Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cherriots Board Meets Thursday

Tomorrow, Thursday the 24th, the Cherriots Board meets and there's a few bits of small interest on the agenda.

The Legislative Summary Report from Cherriots' lobbyist, CFM, has some additional detail on the session. Apparently bus passes for State Employees encountered an "obstacle to success" in Senator Betsy Johnson:
During these meetings, opposition to DAS and their bus pass program POP [Policy Option Package] arose in the form of Democratic lawmaker Sen. Betsy Johnson from Scappoose.

Sen. Johnson had enjoyed a very positive relationship with transit up until this year. In particular, Sen. Johnson provided a keynote presentation at the Oregon Transit Association’s annual meeting in 2014. Due to a recent conflict with her local transit provider, Sen. Johnson’s attitudes towards transit and the services provided by districts turned decidedly sour. Unfortunately, this directly impacted SKT’s POP with DAS and her position on deciding Ways and Means General Government Subcommittee provided a substantial obstacle to success.
The tone of the discussion of the politics behind the "clean fuels" and "transportation package" is interesting, and reads, at least from here, as surprisingly partisan:
Throughout session, legislators from both sides of the aisle and from every perspective argued that we could not go home without a transportation package that would help repair broken roads and infrastructure. However, early controversial passage by Democratic lawmakers of the low carbon fuel standards bill (SB 324) caused all discussions around a transportation package to disintegrate.

Insiders believed that time and distance from the issue was all that was needed to ensure Republican and business support for a package. However, Republicans continued to feel slighted as a series of progressive liberal bills continued to move through both chambers at an alarming rate. Such action created a difficult political environment and gave Republican lawmakers little choice but to lock up on discussions unless the low carbon fuel standards bill was repealed.
The minutes to the August meeting has details on the individualized marketing program to the Grant and Englewood neighborhoods. Some 480 "go kits" with information on walking, biking, transit, and such were delivered by bike to households in the neighborhoods that requested them. It will be very interesting to learn what the yield on this is - how many were converted to shift from drive-alone trips.

And more on the new "Connector" flexible transit pilot program in West Salem:
After 3 months of operation, the service seems to be doing well. We have seen an increase of ridership each month. The service has been used by 133 different passengers. The service is averaging 1.55 passengers per revenue hour (which is just slightly less than our CherryLift and RED Line services) . This is below our target of 3 - 5 passengers per revenue hour...
Yes for Cherriots
Of course the big item is the ballot measure for weekend and evening service, which the Chamber of Commerce is mobilizing mightily to defeat. "Yes for Cherriots" will need an equal effort!

Chamber's anti-service site
The Salem Area Mass Transit District Board of Directors meets Thursday, September 24th, at 6:30pm, in Courthouse Square, the Senator Hearing Room, 555 Court St NE.

A bit of a random add:

It happens that there's some chatter in Portland about what it would take to have a fareless system.

Here's a piechart with Trimet's revenue sources for FY15-16.
Fares are about 14% and the dreaded "employer tax" is about 36%. Trimet's "employer tax" rate is much higher than the one proposed by Cherriots.

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