Screwing our retirees is HOW WE ROLL

Screwing our retirees is HOW WE ROLL

Monday, June 6, 2011

TriMet is screwing the pass holders!

5¢ fare increase is coming, and you know it, but why do passes rise at $4 per month, and not $2?

Heres some fun with numbers:

On the ORCA Card (in Seattle), It is $9 for every 25¢ increase in fare, or $1.80 per 5¢.

Lets break down TriMets fare, Assuming 365 days per year - 104 weekend days - 6 holidays = 255 average commute days per year:

$77 X 12 = $924 / 255 = $3.62 /2 = $1.81 per trip (assumes one round trip per day, 2-zone pass)
$81 X 12 = $972 / 255 = $3.81 /2 = $1.91 per trip, a 9¢ increase per trip.

Either way you look at it, someone up at TriMet is rewarding cash riders, as the value of the Monthly pass is diminishing. A monthly pass holder is saving 24¢ right now per ride, or $10.20 per month, at the new rate, Pass holders will save 19¢ per trip, or $8.07 per month.

It should be a $2 increase, to realize the fair amount of savings, period.

12 comments:

Erik H. said...

That is strangely odd...

At most transit agencies, they realize that counting that cash has a cost associated to it - and would prefer that folks go to the stored value (i.e. Orca, MetroCard, Oyster Card) passes

At TriMet, they take cost savings even further: there's no equipment that scans monthly/annual passes, no data collection, and the cards themselves are flimsy cardstock (or the annual passes nothing more than a small sticker on my company ID badge). Since many monthly/annual passes are sold in bulk there's little sales overhead; I don't believe TriMet pays commission to those retailers like Freddy's that sells them as well. TriMet has only ONE customer service/ticket office (which is strange in itself).

So...if anything, monthly and annual passholders represent savings to TriMet that cash riders don't.

That said...TriMet also makes it difficult for lower income folks to ride...those other transit agencies with the stored-value cards make it easy for ANYONE to get those cards, to load value onto the cards, and for service agencies to load value onto the cards. Here in Portland, if you can't qualify for an HC pass, you're stuck paying full fare...

punkrawker4783 said...

As you further point out, its whatever benefits TriMet, heaven forbid they do anything to benefits their riders.

Al M said...

Fascinating post Chad!

Jason McHuff said...

At most transit agencies, they realize that counting that cash has a cost associated to it - and would prefer that folks go to the stored value (i.e. Orca, MetroCard, Oyster Card) passes

And if you were to look around, you'd realize that TriMet wants to go to electronic fares and is planning on doing it. For example, this next fiscal year will see the start of bus farebox replacement with ones that are smart card compatible.

That said...TriMet also makes it difficult for lower income folks to ride...those other transit agencies with the stored-value cards make it easy for ANYONE to get those cards, to load value onto the cards, and for service agencies to load value onto the cards.

There's a difference between having electronic fares (I'm assuming that's what you mean by "cards") and giving discounted fares to low-income riders. Moreover, there are social service agencies in the Portland area that do provide transit tickets to the needy.

Jason McHuff said...

I found the reason for the higher increase in the budget message:

"TriMet traditionally has increased adult pass fares $2.00. The increase to $4.00 will generate an additional $1 million to help offset the cost of needed bus service improvements".

Now is this a correct idea? I don't know. I think what passes should cost in relation to single fares is really a philosophical question. (Just like what a paratransit ride should cost)

Also, I believe they've done higher pass price increases in the past too.

Al M said...

If Erik says red, Jason says blue.
If Erik says black, Jason says white.
Another day at the blog.

punkrawker4783 said...

I can not seem to find any other time a $4 increase was done, its all been $2 per month except 2008 when they raised it $10 due to gas prices, and the cash fare was raised 25¢, so according to my numbers that was fair.

They should be treating their Monthly Pass Holders better, they are after all TriMets most Loyal customers over Cash customers. Also, I do not see any other passes getting increased, which means a 28 day pass will cost $78, over $81 for a full month, skip riding for a weekend, and you save money. As I have mentioned before, someones head is not screwed on right at the TriMet Office there.

J said...

Are they still going to have a "monthly" pass though, or are they going to switch to a 30 consecutive day model pass? I saw that it was on the table to introduce that as part of the fare increase package, so I wonder if they will offer both traditional monthly passes at the same time as the 30 day pass.

Michael, Portland Afoot said...

Nice catch!

Maybe TriMet thinks their monthly pass buyers are less price-sensitive than their ticket buyers ... sort of like a WSJ subscription costing twice as much as an Oregonian subscription because all the WSJ readers just expense it to their employer.

Jason McHuff said...

I can not seem to find any other time a $4 increase was done

I believe it was an additional $1 in maybe 2001.

And looking at the fare spreadsheet (Michael's copy of it) in both 1996 and 1998, passes went up $3 but cash fares only went up 5 cents.

Erik H. said...

And if you were to look around, you'd realize that TriMet wants to go to electronic fares and is planning on doing it.

Huh. TriMet's made it clear it has no desire to do it, has no money, and you've said very clear that it's a waste of money that could be spent elsewhere.

a difference between having electronic fares (I'm assuming that's what you mean by "cards") and giving discounted fares to low-income riders

Yes there is a difference, but using electronic cards (since your fare medium is a card) allows for much greater flexibility when dealing with social service agencies that subsidize passes/tickets for clients. They can simply hand out a card and load a certain value on it and do so on a regular basis. No more dealing with paper tickets that have to be purchased directly from TriMet.

Just as I deal with on a daily basis, these agencies could have access to a dedicated website in order to manage and add value to their clients' accounts.

Jason McHuff said...

FY2012 Approved Budget, PDF page 12.

And is it really that hard to mail paper tickets? If they were to hand out the fare cards, they would have to have them mailed, too.