« PSU, UO Student Reviews This Week (updated) | Main | Wrestling With Columbia Crossing »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


How is 14% a "giant" increase. Are blogs succumbing to the sensationalism print newspapers and TV have been afflicted with for a long time? Civic mindedness does not work in this country, if the (increased) fare is less than the (more expensive) gas, people may (or may not) take the bus.


According to AAA, gas prices have gone up 24% in the metro area over the last year...and now TriMet wants to raise fares 14%. So although gas prices have gone up significantly more than bus fares, somehow this is going to be the magic number that prices people out of taking the bus?


Brian, you are so right to be raising this issue. Transportation is a wise investment and we should be doing more, not less, to get people on the bus -- or MAX, or Streetcar or tram. But then, that would have to be part of an overall policy and economic strategy to work. A gas tax should be part of alt transport/energy policy until we are completely weaned from oil.


Mass transit gets the work force to work. Business and government should not forget that. They had better make sure mass transit continues to be sufficiently affordable so as to enable the workforce to get to work.

A bus with empty seats is a bus not making it's full income potential. Work schedules might be shifted to allow for increased ridership at off-peak commute hours. Tri-Met should halve the current fare as an incentive to commuters to ride during those shifts.

A 14% increase in the bus fare is a lot of money if you're struggling to pay the current fare. That shouldn't be so hard to understand.


The percentage of commuters who use public transit in the country is currently 5%. So the assertion that "mass transit gets the workforce to work" is at best a (liberal) fantasy (I am a liberal by the way).
Denser cities is part of the answer, but then, you will have to get over your fear of tall buildings here in pdx (that's for you ws)


Eh... it's STILL going to be cheaper to take the bus than drive a car.


If you're paying $50 in Tri-met tax, then you either didn't earn much that year, or you need to fire H&R Block.

Last year I paid $376 in Tri-Met tax, and that's on a very meager architect's income... doubling this would be painful for most of us self-employed types.

What's wrong with paying something closer to the real cost of riding? It is still MUCH cheaper to drive, yet ridership is at record highs. I don't mind paying extra every time I step on the bus, because when I choose tri-met it is for the convenience and environmental reasons... not because it's cheap.


Oregon minimum wage: $7.95/hour
Annual wage: $7.95 x 2080 hrs = $16,536 gross (assume married, a couple of dependents, and no taxes paid)

Assuming a person that rides every day, not just to work:
$0.25 fare increase x 2 trips/day x 365 days a year = $182.50/year increase.

$182.50 increase /$16,536 wage = 1.1% of annual income.

Raymond Brigleb

These are good points, Brian. I would be happy to pay a bit more in payroll taxes, as a Portland employer, to see people riding buses for free. I'd love to see more discussion in Portland about ideas like this!


Nikos, what's the percentage of riders in the Portland Metro area that rely on the bus to get them to work? Better yet, the percentage within Portland itself that rely on the bus to get them to work? That would be more relevant than the whole country. I'm not much for statistics, sorry.

About tall buildings, I've got no 'fear' of them. I just often don't like where planners allow them to be sited; for example, in or on the periphery of the Park Blocks, or directly on the edge of the waterfront. I'm thoroughly in favor of high density and tall buildings that would enable this to happen...in Washington County for example.

Why hasn't government required developers to build residential towers in that county where blocked views and shadows cast would be far less the issue that it is in Portland? Think of the economy Tri-met could muster if its service area were located around clusters of residential towers near the places where people worked.


The payroll tax that funds Tri-Met is better than many of the alternatives.

Without changing the State Constitution, gas tax funds cannot be used for transit operations.

Perhaps Tri-Met needs to "hedge" their biofuel purchases into the future ... either that or make an agreement w/ Burgerville & McMenamins to use all their fryer grease to power the buses.

Another choice would be to implement a time and distance based fare -- instead of the two-zone system, base it on distance traveled and when they traveled. Peak hours would have the highest fee and off-peak the less. So people who can flex their hours a bit wouldn't be hit as hard (nor those on 2nd or 3rd shifts). It would cost Tri-Met upfront to implement though.


How about tri-met work on collecting a larger percentage of the current fare? Anyone who rides MAX or the Streetcar knows that there are a lot of free riders, at least 14%.


The percentage of free riders on the streetcar is higher than 14%. It's crazy to make most of the streetcar's route (in fareless square) free and then expect people to pay $2.05 to ride a short distance through the NW before the streetcar turns on Lovejoy and heads back into town.

The only time I've seen a fare inspector on the streetcar, people got on, noticed him with his clipboard and then rushed to the machine to pay before they got caught. They needn't have worried . . . he was only gently chiding them and issuing warnings.

At all other times the only ones I see paying are the tourists. How about asking those folks whose names are announced and emblazoned on the shelters at each stop to pony up a little more?

And whose shortsighted idea was it to set the base fare at $2.05? Why couldn't they have made it $2.00? Or $2.50? That's where we will no doubt be in 6 months anyway. One of the drivers told me that, since the new rates went into effect, he has run into more people than he can count who come on with two bills in their hands and no change. He usually lets them ride for $2.00 and reminds them to remember to add the nickel the next time they board. Before the increase, some folks would routinely get on and deposit $2 rather than try and rustle up the change so Tri-Met was actually coming out ahead. Now they're going to be nickled down until they increase the fare again . . .

The comments to this entry are closed.

Lead Sponsors


Portland Architecture on Facebook

More writing from Brian Libby


  • StatCounter
Blog powered by Typepad

Paperblogs Network

Google Analytics

  • Google Analytics

Awards & Honors