managed to make a rail vehicle that actually sucks harder than riding a school bus.

    I’d personally rather to see an interconnection between the PWRR and Union Pacific somewhere in the vicinity of Wilsonville and have the ODOT/WSDOT-owned Talgos currently operating on the Amtrak Cascades line serve the WES, extended to Salem via Canby.

    The WES RDCs should then move to some ODOT Rail service that currently lacks equipment and doesn’t get enough passengers to exceed one person per seat, two per row (aka “half occupied” based on their current, overcrowded arrangement). A good candidate would be the Lewis & Clark Express (Astoria-Portland), which has been suspended due to lack of equipment (BC Rail sold ODOT Rail a bunch of dud Budd RDCs when that line was first introduced).

  51. The seating configuration of a rail vehicle can be changed…. but how much demand do you think there would be for a Salem/Portland commuter train with an intermediate atop or two? (Woodburn and one of the outer Portland suburbs).

  52. Given that Valley Rideshare has a waiting list several months long, I’d say the demand is already overwhelming. The other thing about the WES RDCs: Lack of basic facilities such as a cafe and a bathroom.

  53. Interesting question: At what length of trip do on-board food service (or onboard restrooms) become an issue? MAX is 33 miles or so from Hillsboro to Gresham, yet there’s no john on the train, and no place to get a snack. WES is only fifteen miles end-to-end.

    Most stations lack restrooms and/or food service (let alone a cafe).

    A Salem to Portland run is longer (40+ miles), but given limited stop service, probably would run quicker than an end-to-end Blue Line journey.

    While the amenities you propose are nice to have, I’m not sure if the service distance justifies them. And restrooms on public transit run the risk of being turned into drughouses or motels, if you know what I mean–something that is less likely to occur on scheduled service with higher fares.

  54. It costs over $1000 per hour to operate WES according to TriMet. We really should make sure that any WES extension doesn’t come disproportionately out of the hides of other TriMet riders as does the existing service. Remember, every line which was cut to make up for its $3 million annual operating deficit cost less to operate on a boarding ride basis than WES—every line—no exception.

    Washington County’s annual $2 million contribution expires in 2012. So TriMet riders can expect to find ourselves sucking up another 65% – 70% increased WES subsidies at that point. Wilsonville also contributes $200 thousand. I don’t know if there’s a cutoff on those payments.

  55. The MAX is too long of a line to not have restrooms at every station and some kind of coffee and snack kiosk at most. What shocks me is that there doesn’t seem to be any enforcement of the requirement for facilities that serve food to provide a public restroom in downtown or along the MAX line. Fixing this problem is 20 years overdue.

  56. One reason I suggested moving WES to the Portland/Salem route.

    How much does an Amtrak train cost to operate? Probably more than WES, given that Amtrak trains are longer, and have crews larger than 2.

  57. The entire Amtrak Cascades system (including associated bus services throughout Oregon and Washington) was $32 million last year, or about $610/hour per bus or train.

  58. Actually, the best, easiest and fastest way to go from Portland to Salem by transit is to take MAX to Beaverton to WES to Wilsonville to the 1X. No meandering through Tualatin or Wilsonville making stops and no waiting for connections between two routes whose schedules aren’t coordinated.

    Also, it should be noted that the cost of the Amtrak fare only gets you from Union Station and NOT anywhere in the TriMet system.

  59. and amtrak rail service to salem and eugene can only be done in the afternoon, any returns to portland have to be done by bus or a morning train the following day. a portland metro resident can not do a same day round trip to salem, albany and eugene by amtrak rail. this would probably explain why the ridership is mediocre on these trains to eugene.

    its also worth noting the first service of the day (via amtrak bus) to eugene/salem doesnt leave portland until 11:30am. the last bus to portland from eugene leaves at 2:50pm. in other words if you take the first amtrak bus of the day from portland to eugene and the last bus of the day from eugene back to portland, you’d have all of about 55 minutes in eugene.

    if there was a morning train (or two) from portland heading south and a return train to portland in the evening it would be popular with commuters headed to the state offices in salem, fans going to ducks and beavers games and day trippers going to these cities. not to mention making the other existing cascades trains and buses more attractive to riders given the additional service.

  60. I would type it all out but it is on the internet in other places:

    Portland to Seattle :

    Seattle to Vancouver, BC :

    There are further transit options from either location. The SMART bus has been covered extensively and I don’t know about transit to points beyond Vancouver.

  61. Interesting that the Seattle-Portland trip given does not use TriMet–it uses the CTRAN 105 exclusively within the metro area. This limits the itinerary to weekdays.

    On weekends, assuming the other services are in operation, an alternate is probably to use the C-Tran services to get from Salmon Creek to the Oregon side of the river, and then TriMet downtown.

  62. Should say, use the C-Tran 47 to get from Salmon Creek to Oregon.

    OTOH, if and when the Vancouver MAX extension is built, maybe CAP will extend their service to Clark College and then you can make the trip without C-Tran. :)

  63. Interesting that the Seattle-Portland trip given does not use TriMet–it uses the CTRAN 105 exclusively within the metro area. This limits the itinerary to weekdays.
    Chances are good people who’d do this trip would take the local bus/MAX connection in Downtown Portland.

    Also, C-TRAN 47 doesn’t go to Salmon Creek, it runs once a day Monday-Friday between Yacolt and Battle Ground express to Downtown Vancouver, WA, and the Delta Park MAX Station.

  64. Thanks for the correction, Jason. (C-TRAN’s interactive route map isn’t as nice as TriMet’s unfortunately…)

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