OR: State budget benefits from end of free public transit in Portland

By   /   August 31, 2012  /   News  /   1 Comment

By Shelby Sebens | Northwest Watchdog

A bicyclist buys a ticket for mass transit in the Portland area. Photo by TriMet

PORTLAND — Your free ride is over, Portland.

Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, or TriMet, the public agency operating mass transit in the Portland area, will end its Free Rail Zone on Saturday in an effort to help fill a large budget gap.

The free zone allowed riders to hop on the Max Light Rail and Portland Streetcar at no charge.

Other changes TriMet made include a 10-cent increase in the two-hour adult ticket from $2.40 to $2.50 for a two-hour pass and a 15-cent increase in the youth fare, from $1.50 to $1.65 for a two-hour ticket.

“Eliminating the Free Fail Zone and increasing most fares saves nearly $9 million and helped to close a $12 million shortfall in the agency’s Fiscal Year 2013 operating budget,” according to TriMet.org. “The extensive budget process lasted eight months and resulted in an unprecedented 16,000 public comments.”

But TriMet is setting aside $1 million to help low-income riders. The agency plans to work with social service organizations and nonprofits to administer the financial assistance.

Click here for more information on TriMet’s changes.

Contact Shelby Sebens at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @ShelbySebens.

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Shelby formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Richard Bunce

    Nice article Shelby… interesting the TriMet folks think eliminating the Free Rail Zone saves nearly $9M when I suspect they think it will increase revenue by $9M… which it may not.