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.