Thursday, February 18, 2010

Portland Needs Express Service, Fare Change

#1, MAX is not an Express Service! Period! It makes every stop, every time. The loopdy-loop at Gateway that the Red Line uses is a time waster, as is the u-turn at Sunset TC. Making every other block stops in Downtown on surface streets is not a helper either.

TriMet has 4 "Express" Lines. (In this case, not according to TriMets definition, but to the tune of the rest of this post). 92 to the Southern Beaverton 'Burbs, 94 to Sherwood (this is more of a limited), 96 to Tualatin and Wilsonville, 99 to Oregon City (also more of a Limited Service. Limited Service is provided on Lines 4, 9, 14, and 31. 31 is about the only one worth mentioning. Also Special service is provided for OHSU employees.

Express Service is a route that travels to a distant location with little to no stops en-route. In looking at other locations to live, the lack of express service makes much of these places undesirable. Express Service I think Portland could use:

Portland-Tanasbourne-Orenco Station via HWY-26 and Cornell/Evergreen
Portland-Troutdale via I-84 or near by arterial
Portland-Wilsonville, someone can run this (SMART?), the Barbur idea isn't working
Tanasbourne-Sunset TC (Southside of Hwy-26 Bridge)-Wash Sq-Tualatin Crosstown
Tualatin-Ore City-Clackamas via I-205

Limited or Rapid Service that could be provided (Service that skips stops over an existing local route, no special stops are required):
Limited=Rush Hour Skip Stop Service, Rapid=All-day Skip Stop Service

9 Powell Rapid
12 Sandy Rapid & Barbur Rapid
20 Burnside/Stark Limited
15 Belmont Limited
57 Rapid
72 Rapid (Clackamas TC to Portland Airport, Split Killingsworth portion into different line)

Just a few that come to mind. TriMet can purchase nice buses for these runs, and charge a bit more since it provides a faster service, people will pay a little more to get there faster!

TriMet could also dump the fare zone system, and charge for service type, Like San Diego.

Bus Fares, no matter distance traveled:
Local Fare $2.00
Rapid/Limited Fare $2.25
Express Fare $2.50-3.00 (depending on length of run)

MAX should have distance based travel fares. Riders understand zones and distance fares when it comes to rail travel over bus travel.
Fareless Square, Free Ride area, Free Rail Zone whatever, gone!
Downtown is $1.50, outside Galleria, Old Town, & Union Station the following fares apply:
1-3 Stations $1.50
4-5 Stations $1.75
6-7 Stations $2.00
8-9 Stations $2.25
10-11 Stations $2.50
11+ Stations $2.75.
Tickets are valid for travel away from the station printed on a one-way Ticket in one direction. If you originate travel in Downtown and travel beyond the stations above, $1.75 is the minimum Fare + stations traveled (ex Pioneer Square to Goose Hollow is $1.75, it is the 3rd station outside the DT Zone, Beaverton TC would be $2, it is the 6th station) Travel Through DT counts as 1 station for cross town trips. Downtown Station tickets are valid in any direction for 2 hours within Downtown Only.

WES should have its own fare, $2.50 for one station, $0.25 for each station traveled to a Maximum of $ 3.50, as does any other commuter rail system in the US! (would help recoup some of the money tossed at it)

No Transfers. Day Pass is 2X the one-way fare needed. Ex, $5.00 day Pass will allow travel on any vehicle up to $2.50 fare. $6.00 would allow Regional Travel except on WES. No Day Pass for WES.
Monthly Passes are based on fare most commonly used. If you use an express bus most, a $3.00 Monthly Pass would be needed, $105. You can ride anything up to $3.00 fare.

SmartCard fare collection would be best for this system, it can determine stations entered and exited. Tap on MAX, get charged $2.75, Tap off 3 stations later, get 1.25 credit (for a trip entirely outside Downtown). Don't Tap off? you paid $2.75 for that trip, you get 2 hours of free transfers on a smart card from your first tap. SmartCard would also max out at $6.00 of fare, the maximum Day Pass fare available.

Obviously, if this fare structure was put in now, only the Local Bus fare would apply, But MAX and WES could take on the new fares as is. We Need REAL express routes before Express fares can be charged.

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