TriMet to Enclose Several MAX Platforms and Check Fares

Per the Oregonian. A definite change in direction…

147 Comments

147 Responses to TriMet to Enclose Several MAX Platforms and Check Fares

  1. Adron
    July 30, 2008 at 11:38 pm Link

    Awesome. About time we grew up.

  2. Jason Barbour
    July 31, 2008 at 12:07 am Link

    According to the article, the first two will be 82nd Ave. and Gresham Central TC. I’m glad they’re going to give this a try.

    One thing concerns me, as it will some of the other readers here (on page 2 of the article):
    Another 31 dated [ticket] machines must be replaced by year’s end, he said, while even more will be swapped for debit/credit machines.
    So maybe TriMet is moving towards a class-based system where people without bank accounts or those overpriced prepaid credit cards will be forced to ride the bus, since it sounds like the bus fareboxes might be the only places that accept cash.
    I can sort of understand why they might do this, given how much time and effort goes into plugging $2.35 or $4.75 into a machine for an All-Zone ticket or All-Day pass respectively, however for quite a few riders that’s the only means they have of paying.
    Or, perhaps TriMet will cut a deal with some bank and offer a prepaid fare card that could be reloaded (for free) at the Pioneer Square office, or at grocery stores, and such. I know someone will probably say “that’s why there’s books of tickets,” but as those will cost $20 for Two-Zone tickets and $23 for All-Zone tickets, maybe there should be some way for someone who has $10 to make sure they spend it on transit fare instead of booze, cigarettes, or other non-useful items.

  3. maxfail
    July 31, 2008 at 12:09 am Link

    Perhaps Trimet should also consider fixing their ticket machines so people can actually _buy_ the damn tickets.

    This is old news, so I hate to rehash this, but as everyone knows they fail miserably with those machines. Fenced ticket-checking stations are a wonderful idea, but they’ll turn away legitimate riders who rely on them for transit simply because they can’t purchase a ticket. I’d have to say more than 60% of the time, machines I encounter are broken either fully, or unable to either take coins, cash or plastic. This is totally unacceptable. How often do you see ATMs down this much? There’s no excuse for this.

    Trimet: fix your ridiculous, 20th century, ticket machines before you start enforcing this around broken machines.

    I can’t wait to see how bad this will blow up in Trimet’s face when they enforce right next to a machine that doesn’t work.

    What a joke.

  4. M. Lasley
    July 31, 2008 at 12:18 am Link

    I was only in London for a few days in 2006, so I didn’t have a need for this – but maybe an ‘Oyster’ type card would be another consideration.

    http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/oysteronline/2732.aspx

  5. maxfail
    July 31, 2008 at 12:29 am Link

    I based my rant off this limited post:

    http://blog.oregonlive.com/breakingnews/2008/07/trimet_will_check_fares_at_eas.html

    Having read the Fine Article this blogger linked to, I’m glad Trimet is finally catching wind of this.

  6. John Russell
    July 31, 2008 at 2:10 am Link

    As a student, I’m still eligible for the wonderfully inexpensive monthly passes (As a Vancouver resident, C-Tran’s are even cheaper). When I know I’m going to be using transit often enough, I always make sure to buy one as they are so much easier than buying tickets for MAX and paying cash on the bus. I usually use it for what would cost slightly less in cash fares, but I don’t mind giving them a few bucks for the convenience.

    Now if we could just get an Oyster card, I think we would be all set. I know I would use one. Are you listening TriMet? Even a less sophisticated stored-balance card would sure be nice.

  7. Frank Dufay
    July 31, 2008 at 7:11 am Link

    At the airport if you want to buy an upgrade for your monthly pass to take MAX home (as I did)…you can’t. “Buy a senior citizen ticket for 65 cents, that’ll cover it”, I was told by the TriMet staffer nearby.

    “Ah, but I’m not a senior citizen…and an upgrade doesn’t cost 65 cents?”

    Shrug of shoulders. A complaint to TriMet earned me a handful of short-hopper tickets and an explanation that the machines couldn’t do upgrades, that it was causing mechanical problems.

    Taking MAX to the airport last week, all-day pre-purchased ticket in hand, BOTH ticket validators at the Downtown 2nd & Yamhill stop were out of order. General dismay –and rolling of eyes– as people purchased tickets, then couldn’t validate them.

    It’s going to take more than fences to solve TriMet’s problems…

  8. M. Lasley
    July 31, 2008 at 9:15 am Link

    We have prepaid phone cards, prepaid cell phones, prepaid credit cards… why not a prepaid Transit Card. I wonder if they’d ever be able to get away from the overwhelming technical difficulties the machines pose. It always seems one is broken.

    I benefit from a very long annual pass, but my friend doesn’t. We were trying to meet up with my husband one day who had our kiddo and the bike. He got overtired, we thought – okay, let’s use the train, we’ll meet at Rose Quarter. Problem number one no water anywhere and my husband didn’t realize he’d get that thirsty. So, while he was off hunting for water, my friend and I tiptoed on the MAX from Lloyd Center to Rose Quarter. The first working ticket machine was at Overlook Park. We tried at least 2 before that (Lloyd Center & Rose Quarter). Then, my husband and baby ended up riding home because there was no room on MAX for a bike & trailer on that particularly hot day. That’s another thing entirely.

  9. Ethan
    July 31, 2008 at 9:21 am Link

    The Metrocard system in New York City works almost flawlessly. It still allows single ride purchases, cards can be loaded up with money, or they can function as day/week/month passes. The one problem I see is that they cannot be “inspected” though perhaps fare inspectors could just have a little reader which would read your card to see if it was valid. As for those who need to use cash… there must be more robust ticket dispensing machines… One difference I can think of is that the Metrocard machines in NY are almost all indoors, and many are supervised.

    What have other transit systems done, and what has worked? I’m sure we could learn from others. The Oyster looks like it functinos like the Metrocard…

  10. Joel H
    July 31, 2008 at 9:25 am Link

    “There’s a lot of legitimate people saying, ‘Hey, I couldn’t get a ticket today,’ ” Jarmer said. “And we don’t have a reason to disbelieve them.”

    By “legitimate people” does he mean “white middle class”? I use the 82nd Ave. station and can’t help but notice that they picked a platform that’s heavily used by poor, high-school age minorities, as opposed to 42nd or 60th Ave., which have the same convenience of access control. Come to think of it, the ticket machines work better at those platforms, too.

  11. Terry Parker
    July 31, 2008 at 9:45 am Link

    It is about tome TriMet took these measures. However, such a move will only partly help fare evasion and security. They need to end Fareless Square too. I wonder if the new look will include turnstiles?

  12. Douglas K.
    July 31, 2008 at 10:39 am Link

    A turnstile system would be almost impossible to enforce without putting security at every MAX station … and if you’re doing that, you don’t need the turnstiles, just a fare inspector to make sure everyone has paid. Turnstiles work in systems that are completely grade-separated, allowing for complete access control.

    Really, all we need for better fare recovery is better coverage by fare inspectors. Tri-Met should be putting more fare inspectors out there instead of private security contractors, since uniformed inspectors effectively double as security anyway.

    I agree that a MetroCard system like NYC has would be a great benefit to Tri-Met and would make riding a LOT easier. It’s occurred to me we could even have some kind of lottery built into it — every time you swipe your card when boarding a bus or waiting at a MAX platform, you have the chance to be an instant winner. (Prizes would be gift cards of varying values.) That would be a fun way to attract more riders. But those systems are very expensive to install.

    By “legitimate people” does he mean “white middle class”?

    I didn’t take it that way at all. I took “legitimate” to mean “honest” as in “telling the truth about the ticket machine being down” rather than “dodging the fare and lying when caught.”

  13. EngineerScotty
    July 31, 2008 at 10:52 am Link

    The electronic fare system I’m most familiar with is the Octopus system in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong transit system is multimodal system with numerous components–a subway system that primarily serves the downtown area, the airport, and the portion of the city known as Kowloon (across the harbor from downtown); an old-fashioned streetcar system downtown, a commuter rail line or two (the KCR, or Kowloon-Canton Railway); one of which serves the western New Territories, the other which heads north into mainland China; a light rail system of similar size to MAX in the western New Territories–and a mammoth fleet of busses, operated by one of several operating companies).

    All of these modes of transit, except the streetcar downtown, use what is called the Octopus card for payment. When boarding a bus, you pay the fare either by placing cash in the farebox, or placing your Octopus card against the reader; there is no action performed upon exiting the bus. Train stations have card readers upon entry and exit; prior to embarking on a train you need to scan your card; after you leave the train you scan the exit reader at the station. Stations also have machines to add value to cards, which accept cash and electronic payment. You can get off the train, do some stuff, and re-embark at the same station on the same direction without an additional fare; the return trip requires a separate fare however.

    There may be a way for those not in possession of an octopus card to purchase a fare instrument for a single train ride; I do not know however.

    Like MAX, nobody systematically checks fares upon entry or egress from trains. However, you are required to have a valid fare instrument (an Octopus card which has been scanned by an entry reader at a platform counts). Fare inspectors do occasionally board trains, and they have handheld card readers which can check a passenger’s Octopus card to ensure that the card was scanned at entry. (I never observed anybody getting busted for nonpayment of fare).

    It works VERY well, and if you have an Octopus card, there is no need to carry any paper fare instruments–no tickets, no transfers, etc. Octopus cards there are personalized (I borrowed one from my wife’s relatives) rather than anonymous, and there may be persons in HK who have had their cards revoked and cannot get another, I don’t know. But other than boarding busses, where fares are collected/scanned at the point of boarding, it makes for very efficient loading/unloading of transit vehicles.

    A similar system might be nice in Portland; though I’d generally prefer that any electronic fare instruments be anonymous. (There’s other, less intrusive ways to keep thugs and habitual turnstile-jumpers off of transit).

  14. Bob R.
    July 31, 2008 at 11:03 am Link

    About ticket machine reliability:

    I didn’t tout this before because it felt like shameless self-promotion, but recently I went out to test all the ticket and validation machines at 18 different MAX stations, along with Portland Mercury reporter Matt Davis. You can see the results of the experiment here in this Mercury Article.

    We also shot a lot of video footage which I hope to edit together into something watchable soon.

  15. MRB
    July 31, 2008 at 11:56 am Link

    The Metrocard system in New York City works almost flawlessly.

    It does – it’s a great system that can even recognize legitimate transfers at certain stations where you have to change platforms outside of the security perimeter. I wonder what their fare recapture is compared to MAX?

    One thing to note, is that most of those machines are indoors/underground, and not exposed to the elements the way MAX ticket machines are.

    We also shot a lot of video footage which I hope to edit together into something watchable soon.

    This never stopped Al M, why is it stopping you?

  16. Bob R.
    July 31, 2008 at 12:22 pm Link

    This never stopped Al M, why is it stopping you?

    Previous efforts were shot in standard def, now with the high-def camera, my Mac Mini (which I use for video and music work) can’t keep up with the rendering. Makes editing a pain. But one of these days I’ll do the video.

  17. Bob R.
    July 31, 2008 at 12:54 pm Link

    The Oregonian article suggests that the changes to the station will cost $600,000, basically to allow riders to be channelled past a person who will inspect tickets before riders get to the platform.

    While I am absolutely in favor of placing more fare inspectors on the system and at key stations, and I’m absolutely in favor of increasing the number of ticket machines (but not debit-only machines) and the reliability of those machines, I don’t see how spending $600,000 to reconfigure the entry plaza to the station helps much at all, if the inspector is going to be there anyway.

    I’m assuming the $600,000 figure is the total for both stations mentioned in the article. If that is incorrect (more stations in the works?), the following doesn’t apply, but continuing with the assumption:

    The 82nd ave. station has about 2,600 rail boardings per weekday. Assuming we’re going to be stationing the fare inspector there anyway with or without entry gates, and further assuming the fare inspector somehow slips up routinely and 5% of the boardings wind up being unpaid (and would have paid otherwise), it would take over 6 years to recoup that money from fares.

    That being said, if the money actually includes upgrades to the bus boarding areas at 82nd (which I’ve suggested before through the station area planning process), that would be an important consideration. The bus shelters at 82nd, although larger than a typical bus shelter, are inadequate for peak demand. Newer MAX facilities, such as the Yellow Line, include bus shelters at major transfer points which are of a scale and quality substantially like the MAX platforms.

    If we’re going to spend a lot of money on upgrading 82nd’s entry plaza, the bus shelters should be upgraded at the same time.

  18. Joel H
    July 31, 2008 at 1:31 pm Link

    I didn’t take it that way at all. I took “legitimate” to mean “honest” as in “telling the truth about the ticket machine being down” rather than “dodging the fare and lying when caught.”

    That’s generous of you, but if two people claim the ticket machine was broken so they don’t have a fare, how’s he supposed to know whether one of them is honest? This system is, I think, deliberately set up to allow selective enforcement of fare evasion.

    But I also agree that the Metrocard or a similar anonymous system would be a big improvement for Trimet.

  19. Matthew
    July 31, 2008 at 1:44 pm Link

    The took the ability to buy upgrade tickets out of the machines a few years ago. I complained at the time, (I only owned a 2-3 pass back then,) they said it was, “to simplify the user interface,” which they have indeed gotten a lot of complaints about. Their story was I could ask a bus driver for one at a transit center. And that is true, but only if I want to get off the train at Sunset TC, go up the stairs, find a bus (with a driver in it,) buy a upgrade ticket, then get back off the bus, (much to the confusion of the bus driver,) and go back downstairs and catch the next train…

  20. Adron
    July 31, 2008 at 3:20 pm Link

    “How often do you see ATMs down this much?”

    The accuracy and sigma perfection (business users might know about six sigma) is pretty much beyond the reach of a simple Government agency like TriMet. So yeah, we could use something as reliable and simple as ATMs, but I doubt TriMet would ever end up with such a system. Aside from that I don’t know if their buying system could find/purchase/allow getting such devices.

    As for TriMet using something that just works, it seems Portland has to do everything different, even if it fails in comparison to other systems. I love to hold the streetcar as a prime example of this.

    Portland 6mph average at 15 minute frequency (sometimes 12, but rarely)

    Tacoma – 10mph average, 10 minute frequency
    New Orleans – 10mph average, 5 minute frequency peak
    Philly – about 20mph, I’ve not seen official stats, 1-3 minute frequency (at least in the tunnels) and runs in conjunction with the heavy rail subway.

    Portland Streetcar – 2.5+ Million per car.

    Tacoma got screwed too.
    New Orleans – $950k (seats 2x as many, carries about 2/3 at crush capacity – you do the math, that means a lot more carried and a lot more people carried for the dollar)
    Philly – Not sure, but it is definitely under 2.5 million per car.

    …anyway, the list goes on. Our MAX of course is about 10x (or is it 100x) more cost efficient than Seattle’s, but the point is, Portland often makes some absurd decisions to do things “our way” when a perfectly acceptable, capable, American way of doing something exists.

    …As Harvey Dent says, buy American if you want to kill a public servant. I think he’d agree that if you want to run rail service and an American option exists, WHICH IT DOES, you should buy that first too.

    …it seems the thing we do poorly is make cars… irony of ironies.

  21. Doug
    July 31, 2008 at 3:36 pm Link

    Bob R:

    A couple of points. First, the “ticket checker” acts as a sort of platform security guard in addition to checking fares, so you have to take that into account when doing a cost benefit analysis.

    Second, although the $600,000 seems like it’s at least double what it should cost, I’m all for spending the money because I’m curious about what the results of the experiment will be. As I see it, there are 3 probable outcomes:

    1) Fare collections and boardings both remain static: the population perception that there are lots of scofflaws on MAX is wrong.

    2) Fare collections increase and boardings remains static: the popular belief was right, and now the former scofflaws are paying their way.

    3) Fare collections remain static and boardings decrease, while boardings increase at adjacent stations: popular belief is right and now the scofflaws have moved to nearby stations.

    If it’s two or three, the percentage of increase in fare collections (or decrease in boardings) will tell us how worthwhile it will be to expand the program systemwide. If I had to guess, I’d say that somewhere between 5 and 10% of MAX riders haven’t paid for a valid fare, but it would I’d love it if I were guessing high. It’s worth paying the money to get an idea of what’s REALLY going on.

  22. Bob R.
    July 31, 2008 at 3:48 pm Link

    Regarding ATMs, a full outdoor-capable ATM (most have outdoor front faces with the rest indoors) is much more expensive than a transit ticket machine, and ATMs, although they dispense money, do not have to make change or read bills. All the money which is deposited into an ATM is later verified through another process… no validation of bills takes place at machine. Apples and oranges.

    Oh, and the ATM and all the point-of-sale terminals at the south Lincoln City IGA grocery store were out of service this weekend. :-)

  23. Adron
    July 31, 2008 at 3:51 pm Link

    “How often do you see ATMs down this much?”

    The accuracy and sigma perfection (business users might know about six sigma) is pretty much beyond the reach of a simple Government agency like TriMet. So yeah, we could use something as reliable and simple as ATMs, but I doubt TriMet would ever end up with such a system. Aside from that I don’t know if their buying system could find/purchase/allow getting such devices.

    As for TriMet using something that just works, it seems Portland has to do everything different, even if it fails in comparison to other systems. I love to hold the streetcar as a prime example of this.

    Portland 6mph average at 15 minute frequency (sometimes 12, but rarely)

    Tacoma – 10mph average, 10 minute frequency
    New Orleans – 10mph average, 5 minute frequency peak
    Philly – about 20mph, I’ve not seen official stats, 1-3 minute frequency (at least in the tunnels) and runs in conjunction with the heavy rail subway.

    Portland Streetcar – 2.5+ Million per car.

    Tacoma got screwed too.
    New Orleans – $950k (seats 2x as many, carries about 2/3 at crush capacity – you do the math, that means a lot more carried and a lot more people carried for the dollar)
    Philly – Not sure, but it is definitely under 2.5 million per car.

    …anyway, the list goes on. Our MAX of course is about 10x (or is it 100x) more cost efficient than Seattle’s, but the point is, Portland often makes some absurd decisions to do things “our way” when a perfectly acceptable, capable, American way of doing something exists.

    …As Harvey Dent says, buy American if you want to kill a public servant. I think he’d agree that if you want to run rail service and an American option exists, WHICH IT DOES, you should buy that first too.

    …it seems the thing we do poorly is make cars… irony of ironies.

    • Jackripper
      January 4, 2017 at 9:34 am Link

      We by far have the worst transit system. Sorry to be dependent on them

  24. Frank Dufay
    July 31, 2008 at 7:33 pm Link

    The took the ability to buy upgrade tickets out of the machines a few years ago. I complained at the time, (I only owned a 2-3 pass back then,) they said it was, “to simplify the user interface,”

    Thank you, Matthew, for acknowledging that TriMet refuses to even SELL their upgrades to us users at their MAX stations (nor do the machines explain what to do). The rest of you…TriMet doesn’t sell the tickets some people need at their stations and that isn’t an issue?

    Sucky, awful customer service…and the band plays on.

  25. Erik Halstead
    July 31, 2008 at 7:45 pm Link

    Bob R. wrote: I don’t see how spending $600,000 to reconfigure the entry plaza to the station helps much at all, if the inspector is going to be there anyway.

    Was this expenditure a budgeted line item in TriMet’s current budget?

    If not, then why did TriMet not cite this as an example for raising the fare for transit usage? Once again TriMet seems bent on blaming busses for the fare increases, yet as we can see TriMet is spending a lot of money (presumably unbudgeted) on MAX improvements.

    I am assuming these are unbudgeted costs, because the budget for the current year is almost a year old and these expenses are only now being announced.

  26. Douglas K.
    July 31, 2008 at 9:33 pm Link

    Once again TriMet seems bent on blaming busses for the fare increases, yet as we can see TriMet is spending a lot of money (presumably unbudgeted) on MAX improvements.

    No, Tri-Met is blaming fuel prices for the fare increases, not buses. Oddly enough, I believe them, since I’ve noticed that gas seems to be getting a bit more expensive as of late.

  27. Erik Halstead
    July 31, 2008 at 10:12 pm Link

    Douglas K. wrote: No, Tri-Met is blaming fuel prices for the fare increases, not buses.

    If that’s the case, I have a simple solution.

    Sell off the ENTIRE non-revenue vehicle fleet. That ought to save some bucks.

    After all, there is NO reason why a Transit Supervisor has to drive either a Ford F-150 pickup or a Jeep Cherokee. There is not one TriMet transit route that requires the capabilities of these vehicles.

    Let the Supervisors who must have their own vehicle have…oh…a Ford Focus. 35 MPG, compared to the 17 that TriMet’s current fleet of Supervisor vehicles get.

  28. Jeff F
    August 1, 2008 at 9:17 am Link

    Erik Halstead Says:

    I am assuming these are unbudgeted costs, because the budget for the current year is almost a year old and these expenses are only now being announced.

    Actually, no. The budget for the current fiscal year was only approved in May.

  29. al m
    August 1, 2008 at 10:42 am Link

    Bob R;

    Uh, I’ve been busy with my movie studio lately,

    ANYWAY;

    Lots of good comments here already and I think what
    TRIMET REALLY NEEDS TO DO IS:

    Get rid of this antiquated transfer/ticket/zone system so that the whole thing is enforceable, and enclose all the max stations somehow.

    The quality of the previous comments are excellent and hopefully someone who can actually make some changes is listening and/or reading!

    Al M

  30. al m
    August 1, 2008 at 10:47 am Link

    This video on the ticket problem is interesting:

    http://rantingsofatrimetbusdriver.blogspot.com/2008/07/sunset-bob-investigates-ticket-problem.html

  31. nuovorecord
    August 1, 2008 at 11:01 am Link

    The Metrocard system in New York City works almost flawlessly.

    “Almost” indeed…

    http://secondavenuesagas.com/2008/08/01/when-metrocard-vending-machines-attack/

  32. Jeff F
    August 1, 2008 at 11:03 am Link

    al m Says:

    Get rid of this antiquated transfer/ticket/zone system so that the whole thing is enforceable, and enclose all the max stations somehow.

    “Somehow” is the sticking point, isn’t it? There are currently 64 stations in the system and some of those (many?) have split platforms. If it cost $600,000 to close off two of them, one of which is on the Banfield and much simpler to achieve, is there the will to spend the millions necessary to “somehow” enclose the MAX stations?

  33. al m
    August 1, 2008 at 11:06 am Link

    “s there the will to spend the millions necessary to “somehow” enclose the MAX stations?”

    Just need a fence actually with one manned entry point.

    These stations should have a live human being monitoring everything anyway.

    They have rail and road supervisors sitting around, why can’t they employ some transit station clerks?

    All major cities do that.

  34. al m
    August 1, 2008 at 11:12 am Link

    Of course this whole conversation is MOOT because;

    WE HAVE FARE LESS SQUARE!

    What’s the point of doing anything as long as that exists?

  35. Jeff F
    August 1, 2008 at 11:14 am Link

    al, “all major cities” do what? On systems without barriers?

    If you’re going to man the station anyway, why not forgo the barriers and just have them checking fare compliance?

    And you’re seriously suggesting we put fences around all the MAX stations? Just look at the Interstate stations. Where do you fence those? Or the Westside stations. Or Hatfield or Cleveland? Gresham Central? Downtown?

    Honestly, a solution has to be built around the decision to create a barrier-free system that is almost never on its own right-of-way. You can’t simply go in after the fact and start building fences around every platform.

  36. Bob R.
    August 1, 2008 at 11:25 am Link

    I agree with Jeff here… the problem is one of staffing stations and frequently checking tickets, rather than gates, fences, and barriers.

    If you create a gated station, you MUST have full-time staff, to assist passengers who for technical or physical reasons can’t pass the gate but have a legitimate right to be in the station.

    MAX stations aren’t very big. If you’re going to have full-time staff who can check tickets, then there’s no need to build the physical entry barriers.

    But this may still be the wrong approach… look at it this way: There are more stations in the system than there are trains in service at any given time. It would be more cost-effective to have staff on-board the trains (who periodically check the stations for station security reasons) than it is to have staff on all the station platforms.

  37. EngineerScotty
    August 1, 2008 at 12:18 pm Link

    What is the problem that they are trying to solve, anyway?

    To increase the rate of fare payment?

    Or to keep hoodlums off the train?

    While the two issues are no doubt interconnected (folks who fit the definition of “hoodlum” are more than likely to not pay their fare); the strategies to deal with this are different.

    Given that Tri-Met is looking at building physical barriers in “problem” parts of town, my suspicion is this the latter.

    I’m curious–what ability does Tri-Met have to issue (or get issued by a court, if they don’t have the ability themselves) exclusion orders, for known fare-violators or others who engage in disorderly conduct while on trains?

  38. Erik Halstead
    August 1, 2008 at 12:26 pm Link

    EngineerScotty wrote: I’m curious–what ability does Tri-Met have to issue (or get issued by a court, if they don’t have the ability themselves) exclusion orders, for known fare-violators or others who engage in disorderly conduct while on trains?

    ORS 267.150: (http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/267.html)

    267.150 Ordinances; regulating use of facilities; public hearings; route, schedule changes. (1) The legislative authority of a district board shall be exercised by ordinance.

    (2) The board may enact police ordinances relating to the protection, use and enjoyment of district property and facilities. A district may appoint peace officers who shall have the same authority as other peace officers, except that such authority shall be limited to the enforcement of police ordinances of the district and the enforcement, for purposes relating to the protection, use and enjoyment of district property and facilities, of state and local laws.

    (3) The board may, by ordinance, provide a procedure for the conduct of public hearings on proposed changes in transit routes and schedules. The board may delegate to the general manager or other administrative officer the authority to conduct such hearings.

    (4) An ordinance shall not be required for a mass transit district to adopt temporary or experimental changes in routes and schedules. [1969 c.643 §17; 1973 c.116 §2; 1975 c.392 §1]

    Then, refer to TriMet Code 28.15 which spells out TriMet’s regulations, 28.18 which spells out the exclusion ordinance, 28.20 which spells out who can enforce the rules.

    http://www.trimet.org/pdfs/code/TriMet_Code_Chapter_28.pdf

    Chapter 29 of TriMet Code (http://www.trimet.org/pdfs/code/TriMet_Code_Chapter_29.pdf) outlines fare regulations.

  39. Erik Halstead
    August 1, 2008 at 12:28 pm Link

    Jeff F. wrote: The budget for the current fiscal year was only approved in May.

    And, the budget line item for these security costs is…?

    (I’d look on TriMet’s website, but TriMet refuses to publicly post their budget documents, unlike every other governmental agency in Oregon.)

  40. M. Lasley
    August 1, 2008 at 12:31 pm Link

    Back to London… (that’s my BIG city experience) although it is subway vs. light rail. I traveled solely by transit during my four-day excursion. The busy stations had a physical security presence, the less busy stations did not. The less busy stations were built on high or very low platforms that allowed them to be secured with turnstiles at some point with an entrance of many stairs (about 20-30), like the Hollywood or 82nd Street stations. There were no chain link fences, and the fences that were used were in the same mildly attractive vain as the aforementioned PDX stations. There was generally one extra-large turnstile for luggage. Ticketing machines were before the turnstiles. I believe RFID technology was used for the Oyster Card and other cards that had reader capabilities.

    Back to PDX… I wonder what would happen if a turnstile was installed just before the waiting areas? Don’t block through traffic such as on N. Portland or N. Lombard or other streets where MAX is on the same level as everything else. Place turnstiles near the elevators at 82nd street & Hollywood. (I don’t venture much to Gresham so I can’t think of how that stop in question is designed).

    Or, there’s always Curitiba:

    http://cascadiascorecard.typepad.com/blog/2005/11/dreaming_of_cur.html

  41. Douglas K.
    August 1, 2008 at 12:32 pm Link

    Stations can be monitored with live cameras. If there’s a need for more of a full-time presence there, provide more opportunities to convert those shelters at the end of the platform into coffee huts and snack shacks. Maybe lease space on the platform to vendor carts. The vendors themselves will keep an eye on things and report problems.

    Having a full-time person checking fares at every station probably costs way too much, but how much fare evasion could we stop by just staffing the dozen busiest stations on the system?

  42. AL M
    August 1, 2008 at 12:54 pm Link

    Well who knows what to do then, nothing I guess, just more window dressing.

    If you want to solve the problem then major changes need to be made, and that doesn’t happen in government, as most of you know!

    “Maybe lease space on the platform to vendor carts. The vendors themselves will keep an eye on things and report problems.”

    ~~> Now that’s a good idea.

    Look they have money for all sorts of things that appear of questionable value.

    If there was enough pressure they would come up with some money to monitor the stations with live people.

    How many directors, coordinators,and supervisors are employed at Trimet anyway?

  43. EngineerScotty
    August 1, 2008 at 2:44 pm Link

    Here’s a question for Erik.

    An above link discusses the bus system in Curitiba, Brazil, widely praised as a model of what could be done with BRT.

    But what apparently was done in Curitiba was *not* the construction of zillions of new busways; but the conversion of existing roads to busways. In other words, outlawing cars on major thoroughfares, and throughout most of downtown. As Curitiba has a lot of residents who cannot afford automobiles, and authorities there can wield political authority far more easily than elected officials can here, this was “doable”.

    So…howabout it? Who here would be for converting numerous boulevards in the Portland area into busways? Who’s for making Fareless Square auto-free? I’m thinking Powell or Division, Sandy, Interstate, Barbur, 82nd, etc.

    :)

  44. Bob R.
    August 1, 2008 at 3:02 pm Link

    Here’s an anecdote where fare-payment and platform security can be somewhat at odds with one another:

    Back when Al and I were recording our Late-Night MAX Experience video, we talked to one guy who was rather livid about strict enforcement of fares.

    Every school day, he would drop his daughter off at the 82nd Ave. platform. In the past, he would wait on the platform with her until she safely boarded a train, then he would leave. But now he’s required to buy a ticket to be on the platform. Technically, he always was required to buy a ticket, but claims inspectors would leave him alone. Now, the inspections are more frequent and more strict, so he has to watch his daughter from the top of the stairs rather than sit and wait with her.

    In the world of air travel, the days of seeing friends and relatives off at the gate are long gone… looks like something similar is happening for transit.

    It may be well worth the trade-off… but there will inevitably be unintended consequences.

  45. Matthew
    August 1, 2008 at 4:34 pm Link

    That was something I always liked about the Portland airport, it wasn’t really a hub for an airlines, (I mean, besides Horizon,) so when you got off the plane in Portland there was always quite a few people waiting to greet the passengers. Sure, not everyone was being met or anything, but compared to the other airports I’d see on a trip like Chicago (United) or Dallas (American), Portland always had a crowd.

    As for the guy with the daughter, it really seems like the gate inspector would probably be able to make an exception for a parent with child, especially if it is the same inspector every day and the same guy with the same child everyday. That said, it is just a train: You can wait outside the gate until you hear the train come and then go into the secure area and still make it on board…

  46. Flaneur
    August 1, 2008 at 4:46 pm Link

    SOME FACTS ON FARE EVASION

    (1)
    Trimet has cited an 8% fare evasion rate [‘TriMet chief says criminals exploiting honor system’, Jim Redden, ‘Portland Tribune’, December 7, 2007]. According to a Trimet analyst with whom I spoke, this 8% rate is based on routine activity reports from fare inspectors, rather than systematic, controlled surveys of a representative sample of riders. Day-to-day fare inspection naturally focuses on the lines, routes, and stations that are expected to have the highest evasion rates in the system and therefore is likely to overestimate fare evasion system-wide. In addition, it’s not clear whether the 8% figure is limited to riders who are unable to show proof-of-purchase or if it also includes expired passes, invalid honored citizen and youth passes, tickets on which the clock has run out, and other violations that have nothing to do with the fareless zone.

    What is clear, however, is that fare evasion rates are profoundly affected by aggressive fare-enforcement efforts. Like Portland, San Diego relies on a proof-of-purchase system. However, the fare evasion rate in San Diego is 1.6% [‘Serious crime up slightly on trolley’, Steve Schmidt, ‘San Diego Union-Tribune’, April 2, 2007; phone conversation with Bill Burke, Director of Transit System Security, San Diego Trolley, 1/7/2008]. This low rate–one-fifth of Portland’s rate and lower than on many closed systems–has been achieved through strong, consistent enforcement of proof-of-purchase.

    Last year, San Diego had 34 million riders, of whom 11 million were challenged to show proof-of-purchase. San Diego riders are asked to show their tickets on almost a third of their trips, a proportion that seems astonishing to anyone who regularly rides the MAX. In Portland, according to Trimet’s own data, the fare inspection rate is less than 3% [‘Calendar Year 2002 MAX Fare Inspection Results’, Trimet].

    Furthermore, San Diego has been committed to the proposition that, as ridership grows, fare enforcement efforts must increase to keep pace. The San Diego Trolley alone employs 45 full-time fare inspectors [phone conversation with Bill Burke, Director of Transit System Security, San Diego Trolley, 1/7/2008]. As of January, Portland had 18. [If anyone has an update on the number of Trimet fare inspectors, I’d be grateful if you’d post it.] According to the ‘Oregonian’, Transit use has doubled since the MAX opened in 1986, but the number of fare inspectors is lower than in 1999 [‘Crime often getting free ride’, Joseph Rose, Brad Schmidt & Helen Jung, ‘Oregonian’, November 9, 2007].

    (2)
    Fare evasion rates on closed systems are surprisingly high and constant monitoring by transit personnel remains necessary [‘MBTA says its $203m system will make freeloaders pay’, Ric Kahn, ‘Boston Globe’, July 2, 2006].

    (3)
    The capital investment, maintenance, and staffing cost to retrofit all of Trimet–which was built as an open system–for a closed fare collection system would be astronomical. (Los Angeles expects to spend $30 million dollars just to convert from its current proof-of-purchase system and that doesn’t count the annual cost to staff and maintain the new system.)

    (4)
    Any form of gated access would add critical minutes in boarding and exiting, thus increasing wait times and rider frustration. Such increases in exiting and boarding-time seem slight, but, when multiplied by each stop, might necessitate additions to the fleet simply to maintain current frequencies of service.

    (5)
    Trimet’s persistent efforts to tie fare evasion to Fareless Square are dismaying and intellectually-dishonest. Buses passing through Fareless Square do present an opportunity for fare evasion, but, in fact, fare evasion rates are highest on the MAX, which a fare evader can enter without a ticket anywhere in the system. The abolition of Fareless Square would not change this. Furthermore, other, less drastic, measures–such as stepped-up fare inspection–would be likely to reduce fare evasion while, at the same time, increasing riders’ perception of safety and preserving the many economic and social benefits of Fareless Square.

  47. Doug
    August 1, 2008 at 5:57 pm Link

    Bob R: I think it’s safe to assume that if there’s a fare inspector on the platform, the kid’s going to be able to get onto the train on their own, especially after they’ve been through it with dad a few times. I started taking the L (Chicago) when I was 9, my mom dropped me outside of the station and I went the rest of the way on my own. In this case I think we can probably assume that if someone were to start hassling the kid on the platform, the fare inspector would intervene.

  48. Bob R.
    August 1, 2008 at 6:59 pm Link

    Doug –

    I generally agree with you, which is why I stated it may well be worth the trade-off… (and I generally feel parents today are a bit overprotective compared to when I was a kid) but it is an unintended consequence.

  49. Matthew
    August 1, 2008 at 8:08 pm Link

    “So…howabout it? Who here would be for converting numerous boulevards in the Portland area into busways? Who’s for making Fareless Square auto-free? I’m thinking Powell or Division, Sandy, Interstate, Barbur, 82nd, etc.”

    Well, I am, and my next door neighbor is too. The fact that I’m in favor of that probably isn’t much of a surprise, but my next neighbor drives a huge diesel pickup truck, he is not some car free hippie. And he suggested, (without prompting on my part or anything,) that they should put a ring of parking garages around the outside of fareless square, and then ban cars from entering downtown. Some rental bikes at the parking garages, and more buses and we’d all be a lot happier. (He’d just paid $5/gallon to fill up his truck, so that might have had something to do with it.)

  50. Bob R.
    August 1, 2008 at 8:34 pm Link

    Aside: Where did your friend pay $5/gallon around here? We were recently on a business trip to Los Angeles, and paid $4.999/gallon at Grapevine, CA., but that’s the highest I’ve seen.

    (And to think that a decade or so ago I took a photograph of $1.80 gas in rural Nevada, when Oregon was still at $0.99 a gallon.)

  51. Erik Halstead
    August 1, 2008 at 9:34 pm Link

    EngineerScotty wrote: So…howabout it? Who here would be for converting numerous boulevards in the Portland area into busways? Who’s for making Fareless Square auto-free? I’m thinking Powell or Division, Sandy, Interstate, Barbur, 82nd, etc.

    It’s entirely doable, as long as you have sufficient capacity for both.

    On the eastside in particular, you have a lot of parallelling streets, which results in excess capacity. You don’t hear about traffic jams on Stark or Division. You could easily convert a street to a busway, leaving a couple of lanes open just as local access (as well as a bike boulevard), and the through traffic will just find its way to another, parallel street.

    Barbur is a possibility, because I-5 is right next door. However Barbur is a corridor in its own right with substantial fronting uses which must have maintained access but there are few parallelling streets to handle it (Taylors Ferry? Capitol Highway?) Then again, maybe Capitol Highway ought to be the busway, because local traffic can be funnelled onto Beaverton-Hillsdale, Multnomah and Barbur.

    So, short answer is I don’t think it’s a bad idea, as long as it is thoroughly planned out so that it doesn’t create gridlock. Do I think it’s necessary? I think there are ways to improve current bus service without having to completely re-engineer the system. Most of the problems on the 12-B line occur in a few specific places, and very rarely along Barbur Boulevard. I can name three choke points – PSU to Barbur Boulevard (because traffic leading to the Ross Island Bridge often backs up to PSU on Broadway delaying busses), Barbur turn 99W at I-5 (because of the large amount of traffic leaving I-5 onto 99W into Tigard), and on 99W between 217 and Main Street (poor access control, poor intersection spacing with inefficient signal timing). A busway is one solution, but not the only solution, to fixing these – however a combined bus/HOV lane on 99W from I-5 to downtown Tigard would be practical.

  52. Matthew
    August 1, 2008 at 11:32 pm Link

    “Where did your friend pay $5/gallon around here?”

    Not gasoline, diesel. It was that price pretty much everywhere in town a few weeks ago. It has dropped a little since then, the US average is $4.85 right now (according to AAA.)

    It is August and winter will be here soon enough. About this time of year that the US typically stocks up on heating oil (which is just diesel without the road taxes) for the winter, and yet we can barely keep ourselves supplied with enough to run the trucks… I expect that a lot of people are just going to be very cold this winter.

  53. Bob R.
    August 1, 2008 at 11:59 pm Link

    You don’t hear about traffic jams on Stark or Division.

    Well, actually, for anyone attending the SE district streetcar system plan workshops, you do hear about traffic jams on Division.

    (But don’t worry, Division is out of the mix for streetcars primarily due to technical considerations regarding underground utilities.)

  54. Dave
    August 2, 2008 at 11:21 am Link

    The San Diego Trolley alone employs 45 full-time fare inspectors… As of January, Portland had 18.

    That probably explains why I’ve never seen a fare inspector in Portland, yet I regularly saw them in San Diego. I used the Trolley about as much as I currently use the MAX when I lived there, but I also use the streetcar quite a bit here, and again have never seen a fare inspector.

    I don’t think fare evasion is as common as most people think on the MAX. On the streetcar I commonly hear people (probably tourists) saying how they think it’s nice Portland has a free streetcar…while they’re outside Fareless Square.

    The biggest difference was that San Diego doesn’t have any free areas, so people aren’t easily confused if they need a ticket. They do.

    That, and the ticket machines didn’t seem to be broken so much. Probably the weather (or lack thereof) helped significantly.

  55. Jeff F
    August 2, 2008 at 1:27 pm Link

    What I noticed in San Diego, in addition to the very heavy and obvious presence of their fare inspectors (not just on trains but in transit centers), was that they were armed. The very polite young man who checked my fare was big, healthy, dressed in BDUs and armed with what my untutored eyes identified as a Glock. In other words, they looked like cops, and not cops you would care to mess with.

    And Dave is right: it’s very difficult to know who is legitimately riding MAX because a lot of people have some sort of monthly pass and have no need to buy or validate tickets.

  56. Michael P.
    August 2, 2008 at 6:32 pm Link

    I have to say, when I lived near 60th ave station…they always had security there. after talking to a friend up the track at 82nd I can tell you the had decided to sting at 60th so first anyone who says they target 82nd is wrong they target 60th, second, why the heck is tri-met positioning fare inspectors at a minor station [relatively] instead of a major station like hollywood or 82nd.

    Further I have tell you after a while I could predict when the fare inspector where going to be there [after 7 till 10ish with a rare shift every other weekend afternoon] why are they not adding some randomness to this schtick? fare evaders after a while will realize this and deal with it.

    Furhter I have to say I must complain about how bad the “no upgrade” solution is. Whenever I went to beaverton i had to 1. max to pioneer square/hollywood walk to my bank atm [it is Wells Fargo and no i am not going to pay the fee to get a 20] get a 20 run down to the machine, hope in dear god almighty that it will work, buy a all-day or all-zone ticket (remeber only stations in zone 2 or 3 can give a 2-3 zone ticket and further only ones with the lcds. I have talked to tri-met multiple times through multiple venues about why does my wells fargo card in particular not get accepted……..after a little sorting around with them and wells fargo i found out wells fargo refuses such transactions no matter what because of their algorithms [kinda like two tanks of gas and a pair of nikes will get you a call from your bank]. so in many times at least with wells fargo the bank is refusing your card not that the machine is broken. I can also tell you out of experience if your debit/credit card is in anyway scratched scuffed up on the strip it will simply not work in the machines.

  57. Dave
    August 2, 2008 at 8:47 pm Link

    In other words, they looked like cops, and not cops you would care to mess with.

    I assumed they do here, I can’t remember having seen one in the two years I’ve lived in the Portland area.

    Anyone have a picture?

    Oh, and for the record, the San Diego fare inspectors are also a great resource for anyone who needs help understanding the system. Most of them will happily give you directions that rival trimet.org if you ask.

  58. AL M
    August 2, 2008 at 10:05 pm Link

    I say again, the whole thing is nothing but a publicity stunt!

    They have fare less square for crying out loud!

    They are going to enforce the fares on the east side but just let the fare less thing go on and on and on?

    They need 90% working fare ticket machines before they should be doing anything anyway!

    It makes good headlines, as everyone here should be well aware of, John Q Public has little or no knowledge of what’s really going on in the Portland transit scene.

    This blog,

    the best on the subject in the Portland area, still only represents the tiniest of %’s of people using the system, less than 1/100 of a 1% I bet.

    John Q Public will see the headlines and think

    “great, Trimet is finally doing something!”

    They have no knowledge on the subject at all!

  59. Erik Halstead
    August 3, 2008 at 6:16 am Link

    Michael P. wrote: Furhter I have to say I must complain about how bad the “no upgrade” solution is. Whenever I went to beaverton i had to 1. max to pioneer square/hollywood walk to my bank atm [it is Wells Fargo and no i am not going to pay the fee to get a 20] get a 20 run down to the machine, hope in dear god almighty that it will work, buy a all-day or all-zone ticket (remeber only stations in zone 2 or 3 can give a 2-3 zone ticket and further only ones with the lcds. I have talked to tri-met multiple times through multiple venues about why does my wells fargo card in particular not get accepted……..after a little sorting around with them and wells fargo i found out wells fargo refuses such transactions no matter what because of their algorithms [kinda like two tanks of gas and a pair of nikes will get you a call from your bank]. so in many times at least with wells fargo the bank is refusing your card not that the machine is broken. I can also tell you out of experience if your debit/credit card is in anyway scratched scuffed up on the strip it will simply not work in the machines.

    And we all know TriMet’s solution is to replace the current TVMs which accept either cash/coin only (the oldest ones, that only sell single ticketes) or all forms of payment (the newer ones which at least are versatile yet unreliable) with a newer machine that is basically the same as the 1998 era machines but refuse cash or coin.

    So, if you have a credit or debit card, fine. If you are a cash-only customer, then you have to find a bus driver to sell you a ticket, or go to a ticket sales location (which aren’t exactly high in number – just try to find one in Wilsonville near the WES station. Albertson’s is 3/4s of a mile away, if you use the shortest route (walking on the railroad). Using the legal method, it becomes over a mile.

    Given the HUGE amount of research and development done in Europe of transit TVMs, why is it so hard for TriMet to come up with a real solution? It’s like they are reinventing the wheel for the third time over. Hint to Hansen: Lufthansa flies out of Portland once a day. MAX will get you there, you don’t even have to ride one of those dreaded, icky 12 line busses anymore. Fly to Frankfurt and see how Germany does it.

    If you’re REALLY concerned about your carbon footprint, here’s a few links:

    http://www.cubic.com/cts/
    http://www.farelogistics.com/
    http://www.agentsystems.com/
    http://www.gfigenfare.com/
    http://www.scheidt-bachmann.com/

    Five companies within two minutes of Google searching has got to tell me that someone can figure out TriMet’s solution.

  60. Michael P.
    August 4, 2008 at 12:02 am Link

    Well one thing to consider about fareless square is it is economically important to our region. first you have of course tourists. A convention goer is going to be pushed to get on the max to head into downtown if they can easily access the transit, thus they are going to visit shops, hang out at coffee shops and hit up bars, remeber first since we do have the Airport max, a lot of tourist are not getting rental cars as much as they use to, this is a assumption on my part but consider it if you can get to your hotel easily via train, you are going to be attending a convention near your hotel…then why rent a car or spend money on a taxi.

    Second would be convience for the same for business people, you need to get to the dry cleaners on your lunch break, you need to head to oldtown after work, considering how many suburbanites might disdain paying for actual transit, or having to move their car out of parking, move down during rush hour and grab a spot in another heavily parked area, it simple is not going to work. The streetcar only covers upper part of town not lower. so thus wouldn’t a quick shuttle on a bus work well for it? and it seems rendundant to carry the same service that can be handled by a regular bus by yet another streetcar or shuttle bus, especially with bus mall buses passing every 2-5 minutes[verus 12 minutes for the streetcar].

    Now I personally think that service in lloyd center is pointless unneeded and indeed I believe is a nexus for crime and loitering, it simple becomes but it does serve it’s purpose in serving the doubletree.

    Now crime in fareless square [again speculating] should be logicall lower you have a large amount of people leaving, entering and passing through a area at all time [even during midday the max train is usually full seat wise] thus the potientality for crime on the MAX is lower IN fareless square. I think there is a better solution to dealing with the fare evaders who board in fareless and indeed i think make less a difference [how about regular mid-day-late-afternoon stings at lloyd center requiring a full layover? or at galleria?] or a contactless rfid fare system [i don’t like the idea of rfid without some measures to protect security but i can say i have heard transit planner from other go on about be able to take far with rfid, everyone just get on and their fare is taken!] that would allow further gating, like the more secure turnstile system like NYC subway but works like bart where you must have valid fare to leave the system.

    Another thing to look at is overall security, i will continue to lobby and be vocal for hiring more security installing more camera and more fare inspectors. On security camera, I must tell you a bus driver friend of me told me that the security camera observers/operator can be quite unattentive and miss things that might put someone in danger.

  61. Erik Halstead
    August 4, 2008 at 12:32 pm Link

    Michael P. wrote: Well one thing to consider about fareless square is it is economically important to our region.

    Transit trips account for only 4% of total trips taken in the Portland metro area. You could eliminate 100% of all transit, and it would only affect 4% of the trips taken in the region.

    From that, you can figure that “tourist” travel on TriMet as well as Fareless Square travel makes up only a small percentage of that.

    Now, let’s look solely at MAX – MAX ridership is 1/3rd of TriMet’s total ridership. So that 4% number? MAX trips make up just over 1% of all trips taken.

    Economically important? Depends on who you ask, but if you ask the people who ride it, it’s not all that important. When MAX shuts down, people find a way to get around it.

    If, as a comparison, the Vista Ridge Tunnel or the Interstate Bridge were to collapse and shut down, you’d see far greater economic impact than a total TriMet shutdown. (Remember that TriMet is a union operation, so all it takes is an expired work contract and a strike to make that happen. If ODOT workers go on strike, the highways don’t shut down.)

  62. Ruh
    August 4, 2008 at 12:49 pm Link

    Erik,
    Check N-R Forum for information.

  63. Matthew
    August 4, 2008 at 1:11 pm Link

    “If, as a comparison, the Vista Ridge Tunnel or the Interstate Bridge were to collapse and shut down, you’d see far greater economic impact than a total TriMet shutdown.”

    While the Vista Ridge Tunnel hasn’t collapsed, there was a couple days last year when 26 was closed because of a landslide…

    Large economic impact? No, not really, in fact “people find a way to get around it.”

  64. EngineerScotty
    August 4, 2008 at 2:02 pm Link

    What percentage of total trips taken each day in the Portland metro area use the Vista Ridge Tunnel?

    What percentage of total trips taken each day use surface streets within Fareless Square?

    Probably the figures for those are not high, either.

    You take it for a given, Erik, that the road and highway network is essential; but that the transit network (rail in particular) is next to useless. But most individual elements of the road network don’t generate substantial numbers of trips as a percentage of the total.

    Transit, especially a system which is used to a significant fraction of its capacity, serves its purpose. If it’s only 4%, that doesn’t mean we can just go eliminate it without it having an impact; anymore than we could go shut down McLoughlin Boulevard just only represents a small fraction of the total. If McLoughlin were to close, traffic would just “route around it”, perhaps using 17th/Milwaukie and OR224/Lake/Oatfield, or even SR43 across the river, or even I-205.

    A big reason transit is only 4% is that there are many trips which cannot be meaningfully taken on transit–either you can’t get from point A to point B at all, or doing so requires a route which goes way the hell out of the way, and the total time required is ridiculous. In other words, the network is underdeveloped. In my mind, the 4% figure is grounds for expansion of the network (sensibly, of course), not grounds for transit’s neglect or outright dissolution.

  65. Erik Halstead
    August 4, 2008 at 8:54 pm Link

    EngineerScotty wrote: But most individual elements of the road network don’t generate substantial numbers of trips as a percentage of the total.

    The interesting thing is that while TriMet holds onto its ridership statistics like a guarded national security secret, you can actually find out traffic volumes on ODOT’s webpage.

    Here’s a link: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TD/TDATA/tsm/docs/2006_TVT.pdf

    So, from this one PDF file, I can tell you:

    141,400 vehicles travelled across the Marquam Bridge.
    127,300 vehicles travelled across the Interstate Bridge.
    163,200 vehicles travelled on I-84 at 53rd Avenue.
    24,700 vehicles travelled on I-84 east of Corbett.
    58,700 vehicles travelled across the Ross Island Bridge.
    152,000 vehicles travelled on the Sunset Highway just east of the Highlands (Zoo) interchange.
    113,400 vehicles travelled across the Fremont Bridge.
    138,800 vehicles travelled across the Glenn Jackson Bridge.

    In comparison, TriMet’s annual ridership data spreadsheet (http://www.trimet.org/pdfs/ridership/busmaxstat.pdf) shows 34 million boarding rides in 2007, which equates to 93,250 boarding rides per day – for the entire MAX system.

    Now, I could go through all of ODOT’s interchange ramp volume reports and tell you how many people enter and exit a Portland area freeway but I think it’s pretty clear that it’ll be more than MAX.

    Now, are you still going to suggest that a shutdown of a freeway is not going to cause an economic problem for Portland? As for the Sunset Highway being shut down, how many days was it shut down? IIRC, it was shut down for a short period of time; with one (out of four) lanes shut down for an extended period.

    A big reason transit is only 4% is that there are many trips which cannot be meaningfully taken on transit–either you can’t get from point A to point B at all, or doing so requires a route which goes way the hell out of the way, and the total time required is ridiculous. In other words, the network is underdeveloped. In my mind, the 4% figure is grounds for expansion of the network (sensibly, of course), not grounds for transit’s neglect or outright dissolution.

    That’s an interesting statement, because that same argument should be used for massive investment in the bus system. Yet I don’t see TriMet’s supporters (including Fred Hansen and Metro) calling for an expansion of TriMet’s bus network to take advantage of a growth opportunity. In fact, I seem to recall that TriMet’s plans for expanding the Frequent Service network have all been stopped, as the promised upgrade of the 76 and 31 lines have been cancelled.

  66. Dave
    August 4, 2008 at 9:07 pm Link

    …first you have of course tourists.

    I think most will pay if they’re asked too. Many become fare evaders because they don’t realize they have to pay once they leave Fareless Square. I’ve given people TriMet passes out of my wallet because they didn’t know what to do when the MAX was leaving Fareless Square.

    if you can get to your hotel easily via train, you are going to be attending a convention near your hotel…

    The bigger factor is that the MAX serves the convention center and downtown as an effective people mover. That’s great, but it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t pay $2 for the same trip. It would still be cheaper than a cab, and closer to walking.

    The real question is does Fareless Square cause people to come to Portland in the first place? Does the fact it exists cause meeting planners to choose Portland, or is the MAX in and of itself enough of a benefit?

    When my friend visited recently he loved that we had MAX, and thought Fareless Square was convenient, but he still paid fares to go to the Airport, the Zoo, and other places. He paid at least once he didn’t have to also, cause he didn’t know the exact rules.

    Second would be convience for the same for business people…

    Does this cause class A office space to be built? Not the MAX overall, but Fareless Square specifically. I really doubt it. If someone is going to use TriMet’s services, chances are they’re willing to pay. Maybe we might have slightly less ridership in downtown, but when you consider the extra costs (time and financial) of moving your car mid-day, it’s still cheaper to pay $2.

    Those of you arguing Erik’s 4% mention, he was talking about Fareless Square as a small part of it. I don’t think the pricing of Fareless Square (due to the short-hop nature of it’s trips) is nearly as significant as losing the Interstate Bridge of the Vista Ridge Tunnel.

    Maybe I misunderstood his point, but it seemed more to compare Fareless Square’s causing of additional ridership vs the utility of those highways.

    I don’t think Fareless Square by itself really economically benefits the region that much anymore. At least, not compared to the benefits of the MAX, Streetcar, PDX, I-5, I-205, US-26, US-30, I-84, 99E, 99W, OR-10, OR-47, etc.

    Any of those physical structures at least has an absolute cash value, I’m not sure what Fareless Square really offers. Better property values for a select few, maybe? Higher rents? Higher taxes for everyone (directly or indirectly) in the city?

    Otherwise…:

    In other words, the network is underdeveloped. In my mind, the 4% figure is grounds for expansion of the network (sensibly, of course), not grounds for transit’s neglect or outright dissolution.

    I agree with that completely, I just figure make the payment system a bit easier. The maps usually make figuring out zones a little more difficult, since the maps are so bad to start with. I love the idea of the magnetic card, much more secure than RFID, as well as much more convenient than tiny paper passes.

  67. EngineerScotty
    August 4, 2008 at 11:30 pm Link

    One of the annoying things about the fee structure of many transit systems–and something that diminishes their utility–is that the fare for Very Short Trips is often excessive.

    I work at a certain well-known high-tech firm in Beaverton, located along the MAX line, and can think of numerous restaurants I happen to like a stop or two away–a bit far to walk, but a nice short hop on the train.

    Except that the MAX fare is the same as if I were to take the train out to Hillsboro.

    Getting on the MAX, or on the bus, is in some ways like calling a plumber. You pay for the privelege of boarding (or having the plumber show up), and that’s before you do any travel.

    Not sure what system would be better (a per-mile system), and not become confusing. Having an Octopus-style fare collection system would make appropriate small fares for short trips more palatable, and perhaps allow for Fareless Square to be eliminated.

  68. Bob R.
    August 5, 2008 at 12:17 am Link

    The interesting thing is that while TriMet holds onto its ridership statistics like a guarded national security secret

    Huh? I’ve never had a problem obtaining ridership statistics from TriMet. And it’s not just me, individual citizens participating in the SE district working group also requested statistics and received them.

    I do believe such statistics (stop-by-stop boarding and deboarding counts) should be posted to the web as a matter of routine, which they aren’t today, but that’s a far cry from a “guarded national security secret”.

    You’ve brought this up before, and I’ve noted prior to this that it’s not a problem to get this kind of information (you’ve accused me of “hoarding” statistics that aren’t even mine), but here you’ve brought up this false accusation again. Why?

  69. Jeff F
    August 5, 2008 at 8:07 am Link

    Bob, as mod. you should have my email. Please send me a note with yours.

  70. Erik Halstead
    August 5, 2008 at 12:31 pm Link

    Bob R. wrote: but here you’ve brought up this false accusation again. Why?

    Well, given that I have about a 50% response rate on e-mails sent to TriMet that specifically request a return reply, with my phone number (a cell phone with voice mail), mailing address and e-mail address on it; and of that it takes several weeks to get a response; that I have received ridership data only one time that I have asked for it; that TriMet has the ability TODAY to post the data on their website and refuses to; that I have asked for a copy of TriMet’s annual budget and did not receive a response.

    You tell me, Bob. What should I do next, because apparently my polite requests for information via e-mail to TriMet are not sufficient. TriMet has a public relations budget, if it can’t deliver, maybe those dollars are better spent on service delivery (i.e. more bus service) than people who don’t respond to e-mails in a timely manner.

    By the way, eight days ago I reported to TriMet grafitti at a bus stop. As of today it is still not cleaned up. But I’m sure that “grafitti” is a “false assumption”. For the record, the stop is located on S.W. Broadway at Harrison in front of the P.S.U. Student Union building – not exactly an out-of-the-way, seldom used bus stop.

    Speaking of false accusations, I have now two posts to this board that have been held up for “review” that never got posted. Need I make an accusation of censorship?

  71. Chris Smith
    August 5, 2008 at 12:40 pm Link

    Erik, I am not seeing any pending comments from you in the last few days. Possibly the system pushed them into the spam bucket (very hard to retrieve), but there’s nothing in the moderation queue.

  72. EngineerScotty
    August 5, 2008 at 12:46 pm Link

    Erik,

    The highway infrastructure in some parts of town is just covered in graffiti. Yet the government entity responsible (be it ODOT, or one of several county or city governments) seems to take its time to get around to cleaning it up.

    Obviously, the public works divisions of the various agencies have better things to do than go cover up minor vandalism.

    Yet you seem to think Tri-Met is committing gross negligence not running right out and painting over a bit of urban artwork :) that happens to be on it’s property, and which has given offense to your eyeballs.

    Might they have better things to do as well?

  73. Bob R.
    August 5, 2008 at 1:21 pm Link

    Erik –

    TriMet responding only to a subset of your information requests, and responding late, is regrettable and obviously a place for improvement from a customer-relations standpoint, but that does not equal “closely guarded state secret”.

    I agree that they should post the budget online. I requested and received a hardcopy last year, but I did not request one this year. It appears to be a composite of multiple documents, but it shouldn’t take too much tech savvy on their part to combine it into one big PDF for online distribution.

  74. Bob R.
    August 5, 2008 at 4:04 pm Link

    Erik –

    I’ve waded through the spam bucket and have retrieved two of your posts. The software used for the site allows comments to be searched, but automatically does NOT include junk folder comments in the search, so we can’t easily retrieve them by name.

    We now receive over 1,000 spam postings per day (which is one reason the site is so slow and gives people errors from time-to-time).

    There were over 2,000 spam posts to page through (125 at a time) to find your most recent lost post, and 3,500 to find the other one. Sorry about that, but our filter has to be aggressive otherwise the site would be completely buried in spam comments.

    In the future, if you don’t see a moderated comment of yours appear within about 8 hours, please feel free to comment about it or use the Contact Us link.

  75. Dave
    August 5, 2008 at 6:36 pm Link

    I agree that they should post the budget online. I requested and received a hardcopy last year, but I did not request one this year. It appears to be a composite of multiple documents, but it shouldn’t take too much tech savvy on their part to combine it into one big PDF for online distribution.

    I won’t believe they can’t spend the $2000 or so and just buy a business-class scanner that will scan direct to PDF. (And they typically double as a scanner and copier, for even more utility!)

    In the long run they’d probably find cheaper web hosting and scanning costs than postage, copying, etc. Oh, and happier customers as well.

  76. Erik Halstead
    August 5, 2008 at 9:03 pm Link

    EngineerScotty wrote: Yet you seem to think Tri-Met is committing gross negligence not running right out and painting over a bit of urban artwork :) that happens to be on it’s property, and which has given offense to your eyeballs.

    Let’s see what Fred Hansen himself had to say about grafitti on TriMet.

    http://www.trimet.org/news/releases/2007/nov5security.htm

    (note that this link is right on TriMet’s own website.)

    Following the Saturday night attack at the Gresham Central TC, TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen has ordered additional presence and security on the transit system, including the following:
    (snip)
    Remove graffiti on TriMet property within 24 hours.
    (snip)
    “I am directing these changes in order to increase the oversight of our transit system and improve the quality of service to all of our riders,” said TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen. “I want everyone who rides TriMet or would like to ride TriMet to feel safe, secure and that they can call upon any TriMet employee for help or to answer a question.”

    OK, what did Fred say?

    Remove graffiti on TriMet property within 24 hours.

    One more time:

    Remove graffiti on TriMet property within 24 hours.

    Fred Hansen said he’d clean grafitti. As far as I am concerned this borders on criminal for him to make a public promise, and then refuse to honor his word as a public civil servant.

  77. EngineerScotty
    August 6, 2008 at 10:05 am Link

    If Fred hadn’t made such a promise, would the graffiti then be acceptable?

    Does the fact that no ODOT managers have, to my knowledge, made such a promise–make graffiti on the road network acceptable?

    I’ve no idea why the graffiti is still there. Perhaps they are dealing with more serious tagging problems in less-nice parts of town (PSU isn’t exactly a hotbed of gang activity), or otherwise dealing with more pressing problems. Perhaps this is an empty promise (or one with an expiration date he neglected to mention) that was made in order to deal with a mini PR crisis. Perhaps you’re on their “pest list”, and complaints from you are sent straight into the bucket (all organizations of significant size attract serial complainers, whom many choose to ignore after a while). Who knows–they might even be hostile to you due to anti-transit advocacy (though I doubt it–Internet critics who aren’t players in the public policy arena usually don’t get on the radar).

    But still–there is a double standard at work here, respective of any promises Tri-Met might have made concerning grafitti. When some gets beat up on MAX, it’s Tri-Met’s fault, the trains aren’t safe, east of the 82nd Avenue station has become Clockwork Orange, etc. But if a drive-by shooting (assume an “innocent” victim, rather than one gangbanger popping a cap into a rival) were to occur on NE Union Avenue, which is a state highway under the jurisdiction of ODOT; I doubt anybody would complain that the roadways are unsafe, or that ODOT is responsible.

    Including you.

  78. Erik Halstead
    August 6, 2008 at 12:28 pm Link

    EngineerScotty:

    You know damn well that if ODOT’s manager made a public promise to, oh, I don’t know, make safety improvements to a certain stretch of road where several people were killed – and that manager then failed to deliver on time, that there would be hearings at the State Capitol and calls for that manager to be terminated by the Governor.

    Why is TriMet’s General Manager not held to the same standard?

    they might even be hostile to you due to anti-transit advocacy

    Let’s make this very clear.

    I am not anti-transit.

    I am pro-bus.

    The last time I checked, TriMet operates a bus system, and their duties include running that bus system and maintaining it. I fail to see any justification as to why MAX and Streetcar riders receive more attention from TriMet’s management than bus riders.

  79. Jeff F
    August 6, 2008 at 1:04 pm Link

    The graffiti at the PSU stop should be cleaned today. Cleaning of shelters is done by contractors and they are not always able to keep up with the vandals. I’m not sure whether people realize how much vandalism and graffiti the system suffers on a daily basis, but it’s pretty incredible. Obviously, some neighborhoods suffer more, and they tend to get the most attention.

  80. Bob R.
    August 6, 2008 at 1:35 pm Link

    For what it’s worth, I saw a bus shelter on 60th being rehabbed by a crew today… there was masking material all over the glass, so it was getting some combination of new paint and/or new glass.

  81. nuovorecord
    August 6, 2008 at 2:05 pm Link

    You know damn well that if ODOT’s manager made a public promise to, oh, I don’t know, make safety improvements to a certain stretch of road where several people were killed – and that manager then failed to deliver on time, that there would be hearings at the State Capitol and calls for that manager to be terminated by the Governor.

    Why is TriMet’s General Manager not held to the same standard?

    You’re trying to make the case that not removing graffiti on bus shelters is of the same gravity as people being killed on a dangerous stretch of highway? Seriously?

    Please.

    [Moderator: Italics Corrected]

  82. Jeff F
    August 6, 2008 at 2:32 pm Link

    For those of you interested in information such as the budget or ridership statistics, it’s important that requests are directed to the person responsible.

    At this page http://www.trimet.org/contact/offices.htm you will find the section “Public Records.” There is a PDF titled “Request for Public Records Form” and contact information for Tina Lowe.

    It’s always possible that previous requests simply were misdirected.

  83. Tim Walsh
    August 6, 2008 at 6:17 pm Link

    Having used Eric’s stop at SW Broadway and Montgomery both yesterday and today (taking the 44), I can now report that the graffiti was removed by at least 3:30 this afternoon.

  84. Erik Halstead
    August 6, 2008 at 6:27 pm Link

    Nuovorecord wrote: You’re trying to make the case that not removing graffiti on bus shelters is of the same gravity as people being killed on a dangerous stretch of highway? Seriously?

    Well, I’d come up with a better example but ODOT has a pretty darn good record of delivering when they make a promise.

    I once reported a burned out street light that was ODOT maintained and I got an e-mail response in 24 hours that said an electrical crew would have the light fixed in three days (which happened to be located at my outbound bus stop). And guess what happened in three days? It was fixed.

    It only took TriMet two weeks to clean grafitti that Fred Hansen promised would be in 24 hours. Meanwhile, I noticed that someone removed ALL of the bus stop schedules up and down Barbur Boulevard that are mounted on the blue bus stop posts.

    Which, of course, runs contrary to this:

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

    “We’re posting schedules and route maps at every stop along Frequent Service routes. So no matter where you are, you’ll be able to see when the next bus is scheduled to arrive.”

    And I continue to see a lot of 12 busses running with high floor busses, which is contrary to:

    “For your comfort, all MAX trains and Frequent Service buses are air conditioned, with low floors for easy curb-level boarding.”

  85. EngineerScotty
    August 6, 2008 at 9:47 pm Link

    ODOT had promised that the new aligmnent of US20 near Eddyville would be open by about now… but they tried to do things on the cheap (a design-build contract in terrain which was relatively unknown, and thus contained nontrivial geological risk) with the result that the entire project may be in jeopardy. We may have a half-completed highway in the Coast Range for a long time, it sounds like.

    Tri-Met found a similar surprise when digging the MAX tunnel, but still was able to complete the project without too much delay.

    ODOT is probably one of the least-accountable agencies in state government. You claim about Tri-Met’s lack of transparency; the ODOT budget is legendary for raising the art of fiscal obfuscation to a new high.

    And perhaps this is a result of the state political climate, but if you read the plan documents (EIS’s and stuff) for various new highways that ODOT wants to build (the Newberg/Dundee bypass, a new stretch of OR62 between Medford and White City; the Sunrise Corridor, possibly the proposed I-5/99W connector)–you’ll find that ODOT studiously avoids saying the “F” word in connection with any of them. In Oregon transportation politics, the F word is, naturally, “freeway”–and even though all the aforementioned projects are all freeways in any rational sense of the word, ODOT never mentions them as such. ODOT seems to think that 1000 Friends and the other anti-highway groups don’t know what a “controlled access expressway” means. :)

  86. Dave
    August 6, 2008 at 9:58 pm Link

    It’s really a shame so many people see ‘freeway’ as a bad word. They reduce emission and accidents, and with proper planning can be a useful (and long term, cost effective) way to move people.

    How much would faster-than-car high speed rail cost to cover, say, Astoria, Lincoln City, and Newport, from Portland? How much to improve the existing routes (yes, to freeways in places) and add some buses?

    Yep, most vehicles today suck gas. That can change in just a few years if we really care.

  87. EngineerScotty
    August 6, 2008 at 10:31 pm Link

    If ODOT has its way, it appears it has its sights on an eventual freeway from at least Spirit Mountain Casino to the Portland area. OR18 is controlled-access in several points around Sheridan and McMinnville; the Dundee/Newberg bypass would be a new freeway from the base of Rex Hill to the Yamhill River just north of Dayton. Build the I5/99W connector as a freeway, and upgrade the Newberg/Sherwood stretch of 99W (which is a 4-lane divided expressway already), and you’ll have nonstop freeway from I-5 to Dundee.

    They’re starting a project Real Soon Now to widen OR18 to a four-lane, limited access divided expressway in the Grande Ronde area; with a followon project in the works to extend the expressway to Willamina and the OR22 cutoff (to Salem). Widening the Van Duzer corridor or the stretch between Sheridan and McMinnville seem a long way off, but it could happen.

    (I hereby propose that the amalgamation of the above projects be known in transit circles as the Pinot/Casino Highway, as we all know what is driving the increased traffic demand…)

    What would make more sense would be a US101 bypass around Lincoln City, though geography makes that a difficult thing to construct. Not necessarily a freeway, but the super-2 around Cannon Beach is a good example to follow.

  88. nuovorecord
    August 6, 2008 at 10:59 pm Link

    Well, I’d come up with a better example but ODOT has a pretty darn good record of delivering when they make a promise.

    You understand what happens, don’t you, when ODOT has to leap into action to fix a problem after a high-profile death on one of their highways, like US 30 in Linnton or US 26 out past Sandy? They take money originally targeted for some other project and reallocate it to calm down the public hue and cry.

    So, one problem gets fixed at the expense of another one not. And you can argue that they could have avoided the death in the first place if they had been more responsive to community concerns about those places.

    Point is not to pick on ODOT or hold up TriMet as a paragon. Every agency is short on funds. If there’s graffiti on the shelters but it means my bus is arriving on time, I’m fine with that trade off.

  89. Erik Halstead
    August 6, 2008 at 11:11 pm Link

    Nuovorecord wrote: If there’s graffiti on the shelters but it means my bus is arriving on time, I’m fine with that trade off.

    And let’s extend that same, exact philosophy to MAX.

    If there’s grafitti (and other problems) on MAX but it means MAX shows up on time, takes people to their destination on time – Portland should be fine with that trade-off. There is absolutely no reason why TriMet needs to spend additional money on MAX security, since TriMet is not a police force but a transit agency; TriMet has no legal obligation to ensure the safety of individuals just as the Portland Police Bureau does not guarantee me security and safety within City of Portland limits.

    Because, to use a paragraph before:

    You understand what happens, don’t you, when ODOT has to leap into action to fix a problem after a high-profile death on one of their highways, like US 30 in Linnton or US 26 out past Sandy? They take money originally targeted for some other project and reallocate it to calm down the public hue and cry.

    Let’s restate, using TriMet:

    “You understand what happens, don’t you, when TriMet has to leap into action to fix a problem after a security incident on MAX? They take money originally targeted for bus service and reallocate it to calm down the public hue and cry.”

    It can also be used this way:

    “You understand what happens, don’t you, when TriMet has to leap into action to build a MAX line? They take money originally targeted for bus service and reallocate it to calm down the public hue and cry.”

    Or,

    “You understand what happens, don’t you, when TriMet has to leap into action subsidize the City of Portland Streetcar?? They take money originally targeted for bus service and reallocate it to calm down the public hue and cry.”

  90. EngineerScotty
    August 7, 2008 at 12:04 am Link

    Except Tri-Met doesn’t take money “targeted for bus service” to build the MAX line; the money for the MAX line capital costs (construction, rolling stock, etc). comes from sources that cannot be used on transit operations. Either the money for building MAX is spent on building MAX, or it doesn’t get spent at all. The feds, ODOT, or other agencies who provide the cash for these projects don’t give Tri-Met a blank check.

    Likewise for the Streetcar. Most of the funds for that came from the City of Portland; which wanted–and got–a streetcar line. Not enhanced bus service between PSU (now SoWA) and NW 23rd.

    And of course, Tri-Met’s charter is transit, not bus service. So money spent on MAX or streetcar operations is not money diverted from the agency’s purpose; the purpose of Tri-Met is to provide transit, and that includes rail.

    (Tri-Met’s charter does include security; and their operations do include a sworn police service. Although some security enhancements may be PR and window dressing, it is a key part of their job).

    Money spent cleaning up graffiti, on the other hand, is ancillary at best. I’m familiar with the “broken windows” theory (allow graffiti and other vandalism to fester and things go down the toilet) of law enforcement, but repainting buildings is outside Tri-Met’s charter. It’s a contingency they should plan for, obviously.

    Finally, the decision to build Max and the Streetcar was not the hasty result of a momentary public uproar. Instead, both were the results of years (and in some cases, a decade or more) of planning and replanning, with lots of public input. Fred Hansen didn’t just wake up one morning, see a headline in the Oregonian complaining about lousy service, and decide to build himself a train line.

  91. nuovorecord
    August 7, 2008 at 9:20 am Link

    Once again, Erik, you’re trying to equate a threat to people’s lives as being equivalent to graffiti. Like I said, I’m fine with a bit of grit in my transit system because I realize that there are budgetary trade offs. What I would not be OK with is feeling threatened or attacked while I’m using the transit system. Big difference.

    TriMet is acting prudently to try to fix a security problem on the transit system. Once again, you see this as a threat to bus service. Your response to the problem would seem to be to just let the violence continue unabated. Yet, you think Fred is a criminal because there is graffiti on bus shelters. So it’s OK for people to get their skulls caved in by thugs at MAX stations as long as your bus shelter is clean and sparkling. Sorry, I’m not following your logic here.

  92. EngineerScotty
    August 7, 2008 at 10:21 am Link

    Tri-Met is wholeheartedly embracing rail for medium-to-high capacity transit operations–a move that Erik fundamentally disagrees with, for whatever reason–and he’s been consistent in his criticism of Tri-Met for this.

    Erik seems to view bus-vs-rail as a zero-sum game, with every dollar spent on rail operations or construction, a dollar that is taken away from providing or improving bus service. In one sense, that’s true–Tri-Met has a fixed budget and has to choose where to spend its money–but in other senses, it’s not–capital and operations budgets are separate, and much funding that Tri-Met receives is earmarked for specific purposes.

    Now, *why* Erik dislikes rail so vehemently, I do not know. I’ll assume that he isn’t a shill for either Big Oil or Detroit (both of which have been known to advance “bus rapid transit” in order to stifle rail transit projects around the country, and which have been actively undermining the rail industry for nearly a century). As Erik has also stated he is “pro-bus”, I’ll assume that he indeed supports expansion of bus service–rather than simply voicing support for busses because he finds them the lesser of two transit evils.

    It could be that he simply views rail (requiring new infrastructure in many cases) as too expensive, whereas expanding bus service–especially non-electric busses operating on local routes–only requires the purchase of rolling stock.

    It could be he disagrees with the “fishbone” topology that Tri-Met uses close to MAX lines, with bus lines feeding the MAX rather than running downtown–with the result that many trips downtown require a transfer where they didn’t before, and trips between non-downtown points are no easier than under the old “hub-spoke” system (or the grid system that Erik often advocates).

    It could be that he associates rail with a certain subculture (latte-sipping leftist Pearl District yuppies, etc.) that he might happen to dislike.

    It could be he thinks the whole rail construction effort is a racket designed to reward certain developers for political patronage–a legitimate concern, but one which needs to be watched for all infrastructure projects (such as the CRC), not just light rail.

    It could be that he has libertarian political leanings, and thinks that bus service is less dependent on general taxation (as opposed to fares or other use-based revenue sources) than rail is.

    Or it could be that he lives in a hilly part of town, where trains would have difficulty operating (and as a result, MAX isn’t going to come anywhere near his front door)–he’d rather have better bus service, and he sees rail as an impediment to that goal.

    However, I supposed I should let Erik answer the question: Why do you oppose rail transit, at least in Portland? What about larger cities with established and successful grade-separated rail systems (any large city on the East Coast for instance, and numerous cities abroad)? If we do have a need for true rapid transit in a fully separated right-of-way (something MAX fails to achieve for significant portions of its length, unfortunately), why would a busway be preferable to a rail line?

  93. al m
    August 7, 2008 at 12:54 pm Link

    I agree with Erik-

    And for the following reasons which I have stated so many times on this blog I can’t even count.

    1-Buses are much cheaper to install ($0)
    2-Buses can be moved around easily.
    3-(and most importantly) When one bus breaks down the next bus IS NOT stuck behind it!

    Rail makes sense for connecting communities, not for local service, unless its above the street or under the street.

    The way Portland has planned it is a recipe for disaster, all the way from the fare collection method to all the trains crossing one antique bridge.

    Al M

  94. EngineerScotty
    August 7, 2008 at 1:43 pm Link

    Not to be rude, Al, but I’ve a question for you.

    One of the touted requirements for rail is that a train, depending on configuration, can haul 3-4 times as many passengers as a bus. You can connect trains together in peak service periods (although the present design of MAX imposes a 2-car limit).

    I’m not sure how big the savings in fuel is–railcars are generally heavier than busses, so this may wash out (and favor the bus if the train runs well below capacity), but there is a big potential savings in labor. If a transit service can haul 200+ passengers at a time with one train driver rather than 3-4 bus drivers, assuming they are paid similarily, that’s a big savings to the transit agency (and to the public).

    Of course, that potentially means that a whole bunch of bus drivers are out of a job–a good, family wage, union job. If I drove busses for a living, and wasn’t trained to operate trains, I’d be nervous about light rail, too. Part of its attraction appears to be that Tri-Met can fire a whole bunch of guys like you.

    In practice, of course, the vast majority of bus lines aren’t candidates for replacement with rail, for numerous reasons–either the ridership is low enough that the larger vehicle makes no sense, or there are sections of the route that can’t support the weight of traincars–so I expect Tri-Met to be operating busses for quite a while.

    But to what extent should Tri-Met–or any government agency, for that matter–strive to provide high-paying jobs for workers? Is it a legit function of government–or should government agencies act like private corporations, and try to drive down payroll costs (and ideally lower taxes) as much as possible? Bill Sizemore and his ilk have built a career largely on the suspicion–possibly correct, possibly not–that public-sector administrators and their supporters on the legislature are actively repaying public-employee unions for patronage by failing to bargain hard. (And there are many careers which are fully unionized in the public sector but which are not in the private sector, and in some cases the private sector has successfully busted the relevant unions).

    One more aside to your bullet points, Al. Trains don’t generally get stuck behind other trains when one breaks down, at least not on a well-designed line. MAX trains are fully capable of running in reverse, switching to the other track, and otherwise getting around an obstacle such as broken-down train. Even an obstacle that closes both tracks at a particular point (such as an accident at a crossing), doesn’t shut down MAX–the system simply runs as two separate segments, and busses provide a temporary connection.

    Of course, I did say “an intelligently designed system”. I’m not sure the Streetcar, which provides limited ability for trains to switch tracks, and plently more opportunity to encounter obstacles, qualifies…

  95. al m
    August 7, 2008 at 2:12 pm Link

    Sure Scotty,

    Yes indeed, you can haul more people and potentially save labor costs, hell it’s America, why should anyone actually care about “people”?

    Money is always first in this land of liberty.

    That being said, none of my arguments are negated by the labor savings argument.

    Al

  96. EngineerScotty
    August 7, 2008 at 2:53 pm Link

    Yup.

    At any rate, I do tend to agree with you that absent existing rail infrastructure, busses generally make more sense for local service–ignoring the socio-political factors.

    And with that in mind–it would be interesting to run a little experiment:

    1) Take a few of Tri-Mets top of the line busses. Low-floor, A/C jobs, not the old hot high-floor ones.

    2) Paint them bright red and/or blue–the same colorscheme as the Portland Streetcar. Adorn them with big signs that say “Portland Streetcar”. Do whatever mechanical work is necessary to make boarding heights compatible with the streetcar platforms.

    3) Announce to the public, so they don’t get confused, the details of the experiment.

    4) Run said busses along the streetcar route, stopping at the streetcar stops (and nowhere else)–essentially, place the busses in service as streetcars that happen to have rubber tires on them. Charge the same fare as the regular streetcar service. (Obviously, there are a few places where the streetcar runs on tracks that aren’t embedded in pavement, so the bus will need to take a slightly different route–mainly the stretch between SoWa and Harborplace). One day, interleave busses with trains; another day (if the busses can be spared), keep all the trains in the sheds and run the streetcar service entirely with busses.

    6) Observe what happens to ridership. Does it go down, or remain the same? If it goes down, is it due to lack of capacity (busses holding fewer passengers), or are there empty seats? If busses are interleaved with trains, are there passengers who will refuse to board the bus and instead wait for a train?

    This would be a fascinating experiment to run…though I expect there are myriad reasons (starting with the added expense of taking perfectly good busses out of regular service and retrofitting them to serve on the streetcar line) that it will never occur. But it would be an interesting datapoint in the longstanding debate concerning differing public attitudes towards busses and trains.

  97. Matthew
    August 7, 2008 at 3:04 pm Link

    When they replace bus lines with trains, it doesn’t actually reduces the number of TriMet employees… There are two reasons for that:

    1. TriMet doesn’t reduce the number of operator hours when they open a MAX line, they just shift them around: For instance, when the yellow line opened, they shifted the operator hours from the #5, (which ran every 3 minutes at rush hour,) to a bunch of bus lines in North Portland. This is an important thing to remember when Erik complains that TriMet isn’t investing in bus service or Jim K complains that most of the MAX riders are just ex-bus riders: Ridership went up on the lines that they shifted those buses to, partly because it now connected to the MAX, and partly because the buses ran more often/longer hours. If TriMet just replaced buses with MAX, then it their complaints would be valid, but that isn’t the way TriMet operates.

    2. More people ride rail transit than ride the buses on the same route. You can call people railfans or whatever all you want, but you can’t get around the fact that people prefer rail, and so for a given route, there will just be a lot more (80-100% more) riders if you run rail based transit than buses. So, if a given bus line can carry 60 people per vehicle and is crowded at rush hour with 15 minute headways and a streetcar can carry 110, and you replace the the bus line with streetcar line, how much money do you really expect to save on operator costs? Nothing. (You moved almost twice as many people, you can get rid of parking spaces, you can develop at higher densities, the cost per passenger is down, revenue is up, etc, etc,) but my point is that you didn’t actually save anything on the “operators” line item on the budget. That is less of an issue with MAX where a full train is ~350 people, (soon to be 420 with type IV cars,) but…

    In any case, TriMet has a lot of openings for bus drivers right now, last I heard there were like 700 positions open, (mostly part time ones or split shift ones, but keep in mind they have less than 700 buses in the fleet.) So reducing the number of operators isn’t going to annoy the union too much, a lot of operators complain of burnout because they are working too many hours right now…

  98. JeffF
    August 7, 2008 at 3:12 pm Link

    Matthew Says:

    In any case, TriMet has a lot of openings for bus drivers right now, last I heard there were like 700 positions open, (mostly part time ones or split shift ones, but keep in mind they have less than 700 buses in the fleet.)

    I don’t believe this is true any longer. There was a definite shortage of operators but the agency ran a strong campaign to recruit new ones. My understanding is that they filled all those holes earlier this year (or late last year).

  99. Matthew
    August 7, 2008 at 3:40 pm Link

    EngineerScotty: It would be an interesting experiment, but I have a guess as to how it would turn out, (although I don’t know the magnitude of the change…)

    San Fransisco has many electric bus lines, they aren’t top of the line or anything, they don’t have special stop or anything else different than a regular bus, (unlike the streetcar,) it is just that those lines run on electricity and the other lines run on diesel. And every so often, for one reason or another, (construction on the route is the most common,) they run diesel buses on those routes instead. Compared to the electric buses, about 10% less people ride the diesel ones those days. It isn’t like the publish ahead of time that they are going to do this, (I know some people that are driving this week instead of taking MAX because the steel bridge is closed,) but this is the measured difference between electric and diesel on exactly the same route with no advance notice to customers…

    Do people walk instead, do they stay home (not make the trip,) or do they go back home and get their car when the diesel bus shows up? San Fransisco doesn’t know…

    As such, if you replaced the streetcar (which has more advantages on the vehicle than just an electric vs diesel motor) with a bus, I’d expect to see a noticeable decrease in ridership. Certainly I do expect part of the streetcar’s appeal is also things like “NextBus” and better stops on average than a bus, but a lot of it is the vehicle itself. I also expect that if you did that experiment long enough, you’d see even more drastic changes than if you just did it for a day or two because people would plan for it, (by planning not to ride it,) as opposed to being surprised by it when the bus showed up instead of the streetcar…

  100. EngineerScotty
    August 7, 2008 at 4:11 pm Link

    One wonders if the transit authorities in San Francisco have ever tried installing fake (nonconducting) trolley poles on the diesel busses, and or noise generators on the electrics to make ’em sound like diesels.

    When this occurs–are the entire fleet of electrics taken out of service, or do they interleave diesels and electrics? If the latter, do they observe passengers declining to board the diesel, waiting for the electric?

    Given that it’s San Fran–I could only speculate on the reason why. :)

    It is interesting. I wonder if the noise and fumes commonly associated with diesel engines (even if modern ones are cleaner than they used to be) is a major turn-off for passengers. The exhaust from diesel-powered busses does stink, though some tolerate the smell more than others.

    And the interesting question for transit here in PDX–what does this mean for WES? The DMUs used for the WES service are direct-drive diesel engines (the diesel engine directly drives the powertrain), much like a diesel-powered bus or semi; not diesel-electrics (the diesel engine powers a generator which powers electrical motors that drive the powertrain) like most freight locomotives and Amtrak. One of the advantage touted for the DMU is that it will be familiar to the Tri-Met mechanics responsible to maintenance. But direct-drive diesel engines pollute a heck of a lot more than diesel-electric vehicles, mainly because the diesel engine is exposed to a variable load, rather than having the electrical system buffering it.

  101. Erik Halstead
    August 7, 2008 at 7:43 pm Link

    EngineerScotty wrote: One of the touted requirements for rail is that a train, depending on configuration, can haul 3-4 times as many passengers as a bus. You can connect trains together in peak service periods (although the present design of MAX imposes a 2-car limit).

    The operative word is “can”. Yes, a LRV can haul about three times as many passengers as a bus. TriMet can operate two cars per train (other cities can operate as many as four cars per train; and subway/heavy rail systems even much longer).

    There are also needs for the use of taxi vehicles, mini-busses, 30′ and 40′ busses, as well as articulated busses.

    There is a place for MAX, just as there is a place for bus.

    But to what extent should Tri-Met–or any government agency, for that matter–strive to provide high-paying jobs for workers? Is it a legit function of government–or should government agencies act like private corporations, and try to drive down payroll costs (and ideally lower taxes) as much as possible? Bill Sizemore and his ilk have built a career largely on the suspicion–possibly correct, possibly not–that public-sector administrators and their supporters on the legislature are actively repaying public-employee unions for patronage by failing to bargain hard. (And there are many careers which are fully unionized in the public sector but which are not in the private sector, and in some cases the private sector has successfully busted the relevant unions).

    And to what extent should TriMet, as a public transportation agency, have ANYTHING to do with development? For that matter, to what extent should TriMet have anything to do with providing anything other than “basic transportation”?

    I don’t recall anyone, other than Metro and TriMet’s General Manager, proclaiming that we wanted less and poorer bus service.

    Trains don’t generally get stuck behind other trains when one breaks down, at least not on a well-designed line. MAX trains are fully capable of running in reverse, switching to the other track, and otherwise getting around an obstacle such as broken-down train. Even an obstacle that closes both tracks at a particular point (such as an accident at a crossing), doesn’t shut down MAX–the system simply runs as two separate segments, and busses provide a temporary connection.

    Unfortunately TriMet does not operate MAX in this manner. Remember when the car drove into the Robertson Tunnel? MAX was shut down – even though only one of the two tunnel bores were closed. TriMet could have run a single trainset in “shuttle mode” between Goose Hollow and Sunset TC but didn’t.

    TriMet has frequently shut down MAX service rather than operate manual block on single track because it’s easier. Not more convenient for passengers, but easier for LRT Supervisors.

    Even trolleybusses offer a benefit – if one bus breaks down, it can simply drop its trolley pole, and other busses can drive around it. Of course diesel busses are even more flexible and can re-route on a whim (of course the Operator’s skill and knowledge of the area come into play; I had one Operator forced to detour on 4th Avenue due to Naito being closed, and he refused to make a stop that was equivalent to my stop, and a very heavily used bus stop for a half dozen other routes – forcing a number of passengers to walk six blocks).

  102. Erik Halstead
    August 7, 2008 at 7:50 pm Link

    Matthew wrote: For instance, when the yellow line opened, they shifted the operator hours from the #5, (which ran every 3 minutes at rush hour,) to a bunch of bus lines in North Portland. This is an important thing to remember when Erik complains that TriMet isn’t investing in bus service or Jim K complains that most of the MAX riders are just ex-bus riders: Ridership went up on the lines that they shifted those buses to, partly because it now connected to the MAX, and partly because the buses ran more often/longer hours. If TriMet just replaced buses with MAX, then it their complaints would be valid, but that isn’t the way TriMet operates.

    And it should be noted that TriMet later cut many of those hours of service.

    More people ride rail transit than ride the buses on the same route. You can call people railfans or whatever all you want, but you can’t get around the fact that people prefer rail, and so for a given route, there will just be a lot more (80-100% more) riders if you run rail based transit than buses. So, if a given bus line can carry 60 people per vehicle and is crowded at rush hour with 15 minute headways and a streetcar can carry 110, and you replace the the bus line with streetcar line, how much money do you really expect to save on operator costs? Nothing. (You moved almost twice as many people, you can get rid of parking spaces, you can develop at higher densities, the cost per passenger is down, revenue is up, etc, etc,) but my point is that you didn’t actually save anything on the “operators” line item on the budget.

    That’s because the “Streetcar”/”Light Rail” came with other upgrades that never existed with the bus service – improved bus stop amenities, improved vehicles, so on and so forth.

    The “develop at higher densities” has nothing to do with the Streetcar (or bus) but zoning regulations and tax incentives that entice people to build. Build a Streetcar line to directly replace a bus line WITHOUT those zoning changes and tax credits and tell me how well the Streetcar works. Further, build a Streetcar with no stop improvements and tell me how well that works.

    It’s proven in other cities that when you improve bus service, you get increased ridership. There’s a reason why every single Streetcar stop is fully improved, with the vast majority including shelters and Transit Tracker signs among other amenities – it is to attract ridership. Why is there so much objection to doing the same to a bus route?

    If the City of Portland/Metro/TriMet came and said “let’s find high capacity bus routes and improve them with Streetcar”, that’d be one thing – that would be making a direct impact to improving existing routes. Instead, the Streetcar plan is all about building new routes to compete against the bus system. And even with the Streetcar plan, why can there not be simultaneous improvement in bus routes?

  103. Erik Halstead
    August 7, 2008 at 7:52 pm Link

    EngineerScotty wrote: And every so often, for one reason or another, (construction on the route is the most common,) they run diesel buses on those routes instead. Compared to the electric buses, about 10% less people ride the diesel ones those days. It isn’t like the publish ahead of time that they are going to do this

    Please provide documentation proving this.

    I can tell you that there were four people at my bus stop on Monday refuse to ride a 94 bus because it was packed and lacked air conditioning.

  104. Bob R.
    August 7, 2008 at 8:48 pm Link

    Instead, the Streetcar plan is all about building new routes to compete against the bus system.

    Nope, not at all. Participants in the meetings have made it quite clear that they don’t want bus service to suffer, or to force unreasonable transfers upon outlying riders, etc. It’s a draft recommendation of the SE District Working Group. Here are a couple of recommendations from that draft which I hope you would find agreeable:

    • The Streetcar System Plan should also consider energy-efficient trolley busses and bus rapid transit, integrated with a streetcar system, on any of the Southeast corridors. These transit modes may be more technically feasible and affordable than streetcars, or can be interim steps.
    • The Streetcar System Plan should develop a more efficient and seamless transit system for riders, not just add another mode. Streetcar extensions should have logical and efficient termini and catchment areas, and easy transfers between transit modes (rail, streetcar, trolley bus, rapid bus, and local bus).

    And even with the Streetcar plan, why can there not be simultaneous improvement in bus routes?

    There can be, and the Streetcar System Plan is not the final word on transit planning in Portland. There are other overlapping processes going on.

  105. Matthew
    August 7, 2008 at 11:33 pm Link

    It wasn’t Scotty that said that it was me, and I can’t find where I originally read it, (it was a fairly long statistical analysis,) but here is source that says 15%:
    http://www.tbus.org.uk/whythetrolleybus.doc
    “In San Francisco, California, ridership dropped by up to 15% on trolley routes when diesel buses were substituted.”

  106. Matthew
    August 7, 2008 at 11:39 pm Link

    “I can tell you that there were four people at my bus stop on Monday refuse to ride a 94 bus because it was packed and lacked air conditioning.”

    Did you ask them, and they all said “both” or did you just assume that because they didn’t get on? Because I can tell you that a lot of people don’t get on MAX trains when they are packed either, even thought they do have AC. If everyone wants to travel at the same time, it just might not always work. It is this little thing called rush hour, it happens on freeways, and on the Hawthorne bridge bicycle lanes too, it is not special to the 94 bus…

  107. Erik Halstead
    August 8, 2008 at 9:58 pm Link

    Matthew wrote: Did you ask them

    No, I didn’t have to. They actually were pretty vocal and spoke pretty loudly about it – specifically stating that they weren’t getting on that bus because it was crowded AND it lacked air conditioning.

    I’m sorry I did not have my camcorder on hand to capture it to demonstrate that people care about bus service and want better bus service.

    But even with the proof, you’d come up with another excuse to justify TriMet/Metro/City of Portland’s anti-bus position.

  108. Erik Halstead
    August 8, 2008 at 10:03 pm Link

    Matthew wrote: but here is source that says 15%

    That article provides no sources, is eight years outdated, is written by an obiviously biased organization that is so far removed from the statement (look at the URL)…

    Please provide me a source from MUNI that can collaborate your theory.

  109. Jeff F
    August 8, 2008 at 10:50 pm Link

    Erik Halstead Says:

    But even with the proof, you’d come up with another excuse to justify TriMet/Metro/City of Portland’s anti-bus position.

    Erik, please, enough. Please provide us with a source that can collaborate your theory that TriMet (or Metro or City of Portland) is anti-bus.

  110. Jeff F
    August 9, 2008 at 9:04 am Link

    Eh. Corroborate. No more late-night posting.

  111. Erik Halstead
    August 9, 2008 at 9:30 am Link

    Jeff F. wrote: Erik, please, enough. Please provide us with a source that can collaborate your theory that TriMet (or Metro or City of Portland) is anti-bus.

    http://www.trimet.org/projects/index.htm

    http://search.oregonmetro.gov/search?getfields=description.keywords&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&client=metro&filter=p&ud=1&site=externalweb&proxystylesheet=metro&q=bus&btnG.x=0&btnG.y=0

  112. Bob R.
    August 9, 2008 at 9:39 am Link

    Very funny, Erik.

  113. Bob R.
    August 9, 2008 at 9:43 am Link

    To which I’ll add (as I’ve said many times before): If you’re trying to argue that TriMet and Metro aren’t investing enough in bus service improvements at this time, I agree. But I don’t see how you get from there to arguing that the agencies are inherently “anti-bus”, or that any of what you just posted constitutes proof of that.

  114. Jeff F
    August 9, 2008 at 9:46 am Link

    So, the short answer is no?

    TIP priorities

    Within available financial resources, TriMet and its partners balance needs to guide where, when and how to invest transit-related dollars. The TIP priorities are to:

    1. Build the Total Transit System—Enhance customer information, access to transit, stop amenities, frequency, reliability, passenger comfort, safety and security.

    2. Expand high-capacity transit—Invest in MAX Light Rail, Commuter Rail and Streetcar service along key corridors to connect Regional Centers.

    3. Expand Frequent Service—Add routes to TriMet’s network of bus lines than run every 15 minutes or better, every day.

    4. Improve local service—Work with local jurisdictions to improve transit service in
    specific local areas.

    Source: http://trimet.org/pdfs/tip/tipsummary.pdf

  115. al m
    August 9, 2008 at 10:15 am Link

    What bureaucracies “say” and what they “do” have very little in common.

    George Bush is a good example, he says one thing and does another.

    That principle applies to many governmental agencies.

  116. R A Fontes
    August 9, 2008 at 11:39 am Link

    If anyone has any doubt that Metro et al have a systemic anti-bus bias, just consider the deplorable sabotage of the BRT in the current Lake Oswego streetcar extension project. Some specifics:

    1. The BRT would have operated as a regular bus in downtown Portland but as BRT on Highway 43, terminating in Lake Oswego instead of continuing on to Oregon City as a regular bus along the line 35 alignment. By being forced to mimic the streetcar instead of taking advantage of a bus’s flexibility, this would have required the construction of an expensive park and ride facility in downtown LO, forced transfers for riders between two high frequency lines, and three turnarounds/layovers instead of one.

    2. Metro used a definition of the Hwy 43 corridor study area which includes almost everything between the Tualatin and Willamette Rivers east of I-5 while excluding almost everything east of the Willamette. Two problems: Wilsonville doesn’t have an awful lot to do with Hwy 43, and the Sellwood Bridge accounts for about 70% of all Hwy 43 traffic between LO & PDX. Since the area SW of the Tualatin is growing much faster than Milwaukie and the parts of Portland closest to the bridge, this definition of the study area can only overestimate Hwy 43 congestion, bus peak hour trip times, and transit demand. In so doing, it also overestimates the lengths, number, and costs of required BRT bypass lanes. Metro’s study area designation is shown on a map developed for internal use, but available at http://www.h43tran.org/Biased%20process.html

    3. The study’s Alternatives Analysis came up with per-boarding-ride BRT operating costs roughly equal to the average for TriMet buses, but much more than those for other high ridership lines and over a dollar above no-build.

    4. The study only evaluated peak hour data. Since the streetcar would operate mainly on exclusive ROW, its trip times would be constant throughout the schedule while BRT would be faster off-peak.

    5. The study evaluated peak hour PSU to downtown LO and West Linn trips, but most riders start/end their journeys at or connect through the transit mall. Since the streetcar alignment does not use the mall most riders will have to make an intermediate transfer or walk several blocks to connect with the streetcar. [See Bob R.’s 2:35 PM December 17, 2007 post to the “Bus and streetcar options studied for Lake Oswego to South Waterfront route” thread.]

    6. Southeast Portland, West Linn, and Oregon City may have much to lose from the streetcar extension. According to former Metro Councilor Brian Newman, TriMet GM Fred Hansen and LO mayor Judie Hammerstad were adamant about keeping representatives of those communities off LOPAC and keeping the focus on the ROW, i.e. streetcar. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AREtw5Gwu4Y

    7. The Alternatives Analysis came up with a much larger Federal tax dollar share for the streetcar than for BRT by using an inflated valuation of the ROW. Since BRT would not have used the ROW, the local cost ended up being much higher for BRT even though its capital cost would be lower than the streetcar’s.

  117. EngineerScotty
    August 9, 2008 at 4:18 pm Link

    I’m interested:

    What, in this instant, does “bus rapid transit” mean? Depending on circumstances, it can mean anything from an express bus, to busses operating in a grade-separated busway.

    Somehow, I don’t think that a busway (or even a bus lane) will be built in the OR43 corridor. No room. (And no, you can’t replace the rail line with a busline; as someone else pointed out elsewhere, the easement is for rail only).

    While one could probably carve out a buslane on Madacam north of Riverdale (where it’s already four lanes for much of the length, and the terrain is flat), adding one in the three-lane stretch between Terwilliger and Riverdale would be an expensive undertaking–unless you wanted to convert the middle passing lane in a “suicide lane” for busses.

    Anything else, and the “bus rapid transit” will get stuck in traffic on a regular basis–and then it won’t be rapid.

    A proper busway somewhere might be an interesting project for Tri-Met. OR43 isn’t the corridor for it, due to geographic limitations, and the budget available for this project.

    But just running more busses on OR43, with fewer stops, does not make “rapid transit” of any stripe.

    Regarding the issue of the performance during peak vs off-peak–peak time performance is what is most important. It’s the main reason why we bother with separate-ROW transit in the first place, after all–if we had constant traffic loads, there wouldn’t be any point. To complain that its unfair to compare only peak-time performance because it “discriminates” against the slower mode of transit is just silly.

    Keep in mind–this is a low-capital-cost transit project. Any solution that requires significant new construction–of a busway (or of a double-tracked rail line, for that matter)–is off the table, as there are no funds available for it. Electrification of an existing rail line is within the project’s capabilities, as are adding more busses to an existing highway, but changing the configuration of either is is out of scope.

    Plus, any attempt to acquire additional ROW in places like Dunthorpe or Riverdale is bound to face fierce opposition from some very rich NIMBYs–even the existing proposal on the table has reportedly attracted the attention of a few well-to-do Dunthorpe residents, who have promised to suffocate the project in red tape. Whether they can make good on such threats. I do not know.

  118. R A Fontes
    August 9, 2008 at 5:52 pm Link

    EngineerScotty says:

    “What, in this instant, does “bus rapid transit” mean?”

    From Metro’s handouts, it looks like the elements of this BRT includes limited stops, signal priority, and a series of relatively short exclusive queue bypass lanes, mostly between Taylors Ferry and Harrison. The July 12, 2007 Evaluation Summary gave a total of 4,425 linear feet of these. However after more study, Metro planners felt that more lane footage was required to meet trip time goals. This pushed capital costs to above $100 million, according to Metro staff. I haven’t seen it written down anywhere.

    “Anything else, and the “bus rapid transit” will get stuck in traffic on a regular basis–and then it won’t be rapid.”

    The idea with this project seems to have been to construct just enough bypass lanes to get past the usual congestion points. You’re right in that when it gets stuck in traffic it wouldn’t be rapid. The occasional traffic accident or other disruption would still slow down BRT if it didn’t have sufficient bypass lanes.

    “Regarding the issue of the performance during peak vs off-peak–peak time performance is what is most important.”

    Well, we differ here. According to Steve Callas of TriMet, approximately 11% of all rides occur during the evening peak commute hour, and 31% during the two peak evening and two peak morning commute hours. This means that 69%, or about 7 out of 10 rides are taken outside of peak hours. In the case of the Lake Oswego extension, most rides would be slower by streetcar than by bus. The reasons for this include required transfers in LO and at PSU, longer streetcar trips northbound because of the Bond Avenue loop, and quicker off-peak bus running times. If Metro’s trip time figures are accurate, buses would be up to 15 minutes faster than streetcars on off-peak trips between West Linn and the transit mall. If they’re off as much as they appear, buses might be more than 20 minutes faster on some trips. BRT would have been scheduled for a faster trip than the streetcar on the West Linn to transit mall trip every run, every day, even if we use Metro’s numbers. With more realistic numbers, it wouldn’t be close.

  119. Jason Barbour
    August 9, 2008 at 6:42 pm Link

    Some of this stuff is way off-topic (I don’t get how talking about the TIP or what BRT means has anything to do with checking fares at MAX platforms), but I’ll bite to add a few cents:

    The first part of the TIP excerpt quoted is “Within available financial resources.” So perhaps some of the money they receive is already strung with building commuter rail or changing out bus stop signs or whatever. That means they have to use the money for that purpose. Otherwise, it’s the same basic principle as the school district asking for funding to fund school programs, and instead using it to fund executive pay and benefit increases.

    What… does “bus rapid transit” mean?
    There’s two main forms: BRT Full and BRT Lite.
    Both of these definitions are as I understand them, if someone wants to publicly clarify me, feel free to. BRT Full is essentially making the same type of improvements that would be made for a light rail system, including stations, ticket machines, and dedicated right-of-way, except the vehicles are buses instead of trains. BRT Lite is much of the above, except it uses the same roads as other vehicles, perhaps some pavement markings would denote “bus-only” lanes or station pull-outs.

  120. Erik Halstead
    August 10, 2008 at 8:41 am Link

    Bob R. wrote Very funny, Erik.

    Gee, Bob, good way to violate three rules of the very forum that you Moderate. Do us a favor and eliminate the “The Rules” link from the bottom of the website, since you see fit to ignore them when replying to me.

    Since your only comment is “very funny”, you clearly have no real argument against what I’ve stated other than you agree with TriMet’s/Metro’s/City of Portland’s continued policies and direction in light rail and streetcar planning, and essentially no future of bus service – even though you often claim such, you never cease to come around and make a comment that shows your true colors.

    And to address Jeff F.’s comments:

    1. Build the Total Transit System—Enhance customer information, access to transit, stop amenities, frequency, reliability, passenger comfort, safety and security.

    TriMet is doing nothing of this at bus stops. In fact 100% of the “safety and security” is MAX related. “Access to Transit” involves only MAX. “Stop Amenities” – TriMet’s own planning documents state that a MINIMUM of 100 bus stops should be improved; yet TriMet is only budgeting for 30 shelters a year, and little else in the way of bus stop improvements (i.e. no Transit Tracker signs).

    2. Expand high-capacity transit—Invest in MAX Light Rail, Commuter Rail and Streetcar service along key corridors to connect Regional Centers.

    This is self-explanatory, it specifically rules out bus investments (i.e. BRT or high capacity articulated bus routes).

    3. Expand Frequent Service—Add routes to TriMet’s network of bus lines than run every 15 minutes or better, every day.

    TriMet has cancelled all future Frequent Service routes. Lines 31 and 76 were to have gone Frequent Service but the only “improvement” is that 76 is going from hourly to half-hourly on Sundays/Holidays. That is nowhere close to TriMet’s own definition of Frequent Service (15 minute headways span of service).

    4. Improve local service—Work with local jurisdictions to improve transit service in
    specific local areas.

    TriMet completely failed to do this – there was supposed to be a local bus route in Tigard, and early plans called for increased bus service in Tualatin consistent with the start-up of WES service. The ONLY bus “improvement” is a several block re-route of the 76 line (which will actually reduce service to the Tualatin Fred Meyer store and Martinazzi Square shopping center, because it will only be served by rush-hour-only 96).

    Further, TriMet is the public transit operating agency; it does not need to consult with local jurisdictions to create service (although it certain is not denied or prohibited from doing so, as the local jurisdictions can work with TriMet to best deliver service). In fact, the Tualatin Tomorrow visioning process even has several pages of comments suggesting Tualatin split from TriMet because of TriMet’s lack of service delivery and unwillingness to add more local service, despite decades-old calls for more service in Tualatin – Tualatin is hardly to blame, as Tualatin has spent millions of dollars on sidewalk and pedestrian improvements citywide making virtually all city streets accessible to bus stops.

    So, Bob, what’s so funny about that? Or are you stunned by my ability to provide specific, non-personal attacks about the state of transit that the best you can do is make another personal attack on me as a Moderator despite your own rules that specifically state not to do that? Or are you just going to edit my post while keeping your post alive, so you can personally censor the forum and make your statement “the final word”? Or are you just going to go on your “I’ve let you violate the rules before” tired old argument?

  121. Erik Halstead
    August 10, 2008 at 8:48 am Link

    Jason Barbour wrote: So perhaps some of the money they receive is already strung with building commuter rail or changing out bus stop signs or whatever. That means they have to use the money for that purpose. Otherwise, it’s the same basic principle as the school district asking for funding to fund school programs, and instead using it to fund executive pay and benefit increases.

    The problem is that TriMet had built up a reserve fund which was supposed to purchase replacement busses.

    That money was shifted to other uses (namely light rail projects).

    The result was a degradation of bus service.

    Few of TriMet’s dollars are earmarked for a specific purpose because TriMet does not maintain separate budgets for light rail and bus operations. So TriMet could just as easily take money for light rail operations and shift it to bus operations or bus capital or, heck, a new office for Fred Hansen in the Pearl District.

    So when TriMet made public calls for fare increases that were due to increased fuel costs, yet TriMet had hundreds of thousands of unbudgeted dollars for MAX security improvements – TriMet didn’t publicly state that part of the fare increase went to that. So where did that money come from – did Fred Hansen opt to take no salary for the next three or four years? Did a car or two of the new LRV order get cancelled?

    TriMet already “ran out of money” on WES, cancelling one car order, cut back on the amount of double-track between Beaverton and Tigard, and is only installing one TVM (and a non-cash accepting TVM at that) at each station. And despite Portland Streetcar not even being a TriMet operation gets $3 million a year – which fits squarely into your comparison statement, Otherwise, it’s the same basic principle as the school district asking for funding to fund school programs, and instead using it to fund executive pay and benefit increases.

  122. Bob R.
    August 10, 2008 at 12:02 pm Link

    Gee, Bob, good way to violate three rules of the very forum that you Moderate. Do us a favor and eliminate the “The Rules” link from the bottom of the website, since you see fit to ignore them when replying to me.

    Gee, Erik, just 4 days ago you shouted at someone who is _not_ a moderator here “You know damn well […]” and I let it stand. I could have just banned you from the site right then, and “done us a favor”.

    But if I say “very funny, Erik”, you fly off the handle.

    Seriously, get a grip. Apply the same standards you insist upon from everyone else to yourself. As you’ve been told, oh I don’t know, half a dozen times by now, if you want strict enforcement of the rules, then you’re subject to them too.

  123. Bob R.
    August 10, 2008 at 12:08 pm Link

    Did a car or two of the new LRV order get cancelled?

    Yes, awhile back.

    I don’t follow your argument here… you seem to be providing plenty of evidence that TriMet is willing to make cutbacks on rail projects, too… and this is somehow proof that they have an anti-bus agenda?

    I wonder if we’ll ever be able to have a discussion here about a specific rail-related topic without it degenerating yet again into an argument about anti-bus bias.

  124. al m
    August 10, 2008 at 12:51 pm Link

    “I wonder if we’ll ever be able to have a discussion here about a specific rail-related topic without it degenerating yet again into an argument about anti-bus bias.”

    NO!

    But here is a pretty good argument for light rail:

    http://portlandoregontransitnews.blogspot.com/2008/08/from-seattle.html

  125. EngineerScotty
    August 10, 2008 at 2:17 pm Link

    Let me ask Erik another way.

    Does it matter all that much to you whether the wheels have tires or not? Or is the issue for you one of quality local service, vs quality service along a designated corridor?

    Many of the “anti-rail” arguments I’ve read here have little to do with the underlying technology of the rapid-transit vehicle, but with the “fishbone” route topology that Tri-Met puts in wherever MAX has been built–many busses that used to run downtown from wherever now terminate at the closest TC, requiring a transfer. In some cases, the total trip time goes down, but having to get off the bus and wait for a train (or another bus FTM) is a pain; many customers would gladly trade transfers for a longer overall ride, so long as they get to sit in one seat for the duration.

    As Tri-Met and Metro focus on rail for rapid transit (there seems to be no desire to install dedicated busways anywhere–and if you do build a fully-dedicated ROW, there’s no compelling reason to put concrete instead of steel down on the roadbed), and busses for local transit (except the Streetcar), often times the arguments concerning how overall service is structured get masked in bus/rail debates.

    Let me ask another way. If Tri-Met were to magically one day replace MAX with a busway over the same alignment–and keep all aspects of the service the same otherwise (many trips require a transfer to/from the busway at some regional TC)–would your complaints vanish?

  126. al m
    August 10, 2008 at 2:30 pm Link

    Max obviously makes sense for inter city service, its the intra city service where it makes no sense.

    The green line is ridiculous and the yellow line without a Vancouver connection is also ridiculous.

    Not worth the cost as far as I am concerned,

    AND THE STREETCAR;

    Talk about catering to special interest, that’s a real example.

    People ask me why I am so lenient on fare collection on the west side, its because of the Portland domination of TRIMET,

    all air conditioned buses, all air conditioned streetcars, all air conditioned light rail, plenty of service available, and TO TOP IT OFF A COMPLETELY FREE DOWNTOWN FARE STRUCTURE.

    Meanwhile the people on the west side struggle to make connections in heat boxes called buses and have to pay top dollar to ride the system.

    It aint fair I tell ya, it just aint fair.

    Yea, I know, life aint fair cause if it was it would be a carnival.

    Al M

  127. EngineerScotty
    August 10, 2008 at 3:08 pm Link

    Here’s a question.

    Tri-Met has several types of busses in its fleet. Some have A/C, some don’t; some are low-floor busses, some have steps and wheelchair lifts.

    The former are obviously more desirable (for passengers) than the latter.

    So, the question is–and I don’t know the answer:

    How are the various types of busses allocated among routes? Is it essentially random what sort of bus will come to pick you up (or for Al, what sort of bus he will be driving on a given shift)? Or are some parts of town given preferential treatment?

    Stick to busses, please. Obviously, the streetcar ain’t running up and down 99W; those tracks were ripped out many years ago. :( But Tri-Met could, if it wanted to, deploy busses “fairly”.

    My question is: does it? Al seems to hint otherwise–that customers on his line don’t get nice vehicles to ride in.

  128. Jeff F
    August 10, 2008 at 3:11 pm Link

    Erik Halstead Says:

    TriMet is doing nothing of this at bus stops. In fact 100% of the “safety and security” is MAX related. “Access to Transit” involves only MAX. “Stop Amenities” – TriMet’s own planning documents state that a MINIMUM of 100 bus stops should be improved; yet TriMet is only budgeting for 30 shelters a year, and little else in the way of bus stop improvements (i.e. no Transit Tracker signs).

    First of all, “bus stop” does not equal “shelter”, and there are actually ongoing improvements to bus stops throughout the system. It takes time to roll out, but the blue poles and new signage also include individual frames with information about how the Stop ID number and how to access TransitTracker, with arrival information for that stop. Improvements to bus stops includes a lot more than shelters and this is ongoing throughout the system.

    There will be TransitTracker signs at all the stops on the Mall next year, just as there will be at rail platforms, but it is far more economical to rely on TransitTracker by Phone at most stops.

    TriMet has cancelled all future Frequent Service routes.

    “Cancelled”? Or postponed? Do you have documentation of that claim?

  129. Jeff F
    August 10, 2008 at 3:21 pm Link

    EngineerScotty Says:

    How are the various types of busses allocated among routes? Is it essentially random what sort of bus will come to pick you up (or for Al, what sort of bus he will be driving on a given shift)? Or are some parts of town given preferential treatment?

    In general, the newer buses are allocated for Frequent Service routes all day, some of which may be interlined with less-frequent service routes so that they can show up on routes that don’t have the same ridership. The oldest buses are used for fill-in and may well show up during rush hour; a bunch of them are currently serving as MAX shuttles.

    It has nothing to do with favored neighborhoods, as you can see from the map:
    http://www.trimet.org/bus/frequentservice.htm

  130. al m
    August 10, 2008 at 4:20 pm Link

    The westside gets the crappy buses!

    It’s a fact! Go see my video on the 76 line which is as crowded as any Portland line yet gets bad service AND bad buses.

    And, while we are talking about transit support mass transit:

    http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/gasprices?rk=epc1Qrdq7BSDW

  131. nuovorecord
    August 10, 2008 at 9:55 pm Link

    The westside gets the crappy buses!

    Really? I ride the 14 and the 70. Pretty much 1400s through 1700s, particularly on the 70. I get a low-floor, A/C bus on the 14 about half the time.

  132. Erik Halstead
    August 10, 2008 at 10:01 pm Link

    EngineerScotty wrote: Let me ask Erik another way.

    Does it matter all that much to you whether the wheels have tires or not? Or is the issue for you one of quality local service, vs quality service along a designated corridor?

    So was my first answer not what you were looking for, or did you care not to read it?

    No, I don’t care what kind of wheels are under the transit vehicle. But it’s clear that light rail costs too much to implement on each and every bus line, so busses are going to remain a fact of life.

    Now, we can either invest in that system until such time that it can/should/will be upgraded to a steel wheel-on-steel rail mode, or we can let our bus system become so pathetic that transit ridership declines in favor of the personal automobile.

    Does that answer your question?

    No, replacing MAX with BRT does not solve anything.

    [Moderator: Italics Corrected.]

  133. Erik Halstead
    August 10, 2008 at 10:12 pm Link

    EngineerScotty wrote: Obviously, the streetcar ain’t running up and down 99W; those tracks were ripped out many years ago. :(

    A streetcar line NEVER ran down “99W” – Barbur Boulevard to Pacific Highway West from downtown Portland to Tigard and points beyond.

    (If you count the section of 99W from downtown north to the junction with 99E, which is now known as Interstate Avenue, that’s a different story. But never south.)

    Not in 1900, not in 1905, not in 1910, not in 1915, not in 1920, not in 1940. The closest thing to a “streetcar” was the Red Electric interurban (not a Streetcar) which did use what is now Barbur Boulevard (then it wasn’t a street) from 4th Avenue downtown to Bertha Boulevard, then Bertha to Hillsdale, private ROW to Beaverton, and what is now the Portland & Western’s Tillamook District to Hillsboro, Seghers District to Forest Grove, (now abandoned) line to St. Joseph, then south to McMinnville and Corvallis.

    The Oregon Electric used what is now I-5 to Multnomah Boulevard, then to Garden Home, then to Greton, Tigard, Tualatin, and on the existing “Oregon Electric” District of the P&W to Eugene.

    Again, not a “streetcar” but an Interurban. Interurbans did not serve the same function as a streetcar.

  134. Erik Halstead
    August 10, 2008 at 10:22 pm Link

    Jeff F. wrote: “bus stop” does not equal “shelter”

    It does on the MAX and Streetcar lines, so why is there a difference of definition on the bus system?

    there are actually ongoing improvements to bus stops throughout the system

    Such as…?

    It takes time to roll out

    TriMet began operations in 1969. 40 years ought to be a sufficient amount of time.

    the blue poles and new signage also include individual frames with information about how the Stop ID number and how to access TransitTracker, with arrival information for that stop

    And can you please explain why TriMet has actively REMOVED this information from all stops along Barbur Boulevard? In the last couple of weeks, all schedule information has been pulled from all Barbur Boulevard stops.

    Improvements to bus stops includes a lot more than shelters

    I’ve commented on that myself.

    this is ongoing throughout the system

    Again, such as?

    far more economical to rely on TransitTracker by Phone at most stops

    I agree. That’s why I also agree it is far more economical to rely on TransitTracker by phone at Streetcar stops, but TriMet finds it in its heart to subsidize the NextBus display signs (which require a cellular phone connection and an electrical connection) at almost all Streetcar stops.

    “Cancelled”? Or postponed? Do you have documentation of that claim?

    First of all, anyone that has prior copies of the TIP before 2008 knows that there were several bus routes that were programmed for Frequent Service.

    This got whittled down to two routes, 31 and 76. They were supposed to go Frequent Service this year.

    Somehow, 31 just disappeared.

    76 just gets added service on Sundays/Holidays in the September timetable change. Still 30 minute headways during M-F rush hours. (I swear that when FS started on this 76/78 stretch north of Tigard that the two busses together provided 10 minute headways, so FS actually increased the headway to 15 minutes. Same with the 54/56 east of Raleigh Hills.)

    None of the programmed routes got re-scheduled.

    So, I guess “delayed indefinitely with absolutely no plan to implement” is a better explanation, but these sounds awfully darn close to “cancelled” to me if you have no intent on actually going it.

  135. Erik Halstead
    August 10, 2008 at 10:26 pm Link

    Jeff F. wrote: In general, the newer buses are allocated for Frequent Service routes all day, some of which may be interlined with less-frequent service routes so that they can show up on routes that don’t have the same ridership.

    I’ve seen quite a few low floors on the 94 Sherwood Express lately.

    Likewise, I’ve seen quite a few 1700/1800s on the 54 Beaverton Hillsdale and 56 Scholls Ferry routes. I’ve also seen a few 1700/1800s on the 12 – in fact in one day I counted FOUR high-floor busses on the 12 line (and for the smart-lipped folks, no, it was not the same bus I saw four different times.)

    54/56 is “Frequent Service”. 94 is…um…not.

  136. al m
    August 10, 2008 at 11:48 pm Link

    “get a low-floor, A/C bus on the 14 about half the time.”

    That’s a hell of a lot better than zero percent of the time!

  137. al m
    August 10, 2008 at 11:59 pm Link

    I always see the 96 with air conditioning, and that only runs peak hours.

    The 76 gets one bus, once every two weeks that is air conditioned.

    Your all trying to convince me that there isn’t a Portland bias, your failing miserably.

  138. Jason Barbour
    August 11, 2008 at 12:27 am Link

    The westside gets the crappy buses! It’s a fact!
    I’ll vouch for that comment.

    I always see the 96 with air conditioning…
    A couple of weeks ago, a 96 I was on was a 1400 series bus, as well as plenty of 1700 series buses on route 94.
    BTW… I noticed that some of the 1400-series buses assigned to… well I’ll call them “temporary routes 21 and 98” ;) were missing some of the interior seats, replaced with a few poles. I wonder if these are the farewell voyages for those buses.

    And can you please explain why TriMet has actively REMOVED this information from all stops along Barbur Boulevard?
    The last time I was in Tigard, the information had effective dates of September 2005 (IIRC), and included the route 95 schedule. I should also mention that at almost every Yellow Line MAX station, the posted schedules have an effective date of September 2005, as well as several downtown stops where normally all three current MAX lines currently run. So the outdated information argument applies to both buses and light rail around here.

    I swear that when FS started on this 76/78 stretch north of Tigard that the two busses together provided 10 minute headways…
    When I rode that section of 76/78 regularly (2000-02), there were four buses an hour. Not exactly 15-minute service (as those routes were called back then), it was off a minute or two in either direction. And yes they were using the same buses that run along those routes today!

  139. Jeff F
    August 11, 2008 at 5:52 am Link

    Erik:

    We sure could use an easier way to handle HTML tags.

    Jeff F. wrote: “bus stop” does not equal “shelter”

    It does on the MAX and Streetcar lines, so why is there a difference of definition on the bus system?

    Uh, because the bus stops every two blocks and because ridership at the location is the determining factor for whether a shelter is installed. Are you seriously suggesting that every bus stop in the system should have a shelter?

    there are actually ongoing improvements to bus stops throughout the system

    Such as…?

    Such as the amenities listed below, and including sidewalk improvements, bus pads, etc. Again, not every bus stop gets a shelter — anywhere.

    And can you please explain why TriMet has actively REMOVED this information from all stops along Barbur Boulevard? In the last couple of weeks, all schedule information has been pulled from all Barbur Boulevard stops.

    The new information is supposed to be installed in an appropriately-sized frame, which means that the old information is pulled and the new frames installed and then the new information installed and it doesn’t ever seem to go as smoothly as it should.

    I agree. That’s why I also agree it is far more economical to rely on TransitTracker by phone at Streetcar stops, but TriMet finds it in its heart to subsidize the NextBus display signs (which require a cellular phone connection and an electrical connection) at almost all Streetcar stops.

    No, sorry. The NextBus signs were chosen and the contract signed by Portland Streetcar; TriMet doesn’t “subsidize” them and would never have installed them in the first place.

  140. Jeff F
    August 11, 2008 at 6:12 am Link

    Jason Barbour Says:

    I should also mention that at almost every Yellow Line MAX station, the posted schedules have an effective date of September 2005, as well as several downtown stops where normally all three current MAX lines currently run. So the outdated information argument applies to both buses and light rail around here.

    Actually, this is because the MAX schedules hadn’t changed since 2005; they require updates far less frequently than buses.

    BTW… I noticed that some of the 1400-series buses assigned to… well I’ll call them “temporary routes 21 and 98” ;) were missing some of the interior seats, replaced with a few poles. I wonder if these are the farewell voyages for those buses.

    There are 40 new buses scheduled to arrive late this year, so the 1400’s will be leaving or pressed into rare use. The seats were removed to increase capacity while they served as shuttle buses.

  141. Jeff F
    August 11, 2008 at 6:40 am Link

    And, admins, if y’all ever want to nominate your blog for the world’s slowest server, I’d be happy to add my vote. I literally took a shower and got half way through shaving off the weekend stubble while a comment posted.

  142. Bob R.
    August 11, 2008 at 9:27 am Link

    Jeff –

    Nomination accepted, but it’s not the server, it’s the software. This version of Movable Type is configured to serve the site as static HTML pages. This is _supposed_ to be faster for highly-read web sites, but what really happens is that Movable Type tediously rebuilds many pages whenever someone posts or comments. I think it would be better just to serve up pages dynamically as needed.

    I’ve installed other software for other clients at the same hosting company and everything is snappy, so I blame Movable Type. But Chris and I haven’t had the time to really look into upgrades/alternatives. Obviously, something needs to change soon.

  143. Bob R.
    August 11, 2008 at 9:43 am Link

    (Clarification: When I say I’ve installed other software for other clients, PortlandTransport is not one of my clients — this is a volunteer gig using software which was already set up.)

  144. Jeff F
    August 11, 2008 at 10:37 am Link

    Erik:

    This got whittled down to two routes, 31 and 76. They were supposed to go Frequent Service this year.

    None of the programmed routes got re-scheduled.

    So, I guess “delayed indefinitely with absolutely no plan to implement” is a better explanation, but these sounds awfully darn close to “cancelled” to me if you have no intent on actually going it.

    Not cancelled, as it turns out. The new TIP document, which should be released this week, lists new FS routes and both the 76 and 31 are on the top of the list, although the 31 changes are scheduled to happen in conjunction with opening of the Green Line next Fall.

  145. Erik Halstead
    August 11, 2008 at 8:39 pm Link

    Jeff F. wrote: because the bus stops every two blocks and because ridership at the location is the determining factor for whether a shelter is installed. Are you seriously suggesting that every bus stop in the system should have a shelter?

    It should be the exception that a bus stop be unimproved – a seldom used bus stop that serves a small number of users because of a unique location.

    Likewise, why should every Streetcar and MAX stop be fully developed? Why could not some Streetcar stops be nothing more than a sidewalk and a stop sign (don’t say it can’t be done, as the Seattle Streetcar has at least one stop that is exactly like this and it uses the same exact vehicle.)

    Such as the amenities listed below, and including sidewalk improvements, bus pads, etc. Again, not every bus stop gets a shelter — anywhere.

    Good job providing zero examples. TriMet can publish anything they want in their TIPs. Let’s see actual examples. (Photos would be nice.)

    The new information is supposed to be installed in an appropriately-sized frame, which means that the old information is pulled and the new frames installed and then the new information installed and it doesn’t ever seem to go as smoothly as it should.

    That is an EXCUSE. TriMet spent a lot of money on those bus stop signs and schedule frames, there needs to be posted schedules at their stops.

    Mind you, TriMet’s website says that all Frequent Service bus stops WILL have these. So either TriMet needs to honor their own advertisements or update their websites to reflect that TriMet cannot post schedules and the Transit Tracker stop ID numbers at Frequent Service bus stops.

    The NextBus signs were chosen and the contract signed by Portland Streetcar; TriMet doesn’t “subsidize” them and would never have installed them in the first place.

    Then why is there a $5M plus line item in TriMet’s 2007 budget for it (that I obtained a copy of through a third-party)?

    The new TIP document, which should be released this week, lists new FS routes and both the 76 and 31 are on the top of the list, although the 31 changes are scheduled to happen in conjunction with opening of the Green Line next Fall.

    And what is the reason for the delay in these bus improvements? And why does the 31 now move up ahead of the 76 – because it is a MAX feeder (although 76 does connect with MAX as well, much of its function has little to do with MAX)?

  146. Jeff F
    August 11, 2008 at 9:00 pm Link

    Erik Halstead Says:

    It should be the exception that a bus stop be unimproved – a seldom used bus stop that serves a small number of users because of a unique location.

    Likewise, why should every Streetcar and MAX stop be fully developed? Why could not some Streetcar stops be nothing more than a sidewalk and a stop sign (don’t say it can’t be done, as the Seattle Streetcar has at least one stop that is exactly like this and it uses the same exact vehicle.)

    Streetcar and MAX stations are not “stops”, first of all. You keep throwing Streetcar into the equation as if there TriMet had some control over how Streetcar stations are configured, but basically, the bus stops in the system that meet a threshold of ridership get shelters; all the MAX stations meet that threshold, in large part because they are not stops, they are stations and they are not located every two blocks.

    Portland Streetcar has its own criteria for locating stations and for amenities. You should take that up with them, but I have no idea why they should reduce amenities just to prove to you that they’re no better than the bus.

    Good job providing zero examples. TriMet can publish anything they want in their TIPs. Let’s see actual examples. (Photos would be nice.)

    I provided examples of the improvements at stops throughout the system. It sounds like you need to get out in the system more than just your own route.

    That is an EXCUSE. TriMet spent a lot of money on those bus stop signs and schedule frames, there needs to be posted schedules at their stops.

    It’s not an excuse, it’s fact. There are not going to be schedules, incidentally, because it’s not possible to keep them up to date throughout the entire system. They will have the necessary information for accessing TransitTracker by Phone, as well as information (including a map) about the route.

    Mind you, TriMet’s website says that all Frequent Service bus stops WILL have these. So either TriMet needs to honor their own advertisements or update their websites to reflect that TriMet cannot post schedules and the Transit Tracker stop ID numbers at Frequent Service bus stops.

    An update is probably in order. The Stop ID numbers will be at all the stops on Frequent Service routes, but not schedules (those will be available only in shelters). And it says “will have” them; that doesn’t mean it happens overnight.

    Then why is there a $5M plus line item in TriMet’s 2007 budget for it (that I obtained a copy of through a third-party)?

    There is a $5M line item subsidizing NextBus signs? TriMet provides Operating funds for the Streetcar, but TriMet does not manage their budget, and certainly doesn’t have a line item veto.

    I posted the information necessary for you to request a copy of any public document from TriMet, including the budget. You should not have to rely on a third party.

    And what is the reason for the delay in these bus improvements? And why does the 31 now move up ahead of the 76 – because it is a MAX feeder (although 76 does connect with MAX as well, much of its function has little to do with MAX)?

    I don’t believe I said the 31 “moved up ahead of the 76”. In fact, I specifically mentioned that the 31 would wait until Fall of 2009. Delays are invariably tied to budget. We’d all love to have enough money to fund our favorite projects and priorities, but choices have to be made.

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