Posted by: bkivey | 10 December 2013

Not A Problem

On 5 December the local paper of record published a story on transit fares. Specifically, on the use of transfers for round-trip journeys. While some transit districts restrict transfers to one-way travel, Portland’s transit authority, TriMet, makes no such distinction. Transfers received at time of boarding are good for two hours. TriMet is considering raising the transfer time to 2.5 or 3 hours.

Most people (95% of those polled for the article), believe that they can ride anywhere and anyhow they please within the transfer window. The consensus is that they are buying time, not a specific journey. TriMet doesn’t help matters. Officials say the original intent of the transfer was to allow riders to complete a one-way journey within the window, and an official quoted for the article states that

“round trips are an unintended, positive benefit of having a time-based system.”

So TriMet seems to be saying that, yes, the transfers were intended to be used for one-way trips, but if you can squeeze a round trip in, good for you. If the transfer window is increased, then it will be that much easier to make round trips on what is purportedly a one-way fare.

Of course, this being a newspaper in a blue-green American city in the early 21st century, this isn’t an article so much as a victim-centric narrative. Yes, it seems that if TriMet doesn’t increase the transfer time, then that’s proof the agency is ‘against the poor’. I should probably move to Eugene or Miami, as those cities don’t even offer transfers. One ticket, one bus ride. Apparently there aren’t any ‘poor’ people there to be oppressed.

The situation smacks of a manufactured problem.  No matter what the intent may be, the transfers are time-based. You pay your money, you’ve bought two hours on the system. Whether or not some agency officials agree is a non-issue. Unless and until the agency changes its policy, folks would have less to worry about if they accepted this proposition at face value.

Best Christmas Video this Year

Great White North airline WestJet did something really cool for some passengers in celebration of Christmas.

The airline said that if the video got 200, 000 views, they’d offer free flights for Ronald McDonald House. To date the video has been seen nearly 3 million times.

This stuff never gets old.

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