I Have More to Say About This and The New Buses

Per TriMet "Due to mechanical problems, expect about 15 minute delays for WES service. Some trips are being served by buses."

I was hoping the system well, but it looks like things are still not looking up.  This is, I believe, the 3rd interuption in service, and about the 8th to 10th day of service delays for WES.  At this rate, I'm not sure how the system will be validated to run when the contract for service is up.  TriMet has seriously got to get something figured out to get ridership bumped up AND to get the vehicles running properly.  In addition, they're still short the equipment they need to make the WES as efficient as running buses.

Hmpf.  Still the best ride in town, when you can get a working train.  😦

Mood:  Sad. 

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6 Comments

  1. "Still the best ride in town, when you can get a working train."

    …and if it can take you where you want to go.

    Incidently, I have found myself in need of going to Beaverton yesterday morning AND again later today. My son would LOVE to ride WES…but it doesn’t run on the weekends.

    Sorry, but I’m ***NOT*** taking the 76/78 bus.

    (I did, however, have a very nice ride in a full dome car on Friday. That, my friend, was a SWEET ride.)

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  2. 76/78 are slow and cumbersome at best. TriMet should try out a Saturday and Sunday service, just to see if they’d pick any riders up. I’d bet that they could attain a similar rider level on a few runs the weekend.

    Maybe they could phrase it as "Shopping via WES" and pair it with some shuttle buses at each of the stops that would wait for WES arrivals and then run people to the malls & shopping centers in the area. But then of course, the pricing model really does NOT work for that type of thing and it would really cost us more than it would save anyone.

    …and the dome car, hell yeah, those cars have the most awesome views ever, hand down. I’ve ridden on a couple and always an amazing trip. No other vehicle holds a candle to a dome car in the world.

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  3. Heck, even a weekend Beaverton-Tualatin express bus (one that actually serves Washington Square and Bridgeport Village) would be a good thing. (Sorry, but bus has WES beat — getting to most shopping, except for the Tualatin Haagen’s grocery store, and the Canyon Place shopping center in Beaverton, is difficult by WES.) Just provide an hourly schedule, beginning at 9:00 AM and every hour until 8:00 PM. Would simply require two buses (of which on a Saturday/Sunday/Holiday should be easy to obtain.) Stops only at Beaverton TC, Cascade Avenue (near the Hall/Nimbus WES station), Washington Square TC, Tigard TC, Bridgeport Village (Tualatin P&R, transfer to SMART to Wilsonville) and Tualatin WES station. Daily cost is $2,160 for two buses (@ $90/hour). Just 540 day pass riders (or 1,080 single fare riders @ $2) would make this service profitable per day; assuming that this will also attract non-shopping pass riders (who would prefer this faster alternative to the 76/78, and would complement WES service on the weekends)…this is almost a no-brainer for TriMet.

    Get two buses (I’d recommend a pair of 2100s) in a wrap for the served businesses and replace all of the inside ad cards with ads for the served businesses as well. Offer a special discounted day pass to be sold by the businesses (of course they’re paying the difference, but for the end-customer they are saving money).

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  4. Now you’re thinking like a customer focused, efficiently run, privately owned, and successfully operated business. Now you know Erik, TriMet is NOT going to be run in such a way. That would be preposterous for a Psuedo Government Mandated Corporate Authority type entity.

    :p

    I agree though, that would be awesome. As said before, to make WES efficient every frequency would have to have at least 2 cars and be – was it 70% or 80% full? Either way, that aint happening so it would be good to pull some buses out. Makes me wonder though, what the passenger count would have to be on some less expensive privately operated buses to make them successful? I bet a mere 5-10 people per load could make some privately operated buses successful. I’ll have to do a hypothetical post on that sometime, it could be interesting to throw some ideas like that out there.

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  5. Right on the nail. Portland’s transit is designed for political convenience (usually involving developers, expensive lunches, and kickbacks) instead of ridership, usability, and demand.

    And what’s worse is that Portland’s even proud of its transit design…"development oriented transit". Many other cities come to Portland to study it, but no one actually replicates it like Portland. Because the big-wigs go home, and realize, "Oh, we’re accountable to the public?"

    Not TriMet. Absolutely no accountability to the public. Someone in Joseph, Oregon has as much say into the management of TriMet as does you or I.

    As for the loads…I believe TriMet considers 15 boarding rides per hour or less as unsustainable (for a bus). Then again, that’s factoring in TriMet’s insistence to run 40 foot buses at a high cost, instead of looking at other scenarios (yes, I know, the dreaded "contracting out" or using lower paid entry-level drivers). Or finding other efficiencies within its existing labor pool – reducing overtime expense (which Al has specifically pointed out), minimizing deadhead/non-revenue time…

    Reply

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