The wheels on the bus go round and round…for now

Another voting season, and yet another set of measures to consider, and as usual, they will cost you somehow.

Another voting season, and yet another set of measures to consider, and as usual, they will cost you somehow.

But sometimes that isn’t so bad, and you can get what you pay for through services we all use—services such as TriMet, which is asking for more money from voters this year. Unfortunately, TriMet may not get the support it needs for the measure to pass.

TriMet is proposing a $125 million property tax measure for the Nov. 2 ballot. Measure 26-119 aims to fix stops and replace older buses; this would come at a cost to owners of median-priced $240,000 homes in the Metro area. The cost would be approximately a meager $19 per year.

To many bus riders, it may seem that the MAX lines have been placed as priorities ahead of bus lines in the eyes of TriMet.

Last year, TriMet got rid of “Fareless Square” and replaced it with the “Free Rail Zone,” which means that only those who ride the MAX can ride free-of-charge between downtown and Lloyd Center.

It used to be that in the old fareless area, buses and MAX trains would not charge their patrons to ride. But now bus riders must pay everywhere they go, including downtown. There have also been repeated service cuts for buses, while some lines simply do not run on Sundays.

While bus service has suffered, TriMet is also planning on filling a $137 million gap in the new proposed MAX line that would run from Portland to Milwaukie and cost $1.4 billion. The new line isn’t a bad idea. Having another rail line would mean the MAX would reach more people and connect more Portland area neighborhoods. The new MAX line will travel 7.3 miles from Portland State to inner southeast Portland, Milwaukie and Oak Grove in North Clackamas County.

Whether or not the bus riders of Portland are feeling appreciated at this particular moment should not have a reflection on how they vote. Although the measure asks for money from voters in the time of a recession, the investment is important and worth it for the future of TriMet’s buses. It is also a good step toward regaining and improving some of what was lost due to past budget cuts.

The measure would not only revamp bus stops that are in need of updates to make them safer, but it will also replace older buses, which will put a stop to frequent breakdowns. Newer buses will also be more accessible to those with disabilities, as well as the elderly.

The bond would pay for up to 150 new buses. Many buses that currently make up TriMet’s fleet are malfunctioning and have been taken off routes. It is important that people in the metro area vote for buses; it affects a lot of people.

People across the country are in awe of the public transportation system in place here in Portland. Portland is quickly becoming a model for modern public transportation that the rest of the country can look to.

It is important to maintain the image that Portland has made for itself. The first step towards harnessing this image is to improve the bus system. The buses affect many people in the Metro area, and they expand to places that the MAX system and the WES commuter rail cannot reach.

Voters need to invest a little money to get more buses. The MAX system does not reach out into several neighborhoods. There are even Portland State students who live in Forest Grove or southeast or north Portland who commute every day to campus. Those people do not have MAX lines that reach out to them, and they rely on buses to get to school, work and various other places.

We cannot ignore the needs of those commuters. TriMet serves the community, resulting in fewer cars on the road, while helping many people commute through their everyday lives. Voting “yes” on this measure creates more options and better service for commuters. ?