Sunday, January 29, 2012

They do have a clue at least

Though TriMet strives to balance simplicity and ease of use for the customer vs. offering different products to address specific markets, it is apparent that over time the fare system has become too complicated, with too many different products. It is very difficult
for new and infrequent riders to figure out, primarily due to a zone system that can be complicated even for frequent riders. This can be a barrier to new riders, and for existing riders, the complex fare structure can lead to disputes at the farebox. Another source of customer concern is that transfer times are different on bus and rail. TriMet will review changes to both fare policy and technology to address these concerns.

New riders and visitors in particular complain that it is difficult to determine the correct fare to buy. TriMet’s own research on how riders buy fares shows that new and infrequent riders often buy the wrong fare because they have difficulty figuring out zones.
In addition to the zones, the fare structure is complicated by the fact that TriMet has more than 35 different fare instruments, including a variety of tickets and passes, for customers to choose. For example, there are 5 different monthly passes: adult all zone, adult zone 1 and 2, adult zone 2 and 3 zone, honored citizen, and youth. In addition, TriMet issues an annual pass, a half monthly pass, a 30 day rolling pass, a 14 day rolling pass, a 7 day rolling pass, a packet of ten ride tickets, a seven day scratch-off pass, an upgrade, and employer passes.

TriMet does operate commuter rail service. Most transit properties charge a premium fare for commuter rail service. When the WES commuter rail service began, an interagency agreement specified that the fare would not be higher than TriMet’s fares. The cost to ride WES is an all zone fare with a free transfer to other TriMet service. Because WES provides premium commuter service, a premium fare could be considered as part of the fare review. However, a premium fare would need to be balanced against the potential negative effect on ridership.

Bus transfers are made of flimsy paper, are extremely difficult for riders to decipher and difficult for operators to issue because they must be ripped individually.


1 comment:

Erik H. said...

When the WES commuter rail service began, an interagency agreement specified that the fare would not be higher than TriMet’s fares.

I love how TriMet is making all these "interagency agreements" regarding WES, regarding the Streetcar, regarding MAX...

Gee, so TriMet says "Well, we didn't promise anything for bus riders, so let's fuck them over. We made that 'agreement' with (insert government body) so we have to honor that."

TriMet needs to balance ANY agreement with its existing obligations - if TriMet cannot maintain current service levels, it certainly shouldn't be promising anything new. Otherwise bus riders ought to be off the hook for TriMet's management failures. WES is absolutely on the table for any and all revenue increases and/or service cuts. The Streetcar is absolutely on the table. Let Washington County and the City of Portland sue TriMet. They're welcome to come to an agreement to fund those services they demand in exchange for bailing out of TriMet's service district.