Restoring workforce, improving service, adding electric buses are priorities
n a unanimous vote, TriMetâ€™s Board of Directors granted formal approval to the budget for the next fiscal year, setting the agencyâ€™s priorities in motion for the second half of 2022 and first six months of 2023. The $1.93 billion dollar budget includes $748.9 million in day-to-day operating requirements and $304.1 million in capital improvements. For the tenth straight year, the budget does not include a base fare increase.
According to Tia York, a spokesperson for TriMet, they are rebuilding a frontline workforce that continues to be impacted by whatâ€™s been dubbed the Great Resignation of the COVID-19 pandemic. TriMet would need to increase its current operator ranks by more than 300 to return service to pre-pandemic levels. In January, they reduced service by 9%, to better-match staffing levels, however, resignations, retirements, promotions and departures of operators for other reasons have continued to outpace hiring, leading to canceled buses and trains and system delays for riders.
TriMet has increased the starting pay for new bus operators $25.24 per hour, and with regular, guaranteed pay raises, all operators earn $68,000 per year or more, after three years on the job full time. In addition, TriMet bus operators receive a generous package of employment benefits, which includes no-to-low cost health insurance, life insurance, paid vacation and sick time, and a retirement plan with an 8% employer contribution. In addition, TriMet is offering all newly hired operators a $7,500 hiring bonus.
One of the big improvements riders will see in the coming months is the launch of the first TriMet FX -- or Frequent Express â€“- bus service, coming this fall to the 15-mile Division Street corridor, between Gresham and Downtown Portland. FX 2-Division will bring more people on board using longer, articulated buses that will allow for faster, all-door boarding and special signal and lane markings to help keep buses moving past traffic congestion.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
During the upcoming year, TriMet will also focus on capital investments, including work on major initiatives, that improve the rider experience and our community, including:
- â€œA Better Redâ€ MAX Red Line Extension and Reliability Improvements Project that will extend the Red Line ten stations into Hillsboro and add sections of track in northeast Portland to keep trains throughout the MAX system moving and reduce delays.
- Replacement of TriMetâ€™s original light rail vehicle fleet, with new, MAX trains beginning to arrive later this year.
Funding to increase capacity at the MAX Orange Lineâ€™s SE Park Ave Parking Garage, adding two floors onto the garage as had been in original plans.
- Completing renovation of our Powell Operating Facility to support TriMetâ€™s growing fleet of electric buses.
- Moving toward zero emissions
|Post Date: 2022-06-10 11:15:00|