Saturday, April 7. 2012
years ago, TriMet began operating its first heavy rail line, the
Westside Express Service (WES). This line runs from Beaverton to
Wilsonville during commuting hours on weekdays.
WES was trumpeted as the “next big thing,” but opening year ridership averaged only 1,156 boardings per day, less than half the 2,500 predicted by TriMet. The agency lost nearly $24 on each trip.
TriMet just finished its third full year of operation for WES.
Average daily ridership is up to 1,571 boardings, but each trip still
requires a subsidy of $18. This is eight times higher than the subsidy needed for the average TriMet trip and costs taxpayers $7.4 million each year.
WES turned out to be a disaster, but no one at TriMet is accepting
responsibility. Agency management simply plans to raise passenger fares
again, and they also will be raising taxes on businesses.
TriMet board members are not elected, so we cannot demand a
management change at the ballot box. But the board is appointed by the
Governor, who is elected. It’s time for the Governor to demand better
performance from his political appointees.