STOP TRIMET FARE INCREASE AND 60 BUS SERVICE CUTS
On September 1, 2010, TriMet, according to one source a $2.5 billion transit agency, is set to cutback on 60 bus routes and implement a five cents per ride fare hike. One transit group has set a 'wake' of sorts, mourning the loss and fare hike, for AFTER the austerity measures occur. Transit Riders Union is organizing NOW against the cuts and the fare hike.
TriMet's unelected board of directors voted 6-1 (Lynn Lehrbach with the Teamsters voted no) to implement the Sept. 1, 2010 five cents a ride fare hike. The unelected TriMet board also voted to cut back on 60 bus routes Sept. 1. This will be the third round of service cuts and second fare hike in the past two years. New TriMet board president Rick Van Beveren has voted for all five 'transit shock doctrine' austerity cuts and fare hikes.
TriMet, per WWeek, is a $2.5 billion transit agency, counting capital projects. TriMet alleges that it faces a $27,000,000 shortfall and that the five cent fare hike will raise $1.5 million to help offset that deficit. However, that doesn't come close to bridging that alleged $27,000,000 shortfall, and the fare hike isn't serious or needed at all -- kind of a 'frog in boiling water' PR fare hike to keep transit riders polite and docile.
In Greece, unions, students and actiivts have been fighting austerity budget cuts to public services and the Commons with vigor. In Oregon, site of high unemployment, short school years and many budget cut backs, austerity cutback protests -- so far -- have been somewhat muted.
One transit research group has set Sept. 1 as a date (a 'wake'??) to mourn these cutbacks and the fare hike. However, as transit activists in LA and SF have shown, it is far more likely and effective to stop such so-called austerity measures BEFORE they are shoved down the throats of transit riders and the community.
On Saturdays at 12 noon in August, Transit Riders Union meets at Portland State's Chit Chat Cafe, 1906 SW Sixth, to plan actions to stop the cuts and the fare hike. In LA and SF, federal court injunctions have been successfully sought to stop one fare increase with ten minutes to go, and, in LA, to halt light rail construction for five years and require the MTA to purchase 500 buses.
TRU has organized the Reedville Cafe Boycott to Elect the TriMet Board and fight the fare hike and service cuts. Reedville Cafe is owned by TriMet board president Rick Van Beveren, and was the site in May for the primary election victory party of conservative Metro president candidate Tom Hughes. Hughes supports the CRC, and is running against the progressive, green candidate in the November runoff general election, Bob Stacey, ex-director of 1,000 Friends of Oregon. Both Hughes and Van Beveren support keeping the TriMet board non-elected and non-accountable. Stacey has been a vocal opponent of the CRC.
Metro has legal authority, under ORS per two meetings so far with elected Metro official Robert Liberty -- to take over TriMet. Organizers can also collect signatures to put a measure on the ballot requiring that the TriMet board be elected by the people.
So far, TRU has held one picket at Portland Business Alliance to protest TriMet cuts and fare hikes. PBA pushed for the elimination of Fareless Square, year after year (along with sit-lie 1 amd 2). PBA just donated $5,000 to the campaign of Tom Hughes for Metro president, and Hughes has been endorsed by the Tribune and the Oregonian. A new, appointed-in-secret member of the TriMet board is Steve Clark, president of the Portland Tribune.
Come help transit riders and organizers stop the cuts and the fare hike!
address: PO Box 40011, Portland, Oregon 97240
contribute to this article
contribute to this article
add comment to discussion