TriMet Draft Service Concept shows potential for 30% more bus service

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TriMet has released its Forward Together Draft Service Concept (DSC) based in part on community responses to a survey they released back in March. TriMet says people want the transit agency to “focus on ridership and improving connections to destinations for people with low and limited incomes.” 

While the Forward Together service concept includes changes throughout the network, there are a few ‘big ideas’ that impact every area, which include:

  • Expanding access to opportunity by “making the transit system more useful for reaching jobs and major destinations like college campuses, grocery stores and hospitals, particularly for people traveling from areas with more lower-income residents.”
  • More Frequent Service – TriMet plans to extend bus lines that run every 15 minutes to “reach more people and places,” including important corridors like Cornell Rd in Washington County, Woodstock Blvd in Southeast Portland, NE Halsey in East Portland and Gresham, and 82nd Drive in Clackamas County.
  • New Eastside and Washington County grids to make it easier to travel east-west and north-south in these areas.
  • Better regional links to job centers like Marquam Hill, Airport Way, Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park, Columbia Blvd, and the North Hillsboro Industrial District.
  • Expanded weekend service, especially to accommodate workers in retail, service and industrial sectors.
  • New lines serving areas far from transit today, like like 148th Ave in Portland and Cornelius Pass Rd in Washington County.

According to TriMet, the proposed Forward Together bus service concept would “bring bus service to 50,000 more people, weekend service to 100,000 more and significant increases to frequent buses service to connect people and jobs.”

TriMet says they might be able to expand service by more than 30% in the next few years. But they acknowledge a major hurdle the agency will have to overcome first: their bus operator shortage, which has resulted in several bus lines eliminated from TriMet service this fall. If TriMet can’t hire more bus drivers, it won’t be possible to expand service.

There are a lot of changes encompassed in this concept – almost every bus line in the TriMet’s current roster will be impacted. 25 lines will be discontinued for low ridership or redundant service, and other buses rerouted to accommodate that service loss. Several routes will be upgraded to frequent service, which means they’ll come every 15 minutes instead of every 30 or 60. TriMet has also put forth ideas for more than a dozen new lines to make up for the canceled routes and cover new service areas.

There will be quite a few changes to bus service within inner Portland, but the big focus here is to expand public transit access throughout the farther reaches of the city and the metro area at large. Here are a few big takeaways I gleaned from looking at the concept and hearing the buzz from TriMet aficionados online.

The railroad track dilemma

The service concept includes changes to Line 70 through the Brooklyn and Sellwood neighborhoods, in part so the bus can avoid delays at the train tracks

TriMet has been met with criticism for routing its new Division FX service across the rail line at SE 11th/12th Ave in between Division and Powell, an area frequently clogged by car traffic because of stalled freight trains coming through the area. This has already begun to impact passengers using the closest thing Portland has to “bus rapid transit” service. The new service concept doesn’t address this concern, but it does outline a potential change to another line currently impacted by the train crossing.

If this concept were to come to fruition, Line 70 (12th to NE 33rd) would be rerouted away from the rail crossing at SE 11th/12th avenues. The bus would go southbound from 11th/12th and Hawthorne to proceed south along Ladd before heading east on Division, south on 26th, west on Bybee and south on 13th through Sellwood (and vice versa northbound). All Line 70 service would be moved from 17th to 13th in Sellwood.

East Portland

TriMet wants to create a more connected grid system in east Portland, where there are currently some large gaps that are especially prevalent in lower-income neighborhoods and for communities of color.

“The service concept makes a big investment in historically underserved east Portland, an area of rapid growth and large concentrations of low-income and minority residents,” the DSC states. There is a high percentage of transit users in east Portland, and more investment is necessary to make sure its growing population has access to quality service.

The concept focuses on adding north-south connections in east Portland, which are currently lacking. This would include new lines on 112th and 148th Avenues. TriMet also wants to include new connections north of Burnside and proposes upgrading Line 77 (Broadway/Halsey) to frequent service.

Through this concept, TriMet would also extend Line 4 south to take over SE Woodstock at the end of Line 19. This provides a connection to Lents and the green line MAX stop.

North and northeast

Inner northeast Portland would benefit from the frequent service on Line 77 on Broadway/Halsey. But the big changes across the area will be further north.

The DSC includes a new bus route, Line 190 on Columbia Blvd, to add service from north Portland to the Parkrose/Sumner MAX stop near the PDX Airport. This would serve people across the entirety of far north and northeast Portland, including in the Cully neighborhood, an area TriMet wanted to focus on. It also includes a frequent service line in the Cully neighborhood on Line 71 (60th Ave).

Southwest

Written by Lisa Caballero

The bulk of the pink “service loss” routes are on the west side. Additionally, a couple of low-service lines which serve riders heading to Lincoln High School will be reduced to operating only during school commute times.

Of SW Portland it states,

SW Portland includes many large areas of very low density and high incomes. These areas are not a priority for service given their low ridership potential and the need to focus on equity.

That is the frankest statement TriMet has made about their plans for low-density swaths of the SW Portland since service cuts began in 2007.

However, the Draft Service Concept goes on to outline a strategy for increasing service frequency to the large employment center at the OHSU/VA complex on Marquam Hill, and also the “high ridership potential” of SW Portland’s major corridors.

Hillsdale and the Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy take center stage, with the extension of frequent service all the way to Beaverton, and an increase of frequency along Capitol Hwy. This aligns well with PBOT’s recent Rose Lane installation, and their traffic calming and infrastructure projects throughout the area.

And if you look closely, there is also some good news for at least one rush-hour only line. The 51 has always run from downtown up to Portland Heights, stopped in the middle of nowhere on the other side of the hill, and returned—kind of like a yo-yo, it never went anywhere. The Service Concept proposes the line continue to Hillsdale, gaining an outbound end-point and destination for the first time ever. This is a small tweak with an outsized impact. It means that riders along this line can transfer at Hillsdale for high-frequency service west, rather than having to go northeast to downtown to make a transfer, and then retracing 270 degrees around the hill before the journey west even begins.

Beaverton and Hillsboro

Like in east Portland, TriMet wants to achieve a continuous grid of frequent service in the Portland region’s westside. Some notable examples of this are in Beaverton and Hillsboro. The draft concept includes five new lines in Beaverton and Hillsboro to build out the east-west/north-south connections. It would also make service more frequent on two popular routes – 52 (Farmington/185th) and 48 (Cornell).

TriMet user and outspoken public transit devotee Ben Fryback, who grew up in Tanasbourne in between Beaverton and Hillsboro, is particularly excited about having more frequent service on line 48.

“Since Line 48 only runs every 65 minutes on the weekends, having reliable transit was always a struggle. At one point, I commuted by bus from Tanasbourne to a place on TV Highway, and the 5 mile trip took over an hour. It was faster to ride my bike,” Fryback told me in a message. “The service increases in this area and in other places on the westside have the power to truly transform people’s lives.”


This is only a small selection of what’s included in the concept – there’s a lot more to look at, so check it out here. And remember, this isn’t final at all.

“It is not a proposal and certainly not a recommendation. We are not attached to it. Its purpose is to start a conversation by giving people something to react to. It *will* change, maybe a lot, based on public feedback,” Transit consultant Jarrett Walker (whose agency worked with TriMet on this project) said on Twitter. “Because it will change based on feedback, we need to hear what you like as well as what you don’t like. If you don’t tell us you like something, the thing you like might change!”

That survey is available here.

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John D.
John D.
2 months ago

There’s a lot to unpack here. Overall, I think this is a good direction for TriMet to be headed in. Build up the Frequent Service lines in an overlapping grid with weekend service, and you have a recipe to provide meaningful access to a lot of people.

One thing to keep in mind is that this is an overall plan of what they want to do, but it’s entirely possible, of not probable, that not all of this will come to fruition. For example, it’s really interesting to see what’s changed since the last system plan that TriMet did over 10 years ago. https://trimet.org/future/

A few specific things that I like in this plan in no particular order (much of this will be focused on the West/SW):

  • Creating a transit connection between Washington County and Clackamas County using the 205 corridor. This has been needed for some time, and will be critical for providing access to two major employment areas. I’m generally against express buses, but I do wonder if an express bus Along 205/217 between Clackamas, Oregon City, West Linn, Tualatin, Tigard, and Washington Square would make sense.
  • The improved grid in Washington County. The 52 and 48 have been long overdue for Frequent Service. Extending the 67 down to at least Farmington should have been a no brainer for a long time.
  • Finally getting bus service out to the South Beaverton/Progress Ridge area along with the new Highschool.
  • The all day service up to OHSU/VA from the SW is a good move, especially since the SW Corridor plan is in hibernation.

A few downsides I see:

  • Service to PCC Sylvania is getting cut from Lake Oswego, Beaverton and Tigard. I can somewhat understand the desire to move the 78 away from that route, because the connection from Tigard was terribly slow. Hopefully access will be maintained somehow by PCC buses.
  • Not surprised to see the 46 get cut, but it does mean that the Hillsboro Public Library (one of the largest in Washington County) will not have any transit access. This isn’t really TriMet’s fault, as they weren’t the ones who located a public library in an office park next to an Airport (yes I’m still grumpy after 20ish years).
  • Lot of changes in SW area. I think the biggest missed opportunity is not having a route from the Sellwood/Milwaukie area go over the Sellwood Bridge, and then into HIllsdale or Tigard. Again, making more transit connections between the East and West sides of the Willamette.
rick
rick
2 months ago
Reply to  John D.

TriMet’s early 2020 open house in-person showed rerouted the 45 to go from downtown Beaverton to the forgotten West 5 District to then Allen Boulevard and then Garden Home Road to Multnomah Village and then go to Burlingame and over the $330,000,000 Sellwood Bridge and on to the Clackamas town center. That bus route is needed. Not providing north / south service elsewhere is not good. The 56 needs to go to Sylvan and then to Washington Park or at least downtown Portland (or at least rethink the 55 to give that service). MultCo will repave their neglected section of SW Scholls Ferry Road in 2023 or 2024 according to MultCo’s communication person.

 
 
2 months ago
Reply to  rick

I regularly contact TriMet about that precise 56 reroute idea, because their current setup is dumb beyond belief by duplicating service with not one, not two, bus three lines in Hillsdale (the 54, 44, and 45) while sending no buses at all down the busy Scholls Ferry — an important commuter route with no good alternatives. And so far I’ve heard crickets from them. This becomes even more redundant with the planned 54 upgrade to frequent service. Currently it’s about 7 minutes from Sylvan to the Six Corners via Scholls Ferry while driving. But it takes about an hour via public transit and I have to go through downtown Beaverton; completely unacceptable. This plan, cutting most of what little service already existed in Southwest shows just how little TriMet, and PBOT for that matter, care about the people who live here.

rick
rick
2 months ago
Reply to   

North / south service is very critical. I know of people very close to Scholls to the north of BHG who have wanted bus service. Kids their also go to Portland or other schools, too. Please contact me via Washington County’s Adopt-a-Road program and they will put you in contact with myself.

cct
cct
2 months ago
Reply to  rick

From what I can gather, Trimet will NOT run a bus on Scholl’s Ferry because there are no sidewalks anywhere in the area to safely get you to a bus stop. PBOT at one point apparently said they’d put in sidewalks… IF there was a bus route!!

WHEEEEE!!!!!

Of course, THAT was before PBOT decided no-one in SW was getting a sidewalk ever again, so moot.

rick
rick
2 months ago
Reply to  cct

Multnomah County owns and maintains SW Scholls Ferry Road south of SW Raab Road because all of the properties are in unincorporated Multnomah County. Multnomah will repave Scholls by late 2024 which gives the opportunity for a cheap road diet if using jersey barriers on the east side of the street.

rick
rick
2 months ago
Reply to  rick

I meant north of BHH.

cct
cct
1 month ago
Reply to  rick

True but I am aware of some projects in MultCo nearby where a) PBOT was in charge of the ROW improvements and b) PBOT failed to make the developer do anything more than pave some shoulder for varying lengths. One project was less than 100 yards from SchFerry, and people from it and 3 other large developments could have walked to a bus stop at corner in safety had there been an elevated sidewalk. since there is no sidewalk to ScFerry, no bus stop, no bus route. Yet another self-fulfilling argument from these bureaus.

Lisa Caballero (Asst. Editor / SW Correspondent)
Editor
Reply to   

I agree with you about needing the 56 to continue up Scholls, and across to Washington Park. Scholls Ferry needs a remake–number of lanes reduced, sidewalks, bike facilities added.

Multnomah and Washington Counties need to bite the bullet and commit to building storm water facilities in SW.

RipCityBassWorks
RipCityBassWorks
2 months ago

This seems like a half-measure at best: every 15 minutes simply isn’t frequent enough. “Frequent service” should mean at least every 12 minutes if not better.

cct
cct
2 months ago

Ms. Caballero unjustly shades the 51 – it follows the route of the Council Crest streetcar line, almost to a T; the carbarn at Burnside and 23rd is long gone, so it turns to downtown connections at SW Park. A second leg (a completely different bus, in fact) was added from Vista around the hill to SW Dosch some decades ago.When they ran all day AND weekends, they were packed mornings and eves with commuters and students, and mid-day had a steady flow of shoppers and people heading to appointments. Cutting it to rush-hour-only forced many of those people into cars – you can’t take the bus to work and then ride it back if you meet for a dinner, for example… last service run is 6 PM or so. It was only kept at all so Lincoln kids could get to school.

And the “all those richies take cars anyways, so screw transit in that area” argument they make is fatuous and ignorant horseshit (as well as a self-fulfilling argument). OK, let’s say that’s true, even if they still had a choice in the matter – so they all drive honking-great tanks, thirsty for fossil fuels and polluting the air, soil and water just to go to the store. Not to mention running over peds and bikes foolish enough to travel in the roads (which PBOT tells peds they HAVE to do, cuz no sidewalks for you, missy!).

Is that not 100% CONTRARY to halting global warming, Vision Zero, a Walkable City, a 15-minute City and all the other things they say are important?

Trimet and PBOT consistently fail to see that this population – many living within 2 miles of downtown, or Hillsdale, or Multnomah Village – are exactly whom they should encourage to take transit; even 10 cars off the road per hour is a help in these goals. Making the 51 go to Hillsdale is great, except is does piss-all for those who don’t need to come or go during rush hour; same with the 1. One apparent reason many in SW didn’t support the rail bond was because so few could GET to it, and they were told that wouldn’t be fixed for another 20 years… if ever.

In essence, trimet is saying “Your betters will be chauferred to downtown, and they expect the service staff to be on time so we’ll expand your bus service to help make that happen.” What a dystopian crock of shit.

I’m not saying that people on Division should get crappier service so that someone in Healy Heights can get to the farmer’s market in Hillsdale; I’m saying that giving up on trying to help both is pathetic.

Lisa Caballero (Asst. Editor / SW Correspondent)
Editor
Reply to  cct

Hi cct, I’ve erroneously labeled the 51 a low-density line, I changed it to rush-hour only service. The 1-Vermont falls in the same category as the 51; they both go through pretty high density areas but have lost their ridership numbers after years of cuts.

blumdrew
blumdrew
2 months ago

I think the changes here are largely good, but I’ve got a bone to pick with TriMet about the 70 changes (disclaimer, I live about 2 block away from the current route on 17th ave in Brooklyn).

It is so incredibly frustrating how difficult it is to travel North/South in the inner east side without going downtown. The 70 is my go-to bus to get from my place to anywhere North or Northeast from where I live (which is quite a lot – the airport, Hollywood, Alberta, Worker’s Tap on SE 12th, the list goes on). I was really hoping it might get a frequency bump here, but seeing it get detoured to the point of being obviously less useful is really frustrating. The routing to get from Sellwood to 12th and Hawthorne is just awful. This bus should be going straight down Milwaukie, crossing be damned (or if you feel the need for a detour, put it over the MLK/Grand Viaduct instead, way shorter, and closer).

For reference: from the corner of Bybee and Milwaukie to 12th and Hawthorne via Milwaukie Ave is 2.7 miles. The current route of the 70 is 3.2 miles, the proposed change is 3.9 miles, and the Milwaukie Ave route with a MLK viaduct detour is 3.3 miles.

Also, changing the routing for the 70 (a bus that I’m pretty sure only I care about) but not the FX because of the crossing makes me very annoyed. Maybe more annoyed than I should be

Eric NoPo
Eric NoPo
2 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

I can actually sympathize with this. I used to commute from Hollywood to SE 17th and Holgate, taking the 12 to the 70. This reroute would mean I’d have to hoof it over the UP track overpass. The difficult north/south connections on the inner east side are a reason why we didn’t end up moving there when looking this past summer.

Steven
Steven
2 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Seriously that 70 detour is crazy!
The MLK viaduct would probably be about as quick as the current route rather than adding all that circuitousness…
NB: L Holgate, R McLoughlin, R Hawthorne, L 12th
SB: R Clay, L MLK, Exit Milwaukie

Jason McHuff
1 month ago
Reply to  Steven

Actually, it could still go up to Powell northbound, and southbound they could use the exit at the end of the viaduct and follow the route from the Tillikum Crossing. I’m surprised they’re rerouting it away from Center Garage as many operators use it to get to/from relief points (I guess most of those could be moved downtown if they really wanted).

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  blumdrew

I think TriMet should keep the number 70 more or less on its current route, but permanently divert it across the MLK viaduct, and build that into the schedule. It is a complete mystery to me why they take the longer and slower diversion route down 21st when the crossing at 11th / 12th is blocked.

Psmith
Psmith
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

I completely agree with this. In fact, both the FX line and the Line 70 should just use the MLK viaduct given the train delays.

Austin
Austin
2 months ago

This is a great step in the right direction. Now I wonder what would a scenario look like if we got 50% more bus service?

pbarron
2 months ago

Ending the 39 route cuts off Lewis & Clark College from TriMet entirely. Leaving a college campus with no bus service is shameful. 

I saw it going in this direction when they cut back service on the route so much that it became useless to a lot of students, faculty, and staff, which explains the low ridership numbers that TriMet is now using to justify ending the route. 

Douglas Kelso
Douglas Kelso
2 months ago
Reply to  pbarron

I noticed that too, but doesn’t Lewis & Clark maintain its own shuttle service during the school year?

Lisa Caballero (Asst. Editor / SW Correspondent)
Editor
Reply to  Douglas Kelso

And SW builds its own system of pedestrian paths too. Soon we’ll start purifying our own water.

pbarron
1 month ago
Reply to  Douglas Kelso

Well, yes and no. They do offer the Pio Express, which makes a stop downtown and in the South Waterfront. But, without making stops between those areas and campus, it is not useful for students, faculty, or staff who live in SW. The 39 route is the only bus route that makes stops in Hillsdale, along Terwilliger, along Taylors Ferry, and on campus.

Jason McHuff
1 month ago
Reply to  pbarron

It may be a slow route, but the ideal would be to connect the 43 and the proposed 19 by going west from the Sellwood Bridge to L&C and then down Taylor’s Ferry Road. The problem is that the campus is not “on the way” as Jarret Walker would say.

Jason McHuff
1 month ago
Reply to  pbarron

Also, if L&C would be amenable to canceling their shuttle, extend the 51 down to it following the current 39 route. And if the 43 wasn’t going to be changed have it deviate there; it would add significant time, but those from further out can transfer to the 12 or 94 at Barbur for a faster trip to downtown Portland.

ac
ac
2 months ago

thank you, taylor & jonathan, for this article
quality info from BP for the community

Psmith
Psmith
1 month ago

New service on Columbia Blvd, 112th Ave, and 148th Ave are great moves that will improve the network significantly. I also really like the Line 19 staying on Woodstock to Lents. It currently takes an annoying zig-zag route. Plus they got rid of the Rex loop diversion in Eastmoreland, which is very welcome. Losing the Line 17 in NE will be somewhat painful, but makes sense given the proximity of other routes on streets better-suited to transit.

Let’s see…what else? I like the Line 15 going to St Johns–people might miss their fast ride on the 16, but this allows TriMet to run more service to St Johns and there are a ton of destinations in NW Portland on the way to downtown. I like upgrading the 71 and 77 to frequent service. The crosstown lines are always among the highest-ridership lines so it makes a lot of sense to upgrade these.

Overall, I have no major concerns about this proposal other than running the Line 70 through Ladd’s Addition. We just got the bus off of Ladd Ave finally! It should just use the MLK viaduct instead of diverting all the way over to 26th Ave.

blumdrew
blumdrew
1 month ago

Me again, this map is worming holes in my brain.

Would love to know if TriMet has every considered running the 35 down Terwilliger to from Lake O to Taylors Ferry. Seems like that choice alone could fill in a big gap. It’d be a bit slower (4.3 miles vs. 3.7) but seems like the ridership would be a lot better. According to TriMet data, the 8 stops between Lake Oswego and Macadam/Nevada average 11 total boardings and 14 total de-boardings per weekday (that’s well under 2/stop/weekday!). The 39 with its stupid route and 12 total buses per day averages more than that just at the Lewis and Clark stops.

Why doesn’t TriMet run any service to Vancouver anymore? I see that they did as recently as 2005 – anyone who’s been around longer than me know why/when they cut back service on the 6 to just Hayden Island? Almost 200,000 people live in Vancouver, the potentially ridership gains seem pretty substantial to my untrained eye, congestion on the bridge be damned.

Lack of any effort to serve Forest Park really annoys me. Portland considers itself both an outdoors and transit centered place, but you can’t take transit to most trailheads. A bus up Cornell would be so stellar for the hiking types who like a good bus ride (there are dozens of us, I swear). But seriously, Forest Park is awesome, and basically one (if you count Saltzman on the 15) trailhead has anything close to bus service to it.

John D.
John D.
1 month ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Re: Vancouver

C-Tran is running six bus lines into Portland, including two frequent service lines to Parkrose and Delta Park, and three express routes to downtown. With the hop card it’s easy to transfer. Seems like extending the 6 would just be duplicating the service, and adding delays due to bridge congestion.

Re: Forest Park.

I don’t think that adding connections to trail heads is a bad idea. That being said, given that TriMet has a limited budget, if I had to pick between running buses into the woods, or increasing service near where people live, work, and shop, I know which one I think they should prioritize.

Seems like something that Parks should look into. How much would it cost to build and maintain a parking lot, vs running a shuttle up to the trail head.

Jason McHuff
1 month ago
Reply to  John D.

The city is almost finished with a trailhead at St Helens Road and Yeon, which has and would have good transit service: https://www.portland.gov/parks/construction/forest-park-entrance-and-nature-center

When I’ve biked Forest Park, I’ve got off at Springville Road and ridden/pushed my bike up to Lief Erikson

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago
Reply to  John D.

C-Tran runs pretty good service, but I think it’s still a loss for Portlanders when TriMet doesn’t run service to such a major regional center. It’s easy enough to transfer to a C-Tran bus, but that’s just another annoyance as a transit rider. If C-Tran can run a bus over the I5 bridge, why can’t TriMet? And I am more curious about TriMet’s stated reasoning rather than anything else so if anyone has the details for the September 1st, 2007 service changes I’d love to see em.

I think budget concerns and all, one bus extension into Forest Park would still be a good idea. Access to parks and nature is really important, and tying the regions best park to car access only is just a bummer to me. Seattle runs local bus service to all their big parks, why can’t Portland? I’d settle for a parks and rec shuttle up Cornell/53rd at least

Watts
Watts
1 month ago

Today’s Oregonian reported that bus ridership is down 68% from pre-pandemic levels. There is no way this level of ridership can justify the increases in service listed here (assuming TriMet can even find the drivers). TriMet needs to do something to bring riders who have alternatives back, and entice new riders to start riding regularly. Making the buses and trains feel safe and clean would help.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

And removing the bodies, a lovely dead pigeon sitting in the tracks at Gateway max station this morning. Always a perpetual joy riding the train since there’s always new things that surprise me every time and not always in a good way.

John
John
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

Better / more / more frequent service is a way to get people to ride.

JP
1 month ago

For the Sellwood segment of Line 70, I think the proposal to move it exclusively to 13th Ave makes a lot of sense. I live on 17th Ave, and watch the buses go by nearly empty most of the time. I assume this is because the 17th Ave route is somewhat redundant to the Max Orange line; on 13th, North/South service is more evenly spaced.

Zoe
Zoe
1 month ago

This proposal is largely good news for east Portland/east County, where ridership has not dropped off during the pandemic, as transit-dependent folk living in that part of the region have not stopped working in person, and ridership has not declined much. (I strongly suggest looking at slide slide 44 of the existing conditions report for changes in ridership from 2019 to present.) Plus, building out the north-south network there is key. Greater frequency is needed out east, but.. it’s a start.

Apologies in advance for my snark, but I know that the number of readers of this page from east Portland/east county is small, so the benefits (to people who really rely on transit) is, as usual, glossed over in the comments whinging about the loss of service on low-ridership lines in wealthy parts of SW Portland.

In the best of all worlds, we wouldn’t have to make these choices. In a resource-constrained one, however, I’m glad to see TriMet making some of these hard decisions to get service to the communities that rely on it most.

Joseph E
1 month ago

I was worried about the idea of 30% more service, because that’s a lot of money. But it turns out this plan is already funded. It’s actually only a 10% increase in service compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic) levels, but that is still significant. Source is Jarrett Walker, the consultant who helped design this service plan:

“Thanks to a new Oregon state funding source and some other revenues, the agency has the financial capability to run about 10% more bus service than it ran in 2019, and more than 30% more than TriMet runs right now. The constraint at the moment is the dire shortage of bus operators, but once that’s resolved this level of service will be possible.” – https://humantransit.org/2022/10/portland-turning-the-dial-toward-equity-how-far.html

The link is a good read about the trade-offs: the plan could reduce some infrequent routes in richer suburban areas in the West / SW hills, so that more bus service could be added to growing areas like East Portland, Rockwood, Beaverton

John
John
1 month ago

Now if they would just offer drivers more competitive compensation they might have the ability to actually run these lines.

People like to scapegoat this or that red herring, but the reason they can’t get drivers is the same reason everyone is having a hard time hiring. Labor is tight and workers have some leverage for a blessed change. And the employers who refuse to budge with their heads in the sand shutting out reality just won’t acknowledge it. If you pay them, they will come.

Ethan J
Ethan J
1 month ago

Biggest issue I have is that TriMet isn’t very fast. The absolute fastest part of TriMet is the Washington Park MAX tunnel. TriMet needs to actually start using the freeways.

I had a pipe dream idea for an FX bus route that goes up and down 26 from Sunset TC to Banks. Stations will be positioned under the exit ramps. We would need a different kind of FX bus that has a more powerful drivetrain and possibly doors on the left side.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/1/edit?mid=1UGxf-5I8gJnkdhADaA2EJhSm43i4iFg&usp=sharing