News Sep 2, 2015 at 4:20 pm

TriMet's About to Go Digital. What's That Mean for Its Poorest Users?


This may be a bit off topic, but one of my initial questions is why is Trimet using an out of state firm for this new technology? Why couldn't they use a local company?

I agree with OPAL's concerns, this just seems like another push against working class and poor people in the city. Another nail in our collective coffin. Portland has been pulling some really regressive moves in socio-economic egalitarianism lately, and this is another example of how much this city hates poor people.
How about with all of this new found cash they reinstate fareless square? The argument for doing away with it was that there was no money. That no longer holds weight, considering they're spending 30 million on a new electronic ticketing system that no one asked for.
Fairless square will never return. Please get over it. Trimet should not be allowed to do any improvements until it gets its finachel house in order. One thing it does not deserve an increase from the business.
As long as we continue to treat the focus of our transit system as a charity for the poor it will continue to suck to use. Let's work towards a transit system that actually is effective at moving everyone around that people want to use, the end result will be better than a heavily subsidized barely functional system.
Its unfortunate that Trimet continues catering to what they call 'the choice riders'.
That's double speak for people with wealth.

See, the transit dependent class is stuck with Trimess no matter what so they can abuse those people at will cause they have no choice.

This is just more of the same. Portland (and Trimet) are probably the worst place to be if your economically challenged
This is outrageous. Why does public transportation even cost money for anybody? If we had free or very cheap and more frequent buses we could reduce traffic like crazy and what people lost in taxes they would regain with their gas bill.
Portland should look at Boston's "Charlie Card" system as a good example of what could attain their goals, while also eliminating these stated risks against low-income and physically challenged persons. Some noteworthy points of difference that come to my mind: The electronic "Charlie Card" is FREE, you can still use cash on bus or rail system, and using the card comes with a discounted ride price; thus encouraging commuters to consistently use the card which speeds up lines and greatly reduces paper waste.
Everything Jessica said. The Trimet system as described in this article is basically designed to keep poor people off of Trimet, which is completely fucked up.

You either need a smartphone or you have to pay extra to use the system, and keep paying extra if you happen to lose your card? Fuck off. Progress is great. Institute new systems that make it easier to use the system - that's great. But not at the expense of people that don't have that kind of access, and that rely on the system for a way of life.
This is great. The city rolls of the red carpet to Uber, a company that discriminated against the poor by requiring cell phone and credit transactions, and offers very low coverage to historically impoverished areas of town. Then the city decides to double the punch by doing the same thing with the public transportation system. Awesome. Really compassionate city planning here.
I wonder how many riders have passes, monthly or annually, versus paying fare. I would guess a minority.
@wynde, I don't think you understand how tri-met is governed. The city has basically zero input, the decisions are all made by a board that is appointed by the governor. This lack of local control is a double edged sword as it prevents suburbs that think that transit is a crime train from dismantling the system entirely, but it also means that the people who run the system have probably ridden it fewer times than they have fingers and could care less if it is actually a functional way to get around the city for people who have to get to their destination in a timely fashion. The city allowing in Uber has actually improved the overall transportation system for people without cars, and to that I say at least they are trying.

The real reason for this change is obvious, people often are able to ride the bus with a transfer that is slightly expired, after this change that won't be the case so trimet will pick up a ton of extra revenue buy strictly enforcing short transfer times.
If you haven't gone somewhere and purchased a pass to board the bus/train. How in the hell are you supposed to get somewhere to purchase a pass to board the bus or train?

What if you only use the system in the case of an emergency or failure of your normal mode of travel?

What if you're car breaks down, you've got $3.00 in change under your couch, and you've got to get to work or school?

The idea that people should not be able to purchase a fare, in cash, at the point of service anywhere on our public transit system is preposterous. If you are not able to purchase a fare, at the point of service, the ride should be free.

Also. Eff the suburbs. Dismantle the freeways.
Among the problems I see with Trimet is its' insistence on thinking expensive (but cute) MAX lines and Streetcar is the way to go, as opposed to electric buses that San Francisco uses , as well as their Union - which does a great job for its' workers, but at the extreme detriment of us taxpayers and public transit riders.
I'm pretty poor, but I'm not about to start searching for free burros on Craigslist to get around on, even though I think they're <3 super cute! Perusing the comments, I can't help but wonder when the last time was some of my fellow readers noticed street people playing with their smart phones. This is just another change that will require adjusting, and will certainly be a pain in the ass for some at first . But, considering how affordable smart phones have become my only concern for this new system is whether or not there will be a decent number and distribution of card vendors. Like I said, I'm low-income, but we haven't sunk yet so low that I'd have to prostitute myself to buy a smart phone for $50 ... and I'm perfectly capable of having the presence of mind to make sure I always have some fare loaded on whatever device I use to pay fare).
The Joint Terrorism Task Force can dial, turn up the juice and zap any user with a jolt to either stun or kill, or emit a blanket stun or kill field of energy from any or all cell towers. Just as they can commandeer your car, shut it off, lock you in, or drive you over a cliff. The City of Berkeley, California, warns citizens that cell phones cause cancer.

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