TriMet’s frequent service network is an important element of the regional transportation system. But there’s a larger network (which includes the frequent network) which offers a level of service lower than the FS network, but which is nonetheless a critical service gradient. I speak of seven-day service.
TriMet has generated (and received) a lot of publicity for its frequent service network. While TriMet’s definition of “frequent” is lackluster by international standards (in many parts of the world, “frequent service” means “you can always see the next bus/train coming”, not “every 15 minutes during rush hour”), having service that runs frequently enables the rider to simply show up and catch a bus, without having to worry (too much) about a schedule. TriMet’s example helped inspire many other agencies (and transit activists unconnected with the agencies they patronize) to produce their own frequent service maps, highlighting the parts of the system which are convenient to use.
However, there’s a lower standard of service, offered by many (but not all) TriMet lines, which is also important: seven-day-service. Many TriMet offerings aren’t frequent, running only at half-hourly (or worse) headways, but at least run seven days of the week. Just as frequent service is an important service gradient in that it enables riders to throw away the timetable; seven-day service is important because they can throw away the calendar.
When an area is well-served by seven-day service, this makes car-free living practical, as residents will always have some access to transit, at least during daylight hours. In areas only served with a lesser standard of service–both weekday-only and six-day (no Sundays) service are commonplace in the region–there’s at least one day of the week when people need another way to get around. While far less commerce occurs on Sundays than other days, it still occurs; and weekends are of particular importance for retail employers. Why is this important? Many retail jobs are lower-paying; and many retail workers are thus likely to be transit users. But if their job requires them to work weekends, it’s too far to walk or bike, and the bus isn’t running… this provides an incentive to go out and buy a car. And once that is done, there’s little more incentive to use transit at all–much of the expense of car ownership is incurred even when the car sits in the garage.
As a result, ideally all lines providing primarily residential service ought to have seven-day service at a minimum.
There are a few exceptions, of course.
- Peak-hour commuter lines which are redundant with a regular-service seven-day line, such as the TriMet 99.
- Lines which primarily exist to serve an office park, factory, college, or other facility which is not open seven days a week.
- Commuter lines which, while not redundant with seven-day service, are targeted towards white-collar commuters with M-F schedules.
Beyond that, lines which don’t run every day are limiting their potential ridership base.
Where are the seven-day lines?
To highlight the importance of seven-day service, we have created a seven-day service map. A thumbnail is below, here for a full-size map. It is an “integrated” map which includes both TriMet and C-TRAN routes. (Unfortunately, SMART offers no Sunday service anywhere in the system).
For those who prefer prose to pictures, here’s a list of all the seven-day service routes, including the frequent service ones. Note that several frequent-service routes only offer frequent service over part of the line, with a lesser standard of service at the extremities.
TriMet’s seven-day routes are:
- 4-Division/Fessenden. FS
- 6-MLK Jr. Boulevard. FS.
- 8-Jackson Park/NE 15th. FS. It would be rather useful if TriMet could extend this one to Delta Park to connect with the Yellow Line and C-TRAN, by the way.
- 9-Powell/Broadway. FS between downtown and I-205; 7-day service in NE Portland and E. of I-205.
- 12-Barbur/Sandy Blvd. FS between King City and Parkrose; 7-day service between Sherwood and King City and east of Parkrose.
- 14-Hawthorne. FS.
- 15-Belmont/NW 23rd. FS between NW 23rd and Gateway; branches west of NW 23rd.
- 17-Holgate/NW 21st, between downtown and 134th/Holgate. (No Sunday service to Sauvie Island).
- 31-King Rd, between Milwaukie and Clackamas Town Center (no Sunday service downtown)
- 33-McLoughlin. FS from Oregon City TC north; all-day non frequent service to Clackamas Community College.
- 44-Capitol Hwy/Mocks Crest
- 45-Garden Home, between Tigard and Multnomah Village (no Sunday service downtown)
- 54-Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy FS east of Raleigh Hills (multiplex with 56). 7-day service to Beaverton.
- 56-Scholls Ferry Road. FS east of Raleigh Hills (multiplex with 54); 7-day service to Washington Square.
- 57-TV Hwy/Forest Grove. FS
- 58-Canyon Rd
- 62-Murray Bvld
- 70-12th Ave
- 71-60th/122nd Ave (by far the most oddly-shaped route in the system)
- 72-Killingsworth/82nd. FS
- 73-NE 33rd Ave
- 75-Lombard/39th (Cesar Chavez). FS.
- 78-Beaverton/Lake Oswego
- 79-Clackamas/Oregon City
- 80-Kane/Troutdale Rd
While C-TRAN doesn’t define “frequent service”, they do have several lines which provide seven-day service, and one which likely meets TriMet’s frequent service definition. C-TRAN’s “limited” lines (lines with only one inbound and one outbound run daily) are excluded.
- 3-City Center.
- 4-Fourth Plain. FS.
- 7-Battle Ground
- 25-Fruit Valley and St. Johns
- 32-Hazel Dell & Evergreen/Andresen.
- 37-Highway 99 and Mill Plain. 20-minute headways.
- 78-78th Street
- 80-Vancouver Mall/Fischer’s Landing
Corrections to the above table/map are of course welcome. I seldom visit Vancouver and and not very familiar with C-TRAN’s system, so it is likely to contain errors in particular. Have a happy Fourth!