With Trimet facing a loss of up to $17 million in the next budget year, they have come up with a revenue-generating proposal that includes several changes. Many people have complained about these potential alterations and have already started planning what they’ll do to get around without having to use the MAX. Portland State University student Avery VanKirk feels that the projected increase in fare will affect his day-to-day routine. “It’s hard enough having to pay $5 every day to commute to and from school. If they increase fares, I’ll probably go back to driving” he says.
The proposal consists of changes, such as a fare increase, a transition to one-way/round-trip tickets, and the elimination of all zones, including the Free Rail Zone. Ryan Smith, a PSU student, feels that the removal of the Free Rail Zone would hinder a lot of people who make good use of it. “I know a lot of people that drive to the Lloyd Center, park there, and then jump on the MAX in the Free Rail Zone. The recession drew people to work the system, but with these changes coming up, they will be forced to find other means of transportation” Smith says.
The shortcomings in funds come during a tough economic time when many people have made Trimet their primary transportation. A fare increase would generate revenue and help avoid further service cuts, but it would also create a financial burden for people who use the bus or MAX on a daily basis, especially lower-income riders. For now, the majority of revenue-generating measures are being focused on increased fares. However, if the cost is too high, riders might stop using Trimet and inadvertently create a bigger budget problem.
What do you think about the proposal? If fares go up, will you stop riding the MAX?