On the heels of an analysis that Streetcar farebox revenue was only about half what is expected, the Portland Mercury publishes an article further detailing the Streetcar’s funding woes. One interesting tidbit is that much of the revenue shortfall is not due to fare evasion, but due to TriMet passholders riding the Streetcar:
According to Portland Transport’s very own Chris Smith, who sits on Portland Streetcar’s board of directors:
We’re seeing more of our ridership be pass-holders than expected…
If TriMet handles the sales, they keep the money. It’s not necessarily a fare collection problem or a ridership problem.
While it’s a good thing for TriMet if people buy TriMet passes (allowing use of the entire system) rather than Streetcar passes (good only on the Streetcar), this isn’t necessarily a good thing for the Streetcar agency itself, which operates on rather tight budget constraints. Of course, TriMet does help subsidize Streetcar operations….
CL line ridership will probably increase in two years, when MLR opens and the line’s OMSI terminus turns from transit no-man’s-land to a major connection point, and ample transfer opportunities from both MLR and the various bus lines that use the new bridge. On the other hand, virtually all of these riders will have (or need) Trimet tickets and/or passes, and have no particular reason to buy a Streetcar-only ticket.