Olde TriMet Is Dead
“40 cents is no small amount,” says Zain Alattar ’14, philosophy major and off-campus student. That’s how much he’ll have to pay to ride the bus since TriMet increased fare to $2.50 for a two-hour adult pass.
Besides the adult fare increase, as of September 1, youth fare increased by 15 cents to $1.65, and TriMet no longer offers Free Rail Zones in Downtown Portland or the Lloyd district. TriMet has also done away with fare zones, a measure taken thirty years ago “to keep fares affordable for minority and low-income riders.” TriMet explains that these changes are the result of a $12 million budget shortfall and point to a similar trend for public transportation providers around the country. “We had to make some big changes this year just to keep buses and trains on the street.”
Fare increases and zone changes have not been without controversy. Alattar says that Reedies and “people in Portland care” and others around campus agree. “People were angry about it,” says Emily Lai, ’13 political science major and commuter student, about a Facebook post she had in the spring to remind people of the imminent changes. A freshman who frequently rides the bus, and requested anonymity, says, “Money is money, and [I don’t] feel all fuzzy inside because [I have] to pay more for a ticket.” Conversely, Nina Clark, ’14 history major, says “[she’s] OK with the price increase if it means laying off fewer employees” and avoiding cuts to services.
How this will affect commuter and non-commuter Reedies is up for debate. Alattar says “we’re going to bike more…The places I could get to by bus, I can ride my bike,” while Lai says that “the impact for us isn’t that great.” Both students agree that a 40 cent increase is a significant one, however. As the new academic year sets things in motion and Reedies have places to go, TriMet’s fare increase will affect more students. One thing is certain, Lai says: “Olde TriMet is dead.”