Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 28th, 2017 at 1:56 pm
Like flowing water that takes the path of least resistance, so too will people when deciding how to get from point-A to point-B. Unfortunately in Portland today, driving a private car is still way too cheap and easy so it’s not surprising that the majority of people still prefer to drive.
To get the transportation results we need in order to save lives, save time, save money, and save our health; we must make options to driving more attractive. In Portland that means we must get more out of our significant investment in transit.
While they’re good at chasing mega-projects (including ones that have nothing to do with transit), TriMet is not doing enough to make bus service great. The result is fewer people taking transit — and more importantly, more people opting to drive.
A recent report by the Federal Highway Administration showed that more American are driving — but transit ridership is going down. In the Portland region there was a 1.3% decrease in the amount of people who use transit from 2015 to 2016. This trend should cause concern to everyone who cares about safety and livability. But as Streetsblog reported last week, two cities who bucked that trend — Seattle and Houston — have managed to increase transit ridership. Why? It could be because they both made significant investments to improve transit options – particularly bus service.
TriMet is working on bus improvements and they can’t come soon enough. We think it’s crucial for the success of cycling — and for Portland’s future in general — that transit gets better. You can help TriMet help themselves by taking their Rider’s Pulse Survey to share your input. (You might have to join their Rider’s Club before you can take the survey.) Learn more about other projects in their “Making Transit Better” initiative here.