TriMet doesn't want your filthy money.
The regional transit agency announced this afternoon that its bus drivers will no longer accept cash fares, in order to avoid transmission of COVID-19. Instead, TriMet wants riders to use Hop, its prepaid fare system.
People who only have cash can still use fare machines at MAX stations.
"This is a temporary measure to help with social distancing and to minimize the time riders spend near our bus operators," TriMet said in a statement. "Instead, you'll need to pay with Hop: a plastic Hop card, your phone using a mobile wallet or virtual card, or a Hop ticket purchased at a ticket machine at a MAX or WES station."
In recent days, advocates have called on TriMet to make trains and buses free. The agency responded by pledging not to raise fares, even though its ridership has plummeted to less than half what it was this time last year.
Does it seem as if TriMet doesn't want your business? It doesn't—until the COVID-19 crisis abates. The agency has openly asked people to avoid riding trains and buses unless they do frontline work in hospitals, police departments or grocery stores.
But another likely result of the policy change is that impoverished riders seeking social services will be denied access to buses.