Fed up with what he calls TriMet's unresponsiveness to his repeated complaints about broken ticket machines, Hadley Price started the website Trimetdown.com on Nov. 10 to air his frustrations and let other riders vent.
Price appears to have touched a nerve.
In less than a month, about 50 people already have written Trimetdown.com to register their complaints.
"I reported the fare machines down at the Hollywood Platform," Nancy Newell wrote on Nov. 14, "and was instructed to leave the platform and wait for a bus to arrive and then purchase a ticket from an arriving bus and then return to the platform. Crazy."
Price, who has ridden the MAX Blue Line for five years between his Orenco Station home and his job, calls the site—and riders' response to it—an attempt to get TriMet's attention.
"I'm really trying to put pressure on TriMet to fix the problem," says Price, the 50-year-old owner of Strategic Motion, a communication and marketing firm with offices in Beaverton and downtown Portland.
In February, TriMet estimated 80 to 85 percent of its ticket machines worked and aimed to raise that number to 95 percent by March, as it began a crackdown on riders not paying fares (see "MAX-imum Hassle," WW, Feb. 13, 2008). TriMet says it has reached its 95 percent goal.
"We've been working really hard, especially with increased ridership, of reaching our goal of 95 percent," TriMet's Peggy LaPoint told WW.
And when Price wrote to TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen in early November to inform him of the site, Hansen refuted Price's claims about TriMet's inaction.
"While I share the frustration of our riders who experience difficulty purchasing a ticket from a faulty machine," Hansen wrote Price in an email, "I want to assure you that we have not been ignoring the problem."
Hansen went on to write that TriMet's goal is to have at least one working ticket vending machine at each MAX platform, a goal that TriMet says it has met.
But Price says that when you're dealing with dozens of passengers in a rush to board the MAX, one ticket machine won't cut it.
"This is a problem," Price says. "And I think TriMet just thinks they can get away with not doing anything, the site will get less popular, and the dust will settle. I don't intend to let the dust settle."
TriMet increased service Nov. 30 on 13 of its bus lines and the MAX Blue Line to try to alleviate the overcrowding that's surfaced since ridership reached record numbers this year.