It strikes me as weird that the 63 and Washington Park Shuttle (also known as the 83) still co-exist. Now that the Washington Park Loop has a number and is officially a bus line (an official sign that TriMet has clearly stopped giving a shit about it) the stupidity of it all is just obvious. Almost every sign is served by both buses with some different routing in the middle. Just compare the two on the system map. It's suffocatingly useless.
I guess you could argue that having the two together provides frequency, and I suppose that could be true, except for a few things. 1) Line 63 runs every 40 minutes midday while line 83 runs every 20 minutes, and most of the time the 63 leaves the Oregon Zoo anywhere between two and five minutes after the 83. Not useful, now is it?
The only fundamental differences between lines 63 and 83 is that line 83 runs weekends and line 63 runs through the rest of the year. Consider that TriMet's trying to save money, and yet the avoid the only possibly logical 'reconfigurement' in the system. Here's what I think should be done, personally.
1) Eliminate the '83'.
Short version: Run only one bus line through Washington Park.
Long answer: This would essentially be the catalyst to improvements on the 63 itself. Since it's obvious we don't need two routes going the exact same places, we eliminate the one who came along last. Sorry, but the 63 was here first.
2) Reroute the 63
Short version: Consider this routing.
Long version: This new route combines the best of both the lines. From Jeld-Wen Field it would follow line 63's route via Rose Parkway, Kingston North and Fairview. On the return trip to Jeld-Wen Field, it would follow line 83's route via Fairview, Kingston South and Sherwood to the Children's Park.
It would, however, cut off two stops- Line 63's at Kingston and Tichner to Jeld-Wen Field and Line 83's at the Archery Range. A stop at SW Park Place and Sacajawea would have to be moved to SW Sherwood and Lewis&Clark Way.
However, it maintains access to Arlington Heights, Hoyt Arboretum, the Tennis Courts and the Rose Gardens both ways, as well as maintaining the stop just outside the Children's Park on SW Sherwood. The biggest inconvenience would be for the Archery Range; people looking for that stop will find a half-mile's walk ahead of them. However, missing the stops along SW Fairview for that single stop doesn't seem to be worth it, at least in my opinion. Any archers who care to disagree with me?
Also, as a bonus little tidbit, there would be a minor reroute by Jeld-Wen Field via SW King and Burnside. This would provide service to Fred Meyer and other stores along the area instead of following the same routing along 18th twice. There would be a new stop at SW King Avenue at Taylor Northbound, and the line would serve line 20 stops at W 21st and 20th, while forgoing Eastbound stops at SW Salmon at 20th and 19th (which would be served Westbound.) This is entirely expendable, just an extra little idea.
3) Merge the schedules
To make a long point brief, I'll put it in list form.
3a) Reinstate Weekend Service between the off-peak seasons at current line 63 weekday levels. No matter the season, the most likely day someone would visit Washington Park are in fact weekends.
3b) Run line 63 every forty minutes between 6am and 6pm during off-peak season same as usual.
3c) During the peak season, between each forty minute trip, add one halfway between them between ten and six to create line 83 levels of service.
Example: (1:35pm, 1:55pm, 2:15pm, 2:35pm, 2:55pm).
This would tidy up the schedule as well as give weekend service throughout the rest of the year, which would be covered by money saved from running one less line during the summer.
4) Some good old-fashioned TriMet marketing.
Take the TriMet approach: spin a new web from an old thread! Make it seem like there's a ton more when there really isn't. I can see it now.
Ride the all-year Washington Park Shuttle
Now running 365 days a year all day, take the new and improved Washington Park Shuttle to any of your destinations anywhere between Jeld-Wen Field and the Oregon Zoo! See where it takes you?
See? You don't even have to mention that all the buses are mirthless 1900s with no Air Conditioning; there's slightly less service than before and aside from Weekend Service and slight reroute it's not any different than it was before. I'm not kidding; say what you want about TriMet, but they know how to boast and lie.
So that's my take on it. No matter what, something has to be done about this clunky overlap.