After the first of two open houses
today about TriMet's proposal to cut free bus rides out of Fareless Square
, one might assume that Portlanders are either waiting to voice their opinion at tonight's second open house or that they've given up the fight to preserve fareless service for buses downtown.
TriMet is considering two cost-savings measures — limiting Fareless Square to MAX and streetcar only beginning Jan. 3 and making some bus frequency reductions of two to four minutes during non-peak hours beginning Nov. 29
Only three people signed up to speak in the Liberty Northwest Center's auditorium this morning in opposition to the proposed cuts.
One of the speakers, Joe Uris
, used his allotted three minutes to argue that diminishing Fareless Square would hurt the downtown economy. He also argued that the proposed "Honored Citizen Pass" that would give a reduced rate to seniors and disabled people in lieu of a fareless ride is "overpriced and would under-serve."
Round two will take place tonight from 4pm to 7pm in Conference Room C of the City of Portland Building, with the public hearing starting at 5 pm.
TriMet's Board of Directors will be presented with the transcripts from the public hearings and are scheduled to vote on the proposed cuts Aug. 12. So, if citizens don't want 34 years of Fareless Square bus rides to end, they better get down there and speak up.