TriMet service cutbacks, fare increases and bicycling impacts

random shots need to edit

(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This morning, TriMet unveiled a proposal of service cuts and fare increases they plan to move forward with in order to make up for a $17 million budget shortfall. If you’re a fan of transit, and of making our city one that is less reliant on private automobiles, this is not good news.

The changes include a transformation of the existing fare system by; eliminating zones, no longer allowing a round-trip on one ticket, doing away with the ‘Free Rail Zone’ (formerly known as Fareless Square), reducing MAX train service, and cutting low-volume bus lines.

Local writer, activist, and carfree mom Sarah Gilbert (yes that Sarah Gilbert), summed up how those changes will impact her family in a guest post on the Taking the Lane blog (note that her article was written before the budget proposal was made public; but she says her analysis remains valid):

“The proposed fare policy would force families with young children off the bus entirely. Most would go back to the car for errands and other short trips. The bus aisles will be clear of strollers. But the streets will be clogged with cars.”

I can vouch for Gilbert’s prediction. Even before these changes, the cost of TriMet fares for my family have led us to use the mini-van over taking the train or bus on more than one occasion. I know other people who tell similar stories. Trip choice is about competition and the cost of a trip plays a big role in people’s choices. As fares rise, transit will become an even less competitive option.

Yes, some people will turn to bicycling; but given the lack of connectivity and quality in many of our urban bikeways and the added complication of traveling with small children on family errands, bikes are not as attractive for everyone. The way I see it, this just adds urgency to making our streets safer to bike on for 8-80 year olds (and it creates an even healthier market for cargo bikes!).

That being said, if the fare increases and service reductions make transit less competitive, bicycling becomes an even more appealing option. And historical usage trends show that — despite a huge disparity in investment in the bike network versus the transit network — bike use is trending upward at a faster rate than transit use.

According to the City of Portland’s 2011 Community Survey (conducted by the Auditor’s Office), 7% of Portlanders bike to work and 12% take transit. In inner northeast Portland, there is actually a greater percentage of bike riders (14) than transit users (13).

While biking might see a blip, since about 65% of Portlanders still drive alone to work and for other trips, it’s likely we’ll see more cars on the roads.

Another aspect of this issue is the importance of an accessible and affordable transit network as a natural ally of a quality bike network. In cities that work, biking and transit are seamless and they feed off each other. TriMet’s MAX cuts to Beaverton specifically will impact the many bike commuters who rely on the train to get them up and over the west hills.

As our friend Andrew Seger says via Twitter, “The max cuts to Beaverton really hurts bike commuters, the west hills are a tall challenge & the bike hooks are full right now.”

My hunch is there aren’t as many transit advocates/activists in Portland as their are bike advocates/activists. On this issue, I think we should all be singing from the same sheet of music. On that note, there is one local non-profit, OPAL (Facebook), that is doing some great work to speak up for transit access. They had a meeting about it last night and they’ve got another one planned for tonight…

If you would like to get involved with this issue and help influence TriMet’s budget, consider getting involved with OPAL. TriMet is also holding a series of “informal open houses to answer questions and gather input from the public.” Details are below:

    Saturday, Feb. 11
    Beaverton Library Conf. Room
    12375 SW 5th St.
    1-3 p.m.

    Monday, Feb. 13
    Multnomah County’s East County Health Ctr.
    Sharron Kelly A & B
    600 NE 8th Street, Gresham
    4:30-6:30 p.m.

    Wednesday, Feb. 15
    Portland Building Room C
    1120 SW 5th Ave.
    4:30-6:30 p.m.

    Thursday, Feb. 16
    Clackamas Town Center
    Community Room Lower Level
    12000 SE 82nd Ave.
    4:30-6:30 p.m.

As (I assume) someone who cares about bicycling, what are your thoughts about the TriMet situation? Is this something more bike advocates should get fired up about?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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9watts
9watts
12 years ago

I have not generally gotten the sense that Trimet manages its funds terribly well.

Eliminating the round trip option seems ill-conceived since by their own admission it affects only 5% of trips. Having said that, the proposed fare increases don’t seem particularly different from what we’ve seen in recent years.

Now service cuts, that is a whole n’other kettle of fish, and I find that to be a terrible idea.

I will again recommend reading Rodney Tolley’s books (e.g., The Greening of Urban Transport) on the degree to which transit can never substitute for the flexibility of the car (and biking and walking).

Gregg
12 years ago
Reply to  9watts

I have not generally gotten the sense that ODOT manages its funds terrible well. They spend how many hundreds of millions of dollars to get cars around and they don’t make ANY money? Again they lose money year after year. They should have their funding cut!

As a driver, I think that I (And other drivers) should not have our parking subsidized so much. Oil companies shouldn’t have so many subsidies. I shouldn’t get to drive through the expensive tunnel to Beaverton for free and across the expensive 1-5 and 1-205 bridges for free.

I do think that we should eliminate obstacles to folks that want to bike and take transit. This would include Trimet fares. If the state/ city made drivers pay our fair share, Trimet would be free city wide and the bicycle master plan would be funded and built.

captainkarma
captainkarma
12 years ago

One of the reasons we moved here was for the transit. Oh well. The poor & working classes get shafted AGAIN.

captainkarma
captainkarma
12 years ago
Reply to  captainkarma

And has there ever been a fare *reduction* in history? That’s the rub. I feel these changes will be forever, even if the shortfall is eliminated.

John Lascurettes
12 years ago
Reply to  captainkarma

Fare reductions come in the form of lack of fare increase over long periods of time (when that ever happens). You know, sort of like gas tax not going up (even when that does, it does not compensate for inflation).

Chris I
Chris I
12 years ago

Truncating the #12 at Parkrose TC will contribute directly to me riding or driving to work more. I already have to walk over a mile for the one seat ride into work, and this will turn it into two seats and make it 15-30 minutes longer than riding. On those really nasty weather days, I’m going to drive, not take the bus.

They are also eliminating several of the late night runs. We can think of them as drunk busses. There WILL be more drunk drivers on the road now.

Will Vanlue (Contributor)
Reply to  Chris I

Cutting off the #12 at Tigard TC at the other end is going to cause the exact same problems you talk about.

TriMet doesn’t have parking at all its stops and it can’t reliably deliver spaces for bikes on the bus so it’s tough use a bike to fill in the gaps they’re creating by cutting off the lines.

Biking from either Parkrose or Tigard TC into downtown Portland is a long, dangerous ride but bus service is degrading so much in far out areas that it’s sometimes simpler to bike.

9watts
9watts
12 years ago

If Trimet planners were on the ball (and had, for instance, read the City of Portland’s Peak Oil Task Force Report) they’d be thinking about and advocating for expansion of service as the feasibility for driving decrease in the (near) future.
And I’m not singling out Trimet here, ODOT, PBOT, PDC, Metro, etc. could all be paying a lot more attention to anticipated future contractions of automobility rather than pretending that somehow this all doesn’t concern us.

The fiscal woes we’re experiencing right now will look paltry compared to what is in store. So if we can’t get our act together under the present circumstances, I hold out very little hope for the future of transportation planning.

It is probably worth repeating. Biking–becoming conversant with a bike-as-primary-transport–is the most resilient, and almost certainly cheapest way to meet these future challenges.
When things get rough we’ll discover that we don’t actually need special infrastructure to get around on foot or on a bike. Fewer cars will more than make up for the flaws in our current system.

Chris Rall
12 years ago

Yes.We should be fired up about these service cuts and fare hikes. We should help TriMet figure out how to meet its budget in the least painful way possible, and we all need to help TriMet get adequate funding in the future by advocating for it. The U.S. House’s federal transportation bill, HR 7, which could go to the floor next week, could make things far worse by eliminating dedicated funding for transit, AND bike and pedestrian safety. Go to t4america.org to find out how to fight back.

Andyc
Andyc
12 years ago

The sheet of music may have different movements, but it all works as a whole transportation symphony, as it were. There will be a drastic line cut where I live, and this will hurt many commuting. I see it as a total mass-transit equation. Everything but automobiles helps us all.

RH
RH
12 years ago

“no longer allowing a round-trip on one ticket” seems utterly wrong. Just make the fares time based and not direction based. If I purchase a 2 hour ticket, I should be able to use it however I choose for that 2 hours. Let’s not complicate things for transit riders!

I think they should give a 10% discount if you purchase a monthly pass. That may entice people to purchase them monthly versus weekly, etc…

Alan 1.0
Alan 1.0
12 years ago
Reply to  RH

You can’t really calculate a percentage discount between per-use passes and per-time passes (apples & oranges) but TriMet already offers daily, weekly, monthly and annual fares. The break-even point is the 39th trip for the monthly pass, or the 36th trip for the annual pass (assuming no round trips on single tickets). Long-term passes take care of the round trip problem and they offer greater convenience, but they still add up for a family. I wonder about lowering the break-even price (say, below 30 single fares for a monthly) and offering either a family pass or a child-traveling-with-parent pass at attractive price points. Attracting long-term pass buyers reduces transaction costs to TriMet.

Andrew Seger
Andrew Seger
12 years ago

This is really bad. For biking the max cuts to the west side will be especially hard. Getting through the west hills off peak to sunset or Beaverton will now be a three times a day on trains that were already hard to find a bike hook on. I think the city should consider opening up Washington park roads to bikes 24 hours a day so we can keep one of the few viable ways over the west hills. Simply replace the gates with removable bollards and make it at least slightly viable as a commuting option.

Another modest proposal: TriMet should fund bike share in areas where they cut back service. Lower costs and it runs 24 hours a day. Would you rather have a 9 bus that ran every 50 minutes or bike share kiosks along the entire route?

Andrew Seger
Andrew Seger
12 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Seger

*should be three times an hour. TriMet isn’t that bad. Yet.

Mark Allyn
12 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Seger

I go through the park early in the morning. If the gates are closed, I can get off the bike and squeeze under them. I don’t let the gates stop me.

Andrew Seger
Andrew Seger
12 years ago
Reply to  Mark Allyn

I go through them too mostly late at night if I’ve missed the last max. It’s more of a pain in the neck when you’re headed west and have to hop off and kill all that hard earned momentum. Just seems like a relatively low cost solution considering a parks employee has to go and close the gates everyday. Plus we are technically breaking the law 🙂

BURR
BURR
12 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Seger

I believe the gates are actually opened and closed by contract security guards, not P&R employees.

Greg Haun
Greg Haun
12 years ago
Reply to  BURR

PP&R has started installing special bike-pass-through gates. Seems feasible to add more. There’s one in Washington Park already:

http://maps.google.com/?ll=45.519645,-122.701353&spn=0.001278,0.00235&t=m&z=19&layer=c&cbll=45.519735,-122.700846&panoid=jJuSdCb3EvguuZcOl355zg&cbp=12,271.85,,1,2.84

JDL
JDL
12 years ago

Which Sarah Gilbert?

...
...
12 years ago
Reply to  JDL

I think Jonathon’s referring to the one who played Darlene on Roseanne.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sara_Gilbert

JDL
JDL
12 years ago
Reply to  ...

or is it this Sarah Gilbert? http://www.cafemama.com/aboutme.html. Not the same person, I think.

Sarah Gilbert
12 years ago
Reply to  JDL

yes, I’m the less famous Sarah-with-an-h. I do get a lot of tweets intended for the other one, tho! (so glad I’m not that famous. the people, they judge hard)

Joe Rowe
Joe Rowe
12 years ago

These fares hikes put more burden on people without cars, and it’s done to fill the budget gap caused by bad management.

This is a wake up call that Tri-met should be elected board, not appointed by the governor and land developers. Trimet managers are scapegoating unions while they hire more assistants and travel all over the world on fat salaries. Where is the sunshine on all spending? All we have is sunshine that blames workers who serve and need heathcare.

About 10% of the budget ( and growing ) is debt from building premium rail used to boost Pearl Developer pockets and those of homeowners in Milwaukee. Bus riders are being forced to fill in that gap.

I speak for me, not OPAL or any NGO.

Learn the truth, go to OPAL for a training Wed night at 6pm, Just at the corner of 49th and SE Division.

Rol
Rol
12 years ago

We could easily close that budget gap using all the extra cash we’ve got lying around from taxing corporations and the rich appropriately, from not going to war in faraway lands, from the robust manufacturing tax base we kept onshore all these years, and from the past 30 years’ gradual & sustained societal movement away from wasteful activities like automobile use.

*SNORT*

Hey guys, what time is it? Just woke up from the most amazing dream…

davemess
davemess
12 years ago

cuts to MAX service? Trains are already way too spaced out and now they want to make people wait longer? LAME!

Champs
Champs
12 years ago

I’ll be biking whenever possible, anyway, but I might just find a little more motivation on those “don’t wanna” days if it’s five bucks just to catch a ride a mile down the way to the grocery store and back.

I expect a lot of heat for this, but if TriMet’s numbers are to be believed, they really do need relief from employee healthcare costs. They’re already expensive, and will continue to grow faster than inflation. This is the same reason that college tuition keeps rising.

Turning health insurance into just that—coverage for significant events—really drives down plan costs. People behave differently when they order from the menu instead of walking up to the buffet table. While that free lunch sounds like the kind of benefit we could all enjoy, I’d rather see the money in my wallet (possibly spent on some new bike toys) or folded into other operations.

Michael M.
12 years ago
Reply to  Champs

I’m only following part of your logic. TriMet certainly does need relief from healthcare costs, at least as much as the rest of us do. But I can’t fathom what you’re getting at with menus or buffet tables. Every industrialized nation except the U.S. has some form of universal healthcare and all provide it it spending far less per capita than the U.S. does with significantly better health outcomes. TriMet’s healthcare problem (though that’s only one of its problems) isn’t caused by menus or buffets, it’s caused by the irrational distortions in costs and pricing resulting from our convoluted healthcare system. Fix that, and we’ll fix a hefty portion of funding problems that bedevil a lot of government services. More importantly, we’ll actually start recognizing that the dignity and worth of human beings is more important than the CEO of Cigna receiving $123 million in total compensation in one year. Maybe it’s time we joined the civilized world?

Chris I
Chris I
12 years ago
Reply to  Champs

The problem is accountability. There less incentive for the bus driver to lead a healthy life, as he pays nothing for the adverse effects. We have the same problem at my company.

Michael M.
12 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

What evidence do you have for that view? Can you point me to any study that shows if access to healthcare is widely and easily available, healthcare costs increase? Because every piece of evidence I’ve ever seen indicates otherwise — if everyone has access to care, people stay healthier and there is less serious illness, which is more expensive to treat. How do you think most nations with universal access to care both hold costs down and have healthier populations than the U.S.? It sounds like you’re blaming individuals for a systemic failure, which of course is what a lot people who take a dim view of bicyclists do.

deborah
deborah
12 years ago

I really wish they’d consider congestion fees, raising gas taxes, registration and parking fees to fund trimet’s budgetary shortfalls instead of looking to the people that have already made sustainable transportation choices to foot the bill. Funding public transportation shouldn’t be this hard when there are so many people willing to spend a hefty amount in vanity car payments. The cost of car ownership needs to start reflecting its true cost to the entire cities populus!

BURR
BURR
12 years ago

this would be a major SNAFU on TriMet’s part

Joe
Joe
12 years ago

Another reason to create more bike routes.

Rol
Rol
12 years ago

This is a great way to drive away fare revenue and create an even bigger budget gap. Talk about a downward spiral. Depending on the severity and inconvenience of the cuts, all my trips to work in Hillsboro might convert to bike trips. I’m actually sort of tempted to do that even now, pre-cuts (and keep an extra $92/month instead of giving it to TriMet), for several reasons, the most bikey of which is: If I reject the idea that I require motorized assistance for my basic mobility, then that applies to public transit too, not just private cars.

On a tangent: I frequently find myself lamenting the lack of a bike path through the westside MAX tunnel. For an extra few feet on the diameter of the boring machine, it could’ve been added on. But of course that sensible, synergistic, cheap (compared to building a whole separate tunnel) option was too expensive for something that’s outside TriMet’s explicit mission (which it’s now failing to perform). The irony makes my head hurt.

Bjorn
Bjorn
12 years ago

Trimet needs to eliminate the monthly LIFT pass immediately. LIFT sucks up 10% of Tri-met’s budget while providing 1% of the rides. The first time someone uses LIFT for a round trip the cost of service has already surpassed what they pay for the monthly pass. At the very least they should be paying per ride to discourage abuse of the system.

Alexis
Alexis
12 years ago
Reply to  Bjorn

If you read TriMet’s page on the cuts, you’ll see they are making some cuts to LIFT services as well but do have to follow ADA regulations… meaning, they can’t just “eliminate” it because that’s “illegal”

Jon
Jon
12 years ago

Considering the gold plated benefit package that the union members get at Trimet, this is completely understandable. While normal private employee benefits get slashed, according to the Oregonian: “TriMet employees have one of the best benefits packages in the nation, with the agency paying 100 percent of a composite rate for medical costs for full-time employees, dependents and retirees. An annual TriMet audit released last week showed fringe benefits now are 152 percent of wages.”
Where I work, every year we have higher co-pays, larger deductables and more out of pocket expenses for medical coverage. When I retire, I get to pay all my own medical coverage.

Paul Souders
Paul Souders
12 years ago

We’re getting a major reduction in service in my neighborhood — I’ll now be almost 2 miles from the nearest stop, and it mostly runs at rush hour — but service was so poor to begin with I’d basically given up riding TriMet altogether.

So I bought a backup bike 🙂

John Lascurettes
12 years ago
Reply to  Paul Souders

This is the endless spiral that TriMet is on.

Because people aren’t riding, it is not an indication of people not being willing to ride it – more so it is that the level of service isn’t high enough for people to be willing to rely on it. So what’s TriMet’s response? Cut service even further, guaranteeing that people served by those routes stay away even more.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Indy
Indy
12 years ago

It was tri-met’s increase in fares and decrease in perceived service that actually got me off my ass in the first place years ago to start riding my bike again for commuting during spring/summer/fall and walking during winter.

This only solidifies me in making a higher percentage of my trips via bike/walk and less on transit and car.

I understand why tri-met has to do this: Their union is a tad unreasonable in their demands. Not my problem to support a union at MY expense, however.

Emre Yildirim
Emre Yildirim
12 years ago

I just got interviewed by some folks at KGW (Channel 8) on this blog post, on my way to work. I gave the usual argument that any price increases to public transit will affect cyclists because of increased number of cars on the road. I also complained a bit that the MAX cars don’t have enough designated spaces for bikes. But my main argument was that public transit needs to be funded and made available/kept cheap because cycling infrastructure is directly tied to it. Plus, there are many psychological/health benefits to riding a bike in the morning. I know all of that won’t be included in the footage, but let’s hope they don’t twist my words around with their fancy video editing.

Greg
Greg
12 years ago

Fares should be increased to the level necessary to support the transit system’s operating budget.

9watts
9watts
12 years ago
Reply to  Greg

that’s a good one. Last time I checked your recommendation reflects the balance sheets of no single transit agency.
They just don’t work like that, nor should they. It is a public service, like roads and libraries.

Hart Noecker
Hart Noecker
12 years ago
Reply to  Greg

Fares should be eliminated and riders should be 100% publicly funded. Then is will be a world class transit system.

John Lascurettes
12 years ago
Reply to  Greg

Fares should be increased to the level necessary to support the transit system’s operating budget.

Sure. Let’s do the same with gas taxes then.

was carless
was carless
12 years ago

They do that in London. Tube tickets are around 9 bucks each way.

Reza
Reza
12 years ago

Where is the fairness? Cutting a bunch of service within the city center adversely impacts the citizens who made the conscious decision to live a more sustainable lifestyle (and are therefore less likely to own a car or use one frequently).

At the same time, Park and Rides are still free.

Joe
Joe
12 years ago

I was on MAX this AM looked over at the HWY whoa SOV all over the place just sitting in traffic.

Tourbiker
12 years ago

Increased fares…reduced service…& you can bet they will still be begging Sam Adams for a handout to finish the Bridge project.

Jim Labbe
Jim Labbe
12 years ago

As someone who frequently combines biking and transit… these cuts really suck. But the focus can’t be just on TriMet… we need changes in state law to allow and encourage local governments to shift more of their limited transportation funds to transit, bikes and pedestrians.

Steve Hess
Steve Hess
12 years ago

Why doesn’t anybody talk about increasing the amount Trimet receives in payroll taxes from area business that benefit from the service?

Nola Wilken
Nola Wilken
12 years ago

Like many of the other people commenting, I get around by bike, public transit, AND car. However, WE do not really represent most commuters, who obviously drive. They don’t care or even understand the impact of these cuts, and will be totally unaffected by them, except that they may see more traffic jams as people like us turn to car driving more frequently. What a shame. However, as someone who also served on the TriMet budget committee for a few years, I can tell you that there are no good alternatives for TriMet. With the majority of funding coming from payroll tax revenues, in a recession those revenues are severely impacted. TriMet does an amazing job of managing it’s resources. But, when there are insufficient resources, service cuts are on the table. That’s not rocket science. What is rocket science is trying to develop creative ways to manage a budget crisis. I don’t know if these proposals meet that test, but I understand why they are being enacted. The unfortunate result will likely be more car commuting rather than more cycling.

Mike
Mike
12 years ago

Trimet just dug their grave!

I commute to and from school and work, avg 60 miles a week. My girlfriend is a 100% trimet rider She relies on the trains and several bus lines for school, work, getting around. Her pass will now be $100?

The other night she told me: I’m using my tax refund to buy a really nice bike!

Looks like we’ll be hitting up the shops real soon!

So long Trimet, I hope you guys sink.

Mike
Mike
12 years ago

one more thing I forgot to add: I encourage anyone reading this right now who doesn’t bike much (or infrequently) to abandon Trimet entirely. Bike everywhere (or at least 90% of the time) so that way Trimet realizes they can’t keep doing this to people. Trimet needs to stop shafting the poor and middle class. BUY A BIKE, NEVER LOOK BACK.

$100 bus pass/month = $1200/year.

$1200 can buy a pretty sweet bicycle 🙂 PLUS you gain time. Biking is almost always faster than buses or trains. At $5 a day…it’s a no brainer to give Trimet a big “_ _ _ _ you” and a kiss goodbye as you zoom away on two wheels. Ye haw!

oliver
oliver
12 years ago

This is just terrible.

Fareless square always symbolized a civilized transit system and city to me. I thought it should have been expanded outward, not the other way around.

I will undoubtedly ride more, but I also will drive more. However, the lady has said unequivocally that if her fare becomes $5.00 a day, she’s back in the car for commuting.

Eric
Eric
12 years ago

I have a suggestion for Trimet: fare enforcement! What a crazy idea. I average 40 trips a month on MAX, and on average I have to show Fare Inspectors my ticket once in those 40 trips. That 2.5% fare enforcement is pathetic. Who had the excellent idea of no turnstiles or other measure to force riders to actually buy a ticket? I know that fare enforcement will not close a $17 million shortfall, but come on. At least make an effort to have people pay for the rides they take.

jackportlandia
jackportlandia
12 years ago
Reply to  Eric

you must have missed this article:

http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2012/02/new_law_undercuts_trimets_effo.html

trimet screwed up and isn’t getting paid for fare enforcement judgements.

or this one:

http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2012/01/trimet_report_shows_major_crac.html

that shows that increased fare enforcement costs more than it makes and it’s having no real effect on fare evasion.

it’s a fun straw man but it’s not about fare collection.

Eric
Eric
12 years ago
Reply to  jackportlandia

Okay, I retract my comment.

John Reinhold
John Reinhold
12 years ago

Cutting MAX to three trains per hour will push a lot of people back into their cars. A wait time of possibly 20 minutes each direction on top of the already slow trains makes driving that much more appealing.

9watts
9watts
12 years ago
Reply to  John Reinhold

“will push a lot of people back into their cars.”

Let’s not forget that a lot of people in this town don’t have a car (into which to be pushed back). 1 in 6 households by the numbers I’ve seen. For many of us Trimet is the rainy day option, figuratively speaking.

Mike Fish
Mike Fish
12 years ago

I tried using TriMet for my commute. Lasted for a week. I was late two days in a row because one of my buses arrived at a stop after my connecting bus had already left. So I bought better rain gear and a rear rack. Some days when I have tons of stuff to haul I wish busing was a viable option. Alas. The route cuts will only make service more unreliable. I’ll consider taking TriMet for some trips in some situations if there aren’t any connections.

Ham Saah
Ham Saah
12 years ago

Sold our vehicles when we moved to PDX, we live downtown. We ride bikes, skateboard, ride TriMet, walk & utilize Zipcar.

What are our thoughts about the TriMet situation?

Our thoughts are this: I think TriMet needs revenue. And since there is such a large bike infrastructure here in PDX and it does cost PDX significant money to build & maintain bike infrastructure… any person in PDX that owns a bike should have to pay a yearly registration and contribute to the services they need.

Vehicles register and a portion of that money goes to infrastructure. Some of that infrastructure is for bikes. Why not register bikes in the same way that vehicles are registered so that they can contribute as well. I have a bike, I would be ok with paying a reasonable yearly registration fee.

In California many cities and/or counties have adopted the state bicycle licensing ordinance or resolution and they require bike owners PURCHASE a California Bike License yearly.

As a bike owner/rider, as a TriMet rider, as a resident of Portland, I would like to see Portland adopt a bicycle licensing ordinance. I’d also like to see those that don’t obey the bicycle laws ticketed. Having a registration is a great way to make that happen. And guess what? Additional revenue!

9watts
9watts
12 years ago
Reply to  Ham Saah

“Vehicles register and a portion of that money goes to infrastructure. ”

You are advocating proportional taxation, then?

Truck: $1,000/yr (to city)
car with studded tires: $350/yr (to city)
car no studs: $100 (to city)
bike: $0.95 (to city)

Numbers made up, but meant to suggest differential infrastructure demand and wear a given vehicle imposes on local roads. Someone can probably come up with better numbers

The better way to do this proportionately is through a gasoline tax. Yes, I know, that lets bikes ‘off the hook’ but infrastructure costs notwithstanding, bikes don’t wear out anything on our roads.

Alan 1.0
Alan 1.0
12 years ago
Reply to  Ham Saah

Ham Saah: In California many cities and/or counties have adopted the state bicycle licensing ordinance or resolution and they require bike owners PURCHASE a California Bike License yearly.

City of Long Beach, CA – December 14, 2010

“The City of Long Beach currently requires all residents who ride a bicycle to register their Bike with the City. This program was designed to enhance police responses to reports of stolen bicycles, and also to provide an opportunity to educate cyclists about bicycle laws, safety, and road courtesy.

“However, the registration program has been a challenge to cyclists. Most cyclists do not register. The times and locations available for registration – fire stations on Saturday mornings – are not convenient, and even during those hours, registration services are often unavailable due to the other responsibilities of the fire fighters. The registration process does not include proof of ownership, nor does it include any educational element.

The registration program costs more money than it generates. Furthermore, enforcement is difficult since cyclists who are not residents of Long Beach cannot be required to register, and no neighboring cities require registration. Few California cities, in fact, require registration. Los Angeles eliminated its mandatory registration requirement, and Santa Monica has encountered problems similar to those Long Beach is experiencing.

“The cyclist community in Long Beach is almost unanimous in opposing mandatory registration and support making the program voluntary. Doing so would allow those cyclists concerned about theft to register with the City, but also would eliminate the problems of requiring registration without providing the necessary services to make registration convenient and practical.”

(emphasis added)

Ham Saah
Ham Saah
12 years ago
Reply to  Alan 1.0

So Portland wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel, they’d just have to improve upon it. We clearly see what the issues w/ Bike Registration are in CA … so Portland can do it differently – do it better.

I would think that riders here would welcome a bike registration. Helps with theft. Helps with traffic law enforcement. And helps generate revenue for bike infrastructure. Could be a great way to market events & items to cyclists as well – and to reach out for feedback/input on legislation.

9watts
9watts
12 years ago
Reply to  Ham Saah

“Helps with theft.”

Really? I’d be very curious to see some numbers on that, such as: % bikes retrieved and returned to owners in a given municipality pre- and post registration.

I’d suggest investing in a good lock or two and not riding expensive looking bikes. That combination works for me and most of my friends.

“I would think that riders here would welcome a bike registration.”

I suppose you would.

“helps generate revenue for bike infrastructure.”

Did you read the conclusions above about its administration costing more than it took in? Or do you have a proposal of how to do it better?

Alexis
Alexis
12 years ago
Reply to  Ham Saah

Besides the fact that bicycling registration is difficult to enforce, saying that our roads are paid for by vehicle registration is missing a lot of other sources of income.

Car-centric thinkers like to say that ‘gas taxes pay for roads’ and ‘bicyclists use roads too’ so we should make bicyclists pay more taxes!!!! But this ignores a few things:
–Gax taxes mainly pay for FREEWAYS, which are not exactly bicycle infrastructure
–LOCAL ROADS, as in the kind of roads that bicyles generally use, are already paid for out of state & local taxes. I do not own a car, but I still subsidize the local roadways through my taxes, whether or not I ever buy gas or register a car.

There was a lot of discussion of this subject back when they put a ‘Should cyclists pay a road tax?’ ad on the MAX in 2010. The outcry from people in the know, including Bike Portland, was a resounding WE ALREADY DO. According to this article, a little over 10% of the price of (non-freeway, which is what we’re talking about here) roads comes from ‘user’ taxes like registration, etc. The other ~90% comes from the ‘general’ tax fund–the fund we ALL pay into, with income taxes, real estate taxes, etc etc. We are subsidizing driving, no matter if you drive a little or a lot or never.
http://grist.org/cities/2010-09-27-why-an-additional-road-tax-for-bicyclists-would-be-unfair/

Greg
Greg
12 years ago

John Lascurettes

Fares should be increased to the level necessary to support the transit system’s operating budget.

Sure. Let’s do the same with gas taxes then.

Recommended 5

We do — if we could just get them to actually spend the gas taxes on the maintenance and operation of roads, rather than diverting it to pet projects.

John Lascurettes
12 years ago
Reply to  Greg

Greg

John Lascurettes

Fares should be increased to the level necessary to support the transit system’s operating budget.

Sure. Let’s do the same with gas taxes then.
Recommended 5

We do — if we could just get them to actually spend the gas taxes on the maintenance and operation of roads, rather than diverting it to pet projects.
Recommended 0

Hardly!

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/11871/inflation-not-bike-sharing-is-why-the-gas-tax-isnt-enough/

Dabby
Dabby
12 years ago

Not so public transportation….

I have not hidden my dislike for Tri Met over the years.
Here is another check for the cons side.

Michael M.
12 years ago

I’m only following part of your logic. TriMet certainly does need relief from healthcare costs, at least as much as the rest of us do. But I can’t fathom what you’re getting at with menus or buffet tables. Every industrialized nation except the U.S. has some form of universal healthcare and all provide it it spending far less per capita than the U.S. does with significantly better health outcomes. TriMet’s healthcare problem (though that’s only one of its problems) isn’t caused by menus or buffets, it’s caused by the irrational distortions in costs and pricing resulting from our convoluted healthcare system. Fix that, and we’ll fix a hefty portion of funding problems that bedevil a lot of government services. More importantly, we’ll actually start recognizing that the dignity and worth of human beings is more important than the CEO of Cigna receiving $123 million in total compensation in one year. Maybe it’s time we joined the civilized world?

are
are
12 years ago

parts of the trimet press release are incoherent at best
http://trimet.org/news/releases/feb8-budget-proposal.htm
but i think i am understanding it to say that the red line would not run out to the airport except during “rush hour,” whenever that is. is such a thing possible? what are they thinking?

Alexis
Alexis
12 years ago
Reply to  are

It’s not that there would only be airport service during rush hour; it’s that the red line would run between DOWNTOWN and the Airport except during rush hour (where it would maintain the current route, of Beaverton TC to Airport).

The problem with that is that the red line is currently GREAT for going to Sunset TC, which is pretty much (as far as I can tell) hands down the most popular max station on the westside. Trying to cram every person who wants to go to/from Sunset onto the blue line makes me (riding the blue line out to Hillsboro) sad.