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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 08 July 2009

TriMet will be holding open houses and hearings on proposed changes to Fareless Square and service frequency for 24 bus lines. The first meeting is Monday, July 13, at the Liberty Northwest Center, Auditorium, Lower Level, 650 NE Holladay St., Portland, Open house: 11 a.m-2 p.m.; public hearing: noon-2 p.m. A public comment period will be through July 17. You can e-mail comments to [email protected].     
TriMet has proposed limiting Fareless Square to rail only and changing the frequency during non-rush hours on about two dozen bus lines. The agency will take public comment on these proposals at two open houses and public hearings on Monday, July 13.
TriMet is proposing limiting fareless to rail only since nearly all trips within the fare-free zone are easily accessible by MAX and the Portland Streetcar. If approved, the change would take effect on Sunday, January 3, 2010. At that time, all four MAX lines will be operating through downtown – the Green and Yellow lines operating north/south on the Portland Mall between Union Station and PSU, and the Blue and Red lines operating east/west along Morrison/Yamhill – in addition to the streetcar. Three MAX lines will serve the Lloyd District (Blue, Green and Red).To address concerns for elderly and disabled riders who live downtown, TriMet is proposing a special bus pass for a nominal fee that will allow free bus rides within the fareless boundary downtown.

Frequency Changes
To close the final $3.5 million of a total $31 million budget gap caused by the recession, TriMet is proposing to operate about two dozen bus lines less frequently in non-rush hour.  TriMet is proposing running between 2 to 4 minutes less frequently during midday, evening and on weekends. If approved, changes would take effect November 29, 2009. TriMet's FY10 budget reflects revenues about $31 million below projections.

Fareless Square Background
When Fareless Square began 34 years ago, there was only bus service in downtown Portland. In September with the MAX Green Line opening, all four MAX lines will travel through fareless, along with the Portland Streetcar. The proposed change to limit Fareless Square to rail only would take the confusion out of riding buses in fareless, since not all buses travel the length of the Mall. Additionally, buses would operate more efficiently through downtown and it would eliminate any conflict with bus operators about whether a rider had paid a fare before leaving the fareless boundary.

Open House/Public Hearing on Monday, July 13
Liberty Northwest Center, Auditorium, Lower Level
650 NE Holladay St., Portland, OR 97232
Open house: 11 a.m-2 p.m.; public hearing: 12-2 p.m.

City of Portland Building, Conference Room C and Auditorium, 2nd Floor
1120 SW 5th Ave., Portland, OR 97204
Open house: 4-7 p.m.; public hearing: 5-7 p.m.

Public comment period through July 17
E-mail: [email protected]        
Comment line : 503-962-5806         Fax : 503-962-6469
Mail:        TriMet-MK2, 4012 SE 17th Ave, Portland, OR 97202
TTY:         503-238-5811 (7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays)

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