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South Metro Area Regional Transit uses influx of money to increase the frequency of routes

PMG FILE PHOTO - South Metro Area Regional Transit is tweaking its 2X service route from Barbur Boulevard in Portland to Tualatin and adding trip frequency.

With the blessing of Wilsonville City Council, received during a work session Monday, June 3, South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART) will change the destination, frequency and price of its 2X service and bolster the frequency of other routes.

The 2X route, which currently runs from Wilsonville's transit center to Barbur Transit Center in Portland, will instead run to Tualatin Park and Ride starting September 23. SMART will then begin a direct downtown service in 2020.

"Ending service to Barbur will free up resources to make connections that are more frequent to TriMet at Tualatin Park and Ride, as well as prepare for a direct downtown Portland service," the City Council staff report reads.

Also, from Monday to Friday, the route's frequency will increase from every 30 minutes to every 15 minutes during commuter hours and from every hour to every 30 minutes during the middle of the day. An every 30 minute service will be added on Saturdays.

As for the ride fare, it will drop from $1.50 to free. The Council could have kept the current fare rate but agreed with SMART's recommendation to make it free.

"By removing fares on Route 2X, customers will no longer need to pay two fares for one trip when they connect to TriMet," the staff report reads.

Other changes slated for September include two additional mid-day trips to Salem on the 1X route, the addition of a 30-minute Saturday service on the 4X route along Wilsonville Road toward Meridian Creek Middle School and eight additional trips on the Route 7 service to Villebois.

Much of the revenue to make these service changes stems from House Bill 2017, which used increased payroll taxes to bolster transportation services across the state, and TriMet's Regional Coordination Program while the City is projected to spend $559,000 of the $1.57 million needed to keep the 2X service running in the upcoming 2019-20 fiscal year.


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