Transportation | News | Local

More Americans Ride Mass Transit - But Not Oregonians

OPB | March 10, 2014 3:43 p.m. | Updated: March 11, 2014 6:28 a.m. | Portland

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Americans rode more buses, trains and subways last year than they have since suburbs started booming in 1956, according to a study by the American Public Transportation Association.

Public transport use increased nationally by about 1 percent from 2012 to 2013.

But in Portland, it decreased — by 3.8 percent.

TriMet released a statement citing: an increase in fares; the end of the Free Rail Zone; increased fare enforcement efforts; and reduced service because of the cuts made during the recession.

All valid reasons, according to Jennifer Dill of the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium. But she says Portland also has a high share of “choice riders” people who have other transit options.

“When you’re not dependent on transit and the service goes downhill, you’re more likely to take another option,” said Dill. 

“So you’re going to drive or take a car share vehicle, or ride a bike or walk or something else. And so I think those changes in service had a particularly negative effect on TriMet compared to some other cities.”

Public transportation use increased more than 8 percent in Seattle. It dropped in the Salem-Kaizer area, and bus ridership dropped slightly in Vancouver. 

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