A study this month by the Cascade Policy Institute questioned whether pricey mass transit options in Portland, Ore., are really being used by the public. The city has been a leader in securing funding for various forms of passenger rail and trolley systems. It wanted to verify the claim that the TriMet transit system was able to move more passengers than a standard bus line.
Transportation planners at Metro, TriMet and Oregon’s Department of Transportation routinely make multibillion-dollar decisions based on computer models or simply their own personal beliefs. The field research shows that continued use of the phrase “high-capacity transit” by local planners to describe the regional rail program is “Orwellian.”
According to the study, “Light rail is actually a low-capacity system, and the streetcar is simply irrelevant. TriMet’s buses carry two-thirds of all regional transit trips on a daily basis, and that’s the service that should be recognized as high-capacity transit. Unfortunately, bus service is being sacrificed by TriMet in order to build costly new rail lines that carry relatively few people.”
Read the full study. We can save billions before its to late to correct flawed programs.