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TriMet: Ridership up on frequent lines

Ridership has doubled on 10 of the frequent service bus lines Trimet restored in April.

According to figures released Thursday by the regional transit agency, ridership for April is up by double digits on the lines on both weekdays and weekends compared to a year ago.

TriMet spent $3.1 million to restore service cuts made when revenues dropped during the Great Recession.

TriMet is proposing $7.1 million more in service improvements in the coming fiscal year. The agency's Board of Directors will vote on that budget May 28th.

The full text of TriMet's statement is as follows:

TriMet customers are responding positively to more service on 10 of our of our most popular frequent service bus lines. Compared to a year ago, ridership for the month of April on our Frequent Service bus lines is up double digits on both weekdays and weekends.

Weekday ridership on our Frequent Service bus lines is up 10.2 percent and up 11.6 percent on weekends. Additionally, overall bus ridership is up 6.8 percent with peak bus ridership up 8.9 percent.

Increasing bus trips to restore Frequent Service has been a top priority for TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane. The $3.1 million worth of service on 10 of the 12 Frequent Service bus lines implemented in March has been a great start.

“This is the culmination of many investments to our bus service,” said TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane. “Over the past two and a half years, we have added 125 new buses to our fleet, with 70 more being delivered now, and we are adding trips previously cut during the recession. The swell of ridership is a reflection of these and other efforts.”

All 12 of TriMet’s Frequent Service bus lines now meet the 15-minute weekday midday standards. The March service improvements also restored Frequent Service on Line 4-Division/Fessenden on weekday evenings and all day on Saturdays.

Frequent Service bus ridership

• Weekly trips were up 10.4 percent at 688,200

• Weekday trips were up 10.2 percent to 112,700

• Weekend trips were up 11.6 percent to 124,700

TriMets Frequent Service Network

The full Frequent Service bus network carries roughly 55 percent of bus riders and had run every 15 minutes or better throughout most hours of the day, every day until the Great Recession. Frequent Service bus service was cut 14 percent to close budget shortfalls, reducing frequency on these and other lines. Restoring Frequent Service provides better access to jobs, education and community services, and supports regional land use goals and creates strong transit corridors.

While the $3.1 million worth of service improvements has increased ridership and improved equity and livability, it would require $7.8 million to restore the full Frequent Service network.

Frequent Service improvements

The 10 Frequent Service bus lines that had improved weekday midday hours in March:

• 6-Martin Luther King Jr Blvd

• 8-Jackson Park/NE 15th

• 9-Powell/Broadway

• 12-Barbur/Sandy Blvd

• 14-Hawthorne

• 15-Belmont/NW 23rd

• 33-McLoughlin

• 54-Beaverton/Hillsdale Hwy/56-Scholls Ferry Rd

• 57-TV Hwy/Forest Grove

• 75-Cesar Chavez/Lombard

• 4-Fessenden/Division (service improvements during weekday evenings and on Saturdays)

Funding sources

The $3.1 million in service restoration that went into effect March 2nd is funded by $1 million in non-union health care cost savings and $1 million in additional revenue from a new advertising contract. TriMet fares funding the balance of $1.1 million.

The $3.1 million in service restoration made in March 2014 is on top of $2.1 million in improvements made in September 2013 to 20 bus lines and the addition of a new bus line between Sherwood and Tigard to better serve Washington County.

More Service Improvements Proposed

Our budget for Fiscal Year 2015 (July 2014-July 2015) calls for adding service, improving schedule reliability and reducing overcrowding to provide better service to our riders. TriMet is proposing $7.1 million more in service improvements in the coming fiscal year. TriMet’s Board of Directors will vote on that budget May 28th.

Highlights from proposed FY2015 budget

More Frequent Service: We plan to add weekday evening trips on Frequent Service bus lines and MAX to get back to 15-minute (or better) frequency throughout the day.

Better schedule reliability: Schedules will change on Line 71 and Lines 20 and 72 to improve reliability.

Less crowding: We’re adding buses to Lines 4, 8, 9, 10, 15, 20, 33, 44, 76, 94 and 99 to relieve overcrowding.

More new buses: 64 new buses will join the fleet this year, for a total of 249 buses replaced since 2012.