For the third time in the last year, Trimet announced that they would be cutting service. They also plan to increase fares $0.05 as well. Trimet is seeking public comments on these changes, and I figured I should be a responsible citizen and chime in. Below is what I intend to submit to Trimet.
I can’t imagine this is the part of the job that you at all enjoy. It’s never fun to retract service or increase costs for your customers. That being said I think some of the proposals are being done in such a way that will have more of negative impact then you could possibly image and should be seriously reconsidered.
For one, I think it’s time for you give up on the 15 minute or better frequency for frequent service routes and switch to 20 minutes. It’s much easier to remember frequency this way. The seventeen minute frequency from the last rounds of cuts just makes it hard to remember when a route is coming, and this leads to an over reliance on transit tracker. It would be easier, and should save money to switch it to a straight 20 minute frequency during non rush hour times.
I also think you should explore adding some new routes to replace other existing routes. Specificly, I think an “owl” network that replaces two or three redundant lines during late night operations would go a long way to saving money. By tailoring the route to the time of day, you could greatly increase overall ridability. One example could be a hybrid 4/35 to North Portland. By skipping the Vancouver/Williams area that is already close to the 6 and the Mississippi area that is already close to the yellow line, you would reduce the time it takes to get to North Portland. After running the 35 route up Interstate, Greeley and Penninsular to Willis, you could run the normal 4 route. Combining the Burnside / Glisan 19 and 20 is another easy change. I’m sure with some creative brainstorming there are more routes such as these that you could create that would save both money, but also increase ridability.
Finally, I think the idea of adding a nickle to all charges makes about as much sense as buying a nickleback album (i.e. none at all). The current $2 fare is about as convenient of a fare as it gets. I would much rather see a $0.25 increase now with a public committment to not raise rates for five years.
Thank you for you time.
Those are my initial thoughts. I’ll probably continue developing them over the next few weeks. What am I missing? What am I not considering? Please help me improve my comments so Trimet can understand what impacts these changes will have.