TriMet story archives

Browse headlines below for all my TriMet stories.


Beyond vandalism, Biketown faces ridership test ahead of summer season

Posted on April 11th, 2017 at 10:58 am.

Biketown bike share -14.jpg

Biketown is popular with tourists, but the system needs more annual members if it wants to flourish.
(All photos by Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s bike sharing system could have a bumpy road ahead even if political vandals decide to leave it be.

Annual members

A comparison of three bike share systems.

  • Biketown Portland: 2,837 (after nine months)
  • Pronto Seattle*: 2,878 (after nine months)
  • Capital Bikeshare Washington D.C.: 16,000 (after 12 months)

*Pronto has ceased operation.

Biketown launched nine months ago next week with 1000 bikes and 100 stations. Thanks to title sponsorship from Nike, it was one of the country’s largest bike-share launches — double the station and bike count of Seattle’s Pronto system when it launched in 2014.

Pronto, which like Biketown was operated by New York-based Motivate Inc., turned into the country’s highest-profile bike-share failure to date. Plagued by low ridership and a series of financial missteps and miscommunications, it shut down at the end of last month.

And though Portland’s Biketown is a very different system with a different price structure, its annual membership numbers for year one are on a very similar trajectory to Pronto’s.

[Read more…]

Help TriMet make transit better

Posted on February 28th, 2017 at 1:56 pm.

Bus and bikes

As transit goes, so goes biking.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

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.
[Read more…]

TriMet lobbies for more freeways in a misguided ‘fix’ for Portland congestion

Posted on February 22nd, 2017 at 9:25 am.

I-5 traffic from N Skidmore.jpg

Don’t believe the hype.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This is a guest post from former news editor Michael Andersen.

The top executive of Portland’s mass transit agency said this week that the Portland region has four top transportation priorities, and three of them are to expand capacity of urban freeways.

[Read more…]

People keep talking about a regional transportation ballot measure for 2018

Posted on July 11th, 2016 at 10:32 am.

build-funding-timeline

The region’s biking and walking goals (green line) are far cheaper to build than its auto or transit goals, but at the current rate they won’t be built until 2209.

As Oregon legislators start talking about the statewide transportation bill many hope to pass in 2017 (look for some reporting on that soon), others are starting to think locally, too.

We’ve heard from various sources recently that some people in the Portland area are looking toward November 2018 as the right moment for a region-wide bond measure for transportation. The idea is to create a burst of new money for public transit, roadways, biking and walking.

How much of each, you ask? Those negotiations would probably get underway over the next year.

[Read more…]

The story of today’s Portland in the path of the No. 75 bus

Posted on June 21st, 2016 at 9:49 am.

riding against the grain

Screengrab from bus75.org, photo by Geoffrey Hiller.

We don’t often publish transit-only posts, but we’ll make an exception for this one.

Portland-based photographer Geoffrey Hiller is working on an all-year project to document the life of Portland through the lens of a single bus line: the No. 75 that runs between Milwaukie and St. Johns via Chavez, 42nd and Lombard.

For a post yesterday, he recruited Portland-based transit consultant and writer Jarrett Walker (who happened to be a teenage intern at TriMet in the 1980s, when the 75 bus was created) to write about the ways the 75 reveals this moment in Portland’s ebbing, flowing life.

The result is a short illustrated essay that is, somehow, both about our city and about good public transit network design. It’s something to behold:

[Read more…]

As TriMet puts another $2 million into WES, some imagine the bike trail that wasn’t

Posted on May 26th, 2016 at 9:41 am.

Waiting for WES

WES at Beaverton Transit Center.
(Photo: Thomas Le Ngo)

TriMet’s Westside Express Service commuter rail line, built for the equivalent of $178 million in 2008, is getting some new investment.

The line between Beaverton Transit Center and Wilsonville costs TriMet $135,000 per week to operate and serves something like 900 to 1,000 people per weekday.

That comes out to a cost of $14.83 per boarding in April, compared to $2.68 per boarding of a frequent-service bus line or $2.36 per MAX boarding.

The Oregonian reported Monday that the regional transit agency was agreeing this week to spend another $2 million to buy and retrofit two rail cars from Texas:

[Read more…]

Reminder: TriMet MAX repairs will cut service, crowd trains for two weeks

Posted on May 6th, 2016 at 8:35 am.

unnamed

Grounds for repair on First Avenue.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

As we reported last month, the next two weeks will be good times to bike or bus all the way to work rather than trying to get a bike on MAX.

That’s because MAX track and pavement repairs on First Avenue downtown that start on Sunday will scramble service on every line in the system, increasing wait times between trains by 25 to 35 percent and cutting system capacity 30 to 50 percent.

In short: good luck finding a free bike hook, or even squeezing your bike on the rush-hour trains at all.

[Read more…]

With bike sharing two months away, TriMet links ticketing app to Lyft, car2go

Posted on May 5th, 2016 at 3:10 pm.

IMG_0182

A screenshot from TriMet’s ticketing app.

The more seamlessly mobile future we’ve been talking about since November has started to arrive.

On Thursday, TriMet announced that you can now begin the process of hailing a Lyft or reserving a car2go using their TriMet Tickets app.

“More options, including BIKETOWN bike sharing, are expected be included in the future,” the regional transit agency wrote on its website.

This is a milestone for two reasons: first, it seems to be the first time any transit agency in the country has offered this kind of service, which envisions transit users not as monomodal drones who only get around by train or bus but as actual humans who are constantly using different tools for different jobs.

Second, it’s a real-life step (though a small one) toward the vision spelled out by cities like Helsinki to “make car ownership pointless” within a decade by creating a single, connected “mesh” of options that can whisk you around the city as efficiently — more efficiently, actually — as owning a car and taking it everywhere with you.

[Read more…]

Yikes! Bikes almost roll in the way of buses, trains in close-call videos

Posted on April 25th, 2016 at 12:11 pm.

Sometimes we all make mistakes. TriMet wants more people to think about the fact that some mistakes can be fatal.

It can be difficult to talk about this subject without blaming the victims of traffic violence. To its credit, the video TriMet released today focuses on examples of people who are acting both illegally and at least a little recklessly rather than (as the New York City transit union did recently) condemning people simply for not being cautious. There’s a big difference.

[Read more…]

Bike share stations on transit mall and city parks land? TriMet says yes, Parks Bureau says no

Posted on April 5th, 2016 at 11:11 am.

possible biketown station locations

Possible station locations downtown. No sites are proposed for Waterfront Park (the green strip on the left of the river).
(Image from the city’s feedback website)

Though other cities have seen some memorable freakouts about the prospect of bike sharing stations, Portland hasn’t yet heard many loud complaints that Biketown stations would begrime beloved public spaces.

TriMet, for example, said last week that although it doesn’t allow blue bike “staple” racks on its downtown transit mall (more on that below), it won’t have a problem with orange bikes being parked there.

But so far, there’s one major city department that’s been keeping its distance from bike sharing: Portland Parks and Recreation.

[Read more…]