The following essay by Jason Mchuff is part of an ongoing 'feud' between himself and Erik Halstead
These are regarding his comments on TriMet working to keep service high, cuts low:
How are you certain that there has been a focus been on bus service cuts? Have you asked about other divisions (departments) and been told that they are being spared? What about the fact that the call center will be open two less hours per day? Right or wrong, isn't that a non-service cut?
Wouldn't peak-hour fares be confusing and discourage ridership? To have it be fair, wouldn't there need to be special (higher-priced) passes for riding during that time? What about people who's job or appointment happens to start or end then and have no choice of when they travel?
Isn't it true that there are distance based fares for MAX? That a MAX rider traveling from Hillsboro to Gresham does have to have a more expensive fare than a bus rider making a short hop from Raleigh Hills to Hillsdale? And are you implying there should only be distance-based fares for MAX?
Wouldn't increasing fares for WES and (especially) eliminating transfer privileges cause a significant decrease in ridership and increase the subsidies needed to run the service? After all:
-ridership is still below capacity
-most trips involving WES require a further transfer to another mode
-the other mode may not have high-frequency service, and may require a fare
-the overall time involved in a transit trip including WES may be lengthier than driving
-most trips including WES are to places with free (100% subsidized) parking
-the parallel highway is not that congested
-the cost to run the service is essentially the same whether it's full or mostly empty
Is it really realistic to eliminate Capital Projects, Marketing and IT? Isn't it true that those divisions (departments) preform many vital functions, such as providing customer service and ensuring that employees get paid and controllers and dispatchers know where the trains and buses are?
Isn't it true that TriMet doesn't exist in a vacuum, and that what goes on in Salem and DC can have a major effect on the agency? Do you think that it would be a good idea to never meet with (lobby) the officials there or attend meetings and just hope they do whats best for the agency?
Would it really be a good idea for TriMet to drop sponsorship of all events, especially when the agency gets a benefit that offsets any costs--such as increased ridership or awareness? What about when TriMet pays with in-kind contributions (such as advertising space that might otherwise go unused) and not in cash?
Is it really prudent for TriMet to eliminate all landscape work when many jurisdictions have code requirements regarding landscaping, and unsightly grounds can discourage ridership and even encourage crime?
Wouldn't darkened stations encourage vandalism? Do you know if it's even possible to remotely power off and on the ticket machines?
Where's your evidence that "TriMet spends thousands on signage and updated schedules for MAX and WES stations"? And what about the fact that MAX stations generally serve a higher amount of passengers than an average bus stop?
Given contracts with the Federal government and other agencies that funded the lines, wouldn't eliminating WES and stopping the Green Line possibly subject TriMet to substantial liabilities? Moreover, wouldn't such moves tarnish the agency?
Let's say Tigard ran Line 45 past Washington Square. Wouldn't you expect TriMet to contribute funding to them for doing that (since it provides transit service)? How is that any different the City of Portland providing streetcar service? What about the fact that Portland Streetcar provides free service to TriMet users by accepting all TriMet fares?
Isn't it true that TriMet's contribution to streetcar operations has declined on a per-hour basis, meaning that the city is picking up a higher share of the costs? Isn't it true that the city's transportation budget is facing drastic cuts, too? Isn't it true that there's been an increase in the payroll tax rate to pay for new services like the streetcar (and MAX expansions)?
How, exactly, does the streetcar compete with TriMet given there is no TriMet service on 10th and 11th Avenues and there isn't "expansive service" to South Waterfront? Isn't it true that (because of the streetcar) TriMet did eliminate weekend Line 17 service in NW Portland (except for trips which continue beyond to St Johns and Sauvie Island) and now is proposing eliminating the rest?
Isn't it true that (most) MAX expansions do in fact allow bus service to be replaced? How many bus routes travel between Downtown Portland and Washington County with Westside MAX compared with before it opened?
How exactly does MAX get the revenue and bus get the costs?
Do Forest Grove, Sherwood and Troutdale residents really pay for Portland Streetcar service, especially given that transit is not paid for by sales or other personal taxes here?
Wasn't the union's official contract proposal the status quo?
Isn't it true that buses don't necessarily need to be replaced at 12 years of age? That TriMet considers 15-17 years as a reasonable lifespan? Didn't you say that the old buses are still safe and do the job?
How does paying for buses with bonds "free up cash for MAX"?
Isn't it true that TriMet has successfully relocated organizations whose buildings are being taken for a MAX line? Isn't it true that MAX lines generally attract more riders than bus service in the same area before it opens?
What pay increase did Neil McFarlane take besides one afforded for taking on a higher position?
How many of your proposed cuts were actually realistic and did not have downsides that were worse than the savings?
Is it really sane to fire employees just because they mention completely innocent words?
Don't articulated buses cost more to operate since they are bigger, heavier and more complex? Does the Federal government really pay for the additional cost of every hybrid bus an agency wants to order? Isn't it true that TriMet did get grants for hybrid buses, but only for a limited amount of them?
Do you really know that TriMet is going to buy Foie Gras to celebrate for the next new MAX line? Didn't sponsors pay for past opening events as a thank you to those who worked on the project?
Isn't it true that TriMet used stimulus funds to pay for a bus wash and not a "car wash", and that it replaced a facility that was about to fall down? Isn't it true that the projects would otherwise have to be paid for with the same funds that support service?