Even though TriMet promotes MAX as a faster, more reliable travel option, buses were more likely to show up on time in eight of the last 12 months.
Their vaunted multi-billion-dollar light rail lines? Late 20% of the time, and people are starting to get a bit annoyed - one long time rider is considering going back to driving between her work site in Hillsboro and her home in Tigard (apparently she parks at the garage at the Beaverton Sunset stop and rides on in to Hillsboro).
She said delays have become routine and the frequent track and train breakdowns "maddening."
Her worst experience of the year came Dec. 23 after a cascade of disruptions: a faulty switch in East Portland cut off part of the Green Line; a collision between a MAX train and a car in downtown Portland caused delays for the Blue and Red lines; and a car stuck on the tracks near Union Station caused delays for the Yellow and Orange lines.
Some delays have been as long as four hours. Unlike their "trains", buses can simply route around obstacles. But developers don't like buses because 1: they're not spiffy, and 2: bus routes can be changed to accommodate conditions. So developers like rail, and Try-Met is only too happy to oblige. What once was a reliable transit agency has become a development agency. Riders are not all that important in the great scheme of things; in the late 1970s, ridership (on buses) was nearly 8% of the commuting population. Since they began emphasizing rail, ridership has actually declined by half.
And they hit a new low for reliability of transit last year, which likely means that more people will return to driving or bicycling.