New Portland Transit Budget Targets Driver Shortage, Express Service

The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon plans to restore pre-pandemic service, expand its light rail lines, and move toward an all-electric bus fleet.

2 minute read

May 26, 2022, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


MAX Light Rail

egexplorer / Shutterstock

The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) announced its budget for the fiscal year starting on July 1, which “includes $748.9 million in day-to-day operating requirements and $304.1 million in capital improvements. For the tenth straight year, the budget does not include a base fare increase.” Tia York, writing on behalf of the agency, highlights planned improvements. The article notes that “TriMet would need to increase our current operator ranks by more than 300 to return service to pre-pandemic levels,” but the agency is raising operator pay in an effort to recruit more drivers and restore and expand service.

“One of the big improvements our riders will see in the coming months is the launch of the first TriMet FX™--or Frequent Express–bus service, coming this fall to the 15-mile Division Street corridor, between Gresham and Downtown Portland. FX 2-Division will bring more people on board using longer, articulated buses that will allow for faster, all-door boarding and special signal and lane markings to help keep buses moving past traffic congestion.”

The agency will also replace its light rail vehicle fleet, extend the MAX Red Line, and renovate a facility to prepare for an electric bus fleet. “In April, TriMet announced the purchase of 24 long-range battery electric, zero-emissions buses from California-based bus manufacturer GILLIG. They will begin arriving in fall 2023 and more than double the size of TriMet’s fleet of 100% battery-electric buses to include some 35 vehicles.”

Wednesday, May 25, 2022 in TriMet

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