Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The End of Frequent Service and Free Bus rides is near

Today, TriMet released the following:

Fareless Square Rail Only proposal

When Fareless Square began 34 years ago, there was only bus service in downtown Portland. In September with the MAX Green Line opening, all four MAX lines will travel through fareless, along with the Portland Streetcar. TriMet is proposing to limit Fareless Square to MAX and streetcar only. This makes nearly all trips within Fareless Square easily accessible by rail. The change would also take the confusion out of riding buses in fareless, since not all buses travel the length of the Mall, and buses would operate more efficiently through downtown. If approved by the board, the change would take effect on January 4, 2010.

*I Support this move, and have no further comment on it.


About 2 dozen bus lines will have frequency adjusted 2-4 minutes during non-rush hours

TriMet today unveiled additional service cuts to offset the ongoing recession. The proposal would mean that about two dozen bus lines would operate about 2-4 minutes less frequently during midday, evenings and on weekends. If approved, schedule changes would take effect on November 29, 2009.

Now, my take on it all-

So lets talk about this one. First, lets look at the plan:

Below I charted which lines are effected with what cuts. The midday cuts are adding 2-3 min to the frequency, most being 17 min apart instead of 15 between 9am and 3pm, Evenings are after 7pm and all day Saturday & Sunday.

Line Midday Cut Evening Cut Sat Cut Sun Cut

4 X X X X

6 X X X X
8 X X X X
9 X X X X
12 X X X X
14 X X X X
15 X X X X
17 X
19 X
20 X X X
33 X X X
44 X
52 X
54 X X X
56 X X X
57 X X X X
70 X
71 X X
75 X X X X
77 X

So what does TriMet define as Frequent Service?
A:On weekdays, frequent service begins no later than 6:00 a.m. and

continues until 10:30 p.m. On weekends, it begins by 8:00 a.m. and

continues until 10:30 p.m. Running buses frequently until 10:30 p.m.

matches service levels on MAX. Longer-term improvements (beyond

2010) aim for service at least every 10-12 minutes. While service

on these lines before 6:00 a.m. and after 10:30 p.m. may not be as

frequent as every 15 minutes, service on many of these routes during

the peaks can be as frequent as every three to five minutes.

All of the lines currently noted as "Frequent Service" can no longer be if this plan goes through since the service will not be 15 min or better everyday between 6a and 10p. From listening to other bloggers about ridership, I don't think TriMet thought this through. It looks like a lets get this done quickly type of thing. My observations have some changes, and I plan to comment this way. Some of these lines have heavy ridership all day, some are scarce during the mid-day. Weekends dont really have a peak time, but it seems to be after 9-10am to about 6 or 7pm are generally busy.

"My Proposal"
4F/D Service every 20 min during weekdays and eves, and all weekend
6MLK Service every 15 min on weekdays, 20 on weekends.
8NE15 (After Fareless is changed, ridership may be lower) 20-30 min Service Midday, Eves, and Weekends
8JP 15 min Weekdays, 20 min Weekends
9P 15 min service to 98th all day, 30 min service to Gresham TC All day, and Saturdays. 20 min to 98th/40 min to GTC Sun.
9B 30min service all days execpt ruch hour every 15-20min
12S 15 min Service on weekdays to Parkrose, 30min to GTC, 30 min Service to Parkrose, 60min to GTC Weekends.
12B 15 min Service to King City, 30min to Sherwood everyday, maybe 20/40min weekends, this line seems to be busy often
14H Retain Service as is now
15B/NW23 20min Service weekdays and eves, 30 min on weekends
17H/NW21 20min Service to 82nd & Montg Pk, 40min service to 136th middays & eves, 30 min on weekends, alternate with line 15 to provide service to Montg Pk every 10-15min everyday.
19G/W 20-30Min midday and eves, 30 min weekends
20 Retain Weekday service, 20min Saturday, 30min Sunday
33M Retain Weekday Service, 20min Service on weekends
52 20min midday, 12-15min rush hours (this is always standing room only during afternoon rush)
54/56 Retain Service as is
57 (I never rode this route often, so I cant say on this one)
71 20min service everyday
75 Retain current Service levels (this route is hopping midday and early eves everytime i rode it), Improve rush hour service, reduce after 8pm to 20min everyday?
77 20min service weekdays

Ones they didnt touch:
MAX Blue 15 min Service Weekdays until 7:30pm, then 30min, 20 min Service Sat/Sun 10:00a until 7:30pm, then 30min
MAX Red 15 min Service Weekdays until 7:30pm, then 30min, 20 min Service Sat/Sun 10:00a until 7:30pm, then 30min, alternate to provide 7-10 min service weekdays and weekends, 15 min weekend mornings and evenings.
MAX Yellow 20min Service midday, 30 min after 7p, 20min all day and 30min before 10a and after 7p on weekends
MAX Green, See Red/Blue configuration
P Streetcar, 20min service on Weekends
72 10min weekdays, 15min eves/nights, weekends 10min 9am-7ish pm, 15 min all other times (relieve the crowding on this line!!!!!) Another option is to make service VERY frequent b/t 82nd MAX or Cully and Clackamas TC, and a bit less the other side, but I never rode past 82nd, so I cant comment on its ridership.

Whew! The people who make these decisions do not rely on this service apparently, we know NONE of them ride on weekends, they could care less if it all goes away. But they do need to fix service to match ridership. This does not mean they should have deleted routes, like the 47, 48, 67, on weekends, every 60-90 min service would AT LEAST not leave anyone stranded. An option for these areas is to create a weekend only circular type route, for example Hillsboro TC via Cornell, R 185th to Walker, L to 158th (Serve Merlo MAX), 158th to Bethany (67 routing) to PCC to 185th, L Evergreen to Hillsboro TC via Evergreen, and a route that circles opposite. you cover parts of the 47, 48, 59, and 67. This route follows many industrial areas, and LOTS of residential areas being abandoned in the service cuts coming up.

I think thats enough for today, I welcome comments, I may be wrong in some of my ideas, and I know that, but it gets the brain churning.

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Search "Derailment" at Wash DC Metros Site:

    And you get the following: (these are active links, you can click to read them)

    2 years of news releases brings 6 derailments/collisions. Also you'll notice there were pledges made, and funding promised to improve the safety of the system. Wonder what happened?

    FACTBOX: Facts about DC Metro subway

    (Reuters) - Seven people died and 76 were taken to hospitals after two Washington, D.C., subway trains collided in the Monday afternoon rush hour. It was the deadliest crash of the transit system's 33-year-old history.

    Here are some facts about the Metro transit line from transit and public safety officials, federal and local safety records and financial sources:

    * Monday's accident was the first crash with a passenger fatality since 1982 when three people were killed in a derailment.

    * Other notable Metro train crashes in the past dozen years included one in 2007 that injured 16 people. A 2004 collision on the same line as Monday's incident injured 20 people.

    * The Metrorail and Metrobus services serve a population of 3.5 million people within an area of 1,500 square miles (3,890 square km). The subway had a total of 215.3 million trips in the last fiscal year.

    * Riddled with an infrastructure that includes leaking tunnels and crumbling platforms, Metro estimates it will need more than $7 billion to keep its system of trains and buses in a state of good repair through 2020. It also projects it will need to replace one-third of its rail cars, some of which are more than 30 years old.

    * The U.S. recession has forced Metro to cut its operating budgets this fiscal year by 10 percent, freeze hiring and end outside contracts. Last month, it had to tap reserves to close a funding gap for fiscal year 2010 that at one point was projected to reach $154 million.

    * Standard & Poors raised the system's credit rating in April.

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    2 Bloggers meet, Provides more insight

    I was on this trip, and as i write this the videos I took are converting and will be on YouTube by the end of the day. I am happy this took place, it provided different views on the whole picture of transit. You never really notice all the services that are not trying to turn a profit, but sit in the background unnoticed, except transit. IT is something many rely on to get to work. I once had no car, work, groceries, anything I wanted to do, I depended on that bus. What if everyone who takes the buses can no longer, they will drive. Could you imagine our roads then? Whoa!! In light of the service cuts relays back to the time I had no car. This line, 67, goes thru a major area that will NOT have nearby service, leaving some stranded. As mentioned in the videos, people plan to move places based on how easy it is to get to where they need to, if that carpet is pulled from under you, now what? Its more than just trying to save money, it providing service people count on, depend on. It was an overall good experience to listen to these two bloggers talk about transit life, I hope we all get to meet again.

    Read Joseph Roses entry here: Riding the 67 with Al

    Watch the video I made of it Here

    Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    TriMet "Dumped" the pump day?

    I am planning a vacation in August, in this planning scheme, every transit site I have visited is promoting the June 18th "Dump the Pump" day. I even found one with events giving away day passes to use tomorrow. But where is TriMet in all this? Many are just promoting the day, no special fares or anything, or are using the opportunity to educate on transit use, and upcoming projects. TriMet apparently has chosen not to take part, instead of Dump the Pump on their home page, its Service cuts and Green Line opens. Oh well, we knew TriMet "wants" to be earth friendly, but fails to practice it when inline with its peers.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    Sounder Train Video

    So I put the effects of my movie software to full use, and created this masterpiece.

    Saturday, June 6, 2009

    Compare 24 West Coast Transit agencies changes due to the recession

    -Everett Transit, Proposed Fare increase from $.50 to $.75 Base Fare and Passes from $18 to 27, No Service Cuts, Agency does not issue transfers.
    -King County Metro, Raised Fares from $1.50 to $1.75 Passes from $54 to $63, No Service cuts, furlough days = 11.
    -Kitsap Transit, No Changes.
    -Community Transit, No Fare Increases, No service reductions, Adding BRT.
    -Pierce Transit (Tacoma), Fare increased from $1.50 to 1.75, Passes $54 to $63, No Service Cuts.
    -Sound Transit, No Fare increase, Adding Service.
    -Olympia Transit, No Fare Increase, Decrease service for 1 route.
    -C-Tran (Vancouver), No Changes
    -Cherriots (Salem), No Changes, Proposing over haul, added 4 operator positions.
    -LTD (Eugene), No Fare Increases, 1 route eliminated
    -Medford, No Changes
    -Sacramento RTD, No Fare Increase, Reduce service on 36 lines plus Light Rail, no lines cut.
    -AC Transit (Oakland), Fare increase from $1.75 to $2.00, PAsses $70 to $80, No Service Cuts.
    -SF Muni, Fare Increased $1.50 to $2.00, Passes $45 to $55 ($65 1/1/10), Some Service cuts, 6 Lines Cut, service reductions on a handful, however some service improvements are being made to fill some of the cut lines space, or due to demand.
    -BART, Fare Increase, $1.50 to 1.75, SFO Trips $1.50 to $4.00 (SFO to Powell $5.35 to 8.10), Some reduction in service planned.
    -VTA (San Jose), Fare increased proposed 1/1/10 1.75 to 2.00, Passes $61 to 69, No Service Cuts, agency does not issue transfers.
    -SamTrans (San Mateo) No Changes.
    -CalTrain, Fare increase $.25, reduced Midday service.
    -Stockton, No Fare increases, Cutting all service on holidays.
    -Los Angeles MTA, No Changes, improving service, agency does not issue transfers.
    -Orange County (OCTA), No Fare Increase, Reduce Service on 24 lines, no lines cut, agency does not issue transfers.
    -Metrolink Commuter Rail, 3% Fare Increase, No Service Cuts.
    -San Diego MTS & NCTD, Raise Pass prices only from $38 to $72, Reduce Service on 24 routes, Consolidate 2 routes, reduce late night trolley service, agency does not issue transfers.
    -Riverside RTA, Raise Fares $1.25 to $1.50, Passes $43 to $50, cut 6 lines, add 2 new commuter express lines.
    -TriMet, No Fare Increase, Reduce Service on 25 lines, Cut 4 lines, Reduce Service on Light Rail.

    No YOU can be the judge of how TriMet is doing against all others, we seem to hold one of the biggest service cuts, but fares are steady. The other agency with a huge fare increase and service cuts is BART, and they have the same management problems.

    Friday, June 5, 2009

    If BART's broke, it's management's fault

    >This is true with ANY company, TriMet included:

    It's real simple.
    Employees generate money for a company and management spends that money for said company.
    If the money is all gone, never look at the employees for answers...they didn't spend it. Management did.
    Add in the fact that BART is a company that depends on money from the government, you'll also see BART's financial planning is similar to the military. Neither will attempt to save money.
    For example, you get 1 million dollars from the government and decide to save 500,000, the next fiscal year you'll get 500,000 dollars instead of 1 million dollars. Of course if you get 1 million dollars from the government and spend all of it plus another 1 million dollars; you can request the government give you 2 million dollars next fiscal year instead of 1 million dollars.
    If BART's broke, blame those that spent all that money. It's management's fault.

    Thursday, June 4, 2009

    Lightning from Last nights storm

    22 min of video chopped down to 16 seconds, its sorta cool tho.

    Bay Area Transit Agency Weathering the Economic Downturn better than most

    Strategic Planning, and (GASP!!) listening to employees for ideas helps San Mateo Countys SamTrans fare better than most.

    WES is costing more than its worth

    MAX iconWES Commuter Rail

    Alert in effect: After thorough inspections and testing of the three WES trains overnight, it was discovered that blooms from cottonwood trees were clogging the air filters on the trains’ cooling systems and blocking the sensors needed to keep the trains in operation. The filters have been cleaned, and will be cleaned weekly while the cottonwood trees are releasing blooms. All WES trains will be running for the evening commute.

    And this is what we pay $120,000+ to people at TriMet for, to assume its bad gas to blooms.........TriMet needs a major overhaul.

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009

    LA Metro Adopts budget, NO service cuts or Fare increase

    Metro Board Adopts FY10 Budget

    The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors today adopted a $3.9 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2009-10 that begins July 1, 2009.

    The spending plan is half a billion dollars or just under 15 percent more than the current Metro budget. The increase is largely due to a spate of new highway and transit building projects such as construction of a 10-mile northbound carpool lane on the I-405 freeway from the 10 to 101 freeways. Altogether, Metro will undertake $636 million in new programs in FY10, funded largely with federal stimulus funds and the new Measure R transit sales tax that will be collected starting July 1.

    Among other major transportation advances in the coming fiscal year, Metro will begin operation of the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension to East Los Angeles, purchase 219 compressed natural gas buses for Metro and its contract carriers (the purchase of larger buses will increase Metro’s bus seat capacity 1 percent), continue construction of the Expo light rail line from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City, begin construction of a four mile extension of the popular Metro Orange Line busway from Canoga Park to Chatsworth and advance numerous planning studies for new transit projects throughout Los Angeles County.

    As mandated by Measure R, there will be no general Metro fare increase in FY10, and fares for seniors, students, the disabled and Medicare recipients will stay at current levels for five years. The new transit sales tax that begins July 1 will keep Metro fares low, however, the Metro Board must still grapple with higher operating costs and cuts in other revenue.

    California lawmakers have completely eliminated state transit assistance, which, in recent years has provided Metro with about $100 million annually in operating dollars. Local Props. A & C transit sales tax revenue also is projected to decline five percent over the current fiscal year due to the recession. In addition, Metro is negotiating new contracts this spring with its major labor unions representing operators, maintenance employees and clerks.

    Despite the drop in revenue, Metro will not raise fares or consider major service reductions. However, Metro has cut expenses by more than $130 million. It also will dip into reserves to balance the FY10 budget.

    BART Board approves fare increase, added parking fees effective July 1st

    Despite a $249 million, 4-year deficit, the BART Board of Directors rejected a 10% across-the-board fare hike saying that the burden for solving the deficit should fall most heavily on reducing costs.

    At a May 28th meeting, board members said two-thirds of the solution will be from reducing labor and non-labor related expenses. However they did approve several modest fare increases along with expansion of parking fees:

    • Increased fares 6.1% effective July 1, 2009 (this CPI-based fare increase was previously scheduled for January 2010)
    • Increased lowest priced fare from $1.50 to $1.75
    • Raised the surcharge on trips to and from San Francisco International Airport from $1.50 to $4.00
    • Expanded the $1 a day parking program to eight more stations

    Download the complete fare chart (128k .pdf)

    “The idea of a 10% across-the-board fare increase didn’t sit well with most board members because it put too much of a financial strain on our regular commuters,” BART Board President Thomas Blalock said. “We wanted to find a way to raise revenues without over burdening our loyal customers.  Our riders already knew that our fares go up every other year by the cost of living – we simply accelerated the date on which the fares would normally go up by six months.  We also raised our lowest priced fare to be less than or in line with the cash fare of other Bay Area transit agencies.”

    “We decided on a $2.50 increase on the SFO surcharge because it allows us to raise much needed revenues without impacting our regular riders,” BART Board Vice President James Fang said. Fang, who is the Board’s longest-serving member pointed out that only three percent of BART’s riders use the SFO Station and half of them are not regular riders, but tourists. “A BART ride from downtown San Francisco to the airport will go from $5.35 to $8.10 with the additional surcharge.  However, that’s still a bargain when you consider the alternative such as a $35 cab ride or a $20 shuttle van ride.”

    Letter to the Editor in todays Oregonian about MAX

    Delay Green line MAX 
    TriMet's inability to meet current budget needs prompt service cuts and begs the question: Why not delay opening the Clackamas Town Center light-rail service?

    How can you miss a service you don't have? We currently have adequate bus service.

    The MAX system is a duplicate service at a significant cost because fare revenue covers less than 25 percent of the operating cost, which adds millions in overhead costs. We are fast approaching a mass transit system cost that exceeds our ability to pay for the service.

    The public has not had the opportunity to decide how much it should subsidize the cost of our fellow Oregonians' commute to work. Perhaps that should change.

    Southeast Portland 

    >>Sounds like a good idea to me, but it might crush Fred's dreams, and we can't have that now!