The State of the TriMet

Portland is known for having a pretty good public transportation system, yet folks have concerns about various things, whether it is rude people on the bus, fare increases, advertising, MAX train length, and delays.

That said, they seem to do a pretty good job of moving most of the people around, most of the time. Are folks generally happy? Generally unhappy? If you had the ability to change something, while working within the confines of reality, what would you change? Money is the key… if you say “add more trains/buses”, you need to find money. If you say “increase the public subsidy”, are you going to raise taxes or cut other services? Let’s hear it folks… we all have our dreams, but if you had to be realistic, what would you change about TriMet?

9 Comments so far

  1. Kai Jones (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 11:34 am

    Make the bus drivers stop taking up both lanes on SE Hawthorne. This requires changing Hawthorne considerably, either removing a driving lane or some of the parking on every block so the driving lanes can be repainted wide enough.

    Since I don’t use it myself except a couple of times a year, I’m not sure about other improvements.


  2. dieselboi (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 12:34 pm

    Red means stop. That is all I ask for.


  3. RAH (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 1:32 pm

    Privatize it. It’s easy to be a “pretty good” transportation system when you’re sucking off the public trough – but let’s see how they good they are in real life.


  4. Jeremy Smith (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 2:13 pm

    I don’t know how possible or practical this is, but I for one would LOVE to see stronger enforcement on animals brought on MAX or Streetcar….I love animals (a lot more than I love the patchuoli-soaked kids dragging them around Fareless Square against their wills) but the TriMet rules (posted RIGHT OVER THEIR PUNK HEADS)specifically state animals must be in carriers. I almost stepped on the head of a leash-less puppy that was sprawled exhausted and undernourished on the Streetcar floor, because the thick afternoon rush crowd hid it from my view until too late. Then the kids who “owned” the poor thing hopped off the Stretcar at 11th & Clay and “FORGOT” THEIR DOG. Everyone had to yell out the door, “Hey, idiots, you dog!” I am sorry if this comes off sounding anti-homeless or whatever, but I think it is a serious problem, for the animals AND the legitimate users of TriMet.


  5. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 2:58 pm

    I think more enforcement is a good thing-whether it’s fares or animals or whatever. I have to believe there are enough fare inspectors, but I ride “high frequency” lines and I never EVER see inspectors.

    I would also agree with dieselboi. It’s to the point where I call and commend drivers when they stop like they should.


  6. David (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 7:44 pm

    An easy, free thing would be to have better transfer timings. I don’t ride Tri-Met enough to say for sure that their timings are poor, but it was sure discouraging a few weeks back when I hopped off the streetcar just as the MAX train was leaving the stop.


  7. Sandy (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 12:21 am

    I ride Tri-Met almost every day, for years now, mostly to work at OHSU. (Can I just take a moment to thank my lucky stars I no longer have to ride the #8 bus up the hill anymore now that my job is at the new CHH building?!) My only other modes of transportation are my feet and Flexcar.

    So, having ridden public transportation in other cities like San Francisco, Paris, and Tokyo, I just have to say that our Streetcar is S…L…O…W…….. What is up with having stops every 2 blocks? And the streetcar being subjected to traffic lights just like any other car? There are times when I actually can walk faster to my destination than it could get me there. And I completely agree with David– better timing on transfers and making connections would be, um, very nice. Which I understand isn’t all necessarily their fault, having to run the gauntlet that is our downtown construction area right now…. But could those little departure/arrival countdown things in the streetcar shelters at least be accurate more than 50% of the time? And why can’t we have those at all the bus stops and shelters, telling us how long (really) the bus will take to get to our stop?

    Not to totally diss on the Streetcar only… but had to start somewhere! (I don’t really ride the MAX, since it doesn’t take me anywhere I actually need to go, save the airport– and IKEA soon!– on occassion…) Maybe after my commute tomorrow I’ll talk about the buses…. But for now, thanks! I feel better having gotten all those grumbles off my chest!


  8. Jason McHuff (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 8:59 pm

    You can get arrival information for bus stops, its just that you have to get it yourself (via phone, handheld or computer).

    As for improving TriMet, encourage more people to ride it. Yeah, some buses get full, but many ones in the suburbs have plenty of room.

    Oh, and put the money that’s going towards putting MAX on the mall towards a tunnel. It wouldn’t cover the whole cost, but it would be a start. And it would actually result in much better transit.


  9. Robert (unregistered) on May 14th, 2007 @ 12:03 am

    I live out near Fair Complex. My request would be that Metro work with the local community to build sidewalks on the main street leading to this station. My daughter uses a wheelchair for mobility and facing off with even 25mph traffic is frightening head-on for the two or so blocks where sidewalks are unavailable. Parents with strollers face the same obstacles.

    All that said, I love the Max. We make do with one car (a minivan) day-to-day, and basically use the Max as our other car. I take it to work (when I’m not being lazy). As a family, we take it often to the Zoo and to downtown (both Hillsboro for Saturday Market and Portland for a variety of things).

    On a policy note, discussion about mass transportation funding here, going private, etc. ignores the fact that the roads and gasoline are heavily subsidized themselves. Toll roads anyone?



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