TriMet releases Fiscal Year 2016 proposed budget that expands service, improves system reliability and adds 77 new buses

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TriMet today released its Fiscal Year 2016 proposed budget that continues investment in expanding service, improving system reliability and adds 77 new buses to the fleet. The FY2016 budget priorities also include completing construction and safety certification for the MAX Orange Line that opens Sept. 12, 2015 between downtown Portland and north Clackamas County.

“This budget provides a lot for our riders, with more service, more connections and better transit options,” said TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane. “The highlight is fully restoring our Frequent Service network and the expansion of the MAX Orange Line with more connections for our riders.”

The FY2016 budget keeps TriMet on solid financial footing, allowing us to focus on expanding service to meet the growing demand for transit, as well as keep our commitments to our employees, retirees, riders and payroll taxpayers.

Highlights of the $505 million operating budget:

Service restoration and expansion
Bus and MAX service expansion that will be implemented over the fiscal year.
• Bus service hours will increase about two percent, worth approximately $5 million. It will mean that we will fully restore the Frequent Service bus network with the addition of frequency on Sundays. Riders will also see more buses to reduce overcrowding, plus increase capacity and improved schedule reliability.
• MAX service hours will increase 15 percent, with much of it – $8.5 million – funding the new MAX Orange Line. About $1.1 million will fund the restoration of weekend MAX Frequent Service.
• With the MAX Orange Line opening, TriMet is making changes to nine bus lines aimed at improving connections for the neighborhoods adjacent to the MAX Orange Line and to the entire bus and rail system.

More new buses
We continue to accelerate our bus purchase program with 77 new buses in FY2016. During FY2016, TriMet will have a total of 326 new buses on the road and meeting the industry standard of an average age of eight years.

Improved operations and rider amenities
• Complete refurbishment of the former Trolley Barn at the Rose Quarter Transit Center to a Maintenance of Way facility, resulting in faster response times to centrally located incidents.
• Investing in rail reliability with track, signal and switch maintenance projects.
• Complete infrastructure work for the electronic fare system that will launch in 2017.
• Upgrade and repair platform areas at Hollywood/NE 42nd Ave Transit Center and various locations along the Blue Line.
• Adding GPS to MAX trains to improve TransitTracker arrival times and operational efficiencies.

Safety enhancements
• TriMet is in Year 2 of a multi-year program to replace analog Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) equipment on older buses and MAX trains. Newer vehicles are already equipped with digital technology.
• Annual operator recertification continues with the fifth year of training for every bus operator.
• Pedestrian crossings will be improved at four locations in Gresham along the MAX Blue Line to help riders be more aware of an approaching train. Crossings will be improved at NW Division, NE Main, NE Roberts and NE Hood streets.
• Complete installation of WES Commuter Rail Positive Train Control (PTC) mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration. PTC will automatically stop a train if there is another train within its track segment.

Wage increase
For the third time in six years, non-union employees will see up to a 3 percent wage increase based on performance and overall compensation. Union employees will receive a 3 percent wage increase that was negotiated in the latest contract. The budget allows for these adjustments.

Fare increase proposed for Honored Citizens only
For the fourth year in a row, adult fares will not be increased. However, TriMet is proposing to increase Honored Citizen fares to restore the fare to half of an adult fare. The adult single ride fare is $2.50. Honored Citizen (HC) fares are currently $1 for a single ride ticket and $26 for a monthly pass. Federal Transit Administration guidelines and TriMet Board of Directors policy target, sets HC fares at half the regular adult fare. The proposal is to increase the single ride ticket 25 cents and the monthly pass $2. HC fares have remained constant since 2010. If approved, the new fares would take effect Sept. 1, 2015.

Next steps
Public outreach on the proposed fare increase and the budget begins today with comments accepted through Friday, April 10 at 5 p.m. Comment via these channels or by attending any of the listening sessions scheduled in March and early April.

The FY2016 budget takes effect on July 1, 2015 and runs through June 30, 2016.