Those changes would bump the base TriMet fare to $2.50 and only let them be used one way. I find the idea of one-way fares confusing, but TriMet spokesperson Mary Fetsch explains: "The idea is to make fares more streamlined and simple. On the MAX, it prints where you bought your ticket. So let's say you bought your ticket at the Yellow Line Interstate station and then head toward the airport. With a one-way fare, you can transfer, but the operator could see that you're heading away from where you bought your ticket."
TriMet is still uncertain how a one-way transfer system would work on the bus—it would likely involve getting rid of the current ripped-paper-scrap transfer and spending on new transfer technology for buses.
To add some honey to the bitter changes, TriMet's budget committee is recommending that while one-ticket fares increase, the cost of a $5 all-day ticket stay the same, so people who take multiple trips a day (like, to work, then to the gym, then home, then to the grocery store) could potentially buy daily tickets and be hit with less of a fare increase.
These are just some of the options TriMet is weighing to fill its $17 million budget hole. According to the incredibly depressing "Fix TriMet's Budget!" game, a move to eliminate transfers would save $3 million a year. However, it would also be terrible. Ugh.
Not on the table to cut are the some of the biggest expenses driving TriMet's budget deficit, like employee healthcare benefits and investment in light rail expansion projects. Anyway, we'll know the cuts soon enough: The budget recommendations are due out on February 8th.