TriMet asked what I think about their budget shortfall so I told ’em. Using their tool I balanced their budget with only a 25¢ fare increase and only one service downgrade (Red Line only runs between Airport and Gateway TC). But my beef is that TriMet is thinking waaaay too inside the box. Like fools they had an open comment field so I gave them an earful:
Some of the above items would be good ideas even if TriMet were operating in the black. For example: Lack of parking at places like Beaverton TC suggests that’s an uncaptured revenue source; we need to thin out demand at those places anyway. The free rail zone just encourages creeps and weirdos downtown. All day passes are easier to use than transfers -- worth the price. And the streetcar is a pointless boondoggle that’s generally a lousy way to go nowhere important.
Let’s encourage private-sector transit options, like jitney cabs, private shuttles, vanpooling, and carsharing. How can TriMet participate in creative new transit solutions like that? with the right technology, I could see TriMet acting as a real-time broker for car-shares, or coordinating point-to-point vanpools at peak times. My opinion is, these things will happen eventually anyway, especially as TriMet cuts service & raises prices. Question is: do we want them operating in the black market? Or out in the open?
Finally: what about high-capacity Bus Rapid Transit instead of yet more trains? We already have the roads, and PBOT/ODOT, etc. are already paying for them...
Aside: the bus service at our new place is abysmal. There are three buses in the morning and four in the evening, all at rush hour. No service nights or weekends. The next-nearest transit point is at the top of the hill, about a mile away. Which a) makes me extra-glad I mostly ride my bike everywhere and b) keeps me from wimping out and not riding to work. Just as Cortés burned his ships, I’ve burned my buses, and my quads know it.