by Sarah Mirk
As the group strolled around the bus mall, their signs drew applause from riders waiting for the MAX. "Fuck the $5 day pass!" jeered a street kid decamped near Pioneer Square.
While TriMet is in dire straits with its budget, OPAL says the transit agency doesn't need to patch its budget hole by cutting service. In May, the group released an alternative budget that only slightly reduces service and only raises fares 15 cents. In their alternative budget, the group suggests making up the budget difference by reducing a planned increase in payments to the Portland Streetcar, charging people for Park and Ride spaces, and giving a smaller amount of money to TriMet's contingency fund. As it is, TriMet is staging its eleventh fare hike in ten years.
"We hope this is not the new normal," says OPAL organizer Jared Franz. "We think the reason they cut service and raise fares it that it's the easy thing to do. There's not enough resistance."