Jump to content

Portland TriMet


Nabinut
 Share

Recommended Posts

I don't understand the slamming of Tri-Met for not providing "Frequent Service." 

Tri-Met is the poster child for bus & rail integration as well as "frequency vs. coverage." 

They defined frequent service, and provided it, on identified corridors, frequently, but not always, feeding MAX, decades ago. This was years before any other comparable city considered do it. 

If you look at Seattle Metro and Tri-Met in 1980, both were fledgling agencies in mid sized cities trying to figure out how to best serve their newly defined/expanded territories. Metro became enamored with the articulated bus, and did service capacity expansion through increased use of that mode, rarely going to the taxpayers for increased revenues to increase headways. Tri-Met, on the other hand, eschewed artics, and chose rail + frequent service to increase service capacity (which requires more operating revenue). To some extent, Tri-Met's choices induced demand for transit because of its perceived user friendliness.

Thirty-five years later, Metro is finally figuring out how to develop a network of frequent service. Tri-Met has had it the whole time. 

History and appropriate comparisons are important here. Some of the posts above seem like cheap shots.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, northwesterner said:

I don't understand the slamming of Tri-Met for not providing "Frequent Service." 

Tri-Met is the poster child for bus & rail integration as well as "frequency vs. coverage." 

They defined frequent service, and provided it, on identified corridors, frequently, but not always, feeding MAX, decades ago. This was years before any other comparable city considered do it. 

If you look at Seattle Metro and Tri-Met in 1980, both were fledgling agencies in mid sized cities trying to figure out how to best serve their newly defined/expanded territories. Metro became enamored with the articulated bus, and did service capacity expansion through increased use of that mode, rarely going to the taxpayers for increased revenues to increase headways. Tri-Met, on the other hand, eschewed artics, and chose rail + frequent service to increase service capacity (which requires more operating revenue). To some extent, Tri-Met's choices induced demand for transit because of its perceived user friendliness.

Thirty-five years later, Metro is finally figuring out how to develop a network of frequent service. Tri-Met has had it the whole time. 

History and appropriate comparisons are important here. Some of the posts above seem like cheap shots.

Just because TriMet has had rail, doesn't mean they are the best thing ever. The light rail wasn't needed in most places (Hillsboro, Interstate Ave, I-205, Milwaukie) and sure isn't needed in Tigard song crowded Barbur.

Sure, they have a ton of rail coverage, but their rail system is very plagued with many many issues everyday. 

Seattle is very smart in saving money by building BRT that actually goes thru developed areas with the need for ridership. TriMet needs to hop on the BRT bandwagon, and make quite a few frequent service routes into BRT, since TriMet cannot have just 40' buses due to high ridership, and have the bus lanes to bypass Portland traffic.

Just my thoughts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, OR Transit Fan said:

Just because TriMet has had rail, doesn't mean they are the best thing ever. The light rail wasn't needed in most places (Hillsboro, Interstate Ave, I-205, Milwaukie) and sure isn't needed in Tigard song crowded Barbur.

Sure, they have a ton of rail coverage, but their rail system is very plagued with many many issues everyday. 

 

What rail system doesn't have issues everyday? You'd be hard pressed to find one. The single most complex urban rail system in the world is in this country (NYC) and has perhaps the single best transit agency from an operations perspective, hauling more people than anyone else, and they have issues, every day. 

I don't point to Portland as an example of a great transit city because it has rail. I point to Portland as a great transit city because of the approach they've taken (which I did outline above, in my previous post - not sure how you took what I wrote to mean "just because TriMet has had rail, doesn't mean they are the best thing ever"). 

You can point to the places that light rail "wasn't needed" and for some of them, I don't disagree. The ridership case was tenuous. But what they did was create high capacity corridors, which could trunk their passengers and funnel them throughout the network. Tied in with their frequent service network, you have a tight network of excellent, frequent service. 

I'd point out that while the Interstate Avenue line hasn't had eye popping numbers over the years, it replaced one of, if not the heaviest ridership bus routes in the system. The corridor has developed, other area bus routes have been redesigned to connect to MAX, and twelve years since it's opening, the potential to extend the line across the river is still waiting for the right politician to push it through. And if that happens, it will be a game changer. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also don't get the TriMet bashing.

TriMet understood (or stumbled upon) something that a lot of other agencies are just now beginning to understand... frequency is freedom.

I know that many operators are moving towards 10 or 12 minute frequencies on their busiest lines... but 15 minutes is still considered frequent. Plus, IMHO it's *huge* that TriMet runs frequent service on weekends, holidays and most of the service day. 

Without dragging King County Metro further into the mud... I'll just point out that the agency is just recently starting to emulate TriMet by funneling passengers into the Light Rail and RapidRide systems... and ridership is growing by leaps and bounds (although some of that growth is thanks to more tax revenues that have been used to boost frequencies).

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/16/2017 at 4:43 PM, OR Transit Fan said:

TriMet says frequency is important, yet they do nothing to increase it. 

The "TOD" is very subsidized in Portland too. There is still very little development especially around the blue line, which they said would get developed 

They do nothing to increase it?

After the economy bottomed out and started humming again, TriMet has increased frequency at every possible opportunity.

When TriMet had to cut service in 2011/2012, they were very up-front on the hit it would take to frequency. Even then, they stated a goal to achieve frequent service when resources allowed.

As finances stabilized -- and resources did allow -- they (re)built frequency. Route by route, day by day, time period by time period.

To me (and many others here) this is obvious -- but I guess it's worth stating: providing service is the most expensive part of operating transit. Want 10-minute service instead of 15-minute service. OK -- that'll increase your costs by 33 percent! More service is certainly a worthy goal -- even if it increases costs. But those resources don't arise out of thin air.

Forgive me -- I am not trying to egg on a "pro-TriMet vs anti-TriMet" argument. Rather, I am trying to highlight a more-or-less success story of investing in service. It's not always a straightforward story with an easy path to a happy ending. But, I believe TriMet does an above-average job of handling the inevitable ups and downs (and ups!) of service levels.

 

 

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/16/2017 at 11:31 PM, northwesterner said:

What rail system doesn't have issues everyday? You'd be hard pressed to find one. The single most complex urban rail system in the world is in this country (NYC) and has perhaps the single best transit agency from an operations perspective, hauling more people than anyone else, and they have issues, every day. 

I don't point to Portland as an example of a great transit city because it has rail. I point to Portland as a great transit city because of the approach they've taken (which I did outline above, in my previous post - not sure how you took what I wrote to mean "just because TriMet has had rail, doesn't mean they are the best thing ever"). 

You can point to the places that light rail "wasn't needed" and for some of them, I don't disagree. The ridership case was tenuous. But what they did was create high capacity corridors, which could trunk their passengers and funnel them throughout the network. Tied in with their frequent service network, you have a tight network of excellent, frequent service. 

I'd point out that while the Interstate Avenue line hasn't had eye popping numbers over the years, it replaced one of, if not the heaviest ridership bus routes in the system. The corridor has developed, other area bus routes have been redesigned to connect to MAX, and twelve years since it's opening, the potential to extend the line across the river is still waiting for the right politician to push it through. And if that happens, it will be a game changer. 

TriMet isn't what it used to be. And that's why they get a lot of hate. Their executives care about rail mostly. 

Vancouver doesn't want light rail in their city either. It would also take more time to use the light rail from Vancouver than for people to hop on one of the C-Tran express routes (which would probably be cut due to light rail presence.) Yes, there would probably be people who would benefit from light rail such as commuters who work along interstate. But most people are going downtown and don't want to have 20 more minutes on their commute.

1 hour ago, Border City Transit said:

They do nothing to increase it?

After the economy bottomed out and started humming again, TriMet has increased frequency at every possible opportunity.

When TriMet had to cut service in 2011/2012, they were very up-front on the hit it would take to frequency. Even then, they stated a goal to achieve frequent service when resources allowed.

As finances stabilized -- and resources did allow -- they (re)built frequency. Route by route, day by day, time period by time period.

To me (and many others here) this is obvious -- but I guess it's worth stating: providing service is the most expensive part of operating transit. Want 10-minute service instead of 15-minute service. OK -- that'll increase your costs by 33 percent! More service is certainly a worthy goal -- even if it increases costs. But those resources don't arise out of thin air.

Forgive me -- I am not trying to egg on a "pro-TriMet vs anti-TriMet" argument. Rather, I am trying to highlight a more-or-less success story of investing in service. It's not always a straightforward story with an easy path to a happy ending. But, I believe TriMet does an above-average job of handling the inevitable ups and downs (and ups!) of service levels.

 

 

 

During their service cuts, they cut a bunch of bus service, some max service, but absolutely no WES service. Wes is what is really dragging them down financially.  

WES should be the first thing to cut when they have to save money. It has low ridership, high operating cost, it isn't an essential service, and it goes from suburban to suburban. People depend on buses and MAX, yet they still got cut.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, rickycourtney said:

I also don't get the TriMet bashing.

TriMet understood (or stumbled upon) something that a lot of other agencies are just now beginning to understand... frequency is freedom.

I know that many operators are moving towards 10 or 12 minute frequencies on their busiest lines... but 15 minutes is still considered frequent. Plus, IMHO it's *huge* that TriMet runs frequent service on weekends, holidays and most of the service day. 

Without dragging King County Metro further into the mud... I'll just point out that the agency is just recently starting to emulate TriMet by funneling passengers into the Light Rail and RapidRide systems... and ridership is growing by leaps and bounds (although some of that growth is thanks to more tax revenues that have been used to boost frequencies).

The reason a lot of others and I bash TriMet is because there are dumb things going on at that place. They have been known to be pro rail and anti bus. They build build build the light rail to get attention (such as the Orange Line).

Now you claimed that TriMet is funneling people onto MAX. The only busy line is the Blue Line. All the others seem quite useless to me. The Orange line suffers low ridership, about the same as the Line 33 it replaced. The yellow isn't much higher either. Red provides the needed extra service from BTC to Gateway, but by the time those trains leave Gateway they are nearly empty. The Green line is very low ridership too. TriMet almost did BRT to Milwaukee and Oregon City but decided to do rail (BRT would have easily served the capacity). Another example of the pro rail mentality.

This is just my opinion on all this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

59 minutes ago, OR Transit Fan said:

TriMet isn't what it used to be. And that's why they get a lot of hate. Their executives care about rail mostly. 

Vancouver doesn't want light rail in their city either. It would also take more time to use the light rail from Vancouver than for people to hop on one of the C-Tran express routes (which would probably be cut due to light rail presence.) Yes, there would probably be people who would benefit from light rail such as commuters who work along interstate. But most people are going downtown and don't want to have 20 more minutes on their commute.

But this is a false choice. It seems unlikely that there will be a capacity increase on the I-5 bridge from additional car lanes. Light rail is right there can provide a non-car capacity increase. 

Even if they put in a wider bridge, there is no where to put additional lanes on I-5 as it runs parallel to Interstate Avenue (you know, the bits where I-5 is down in a cut). That means that any capacity increase across the river has to come in the form of rail. And yes, while MAX may take 20 minutes longer than a C-TRAN express bus when the freeway is flowing (rare), with continued regional growth and no good way to increase the throughput of I-5 and the Columbia River Crossing, MAX looks mighty attractive.  

It's really about getting the WA state residents to pony up ... and thus far, they've declined to do so. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, northwesterner said:

But this is a false choice. It seems unlikely that there will be a capacity increase on the I-5 bridge from additional car lanes. Light rail is right there can provide a non-car capacity increase. 

Even if they put in a wider bridge, there is no where to put additional lanes on I-5 as it runs parallel to Interstate Avenue (you know, the bits where I-5 is down in a cut). That means that any capacity increase across the river has to come in the form of rail. And yes, while MAX may take 20 minutes longer than a C-TRAN express bus when the freeway is flowing (rare), with continued regional growth and no good way to increase the throughput of I-5 and the Columbia River Crossing, MAX looks mighty attractive.  

It's really about getting the WA state residents to pony up ... and thus far, they've declined to do so. 

They can easily put HOV lanes into a new I-5 bridge for buses. They already have the lanes in North Portland. 

Another option is to extend VINE to Delta Park. You could put bus lanes on the new bridge that express buses could use too.

The reason Vancouver does not want light rail is the cost. Max is a system that has disruptions every single day, and that may be another reason why. It's up to the people of Vancouver to decide whether they have a light rail in their city. Not up to Portland.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, OR Transit Fan said:

They can easily put HOV lanes into a new I-5 bridge for buses.

I invite you to visit Seattle during a morning rush hour.

Sound Transit Express and freeway flyer routes like the 41 use HOV lanes and the express lanes. Yes, they move typically move faster than the cars stuck in the mainline, but they're still painfully slow. In fact, in late 2015 Community Transit added 10,000 hours of service (at a cost of roughly $2m per year) simply to add padding to their timetables to account for the congestion in the HOV and express lanes on I-5. Commuters saw no additional trips for that money... only more realistic schedules.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, rickycourtney said:

I invite you to visit Seattle during a morning rush hour.

Sound Transit Express and freeway flyer routes like the 41 use HOV lanes and the express lanes. Yes, they move typically move faster than the cars stuck in the mainline, but they're still painfully slow. In fact, in late 2015 Community Transit added 10,000 hours of service (at a cost of roughly $2m per year) simply to add padding to their timetables to account for the congestion in the HOV and express lanes on I-5. Commuters saw no additional trips for that money... only more realistic schedules.

We could learn from them. I think people would rather have a bit of traffic and not unexpected 15-30 minute delays on max everyday 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, northwesterner said:

I think you are massively misjudging transit consumer preferences. 

People want a service that is the fastest with fewest delays. Currently that falls under the C-Tran express buses.

Not only that, but the C-Tran buses that feed into Downtown Portland come from all over Vancouver, which is more convenient for a lot of people. Sure, a light rail would be convenient for people who live around downtown Vancouver area but a lot of commuters are coming from the residential areas and the park and rides in the suburbs. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, OR Transit Fan said:

People want a service that is the fastest with fewest delays. Currently that falls under the C-Tran express buses

Because *currently* MAX is only an option with a connection. We were talking about a future MAX extension as part of a new Columbia River Crossing. 

I know that project croaked a couple years ago, but the bridge replacement still needs to be done. There is not enough capacity on I-5 through North Portland for a massively expanded bridge. Besides, Portlanders and the State of Oregon don't want to increase the vehicular capacity on the bridge. The long time tax evaders in Clark County are the ones who don't want to pay for light rail. That's fine. They can sit in stop and go traffic every day on that bridge to get too and from the commercial centers in Portland. It's their choice. But mark my words, a new bridge won't be built with more vehicle capacity. If overall capacity is to increase across the river, it will be through a MAX extension.

As Ricky noted, HOV lanes on the bridge are not a replacement for reliable, high capacity rail transit as a way to trunk the passenger traffic on the corridor. The running times on a light rail line are reliable and constant nearly every day. While I recognize that MAX does have operational issues (many of which are related to the bottleneck at the steel bridge), I don't buy that express buses running in HOV lanes, will day in and day out have a smaller statistical variance in running times than rail running on private ROW. That's just nonsense.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, northwesterner said:

Because *currently* MAX is only an option with a connection. We were talking about a future MAX extension as part of a new Columbia River Crossing. 

I know that project croaked a couple years ago, but the bridge replacement still needs to be done. There is not enough capacity on I-5 through North Portland for a massively expanded bridge. Besides, Portlanders and the State of Oregon don't want to increase the vehicular capacity on the bridge. The long time tax evaders in Clark County are the ones who don't want to pay for light rail. That's fine. They can sit in stop and go traffic every day on that bridge to get too and from the commercial centers in Portland. It's their choice. But mark my words, a new bridge won't be built with more vehicle capacity. If overall capacity is to increase across the river, it will be through a MAX extension.

As Ricky noted, HOV lanes on the bridge are not a replacement for reliable, high capacity rail transit as a way to trunk the passenger traffic on the corridor. The running times on a light rail line are reliable and constant nearly every day. While I recognize that MAX does have operational issues (many of which are related to the bottleneck at the steel bridge), I don't buy that express buses running in HOV lanes, will day in and day out have a smaller statistical variance in running times than rail running on private ROW. That's just nonsense.

Good luck on getting light rail there. Vancouver does NOT want it. It is up to them whether they want it. Not up to Portland. If Portland will pay for it then build it. The claim that light rail takes cars off the freeway is absolutely wrong. 

Still, the only solution to this is Buses. Wherever they would put the trains on the CRC, couldn't they put buses there??? Yes they could. No nonsense here, I'm just being realistic. Vancouver does not want light rail, and that is the reality

Also, here are some facts about the light rail: http://www.portlandfacts.com/transit/vancouverrailcost09b.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, OR Transit Fan said:

 The claim that light rail takes cars off the freeway is absolutely wrong. 

I don't even know where to start with this...

We started about a dozen posts ago arguing about TriMet's frequent service network.

Do those bus routes take cars off the road? Yes - they do. Those routes are busy because there is some inherent demand due to job centers, dense housing corridors, etc that serve a population that would ride transit no matter where they lived. But because there was enough inherent demand, TriMet, decades ago, cranked up the headways and provided frequency. This is induced demand. Transit became cost and time competitive with driving (on the same streets) because of frequent, reliable service tied into a strong connecting network (much of which is trunked on MAX trains). 

A frequent, reliable, high capacity light rail line across the river can induce demand. We know that consumer behavior changes when provided reliable, frequent transit service on their travel corridors. As I noted above, I cannot believe that an Interstate MAX line extended across the Columbia River would have a larger statistical variance in travel time than a C-TRAN bus during rush hour on I-5 (even with HOV lanes on the bridge). There could be many commuter trips that are difficult to impossible now on C-TRAN but doable on an Interstate MAX line that ties in with the rest of the Tri-Met bus network. And there's the people that would have never considered living in Vancouver and commuting to Portland who would now see that as a feasible option. 

These are cars that are taken off the freeway.

 

The arguments against MAX to Vancouver are compelling. Its expensive and the Interstate MAX alignment is slow. Much of Vancouver's population is sufficiently east of I-5 that they would have a hard time taking advantage of Light Rail service. 

But the part that I can't reconcile is the geographic necessity. Portland, like Seattle, is a city defined by its physical geography features. The rivers and the hills split up the city and make increasing road capacity nearly impossible and very expensive. This isn't Houston or Phoenix where you can just stitch together another ring freeway through the exurbs to hopefully shift some trips away from the congested inner rings. The geography of Portland dictates that the freeways be where they are, and there isn't enough taxing capacity to keep punching new freeways through every twenty years. 

And that's why Light Rail across the river is a must. 

  • Like 2
  • Confused 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, OR Transit Fan said:

TriMet isn't what it used to be. And that's why they get a lot of hate. Their executives care about rail mostly. 

Vancouver doesn't want light rail in their city either. It would also take more time to use the light rail from Vancouver than for people to hop on one of the C-Tran express routes (which would probably be cut due to light rail presence.) Yes, there would probably be people who would benefit from light rail such as commuters who work along interstate. But most people are going downtown and don't want to have 20 more minutes on their commute.

During their service cuts, they cut a bunch of bus service, some max service, but absolutely no WES service. Wes is what is really dragging them down financially.  

WES should be the first thing to cut when they have to save money. It has low ridership, high operating cost, it isn't an essential service, and it goes from suburban to suburban. People depend on buses and MAX, yet they still got cut.

Some points to consider: When you get federal funding to build a project, you have to assure the federal government that you are going to get X amount of use out of it for X amount of years, otherwise you have to pay them back. For example, if you buy a new coach, you have to guarantee them you will get at least 12 years of use, or 500,000 miles out of it for example. Capital projects are no different. You have to assure them you will get X number of trips per X days for X years until more or less the government's lien's for lack of better word are paid off. If you guarantee you are going to run no less than X trips per day, by contract you cannot run any less than X trips per day without penalty. The terms may be different for each project but the idea is the same.

Also when it comes to cutting service its easy to cut but extremely difficult to restore. So what happens during a cutback, is that the number of runs are reduced, in that process operators, mechanics, etc. are given notice that they will be laid off. If they are union often times they are on a recall list, so as vacancy's occur, such as retirement, attrition, and even service expansion occur they can be recalled. At the same time the FTA requires that you maintain only a certain spare ratio, so if you cut service back, you need less equipment and typically the oldest equipment is decommissioned, and sent away. You can find a few tricks and even get some exemptions for this rule, but these all increase your maintenance costs and are typically frowned upon. So when it comes time to restore service this process now gets very complicated. You first have to purchase new equipment which typically has a lead time of 18-24 months depending on manufacturer. Staffing also needs to be ramped up, either by using the recall list if there are still people available to work, or by hiring new staff which takes a typical 3-4 month training period after you find enough qualified candidates. After all that you can start to expand service. Once you have enough staff it may be possible to increase utilization of existing equipment but you will inevitably wind up purchasing additional vehicles.

29 minutes ago, northwesterner said:

I don't even know where to start with this...

We started about a dozen posts ago arguing about TriMet's frequent service network.

Do those bus routes take cars off the road? Yes - they do. Those routes are busy because there is some inherent demand due to job centers, dense housing corridors, etc that serve a population that would ride transit no matter where they lived. But because there was enough inherent demand, TriMet, decades ago, cranked up the headways and provided frequency. This is induced demand. Transit became cost and time competitive with driving (on the same streets) because of frequent, reliable service tied into a strong connecting network (much of which is trunked on MAX trains). 

A frequent, reliable, high capacity light rail line across the river can induce demand. We know that consumer behavior changes when provided reliable, frequent transit service on their travel corridors. As I noted above, I cannot believe that an Interstate MAX line extended across the Columbia River would have a larger statistical variance in travel time than a C-TRAN bus during rush hour on I-5 (even with HOV lanes on the bridge). There could be many commuter trips that are difficult to impossible now on C-TRAN but doable on an Interstate MAX line that ties in with the rest of the Tri-Met bus network. And there's the people that would have never considered living in Vancouver and commuting to Portland who would now see that as a feasible option. 

These are cars that are taken off the freeway.

 

The arguments against MAX to Vancouver are compelling. Its expensive and the Interstate MAX alignment is slow. Much of Vancouver's population is sufficiently east of I-5 that they would have a hard time taking advantage of Light Rail service. 

One point i'd like to make is that a new light rail line does not take many existing cars "off" the freeway. The impact today is relatively low. However, new trips caused by general overall day to day growth, the ability to now use such a service (people choosing to work downtown, and who don't want to drive, wont ride a bus, but will take a train), and any new redevelopment opportunities will mitigate the traffic on the freeway causing it not to balloon, but to remain close to as-is over the long term without having to expand the freeway significantly. that's the plus side. It keeps you from having to widen I-5 out to 8 lanes each way through the rose quarter while maintain todays overall poor traffic flow but with many more trips downtown getting added.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, northwesterner said:

I don't even know where to start with this...

We started about a dozen posts ago arguing about TriMet's frequent service network.

Do those bus routes take cars off the road? Yes - they do. Those routes are busy because there is some inherent demand due to job centers, dense housing corridors, etc that serve a population that would ride transit no matter where they lived. But because there was enough inherent demand, TriMet, decades ago, cranked up the headways and provided frequency. This is induced demand. Transit became cost and time competitive with driving (on the same streets) because of frequent, reliable service tied into a strong connecting network (much of which is trunked on MAX trains). 

A frequent, reliable, high capacity light rail line across the river can induce demand. We know that consumer behavior changes when provided reliable, frequent transit service on their travel corridors. As I noted above, I cannot believe that an Interstate MAX line extended across the Columbia River would have a larger statistical variance in travel time than a C-TRAN bus during rush hour on I-5 (even with HOV lanes on the bridge). There could be many commuter trips that are difficult to impossible now on C-TRAN but doable on an Interstate MAX line that ties in with the rest of the Tri-Met bus network. And there's the people that would have never considered living in Vancouver and commuting to Portland who would now see that as a feasible option. 

These are cars that are taken off the freeway.

 

The arguments against MAX to Vancouver are compelling. Its expensive and the Interstate MAX alignment is slow. Much of Vancouver's population is sufficiently east of I-5 that they would have a hard time taking advantage of Light Rail service. 

But the part that I can't reconcile is the geographic necessity. Portland, like Seattle, is a city defined by its physical geography features. The rivers and the hills split up the city and make increasing road capacity nearly impossible and very expensive. This isn't Houston or Phoenix where you can just stitch together another ring freeway through the exurbs to hopefully shift some trips away from the congested inner rings. The geography of Portland dictates that the freeways be where they are, and there isn't enough taxing capacity to keep punching new freeways through every twenty years. 

And that's why Light Rail across the river is a must. 

Well if it is a must, why don't you tell that to Vancouver citizens? I'm really not sure the demand for light rail is there yet.

21 hours ago, busdude.com said:

Some points to consider: When you get federal funding to build a project, you have to assure the federal government that you are going to get X amount of use out of it for X amount of years, otherwise you have to pay them back. For example, if you buy a new coach, you have to guarantee them you will get at least 12 years of use, or 500,000 miles out of it for example. Capital projects are no different. You have to assure them you will get X number of trips per X days for X years until more or less the government's lien's for lack of better word are paid off. If you guarantee you are going to run no less than X trips per day, by contract you cannot run any less than X trips per day without penalty. The terms may be different for each project but the idea is the same.

Also when it comes to cutting service its easy to cut but extremely difficult to restore. So what happens during a cutback, is that the number of runs are reduced, in that process operators, mechanics, etc. are given notice that they will be laid off. If they are union often times they are on a recall list, so as vacancy's occur, such as retirement, attrition, and even service expansion occur they can be recalled. At the same time the FTA requires that you maintain only a certain spare ratio, so if you cut service back, you need less equipment and typically the oldest equipment is decommissioned, and sent away. You can find a few tricks and even get some exemptions for this rule, but these all increase your maintenance costs and are typically frowned upon. So when it comes time to restore service this process now gets very complicated. You first have to purchase new equipment which typically has a lead time of 18-24 months depending on manufacturer. Staffing also needs to be ramped up, either by using the recall list if there are still people available to work, or by hiring new staff which takes a typical 3-4 month training period after you find enough qualified candidates. After all that you can start to expand service. Once you have enough staff it may be possible to increase utilization of existing equipment but you will inevitably wind up purchasing additional vehicles.

One point i'd like to make is that a new light rail line does not take many existing cars "off" the freeway. The impact today is relatively low. However, new trips caused by general overall day to day growth, the ability to now use such a service (people choosing to work downtown, and who don't want to drive, wont ride a bus, but will take a train), and any new redevelopment opportunities will mitigate the traffic on the freeway causing it not to balloon, but to remain close to as-is over the long term without having to expand the freeway significantly. that's the plus side. It keeps you from having to widen I-5 out to 8 lanes each way through the rose quarter while maintain todays overall poor traffic flow but with many more trips downtown getting added.

I see you mentioned the people who won't ride a bus. I'm sure they would ride the bus if they knew the service better, and that the transit system gets nice comfortable buses, like what C-Tran has currently. It is possible to get some of them onto buses.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Another major, multi-week disruption of MAX light rail is coming. No East-West rail service through the heart of the city as TriMet reconstructs parts of Morrison and Yamhill.

The Portland Streetcar will also be disrupted during the first two weeks of this project.

I'd heard this was the last improvement project downtown that would require a major disruption. Is that true? 

https://trimet.org/alerts/morrisonyamhill/

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, rickycourtney said:

Another major, multi-week disruption of MAX light rail is coming. No East-West rail service through the heart of the city as TriMet reconstructs parts of Morrison and Yamhill.

The Portland Streetcar will also be disrupted during the first two weeks of this project.

I'd heard this was the last improvement project downtown that would require a major disruption. Is that true? 

https://trimet.org/alerts/morrisonyamhill/

Second to last. The next one is the steel bridge improvements next year.

Also, get ready to say goodbye to the 2100s now. They'll be used one last time for this event.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/20/2017 at 9:35 PM, OR Transit Fan said:

I see you mentioned the people who won't ride a bus. I'm sure they would ride the bus if they knew the service better, and that the transit system gets nice comfortable buses, like what C-Tran has currently. It is possible to get some of them onto buses.

I'd certainly say that TriMet has ordered the bare bones model of Gillig (and New Flyer) buses.  Really uncomfortable and tight seating without padding, poor quality announcements, headsign issues throughout the fleet (2500's anyone?), minimal number of express or limited stop routes...needless to say the bus riding experience leaves a lot to be desired.  Now that they are replacing the padded seat inserts on the 2600-2900 series buses with vinyl inserts without padding...that'll mark the end of the "comfortable" buses.  I think if TriMet decided to put some effort into the customer experience on buses that they would attract greater ridership, though I agree that frequent and reliable service certainly tops the list of qualities that encourage ridership.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Jared Kam said:

I'd certainly say that TriMet has ordered the bare bones model of Gillig (and New Flyer) buses.  Really uncomfortable and tight seating without padding, poor quality announcements, headsign issues throughout the fleet (2500's anyone?), minimal number of express or limited stop routes...needless to say the bus riding experience leaves a lot to be desired.  Now that they are replacing the padded seat inserts on the 2600-2900 series buses with vinyl inserts without padding...that'll mark the end of the "comfortable" buses.  I think if TriMet decided to put some effort into the customer experience on buses that they would attract greater ridership, though I agree that frequent and reliable service certainly tops the list of qualities that encourage ridership.

Well said, and even being a bus fan, I find their buses that are 2600s and newer are extremely uncomfortable. Especially the Gilligs. Although I'm glad they are Gillig and not XD40's, I wish they would make them far more comfortable and more enjoyable to ride.

I know the type 5 max cars have padded vinyl seats, yet they don't bother with padding on the buses (and bus rides are typically longer than MAX rides).

I also think if they actually would also start switching over to a Hybrid bus fleet, that would attract riders too. Or even CNG.

 

8 hours ago, Jared Kam said:

I'd certainly say that TriMet has ordered the bare bones model of Gillig (and New Flyer) buses.  Really uncomfortable and tight seating without padding, poor quality announcements, headsign issues throughout the fleet (2500's anyone?), minimal number of express or limited stop routes...needless to say the bus riding experience leaves a lot to be desired.  Now that they are replacing the padded seat inserts on the 2600-2900 series buses with vinyl inserts without padding...that'll mark the end of the "comfortable" buses.  I think if TriMet decided to put some effort into the customer experience on buses that they would attract greater ridership, though I agree that frequent and reliable service certainly tops the list of qualities that encourage ridership.

But trimet is too focused on rail that they refuse to address the issues with their bus service.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Jared Kam said:

I'd certainly say that TriMet has ordered the bare bones model of Gillig (and New Flyer) buses.  Really uncomfortable and tight seating without padding, poor quality announcements, headsign issues throughout the fleet (2500's anyone?), minimal number of express or limited stop routes...needless to say the bus riding experience leaves a lot to be desired.  Now that they are replacing the padded seat inserts on the 2600-2900 series buses with vinyl inserts without padding...that'll mark the end of the "comfortable" buses.  I think if TriMet decided to put some effort into the customer experience on buses that they would attract greater ridership, though I agree that frequent and reliable service certainly tops the list of qualities that encourage ridership.

Sounds like a lot of transit system? I see your post has been liked by OR Transit. The irony is that he complains about Trimet maintenance, yet, padded seats is maintenance intensive and costly when they get damaged. The problem with big city transit systems is that one day that bus is a doing a peak hour suburban run, the next day it's doing a mainline run through a rough neighborhood at midnight. Seats get damaged, repairs come out of the day to day operating budget, which then reduces the service hours available to actually provide bus service. Off the top of my head, most big city transit systems do have non-padded seats on their buses. Hell, Edmonton is testing solid plastic seats right now which would make vinyl seats look like fancy stuff! Suburban systems do often provide nicer seating, but, they don't see the same type of use that a big city transit bus does. Now, frankly, I'm not very familiar with C-Tran and their operations and that is where this pieces on seating seems to have started, but it seems to me C-Tran isn't in the same class as Trimet.

Poor quality announcements are a valid concern with a bare bones bus. You generally speaking probably do get what you pay for with the options out there. I'm curious though about your headsign complaints. There's what, two manufacturers out there, Axion and Luminator? And an amber LED sign is pretty much industry standard. What's so wrong with what Trimet specs? The Bailos signs from the timeframe of the 2500's were problematic, but, that's not inherently Trimet's fault. That affected anyone who purchased those signs in that timeframe and they were new technology at the time.

  • Confused 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, OR Transit Fan said:

I also think if they actually would also start switching over to a Hybrid bus fleet, that would attract riders too. Or even CNG.

Says who? Can you provide any sort of proof (studies, other transit systems etc.) that show a correlation between hybrid buses and increased ridership?

You bitch about moan about Trimet's maintenance, yet you want them to get complicated  hybrids (compared to a straight diesel bus). Or you want them to get CNG's buses that need a separate refueling infrastructure and the the need to periodically inspect and replace tanks (look no further than Charriots).

You make remarks like "ugh" about Trimet getting electric buses, and I believe you commented as per usual that they wouldn't be maintained by Trimet. If you believe that, then why do you think Trimet getting a diesel electric hybrid bus, essentially a combination of an electric bus and a diesel bus in one, is a good idea?!

  • Like 1
  • Confused 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, M. Parsons said:

Says who? Can you provide any sort of proof (studies, other transit systems etc.) that show a correlation between hybrid buses and increased ridership?

You bitch about moan about Trimet's maintenance, yet you want them to get complicated  hybrids (compared to a straight diesel bus). Or you want them to get CNG's buses that need a separate refueling infrastructure and the the need to periodically inspect and replace tanks (look no further than Charriots).

You make remarks like "ugh" about Trimet getting electric buses, and I believe you commented as per usual that they wouldn't be maintained by Trimet. If you believe that, then why do you think Trimet getting a diesel electric hybrid bus, essentially a combination of an electric bus and a diesel bus in one, is a good idea?!

No need to get foul here...

TriMet has 8 hybrid buses. The maintenance knows how to maintain them. Thy are a proven technology, and electric buses aren't a solid technology yet.

Cherriots is very happy with CNG buses, and they do save a lot of money with them. The tanks are much much much cheaper to replace than to buy a new bus. CNG is also very proven. Don't know why you implied Cherriots having to "inspect and replace tanks"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...