September marks the launch of the new Eastside Streetcar loop. I predict much fanfare. Martinis, confetti cannons, dance crews. Huzzah!
Amid the celebrations, no one is slated to sound a low, sad death knell for Portland's less-loved rail line: The Free Rail Zone is dead as of September 1st. No more parking in the Lloyd Center and taking the train for free to downtown, no more hopping on in Old Town and riding to Portland State, no more encouraging tourists to take the train over the river without needing to buy a ticket. This has been a long time coming, but after 37 years, Fareless Square is dead. Goodbye, friend, you were good to us.
Let us welcome instead the new era of "Go Anywhere Fares" (somehow, "Citywide 19 Percent More Expensive Fare" didn't have the same chipper ring to it). Starting September 1st, it will cost $2.50 to take the bus or train anywhere in the city, making public transit the only thing that is more expensive in Portland than in New York.