Bus ridership is declining in almost every U.S. city. Some reasons are fairly obvious: Lower gas prices combined with higher transit fares and service cuts make transit less appealing. But observers aren't satisfied by those explanations alone. In Portland, one factor seems to be rising housing costs.
It makes perfect sense to provide bulk transit passes, which often lead to higher ridership. But these fare structures pose a problem for people who aren't in a position to scrape together the cash for a pass and pay for a whole month of transit rides one fare at a time. They may end up paying more than wealthier riders for the same amount of service, even though they can least afford it. Now Portland's transit agencies -- Trimet, C-Tran, and the city's streetcars -- are showing the way to a fairer system.
Riding a bicycle is too often thought of as an activity that's off-limits for many disabled people. And that has continued to be the case with the bike-share systems getting off the ground in several American cities, which provide standard bicycles meant for the able-bodied. But that's starting to change, thanks to a yearlong effort in Portland that's the first of its kind in the United States.