The Portland Mercury reports that the Fareless Square in Portland is no longer going to cover buses. To get a free trip in Downtown Portland, you’ll have to ride on the Portland Streetcar or a MAX line. Fair inspections on these rail lines is more common, leading to less evasion.
“When Fareless Square was started some 34 years ago, it was a bus-only system. We now have four MAX lines that will serve this area once mall service begins,” says Mary Fetsch, TriMet’s spokesperson.
While eliminating free bus service from downtown saves only $800,000, TriMet expects to see improvements in bus efficiency and a reduction in bus fare-related evasion. TriMet is counting on this projected savings to help close its $3.5 million budget gap.
Yikes. Just a $3.5 million budget gap? Meanwhile, in our region we’re having our own talks about the Ride Free Area and whether Seattle pays its “fare” share.
You can get more information on TriMet’s change, which take effect next year, on the agency’s website.