WES commuter rail....underway!

Carla Axtman

WES Having made the harried commute from Beaverton to Wilsonville a number of times, I'm pleased to see this:

Oregon's first commuter rail line, the Westside Express Service, has opened, providing weekday rush-hour service along a 14.7-mile course linking Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville.

TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen said the service called "WES" will provide fast, convenient commuter service to an area difficult to serve with buses.

Mary Fetsch, a TriMet spokeswoman, said the trains ran smoothly and on time in the morning hours Monday. She said more riders were traveling southbound than northbound.

The drive southbound on Hwy 217 and then on to southbound I-5 can be an excruciating way to begin the day.  Hwy 217 is especially congested and overwhelmed a lot of the time.  

Now if they could expand this line so it runs all the way to Salem, they'd be cooking.  I'd personally ride the train to make that trip if for no other reason than to avoid the crazy-slow drivers who drive in the left lane.

The free wi-fi doesn't hurt either.

This project has not been without its opponents and naysayers.  But I'm hoping it proves a popular alternative to the current crawling commute.

  • John F. Bradach, Sr. (unverified)

    [Off-topic comment removed. Please post comments about Sam Adams in one of the many appropriate posts. This is not one of them. -editor.]

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    I know from talking with Forest Grove City Counselor Elena Uhing at one of our recent Historic Landmarks Board meetings, which she is the Counsel Liason to, that the city is considering participating in a commuter rail line that extends as far West as Forest Grove. But it's only in the discussion phase and with the current economic woes I can't see it being implimented any time soon.

    As I understand it, the commuter rail option would be significantly less expensive for the city than an expansion of MAX light-rail because the regular rail line already exists and is in good working order. The capital investment in commuter cars and locomotion would be less than having to buy those plus having to install a light-rail line from scratch to boot.

  • Glen HD28 (unverified)

    Maybe the State or Feds should buy the assets of the Colorado (?) rail car company that built the WES cars as it went belly up, move it all into the Freightliner factory or other similar location, and we build 'em right here in Oregon for all the upcoming new infrastructure that is hopefully gonna get built via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Now that's one fine run-on sentence if you want my humble yet accurate opinion...

  • Nayasyer (unverified)

    Manager Fred Hansen is just too slick. The area isn't any more difficult to serve with buses than any other area. They just chose to spend $200 million (with all the municipal costs) on railtrasnit when a fracrtio of it could have provided more bus transit service to more people going more places. Including Washington Square where buses drive right up to the mall instead of the other side of 217 as does WES.

    Fred, "WES" will not provide fast, convenient commuter service. It's takes too long to drive or bus to, then use, then transfer to other means to finish your trip.

    His pitch that buses are difficult and WES isn't is total BS. Staff cooked that one up.

    I'm not surprised more rode south than north. Wilsonville has little affordable housing but a number of employers with low pay jobs.

    Yeah the Hwy 217 and I-5 can be especially congested and overwhelmed a lot of the time.

    This waste of money means it worsen way longer than needed.

    The promise or hope that WES will relieve some congestion on 215 and/or I-5 is baseless and ludicrous. There's not a chance of that.

    Expanding it to Salem would be a monumetnal waste.

    BUT YOU ARE SO RIGHT about the slow drivers in the left lane. I say you have a thread about that alone. Because I suspect it is mostly Blues who are the offenders of the left lane.

    Now now that was funny. Probably true but funny.

  • tl (in sw) (unverified)

    I've ridden the WES the first two days of regular service and love it. Roughly 80% of the seats have been full (no standing yet). Not bad for a new service!

    The wifi has been off and on for my wireless PDA, but the laptop users seem satisfied.

    Oh, my commute to/from downtown has been reduced from about 65 min to about 45-50 min. depending on connections. The best part is that I don't get stuck in rush hour traffic on a bus on I-5 or Barbur Blvd.


  • Nayasyer (unverified)

    "I don't get stuck in rush hour traffic on a bus"

    Ok so there's a bus rider who switched to WES.

    No car off the road there.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    This brings W'ville into PDX without the filter. That will help employment both ways. It is truly welcomed by a good many. Nice to read this thread before the inevitable attack of the JK wind-up toy.

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    There are a lot of people in the Portland area that work in Salem and I'm sure would love to see some kind of commuter rail running down there. It would certainly make it easier for those of us without cars to be able to go down to the capitol. I wanted to go down there recently to testify on same day voter reg, but couldn't find a ride. I know others who never make it to the capitol for hearings and such for the same reason.

  • bendskier (unverified)

    So 70 on I5 isn't fast enough in bumper to bumper traffic? Carla? Maybe you should thread the lanes like I always see people doing, unless that IS you. You might save 30 seconds, or kill somebody.

    Are you guys trying to turn it into the Long Island Expressway?

    People drive like maniacs in PDX.

    Thank god for the train. Hopefully you will get on it.

    I more and more get the feeling you might be the one trying to beat the train at a crossing, though.

  • Dan Gicker (unverified)

    Naysayer A train is better than a bus because the roads are already congested and bus service would have to contend with traffic. Your comment 'It's takes too long to drive or bus to, then use, then transfer to other means to finish your trip.' I'm sorry but being close to nothing is one of the problems of sprawl and living in the burbs. People choose to live there. If you want to get everywhere fast, move to a 20 minute neighborhood. 'Commuter service to Salem is a waste.' I know lots of people that don't drive, period. A commuter service would be great for them. Or don't they count. Lots of people move here because of the transport and that they can't or don't want to drive.

  • James X. (unverified)

    If you really want to do Portland-Salem using public transit, you can, for $4.55.

  • billy (unverified)

    Zarathustra: This brings W'ville into PDX without the filter. That will help employment both ways. It is truly welcomed by a good many. Nice to read this thread before the inevitable attack of the JK wind-up toy. B: Glad you asked. Since you are sooo good with the insults, why don't you show some intelligence and comment on its costs. For instance its real cost is about $25 each way!

    Is it is so cost NON-effective that it required an act of congress to override the usual cost effectiveness process. See: portlandfacts.com/Transit/WilsonvilleRail.htm

    Have a nice day B

  • BOHICA (unverified)

    "...to avoid the crazy-slow drivers who drive in the left lane." As opposed to the crazy-fast/lanechanger drivers mentioned by bendskier.

    I don't have much call to drive I-5, but do drive I-84 quite a bit (past 205). I have noticed there are a lot less crazies on 84. Except for the Mt. Hood CC students who are late for class, at most I only see about 10 nutcases as opposed to the scores of idiots on I-5.

    Re: WES. Way back when, my grandparents lived in Tualatin. My grandfather commuted to Portland on the Oregon Electric Railway.

    In 1905, the Willamette Valley Traction Company was organized to build an electric interurban railroad from Portland south to Salem. Planned branches included Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Newberg, McMinnville and Dallas. When it opened, it was christened the Oregon Electric Railway.

    He also took a stagecoach out The Great Plank Road (now Canyon Road/Sunset Freeway). But that's a different story.

  • tl (in sw) (unverified)

    "Ok so there's a bus rider who switched to WES."

    I don't expect to convince Naysayer. She/he seems pretty quick with an answer although I question her/his conclusions.

    For example, prior to WES, I would take the express bus downtown. Many if not most days it was standing room only on that bus even with frequent (every 10 minute) service. And on the return trip we'd hit traffic and take 10-20 extra minutes crawling along. I'd suggest with those conditions, some would skip the bus. And adding add'l buses would not solve the latter problem.

    I suspect Naysayer doesn't ride mass transit regularly. She/he probably wouldn't walk over a mile to a transit station daily (as I do). Many people would find that an unacceptable burden. I choose it as a way of getting some exercise.

    Perhaps Naysayer places the environmental impact of single-occupancy cars at a lower priority than do I. And I'd suspect she/he prefers the feeling of power/independence of driving, whereas I prefer the peace and relaxation of letting someone else drive and the savings (> $250/month) not having to pay for downtown parking. I may be completely off-base here with these suppositions as I have no evidence to support them. I welcome being corrected.

    Also, after seeing my wife get into two accidents on I-5 in a two week period (neither of which was her fault), I'm all for limiting driving as well as removing my car and person from the streets and highways.

    Furthermore, there are many people for whom driving is not an option. Be it the cost of car ownership and fuel, mobility limitations, or whatever, I am glad to see people who would otherwise be stuck being able to move. No doubt this improves the likelihood that they are able to take better care of themselves as well as expands their limited employment opportunities rather than being completely dependent on friends, relatives and/or the state. I see that as a good thing.

    Do all these points make Naysayer wrong and me right? No. I don't expect to persuade Naysayer to accept my view. I just want to provide my perspective as a regular transit user as I suspect she/he is not.

    -tl (in sw)

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    So 70 on I5 isn't fast enough in bumper to bumper traffic? Carla? Maybe you should thread the lanes like I always see people doing, unless that IS you. You might save 30 seconds, or kill somebody.

    Cut back on the coffee, man. It's seriously sending you into a fit.

    By "crazy slow drivers", I'm referring to the ones that drive 45-50 in the left lane when the speed limit is 65--yakking away on their cell phone, usually. I've done that trip enough times to have been trapped behind those drivers.

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)

    Salem? Heck, bring it to Eugene! Bring it to Medford! Let's have light rail all along the I-5 corridor!

  • Nayasyer (unverified)


    The fact that our roads are "deliberately" planned to be congested doesn't make this rail transit justified.

    The amount of money it cost compared to how many it will serve is foolish.

    But you're fixated on the sprawl canard so there's cost too high.

    The pretense that this nonsensicle approach to transportation that overcrowds roads and tries to force development along transit corridoors and centers is only one of many appraches. It's not this or out of control sprawl.

    The fact that some people use our rail transit does not a justified cost make. Not even close. Yet this WES is already delcared a success and should be extending to Sherwood, Salem and Eugene because some people will ride it?

    WES is a 14 mile joke that most of time is not much of a drive from garage to destination.

    The narrow, exteme and time consuming use of it's lenghth with transfers to downtown is not representative of it's value. It took all sort of story telling hype to cook up justification. That remains a story.

    Like the chapter about a bike rider loading up to run errands, stopping of for shopping at Washington Square, continuing to other busy work and back home in time for dinner. That was some fiction.

    What constitutes "lots" of people? Any? Is that who would use commuter rail to Salem?

    This WES is costing some outrageous per rider subsidy that also must be funded.

    I'm not condemning transit.

    The environmental impact of misappropriating million is in inefficient transit while allowing roads to clog is not preferable.

    Testimony that some prefer the peace and relaxation of letting someone else drive is of limited significance.

    Some prefer riding bikes too. But not enough ever will.

    Our transportation system, although touted as providing these options, is not a very well planned or functioning system for the 95% of commuters, commerce and vehicle which must use it.

    The idea that continuing the same approach will result in better movement is pure fantasy. All of the evidence points to the exact opposite happening. So while many are obviously enamored with our region's planning it is not producing favorable results when it comes to our transportation system.

    We have multiple studies and polls, over many years, showing this to be the case. The high cost of ignoring the worsening congesting of 95% of our transportation modes while providing lovely options for a tiny fraction is, in any analysis, irrational.

    A better system can has adequate road and freeway capacity and reliable bus service. As well as the location of jobs in outer regions versus the perpetual centralizing our planners seek.

    And there's nothing wrong with driving.

    Some choose not to, fine.

    I don't dispute that some find driving not their preference.

    But when addressing a transportation system we should not let a narrow focus on a few mode options cripple the system for the far greater use and needs.

    Without question TriMet has for decades sacrificed bus service to many neighborhoods in pursuit of more costly service, to fewer neighborhoods and fewer people, while Metro plans for more congestion to drive people out of their cars.

    Meanwhile the system in it's entirety gets worse and worse for commerce, business, commuters, and everyone having to get to everything imaginable.

    You want to celebrate WES? OK.

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    "So while many are obviously enamored with our region's planning it is not producing favorable results when it comes to our transportation system."

    Could have fooled me. Portland has one of the best transportation systems in the country. You must not have lived anywhere else--without it, Portland would have the traffic and outrageous sprawl of DC or Atlanta instead of the well managed growth here. You do realize that Portland is one of the few areas anywhere to see passenger miles go DOWN, right? That's not a coincidence.

  • BOHICA (unverified)

    Following my link above, you would find we have quite the history of electrified rail. All the way to Eugene even.


  • tl (in sw) (unverified)

    "The idea that continuing the same approach will result in better movement is pure fantasy."

    I agree. That's why I question the continual push to build more roads and bridges and rather than exploring alternative transportation options.

    "This WES is costing some outrageous per rider subsidy that also must be funded."

    Agreed, WES is not cheap. But I suggest the cost of maintaining roads and bridges, the cost of fuel, and the cost to the environment in terms of single-occupant automobile exhaust is great as well. You may consider the cost of WES to be unjustifiable. Do you know how much you pay for the roads, bridges, highway enforcement, and all the other costs of supporting just the roads?

    Also, every rider on mass transit is one less one cutting you off on the roads, taking your parking place, or helping add to the gas-price raising demand for fuel. So even if you never use mass transit, you do benefit from its existence. You probably think it's still not worth the cost. I respectfully disagree with you on that point.

    -tl (in sw)

  • tl (in sw) (unverified)

    Here's a NYT article that describes many cities where mass transit services are being cut and the impact it has on the people and communities. Again, mass transit benefits many more people than just those riding.

    Rider Paradox: Surge in Mass, Drop in Transit

    For those in favor of expanding mass transit, check out the Transportation for America website which currently has a campaign to oppose two amendments to the stimulus package which redirect high-speed rail and transportation project grant money to highway funding.

    -tl (in sw)

  • The Libertarian Guy (unverified)

    Yes more welfare project for the well connected and little or nothing for those who are poor. Can't solve crime and the social problems that go with it that way.

    If we just had an open market in transit then much of this waste would not be necessary. So how about we end Trimet's monopoly?

  • Nayasyer (unverified)


    You've been drinking TriMet/Metro koolaid.

    A model we are not. Go to Texas Transportation Institute, look up the congestion patterns and adjust for population. TTI has a system that shows the calcs for relative congestion and hours wasted in traffic.

    If the truth mattered you wouyld actually go there and find out.

    But instead I'll see you repeat that nonsense over and over again.

    I guess that's what you think you should be doing?

  • tl (in sw) (unverified)

    So, if we accept the argument the WES or MAX are not the way to go and/or are "cost NON-effective" what do Naysayer, Libertarian, and billy recommend?

    Naysayer says "more buses" and Libertarian says free market transit. Perhaps they can provide examples where either solution has been successfully implemented to back up their suggestions?

    billy has sofar as I can see provided no alternative solution. What do you recommend, billy?

    -tl (in sw)

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    How does your cherry picking of stats not make Portland a model? Congestion is a function of density, not throughput necessarily. Portland is intentionally dense and maintains a high percentage of downtown jobs. Why don't we talk about vehicle passenger miles, maintaining carbon emissions of 30 years ago, transit-oriented development and the health of downtown instead? Those are the marks of success.

    If Portland isn't a transportation model, why doesn't every major City Manager in the country take his or her people to Houston instead, to look at their transpo grid?

  • Erik H. (unverified)

    I ride a TriMet bus.

    Every day, sometimes twice, three, or even four times a day.

    I have seen over the last ten years - incidentally as long as Fred Hansen has been the GM of TriMet - that bus service gets the short end of the stick when it comes to improvements.

    Rail? Oh, let's keep giving it more and more money. WES started out as $80 million. The "official" budget was $117.5 million. The final cost was $166 million.

    TriMet tells me time and time again that bus costs are going up and fares are increasing, service is decreasing, can't buy new buses or improve stops...they can't do a damn thing for bus riders - who make up 2/3rds of TriMet's ridership.

    But WES? $40 million cost overrun? No problem, let's break out the checkbooks.

    Meanwhile my bus is continually late and jammed-packed, with riders left behind at bus stops (that lack anything more than a bus stop sign - no shelter, or lighting, or bench) because the busses are too full. And what does TriMet do? NOTHING!!!!

    I had thought the Democratic party was about serving the public but more and more I see nothing different, it's all about the special interests. In this case, TriMet is all about supporting companies like the now-defunct Colorado Railcar, Siemens (manufacturer of the MAX cars) and other contractors. The Republicans tend to go for road builders. Meanwhile, folks like myself who just need to get to work get left behind...waiting for a bus that may or may not show up, or may or may not break down on the way to work. It's Oregon and it rains, so I get to spend the wait in the pouring down rain...while WES riders get free wi-fi (which is not the job of a transit agency to provide; else free wi-fi needs to be on buses too) and oversized shelters to wait under.

    And don't forget - WES is rush-hour only. So for most of the day (and all day weekends), that investment is doing NOTHING for the public.

    $166 million could have bought a lot of high-capacity, articulated buses and improved bus stops that would provide all day service to our entire region; it would create hundreds of long-term, sustainable jobs (as opposed to the dozen or so jobs for WES) and we could have employed Freightliner to build the buses right here in Portland using workers who will be laid off later this year. (Freightliner owns a bus building subsidiary, Orion.) THAT would have been a stimulus program that Portland could bank on for decades.

    So, thanks, Portland politicians, for spending $166 million on a "sexy" train while leaving me out in the rain. WES might be 2/3rds full, but my bus has been standing room only on a consistent basis. I'm glad you can support the rich who can afford a house in Beaverton or Wilsonville and use a credit card to buy a ticket, while leaving bus riders on the side of the road ignored by public policy and support.

  • Billy (unverified)


    So, if we accept the argument the WES or MAX are not the way to go and/or are "cost NON-effective" what do Naysayer, Libertarian, and billy recommend?


    Get a car! There are good programs spending money the right way to get everyone their own car. Poverty is no barrier. Most people are poor because they don't drive. These socialists are encouraging poverty by subsidizing public transport.

    Congestion is easily solved. Build more highways. You should be thinking less about "greenbelts" over the interstate than two-laned asphalt through the many State and regional parks that one must drive around now. Everyone screams when there is no public transport to some place, but no one says a word when cars can't get to a publicly funded "beauty spot". Do you know how much Metro spends on trails, when you compare the traffic to what they spend on roads? All those projects are money pits.

    Thanks, JK

  • Eric Cantona (unverified)


    "Most people are poor because they don't drive"

    I would put forward the suggestion that this one statement negates EVRYTHING you say on this matter. Maybe on anything you comment on.

    What a supreme asshole.

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    Yea, I wish I had a car. I can assure you that there are NOT programs out there for everyone to get a car. If you think there are, you're crazy. We keep trying to find something that is privately owned where they'd be willing to take payments each month since the dealerships still only want to work with those with great credit.

    Even when we did have a car, I regularly had to use TriMet because there are two working adults and only one car. A second car was definitely not an option.

    And I can also assure you that just adding more buses won't solve everything. I am from the Houston metro area. Until recently, they only had buses - no commuter rails or anything. The bus system was awful, buses were regularly packed to standing room (and we had the reeeaaalllly long buses that bend in the middle), we regularly had to wait for a second, third bus because they were too full, etc. Traffic was even worse - Houston has some of the worst congestion in the country.

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    I think the WES foe above doesn't realize the long terms trends for housing and employment--people living in wilsonville, west line and points south/east--but jobs in the beav, Hillsboro, forest grove, et al. WES will be a crucial link to the west side for those people, as well as those heading downtown.

    Build freeways, buy more cars! Jk, giving us the best advice of the early 20th century. A bridge to 1950! Woot!

  • anon (unverified)

    Faced with such incontrovertible evidence and sound logic, I have no choice but to be won over to JK's thinking.

    Seriously, can you name one "good program...to get everyone their own car"!

    "Most people are poor because they don't drive"?!? I am gobsmacked.

    Are you serious, or are you just a pot-stirrer?

  • Erik H. (unverified)

    Jenni Simonis: "And I can also assure you that just adding more buses won't solve everything. I am from the Houston metro area."

    No, adding more buses (and doing nothing else) won't solve everything.

    Building out a brand new bus system that focuses on the passenger for everything, with new bus stops (with amenities), dedicated bus lanes/traffic signal preemption, transit centers built to easily allow transfers between bus routes (or WES, MAX, Streetcar, whatever)...THAT will solve a lot of problems (but certainly not everything).

    Focusing 110% of our transit effort on a single rail line here or a single line there does little to nothing for the overall transportation problem. TriMet spent $166 million on a single, rush-hour only line that denies the rights of riders who simply want to pay cash (because the ticket vending machines won't accept cash, and despite TriMet's claims - there is no ticket sales outlet near any of the stations that is quickly walkable to, save for a MAX platform TVM at Beaverton TC - which requires walking across two bus driveways). Why do WES riders get Wi-Fi but not bus riders? Why do WES riders get plush seats but not bus riders?

    This reeks of "separate but equal", and it doesn't help that Wilsonville, Tualatin and Tigard are most certainly upper-middle-class to rich, white neighborhoods. And I'm not even black, but I certainly feel for my fellow bus riders who ride the bus and are no less of a person. But in TriMet's world there are first class passengers (rail riders) and steerage passengers (bus riders), and this type of behavior should be openly condemned by the elected officials who proclaim to me each November that they are for the common person...and come January line up at the lobbyists' trough and ignore folks like me.

    Republican, Democrat - no difference. There's a reason that TriMet's Board is nothing more than folks who have returned favors to our Governor, and not people who actually depend on our transit system.

  • tl (in sw) (unverified)

    Several interesting points, Erik:

    "...it doesn't help that Wilsonville, Tualatin and Tigard are most certainly upper-middle-class to rich, white neighborhoods."

    May be true about WV and Tualatin, but Tigard "upper-middle-class to rich? Not sure where you get that idea. Have anything to back that up?

    Vending machines that don't accept cash I agree, the vending machines being credit-card-only sucks. But I also know what a nightmare it is to maintain machines that accept paper money.

    WIFI on WES only Well, I have had only about 25% success connecting to the WIFI service. I suspect it is much easier (and cheaper) to provide a new service like that when you only have a few railcars to update versus however many Max trains there are (anyone have a count) or the hundreds of buses.

    "Steerage" passengers: Maybe I'm ignorant (and I hope you correct me if I'm wrong), but I believe the areas of Portland with people of color include N. Portland, which got the MAX yellow line over 5 years ago.

    Less wealthy (though less diverse) Gresham has had MAX service for over a decade. Clackamas will get MAX later this year and Milwaukie is planned as well.

    You can get info on TriMet's roadmap here.

  • The Libertarian Guy (unverified)

    "Steerage" passengers: Maybe I'm ignorant (and I hope you correct me if I'm wrong), but I believe the areas of Portland with people of color include N. Portland, which got the MAX yellow line over 5 years ago.

    That's true, but just to the north of that line and down Columbia Blvd are two industrial areas that might provide decent job opportunities for lower income people. The transit service however, is virtually non existent.

    No transportation. No job. Trimet needs to do the job, or get out of the way.

    Their attutide is "We don't care. We don't have to. We're Trimet".

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    Oh, I'd definitely like to see more funds spent in the bus system. Some of it is just plain simple things - like actually having the stop id number at stops here in Gresham. Unless you are at a stop that has a shelter (which are few and far between in east county), the stop id is not listed for your stop. So you have to call TriMet, and go through a long back/forth through the menu to reach your stop. Most of the time the bus comes before I ever get to my stop on the list.

    Something like that is simple. It would cost for the printing of some weather resistant stickers and the staff time to put them up. But stop ids have been around for a while now, yet we're still waiting.

    While WiFi would be great on the bus/MAX, I just don't see how feasible it would be. I've had to get out my laptop a few times while commuting, and there just is no room - even on a fairly empty bus/train. It would probably be good for those with a mobile device, but most people I know have a phone service for getting web access onto their mobile device. I admit, I would love to be able to pull out my laptop and do some work or whatever while taking my hour+ commute into Portland, I just can't see how it would work.

  • Jiang (unverified)

    Amen, Jenni. And let's add a sticker to the back of the busstop sign for those without shelters. Something obvious. I get REALLY tired of having to walk past the stop and look back at all the identically shaped signs to find out which one is the busstop, while the driver is hitting the gas as he passes.

    Typical Tri-Met "improvement" is that krap WiFi on the light posts. Now, we know what it was for. Now Tri-Met doesn't have to follow schedules. You're supposed to use the Transit Tracker, which gets its data from those WiFi ports. NOW, we know the answer to Kari's "Blogging in the Rain" post question. It was NEVER supposed to work for us. Tri-Met slipped another bond issue over on us. Sam did a great job on that one, didn't he? Seriously, in a town know for transport options, at a critical time, is he associated with any transportation improvement?

  • Erik H. (unverified)

    See - it's the little things that matter. That great investment in Transit Tracker is worthless if you don't know your stop I.D., or if you don't have a cell phone or wireless internet. There needs to be more of the readerboards at bus stops - like which exist at every WES stop, almost every Streetcar stop, and many MAX stops...but I only know of ONE bus stop that has it.

    Out of nearly 8,000, ONE.

    And, it's downtown.

    WiFi on the bus is 110% feasible, and it's just TriMet apologists who claim it isn't.

    Seattle has it.

    Salt Lake City has it.

    San Francisco has it.

    It's feasible.

    I ride the bus every day and I see people using their laptops every day. Yes, the newer (low floor) buses present a problem because the seat pitch is narrower (read: less space between you and the seat in front of you) but I still see people on their laptops working, every single day - ON THE BUS.

    I'm tired of the lame excuses as to why we CAN'T do something. Wasn't the election of Barack Obama supposed to be about hope and inspiration and change? Why is TriMet the "same old gentlemen's club politics"?? It's the same Board of Directors who are political hacks, with the same General Manager who doesn't know what a bus is, leaving bus riders in the dirt.

    We can do better.

    Every other major city IS doing better than Portland.

    We might have a first-class MAX, but our bus system is not a shining example. It's a sad day when Los Angeles can proudly proclaim it has a better bus system than Portland does...is that what Portland is about?

  • Derrico (unverified)

    I remember all of the same arguments when it came to the MAX that was going to be such a major failure. Then the west side was going to be a failure.

    Basically if taxes and solid regional planning is involved = failure to some folks.

    To the rest of us it is why Portland is so livable.

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