Fare Relief

TriMet has a new program for distributing fares to low-income system users via non-profit providers.

So for example if you were going to a non-profit medical clinic and were income-qualified, the clinic could provide with you with free tickets for your visit.

TriMet is putting about $300K into this program, with up to $25K in fares going to any one non-profit. Ride Connection will administer the program for TriMet.

Details here.


7 responses to “Fare Relief”

  1. “putting 300k into this program” – isn’t this not exactly true as they’re just giving away 300k in free fares? That is money that would not necessarily have been recovered at the farebox

  2. TriMet is putting about $300K into this program,

    Now ya knew I was gonna bring this up right?


    That’s only 1/3 of the executive pay raises!
    That’s insulting as far as I am concerned.

    The oligarchy reigns supreme….

  3. I do think it is a sad case that TriMet only gives pennies to aid drivers, a fraction of what they give their higher ups in raises, barely more than the annual income of McFarlane himself, to tens of thousands of impoverished riders… Yet we’d seem ungrateful and spoiled if we pointed out that’s not nearly enough. And I’m certain that if the union doesn’t give up, this program, not the king’s ransom of higher up raises, is first to go. It hardly seems like a token of assistance when you realize the surrounding situation. It seems more like throwing a bone to get the opposing riders to recede. It’s 120k tickets, to split among the many impoverished, and as helpful as it may seem I see it playing a role to make the opposition look foolish in counterargument. “Yea, we gave ourselves a million in raises and cut millions in service and lied, but we gave you free tickets, so you have no right to complain.”

    Why, yes, my cynicism IS showing.

  4. One problem with many of these programs is that they aren’t often stable programs, due to instability of funding (much of which comes from grants and other one-time sources).

    The sorta-big-news yesterday in Portland-area public transit was the ATU’s press release tying the upcoming electronic fare system, with last year’s fare increase–suggesting, essentially, that TriMet raised fares to pay for a shiny new toy (the fare system) while blaming it on the mean and nasty union.

    While ATU has a point–the switch to a flat fare system was something that TriMet had been long considering (and as the old political advice goes, “never let a crisis go to waste”), some of the other accusations seem to be overwrought. For one thing, ATU seems to regard a white paper on the subject as a top-secret document that TriMet has been concealing from the public–apparently unaware that Portland Transport published it last year (with TriMet’s blessing). And given that money is fungible, arguing over which line item in the budget the fare increase “paid for” strikes me as pointless.

    Ignoring the conspiracy theories, though, the flat fare system does have a disparate impact on the poor. Any fare increase will impact the poor more intensely, and the conversion to flat fares arguably placed an even bigger burden on the poor, many of whom often make shorter trips that previously could be done on a 1-2 zone ticket. OTOH, suburban commuters who were using all-zone tickets (or passes) didn’t see fares jump as much.

  5. Max,

    The Fare Relief grant program is from a portion of the $1m that the TriMet board allocated in June. The balance of the funding is being used for other mitigation measures, including a discount program for non-profits who purchase fare. TriMet is also looking at some other partnerships with counties, but I don’t know the details.

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