Starting January 3, 2010, Fareless Square will become a free zone for rail only. This means you can still ride MAX and Portland Streetcar for free in downtown Portland and the Lloyd District, but not buses. To help communicate this important change, we've decided to change the name of the zone to "Free Rail Zone." Here's why:
While "Fareless Square" is familiar and has a nice ring to it, we felt that "Free Rail Zone" would do a better job of clearly describing an area where you can only ride trains for free. Our goal was to make it obvious to visitors and new riders, and avoid confusion among existing riders. Plus, it's no longer a square—or even a rectangle, for that matter!
We considered other names with "Fareless" in them, such as "Fareless Rail Zone." (Over the years, we have become quite attached to the name, too.)
In a recent online survey, most riders agreed. A majority of respondents either volunteered "Free Rail Zone" unaided or chose it as their favorite from a list of possible names. Other top suggestions included "Free Train Zone," "Free Rail Square," "Rail Free Zone," "Rail Only Free Zone" and "Zone Zero."
No, it doesn't rhyme. Nor is it as clever as "Fareless Square." But when it comes to clearly and quickly communicating what the service is and does, we think "Free Rail Zone" gets the job done.
This winter, we'll be adding new Free Rail Zone emblems on customer information displays at rail stations within the zone boundary.