Sunday, August 16, 2009


Update to cost/revenue data from June 2009 Monthly Performance Report (available upon request, but TriMet doesn't seem to be used to a lot of requests for "internal" reports)

Cost per train/vehicle hour;per boarding ride:
MAX - $320.76;$2.21
WES - $927.43;$17.52
bus - $99.38;$3.18
(streetcar - approximately $135/hr. as per email from Portland Streetcar)

systemwide passenger revenue:average originating fare - $1.113 or 25.28% of pro rata system cost.

Approximate maximum capacities:
MAX type 4 - 344 per 2 unit train
WES - 443 (see note) for DMU + trailer
40' bus - 60
streetcar - 120

note: The WES figures are from TriMet staff and include 139 DMU standing and 146 trailer standing. The vehicles would have to undergo major cabin modification (i.e. FRA acceptable stanchions, grab bars, straps, etc.) to accommodate these numbers.

The report does not break down passenger revenue in terms of originating fares collect by service, but ~$1.11 does not break even for any of them. Break even points in originating rides/hour would be:
MAX - 289
WES - 834
bus - 90
streetcar - 122 (if streetcar had TriMet fare structure)

So, full MAX trains would have the best chance of coming out ahead and WES the worst. Since these figures are per vehicle hour, lines which have high turnover (i.e. people constantly getting on and off [circulators]) as well as very short runs (such as the Jackson Park section of line 8) would have a much better chance of breaking even than long commuter runs such as 90 series lines.

One thing about WES: according to the Spring ridership report, the service seems to have a disproportionately high service hour to revenue hour ratio, which may be partially responsible for its abominable costs. Maybe they have to do a lot of jockeying between morning and afternoon commutes.

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