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a

Brian, haven't you ever ridden a Tri-Met vehicle at night through downtown?? It's scary. And for me, fareless square discourages me from riding, because so many "creeps and weirdos" seem to make the transit services their mobile shelters in the cold of evening. Not only that, but once a bus leaves the fareless square, the driver - for various, understandable reasons - doesn't always get to stop and make sure everyone who didn't pay gets off the bus. So in effect, it is possible for drug dealers and homeless people to get on downtown and keep on riding - fare-free - once they move into the fare-zones.

So come on. Start thinking out-of-the-box. Fareless square is a great idea - and indeed, we should never get totally rid of it. However, if we can boost the perception of safety on Tri-Met services downtown (especially in the dark, scary night) then THAT will attract more riders.

Lastly, do we really want the new MAX on 5th and 6th to be a homeless shelter? Or does that serve the post-modern, grimey design community's desire for a funkier, stinkier downtown?

Get real, and be open to new ideas.

Shane

My comment isn't exactly about fareless square, but more about ways to increase ridership. I can't believe that for a monthly pass to pay for itself, you need to ride more or less twice every workday. I think that if the monthly passes were cheaper, more people would ride and less drivers. It should be an all or none kind of thing.

Shane

I meant to say "should NOT" on the last sentence above.

Angie

"because so many "creeps and weirdos" seem to make the transit services their mobile shelters in the cold of evening."

>>Perhaps, but the idea of some transit security after say 10pm or 11pm might be one way to address this.

"it is possible for drug dealers and homeless people to get on downtown and keep on riding - fare-free"

>>As can people who aren't drug dealers or who have homes. There will always be dishonest people, but I don't think fareless square should be nixed because of it."

"do we really want the new MAX on 5th and 6th to be a homeless shelter?"

>>Of course not, but the homeless need to be better served by the city and by other local resources. I don't see what fareless square has to do with it. The homeless hung out there before and will do so again until there's a better place for them to go. As far as I know, there are no homeless shelters just sitting empty because folks would rather hang out at the Max line.

Red

I agree that transit security is needed in Fareless Square. the private security firm hired by TriMet has definitely made its presence felt recently from my limited observations.. Changing fareless square hours will do nothing to change the security issue. Increasing security will.

That said, reducing fares during peak hours is probably the worst idea every conceived for public transit. Providing peak hour service is the most costly part of transit and bus operators are the biggest part of that cost. It's hard to get unions to agree to allow short-run (6-hour) operators, let alone 2 or 4-hour run operators. To make matters worse, each bus costs close to $500,000. Purchasing extra buses to run for only 4 hours per day means they sit empty the rest of the day. All research indicates that peak period transit riders are the most likely to pay MORE for transit because getting to work ON-TIME is most important. Therefore, we should charge peak period riders more and use the fares to improve service for everyone.

kalliope

Shane is spot on. Fareless square, on the MAX and the streetcar are used as mobile homes by the homeless and addicts. It's unsafe, unsanitary and not a solution for more needed shelters. The ability to enforce fares is one way to make public transportation safer and civilized. A small fee, and a working, reliable ticketing system is the way that most cities handle this.

ws

"Fareless square, on the MAX and the streetcar are used as mobile homes by the homeless and addicts." kalliope

It might really help to inform people about exactly what you mean by that statement, kalliope. Are you saying for example, that the same people are riding light rail and buses from 10th and Morrison, east to Lloyd Center, getting off and back on for a return trip to 10th and Morrison, repeatedly for hours a day? Is your statement even based on credible observation and information.

This was the problem with Tri-met's proposal to eliminate Fareless Square. They claimed Fareless Square promoted violence while blatantly ignoring the fact that the violent acts were taking place approximately 7 miles east in Gresham.

Fare-cheating can be addressed by the introduction of a Fareless Square Ticket. No charge to the holder, but good for only one hour and renewable through the time-stamp machines. Everyone riding mass transportation could thus be obliged to provide proof of valid ridership.

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