TriMet releases Fiscal Year 2018 proposed budget that expands bus service, improves system reliability and adds 57 new buses

by

Budget includes a 4 percent increase in bus service and no fare increase

TriMet’s proposed budget includes 4 percent more bus service and 57 new buses

TriMet today released its Fiscal Year 2018 proposed budget that continues investment in expanding bus service, improving MAX reliability and adding 57 new buses to the fleet. The $532.4 million operating budget also includes adding new bus lines in East Portland, East Multnomah County and Washington County. Other investments include improvements to the original MAX line that has been serving the community for more than 30 years, and updating pedestrian rail crossings. For the fifth year in a row, there is no Adult fare increase.

TriMet is in the second year of a 10-year expansion of transit service throughout the region focused on improving reliability, better matching service to demand, connecting people with jobs, expanding service hours and easing crowding. It’s funded in part from the increase in the employer payroll tax being phased in over a 10-year period.

“With these new revenues, we’re improving service and even adding new bus lines to help keep our growing region moving,” said TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane. “With thousands of new residents and jobs coming to the region, our service expansions are critical to providing new and better options for riders to connect to jobs, school and other activities.” 

BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

Bus service expansion
In FY2018 bus service hours will increase 4.13 percent, with service improvements set to be implemented in September 2017 and March 2018.

  • Some bus lines will have more service on weekdays and/or weekends, earlier and later service and extended and/or adjusted routes for better community connections.
  • Three new bus lines will be added:
    • A new north-south connection along E 162nd Ave in East Portland and Gresham
    • A new line combining segments of Line 87 south of SE Powell and Line 81 south of SE Division
    • A new line along SW Denney Road and Hall Blvd between Beaverton Transit Center, Washington Square and Tigard Transit Center.
  • Lines 6, 81 and 87 will have route changes for better connections and Line 87 will begin running on weekends.
  • Some lines will have added trips to reduce crowding, as well as some schedules adjustments to better match traffic conditions.

More new buses
We continue to accelerate our bus purchase program with 57 new buses coming in FY2018. By the end of the fiscal year, TriMet will have a total of 433 buses on the road that have been purchased since 2012, and the average age of the entire fleet will be reduced to about eight years. With the start of FY2018, the entire fleet will be all low-floor buses with air conditioning and security cameras.

Improving the ride — making transit better
This summer, TriMet is launching the new regional electronic fare system, Hop Fastpass. Hop will make it easier, faster and more convenient for riders to board and pay fares. Riders earn a day pass after purchasing two tickets in a day. The same is true on a monthly basis. Once riders reach the cost of a month pass, rides are free the rest of that month. Hop fare cards will be available at more than 500 area retail locations.

We’re improving the ride and our rail reliability by investing in track, signal and switch improvements along sections of the original MAX line that has been in service for more than 30 years. During FY2018 we will:

  • Design track, signal and switch improvements on the Steel Bridge and in the Lloyd District, with construction taking place in FY2019.
  • Continue work on the four-year replacement of overhead power contact wire on the original MAX Blue Line between Cleveland Ave in Gresham to Lloyd Center.
  • Upgrade the E 122nd Ave Station
  • Construction of three Bike & Rides at Goose Hollow, Beaverton Creek and at Gateway Transit Center that includes secure parking and security cameras.

Safety enhancements

  • TriMet is in the third of a five-year program to replace analog closed-circuit television (CCTV) equipment on older buses and MAX trains. Newer vehicles are already equipped with digital technology.
  • Positive Train Control (PTC) upgrades will be completed on WES Commuter Rail. The federal PTC mandate prevents collisions caused by human error.
  • Pedestrian crossings will be improved at 5 locations along the MAX Blue Line to help riders be more aware of an approaching train.

Wages
For the fifth time in nearly eight years, non-union employees will see up to a 3 percent wage increase based on performance and overall compensation. Since the union contract expired on Nov. 30, 2016, no union wage increases are included in the budget, as union wage increases are negotiated. Those negotiations are underway.

Next steps
TriMet will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget on Wed., March 22, 2017 at 9 a.m at the World Trade Center Building, Sky Bridge Room A&B, 121 SW Salmon St., Portland, OR 97204. The public can also weigh in on the budget beginning today through mid-May via email, 503-238-RIDE (7433) or TTY 7-1-1.

The Board of Directors is scheduled to adopt the budget on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. The FY2018 budget takes effect on July 1, 2017 and runs through June 30, 2018.