Looking back on the last 41 years, you get the feeling there’s nothing bus driver Cindy Kassab can’t do — only things she hasn’t done yet.
Within a few years, the Hollywood Transit Center will look much different than it did on May 26, 2017. Our plans are coming together to honor those who lost their lives and those hurt that day, including the young women harassed by a man spewing hateful words.
Two tributes are currently planned. The first is a large commemorative plaque that will be placed at the Hollywood Transit Center permanently. After conferring with the families of those targeted in the May attack, we have commissioned designer John Laursen to create the tribute. The plaque will be 4 feet by 6 feet and made of porcelain enamel on steel. Descriptive text that honors the three men and two women will mix with images of the spontaneous memorial created by family, friends and strangers in the days that followed the attack. The art will be installed at the transit center by May 26, 2018.
The second tribute will be a mural reminiscent of the messages that filled the walls that line the ramp at the transit center. We’ve brought together a group of diverse artists, designers and community members who will select an artist (or a team of artists) to paint the walls using some of the original words that people wrote following the attack.
While the paint will last longer than the original chalk messages, this second tribute will be temporary, since over the coming years we have plans to redesign and redevelop the aging transit center. However, during that renovation, the plaque will be incorporated into a permanent memorial honoring the men and women at the center of our thoughts that day, as well as our community’s inspired reaction that renounced hate and embraced healing.
In retrospect, last year’s Roadeo was a walk in the park.
This time around, the competition featured new and additional challenges, like backing the 40-foot bus into an extremely tight space — twice. The course was harder and the stakes were higher, as this year’s top driver will get a trip to the national competition in Florida next May.
It’s never too early to start preparing for a natural disaster, so we’ve been working with city and county partners to put together an emergency plan in case something big — like Cascadia — hits.
If something disastrous were to happen, we’d keep transit running as long as roadways are usable. We’ve also been developing a transportation recovery plan with other local transit agencies to ensure we’re able to move people to and from emergency shelters and bring in resources if needed.
Do you already have an emergency plan in place? Here are some tips to help you plan ahead:
- Sign up for emergency alerts to receive real-time disaster warnings.
- Prepare an evacuation route in case you need to leave your home immediately. (And practice it!)
- Gather critical financial, household and medical information in a safe place.
- Volunteer and get certified in basic disaster response skills to help your community during a crisis.
Can you believe it’s been two years since we opened the MAX Orange Line? Neither can we! But since September 12, 2015, more than six million rides have been taken on this line, and that number only continues to grow!
For the first time ever, the Oregon Legislature has established statewide funding for general transit service.
This is huge, exciting news.
House Bill 2017 is a $5.3 billion package for improvements in Oregon’s transportation systems. It includes a new employee payroll tax specifically for transit, which will benefit public transportation throughout the state. We expect TriMet’s share to amount to about $35–$40 million annually, with funds becoming available in January 2019.
With a growing population and increasing congestion in the metro area — and with our most popular routes running at capacity — it’s easy to make the case for investments in more and better transit. Still, a new tax can be hard to swallow, so let’s go over some facts about how this will work and what we’ll do with the funds:
A low-income fare
We’re thrilled to be able to implement the low-income fare program we’ve been considering for the last year. This could mean half-price fares for individuals and families below 200% of the federal poverty level. (Based on 2017 guidelines, this would be available to individuals with an annual income up to $24,120 or a family of four with an annual income up to $49,000.)
This is a top priority because we believe everyone should be able to count on transit to connect them to jobs, services, school and appointments — regardless of how much money they make. Thanks to this new funding, we’ll soon be a lot closer to that vision.
More equitable service
We’ll also use the money to expand service to low-income communities. By extending bus routes and increasing frequency in these areas, we’ll provide better connections to employment, services and recreation. We believe that access to transit is access to opportunity.
Finally, we’ll prioritize adding bus service to the busiest corridors in the area. This funding will go a long way toward helping us keep up with the increasing demand for transit — especially in quickly growing communities. More than anything, we know that riders want more frequent service.
About that tax…
The bill was passed easily, and with more bipartisan support than predicted — highlighting Oregon’s urgent need for better transportation. And with the payroll tax portion of the bill come a few stipulations:
- Employers are responsible for deducting the tax of one-tenth of one percent from an employee’s wages
- The funds will be dedicated to public transit
- The funds cannot be used for salary or benefit increases
- The funds cannot be used for new light rail projects
- Oregon’s larger transit agencies must report on progress toward the purchase of natural gas, propane and/or electric buses
Elements of the bill Governor Kate Brown signed today, like the payroll tax, will go into effect July 1, 2018. We expect the transit funds to become available around January 2019.
As we noted above, we already have a blueprint for the low-income fare program. We also have plans for the bus service we’d like to add — these were developed over years with the help of riders, residents, neighborhood groups, governments, schools and businesses. Basically, we’re ready to begin putting the money to good use right away.
This couldn’t have happened without you
Your support has been critical to making this new legislation happen. By taking the bus or train, and especially by emailing, texting or sharing your thoughts with legislators in-person, you made the case for why transit works. We can’t thank you enough, and we can’t wait to bring you more and better service.
Want to stay in the loop about the transit improvements we make? Sign up for Riders Club emails.
Hop is here, and you can now pick up a card at the store and tap to pay your fare. For riders used to paying in cash or buying paper tickets, this is a huge improvement — Hop cards come with benefits like Auto-Load, fare capping and lost-card protection, and they can be reloaded in any number of ways, including with cash.
But one group of riders has been harder to convince to switch to Hop — and for good reason. TriMet Tickets app users love being able to pay with their phone because it’s easy, quick and convenient. Why mess with a good thing?
You can use Hop with just your phone — no card required — and it might actually be easier than using the app.
All you need is a debit or credit card loaded into Android Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay. (Note that you aren’t loading a Hop card into your phone’s mobile wallet.) Then when you’re ready to go, just tap your phone on the reader at the station or on the bus. After a split second you’ll see the green check appear on the reader, and you’re good to go.
It’s that easy. When you pay with your phone, you don’t need to buy your fare in advance or remember to activate your tickets. In fact, you don’t even need to open an app.
Note that your phone is your proof of payment, so keep it handy (and charged!) in case a fare inspector asks to see it.
And even though you’re not using a Hop card, you’ll still be able to earn a day pass as you ride — perhaps Hop’s biggest benefit. For most TriMet riders, your first tap will cost $2.50 and will let you ride for 2½ hours. If you tap again after that, you’ll pay another $2.50, but your fare will be valid for the rest of the day (you’ve earned a day pass).
So, unlike with the TriMet Tickets app, you don’t need to choose which type of fare to buy before you ride, and you’ll only ever pay for the rides you actually take.
There are a couple limitations to paying with your phone. For one, only Adult fares are available. If you use Honored Citizen or Youth fares, you’ll need to get an actual Hop card. The other catch is that you won’t be able to earn a month pass this way — if you’re a daily rider, a physical card is the way to go.
So next time you ride, skip the app and try tapping your phone — you’ve just found a better way to pay.