PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — TriMet has scheduled 12 open houses beginning on Jan. 17 on upcoming bus line service changes and a possible fare increase on Jan. 1, 2024.

The in-person and virtual open houses will continue until Feb. 4.

The services are included in the regional transit agency’s Revised Forward Together Service Concept that is intended to eventually increase service by more than 30% in coming years. It is also intended to improve connections to destinations for people with low and limited incomes. 

TriMet will begin adapting ideas from Forward Together into its service improvement plans later this year. The first package includes adjustments to 21 lines, including: five lines upgraded to Frequent Service, with buses arriving every 15 minutes or better, most of the day, every day; five routes with buses running more often and earlier and/or later in the day; 11 lines with route adjustments for faster, more direct trips and transfers; and seven current lines discontinued. 

Members of the outreach team will also gather feedback on a proposal to adjust Line 70-12th/NE 33rd Ave. TriMet would like to bring service closer to Cleveland High School, to make it safer and easier for students to access the bus. While some of the proposed changes to Line 70 were included in the draft Forward Together service concept, further adjustments have been made based on feedback, and the changes are now proposed for May 2023 due to renewed safety concerns around the Southeast Portland high school.

Find details in TriMet’s 2023-2024 Service Changes plan. 

TriMet’s Board of Directors is expected to vote on a fare increase proposal in May that would increase the cost of Adult fare for a 2 ½ hour ride by 30 cents and 60 cents for an all-day pass, and increase the cost of Honored Citizen and Youth fare by 15 cents for a 2 ½ hour ticket and 30 cents for a day pass. The proposal also calls for a 30 cent increase in fare for single rides on LIFT paratransit. The current proposal does not change the cost of monthly or annual fares.

TriMet last increased our Adult fare in 2012. TriMet said that is despite inflation and increases for other basic services over the past decade, as well as a 37% increase in the cost of running and maintaining its transit system.

Advocacy organizations, including OPAL Environmental Justice, Bus Riders Unite and Sisters of the Road, are urging people to oppose the possible increase.

“The transit system is especially important for independent travel for low-income and non-white riders who are twice as likely to be frequent transit riders as higher-income persons or white people. It is also critical for disabled folks and those who can’t drive due to age,” Sisters of the Road said in a Jan. 10 email.

The 12 open houses are intended for people to get more information and share their feedback. They will be held in person and virtually via Zoom, where participants will have the option to join online or by phone. Handouts and materials will be available in English and 10 additional languages, at each open house. Where specified, events will have accommodations available for people who prefer languages other than English:

The open houses are scheduled as follows:

• Jan. 17: 4 – 6 p.m.: University of Oregon, 70 NW Couch St., Portland (Spanish)

• Jan. 18: 8 – 9 a.m.: Via Zoom (Spanish interpretation available by request)

• Jan. 18, 5 – 7 p.m.: St. Philip Neri, 2408 SE 16th Ave., Portland (Vietnamese)

• Jan. 19, Noon – 4 p.m.: Rosewood Initiative, 14127 SE Stark St., Portland (Spanish, Napali, Rohingya, Burmese)

• Jan. 21, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Via Zoom (Spanish interpretation available by request)

• Jan. 24, 5 – 7 p.m.: Clackamas Community College, 7738 SE Harmony Rd., Milwaukie (Russian, Ukrainian) 

• Jan. 25, 5 – 7 p.m.: Washington Street Conference Center, 102 SW Washington St., Hillsboro (Spanish)

• Jan. 26, 5 – 7 p.m.: Fairview City Hall, 1300 NE Village St., Fairview (Spanish)

• Jan. 28, 9 – 10 a.m.: Via Zoom (Spanish interpretation available by request)

• Jan. 28, 1:30 – 3 p.m.: Via Zoom (Spanish language only)

• Feb. 1, 5 – 7 p.m. Muslim Educational Trust, 10330 SW Scholls Ferry Rd., Tigard (Arabic, Farsi)

• Feb. 4, 9 – 10 a.m.: Via Zoom (Spanish interpretation available by request)

TriMet is also conducting an online survey to provide feedback on the fare increase proposal. The survey went live on Dec. 8, 2022. People can also share feedback on any topic involving TriMet during the public comment section of TriMet’s Board of Directors meetings, by phone and text at 503-238-RIDE (7433), via Twitter @trimethelp and online at trimet.org/help.

A previous Portland Tribune story on the services changes can be found here.

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