TriMet Orange Line “First Ride” – Interviews

Portland Transport was invited along with other local media to cover Friday Morning’s TriMet Orange Line “First Ride” press event.

During the ride, and just after, we were able to briefly interview TriMet management and public officials, including:

  • Neil McFarlane, General Manager, TriMet
  • Jeff Merkley, US Senator, Oregon (D)
  • Steve Novick, Commissioner, City of Portland
  • Kate Brown, Governor, State of Oregon
  • Chris Tucker, Director of Revenue Operations, TriMet

Topics addressed were the role of the city, state, and federal government in transit funding, the current political climate, what transit lines will use the bridge, what will be done with funds now that the project is under-budget, the transfer situation in Milwuakie, the new fare system, and others…

The video also includes footage out the window and from the cab during the round-trip, interspersed with the questions (although it does not necessarily match the timeline of the interviews).

11 responses to “TriMet Orange Line “First Ride” – Interviews”

  1. Great video, Bob.

    I’m really hesitant on the future of the fare system for tourists if we’re going to require people to install and set up an app (that’s only good in Portland) or go to a TVM to buy a fare. They pretty much limits tourists to only the streetcar and MAX if they aren’t comfortable with an app.

    Hopefully the retail network will be a lot more robust than it was before I switched to the mobile ticketing app. My dad would rent a car before he’d deal with installing an app to ride a bus.

    • I understand that one of the things under consideration (not set in stone) is that in locations like the airport, where you find a lot of new or one-time riders, there will be a special TVM that sells you a card with the value you pay loaded on it.

      But TriMet really wants to avoid being in the business of maintaining a large network of TVMs. They’d rather that whatever card you already have in your wallet, once registered, will be the card you use on the system, or that you purchase a card through a retail channel, such as a grocery store or convenience store.

      So that leaves open the question of how many of these special new TVMs (if any) they’d procure, and where they’d be sited. The airport and Amtrak stations (plural) served by TriMet seem like obvious choices. To that I’d add major sports and event venues. Plenty of people may arrive at those by other means, then decide they’d like a transit trip home (been drinking, lost ride, got separated from friends, had to leave early, etc.)

      • He didn’t really mention it, but a big advantage of the system over current generation ones like ORCA is that it will be compatible with chip-enabled credit cards and phones that can emulate them. For those people, it should be no different than purchasing something in a retail store, with no account to set up.

        Also. he/they’ve made it clear that they are hoping to get the TriMet-only cards (for cash users) into the gift card stream, so they could be readily sold lots of places.

  2. Did the new governor strike anyone else as the “anti-Kitzhaber”? She said one vacant thing in pretty much exactly the same way three times. She clearly doesn’t have much of a clue about transportation policy. Her advisers will make it for the balance of this administration; I hope they’re competent.

    Can anybody imagine John Kitzhaber not having an informed, nuanced opinion that irritates most everyone but is a pretty optimum expression of what’s politically possible?

    • I did find the answers given on the train to be lacking. (I included the full exchange with the governor in the video, that’s all I was able to get.) However, at the podium I think the governor’s remarks were more interesting (and dare I say genuine-esque) than the other presenters. I haven’t posted the podium speeches because they were basically boilerplate, but if anyone is interested in seeing the governor’s remarks I can put that together reasonably quickly.

      • Bob,

        Thanks for the reply. And thanks for the clarification that at least her prepared speech was thoughtful.

          • An old show business adage that applies equally to politics, and to keep in mind when discussing how “genuine” a politician is:

            “The most important thing in show business is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made”.

            (Interestingly, last month Governor Brown finally moved to fill the two vacancies on TriMet’s board, nominating Shelley Martin, a HR administrator for Fred Meyer, and Lori Bauman, a lawyer with the Portland law firm Ater Wynne.)

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