Compare car vs. Tri-met commute times

The Oregonian ran a eye-opening article Mess transit: A two-hour slog this weekend.

It showed these commute comparisons:

From Hillsboro to Tualatin
Driving = 29 minutes
Tri-met = 1 hour, 42 minutes

Sherwood to Beaverton (Nike)
Driving = 20 minutes
Tri-met = 2 hours, 2 minutes

Gresham to Oregon City
Driving = 31 minutes
Tri-met = 2 hours, 14 minutes

That looks horrible!

  • devietro

    This should not be a surprise to anybody. Not to mention that a vehicle actually gets you where you need to go as opposed to somewhere at least somewhat close.

    In Tri-mets defense their talking points are normally on price and convenience.

    If only we got all the tri-met riders to listen to talk radio (not NPR) while on the bus. That would do wonders for Oregon. LOL

  • nme

    Why spend so much for Tri-met, when they don’t deliver people on time?


      Because we’ve wasted all our money on lite rail instead of upgrading our road/highway capacity. We can dump money into TRI-MET until the cows come home but the only way to get them or us moving faster is to build new roads and widen / upgrade old ones. That of course would mean cutting the hundreds of millions in lite rail ideas out there.

  • nme

    Washington County voters have to see that. They don’t get much transit services, but they seem not to be vocal on what you are saying.

  • Jerry

    Lite rail seems to be a pretty good joke,
    It makes us all increasingly broke.
    And what do we get for what we pay?
    A much longer ride and bigger delay!

  • Max

    Hey now! Don’t be goring the sacred cow!

    Light rail does an extremely effective job at moving homeless folks from one handout location to another. What would street kids do without light rail? Or drug dealers?

  • John Fairplay

    This is one of those, “Well, duh!” articles the Oregonian runs from time to time. Facts won’t change the pig-headedness of the Editorial Board, however. They’ll be right back advocating additional transit to cut these times any day now. Note today’s editorial supporting Amtrak which has been an abysmal failure since it was created. There is no wasteful government spending program the Oregonian Editorial Board fails to support whole-heartedly.

  • Chris McMullen

    I like how the article states that new freeways are “politically unpopular.” I’d really like to see the data to back that statement up.

    It’s the fringe, Green-Freaks who hate cars. Most Americans would gladly pay for new freeways.

  • Minimum Wage

    It works if you’re going to or from downtown with a direct route. I work downtown and after a 5-block walk, Tri-Met gets me right to the curb in front of my workplace in 30 minutes. The alternative is a 20-minute drive and then good luck finding (and paying for) a parking space. In fact, I have a co-worker who drives in from another job and I frequently lose my lunch hour because I have to cover for her while she’s trying to find a parking space (and then has to walk from wherever she eventually finds one) and gets in 90 minutes late.

    If you’re NOT going to or from downtown, and especially if you have to make one or more transfers, it doesn’t work so well. And some places you can’t get to AT ALL, like the Wal-Mart SuperCenter.

  • Captain_Anon

    suburn to suburb is a difficult population to help with mass transit. it’s why beaverton, hillsboro, and tigard have terrible drives – eitehr commuting or on the weekend. and realistically, widening the roads wouldn’t help. look at the suburban arterials – 185th, berverton-hillsdale highway, Hall blvd, walker road, cornell, etc etc. jam packed with cars all the time. 185th is what, 5 or 6 lanes wide already?? the intersections are nightmares. congested at all times. there are simply too many people going all over the place. it’s not a matter of hating cars. it’s a matter of space. how can you possibly add lanes to those roads? other than it not really being viable (think 150 to 200 feet wide road areas) for one, you’re going to be paying huge costs in right of way condenmnation. and land owners always want more than what the market would bear. transit is great if you’re going downtown or on a major traffic route, such as 82nd, the towncetners (beaverton and clackamas). that’s the population it mainly serves, and serves well.

    one criticism i DO have on the above commute times is this: how often does it REALLY take only 29 minutes from hillsboro to Tualatin? everytime i’m out that way it takes forever just to get to a freeway, then you’re stuck on it in rush hour. the side streets aren’t much better with all the traffic lights and congestion. i would say the car times are lower than actual times. and i think the mass transit times may be higher than reality. i’ve used trimets “trip planner” a lot, and it never gave me the fastest or best routes. if i went solely on that, my commute would have been nearly 2 hours. but, using my head and checking the schedules, i could make it in 45 minutes – in less than half the time tri met said. that included walking and a connection. my drive time: 30 to 35 minutes depending on traffic. best case was 25 minutes on a lucky day. i was going from NW portland to a far out suburb. so, not too bad.

    transit doesn’t work for everyone, but it does work for a lot. i beleive near 100,000 on a given day? i believe that’s what i’ve read before. that’s a lot of trips taken off the street for everyone else to use the space.

    • Josephine Citizen

      According to your ending statement you believe that the entire population of Oregon should continue to fund transportation that only truly works for about 100,000 a day? I disagree.

      My husband commutes to Hillsboro everday from Salem and 95% of the time it takes between 55 and 75 minutes. There is no mass transit that stops anywhere near where he works in the industrial section of town. So our taxes are paying for something that even if we wanted to we could not use and how much did max cost? On any given day the line to Intel and other organizations in Hillsboro are nearly empty. These areas do not lend themselves well to mass transit.

      I would rather see my money go to the benefit of everyone. I see no reason to shut down the bus we have but any private business would take a look at where there losses are and start cutting back.

      • CRAWDUDE

        I agree! I work at the airport and the vast majority of the people who ride to and from are employess not passengers. While it’s nice to give a few hundred workers an easier ride to work……………..spending 370 million doing it seems a little foolish.

        If anyone want to make an head on the airport max ride it in the morning (going to work), at lunch and in the evening (going home). Those are the times that our officials have their media times……….check the ridership between those 3 periods and all you se is dust collecting on the seats. See for yourself, I have!

      • Captain_Anon

        I believe there are OFTEN times where I pay taxes where i don’t necessarily have a direct benefit. for instance, i don’t have any kids in school, yet i pay into the school system. i haven’t EVER used the state police, yet i pay for them. I’ve never climbed Mt. Hood and been stuck up there needing a rescue, yet i pay into the pot that pays for that. I’m not a fisher, yet i pay for ODFW to stock the rivers. i haven’t camped in years, yet i pay for parks. So yes, even if you don’t benefit directly, i think you should pay into it. and believe it or not, you barely pay anything into it because it’s spread out over the entire population, with a huge chunk coming from the Feds. the light rail DOES help decrease conjestion in the portland area. it most certainly helps the lower income in thier quest to survive by helping them get to thier jobs, or school to increase thier education and become more productive members of society. mass transit also helps improve air quality in our region. helps keep the water clean etc. you may not agree with it, or like it. but it helps. it helps keep the portland area, the major economic hub of the state, moving, and bustling. therefore, it provides a benefit to the state. which means you. one of the beauties of mass transit is that its predictable. for the few days your car may be broken down, or its so snowy outside you can’t drive, mass transit is there to take you. even if you’re one of only 5 on the bus or train. nevermind the times when it’s so full some aren’t able to get on.

        and as far as light sensors vs. motion: at different times of the day they are both appropriate. but at times, you need a timed light because it’s connected to all the other signals in the city, and region. one area gets off, the whole system breaks. they’ve had 100 years to fine tune the science of traffic flow and lights. you all think you’ve got a better mouse trap and have no education in traffic engineering? nice try.

        i use the max to the airport. it’s a lot cheaper than parking there for a day, or weekend or whatever. i see lots of passangers using it. sure, not all do, but there are a large number who do. and the fact that employees use it is great. allows more parking for visitors. as it is, parking is expensive and if you’re doing long term, you’re way out in hells half acre. so it’s easier to take max for those who plan for it.

        catman, yes, washington county is growing at a very rapid rate. but road and freeway construction will never keep up with it. buliding a new freeway would take 10 years. the route selection, environmental impact studies, and then the actual contstruction. all the while, traffic gets WORSE because of the slow downs, lane restrictions etc. so when it finally opens, it’s at the same level of service as before, just 10 years later.

        mass transit isn’t for everyone. but it helps us all out. It’s like national defense…. a public good that we all pay into even if we don’t use it.

    • catman

      At 6 a.m. it is less than a 29 minute drive from Hillsboro to Tualatin, closer to 20, but the rest of the day is from 29 to 60 minutes. Washington County is where the highest growth rate is, but the lowest highway development. Whereas Damascus gets the sunrise corridor for it’s forced development, Washington County gets no sunset corridor (westside bypass) despite having the highest growth rate. We can’t get 3 lanes on 217, getting to Hillsboro is tough. How about that nice project ODOT os doing on 205, to widen it to 3 lanes from I-5 to 10th street. What a bottle neck it will be from there to the Oregon City bridge. A seemingly cheaper traffic remedy: how about getting either software or a flunky to change lights at intersections so when traffic is backed up 1/2 mile one way and an occasional car is coming on the cross traffic. If lights responded to the traffic it might keep the number of cars running red lights down to one or two per light.

      • CRAWDUDE

        Vancouver uses a motion sensor set up , so the light will stay green until a car approaches on the cross street. This helps in the above situation and also guarantees you aren’t waiting at a red light to turn green for a minute at 3 in the morning when you’re the only car on the road.

        Oregon in it’s normal behind the times plans still uses timers for traffic control e.g. they try to guess what to set the light changing sequence (of course if they went to a motion sensor there would be no need for all the Technicians feeding at the PERS trough).