12 October 2005

[metro_transit] Tri Met Responds to High Diesel Prices

TriMet is now spending about $2.20/gallon on diesel fuel, and is looking at prices which may go to $2.50/gallon. Before the fuel market went all sixes and sevens, the budget was for $1.50/gallon.

With that sort of budget pressure, something has to give.

According to this press release from TriMet, things are just about to do so.

The response is twofold. First is increasing fuel efficiency in the fleet. The agency claims that this alone has saved a half million gallons (6.5M gallons instead of 7M annually). So there has been some operational improvements.

But it's not enough to avoid a fare increase.

TriMet further proposed a 15-cent fare increase (10-cents for Youth/Student/Honored Citizen and $2 for montly passes). In order to lessen the impact of the increase, the agency proposed the innovative step of the 7-day rolling pass, which is supposed to allow riders to purchase transit in smaller increments.

The vote by the TriMet board is scheduled for its meeting of 26 October, and, if approved, will go into effect 1 January 2006.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm all for giving public transit the funding that it needs, and I love having such good options for commuting in Portland, but this is where I part ways with Tri-Met.

I can understand that costs are going up. They've trotted out the same "we've economized" bullets for a year, now, and yet I still see examples of them spending money on things that could be shelved to save a few bucks and reduce, if not avoid, these fare hikes.

Things like those ridiculous "75 years of service" stickers, the ever changing color schemes on timetables, the boondoggle of publicizing smoke-free MAX stations, collectible history posters, the TriMet Light Rail Book... these are all nice things that Trimet has done in the past few months that, in better times, would be good... but when you ask riders to pony up more cash, these become luxuries that are no longer justified.

It's no big deal for me to spend an extra 50 cents or so a day to commute, but for some people, the extra $10/month for a pass is going to hurt. Tri-Met has a responsibility to raise fares as little as humanly possible -- and cut the stuff that can be cut before they go back to the farebox well.

They've failed to do so.