As a dedicated patron of public transportation for the last five years, I would like to take this time to thank you for your service.
First, thank you, Number 4, for faithfully taking me to school and returning me safely home for the first two years I lived in SE Portland. Thank you, also, No. 20 and MAX Blue line for taking me to work, most of the time in a timely manner, when I was a new bride.
I now live on the West side, and my husband utilizes the 54 bus and MAX blue line in the wee hours of early morning when no sane person should be awake. Your bus drivers have only on occasion passed him by while he waited to make the Beaverton Transit connection. (It's not entirely your fault, I told him he should take a flashlight on rainy days.)
Yes, from school to work to jaunts to Saturday Market or to watch the Blazers play a home game, the MAX has become a convenient form of transportation for us. Though often not as fast as driving ourselves, you save us gas money and parking headaches. For this, we are grateful. Unfortunately, I have been noticing some disturbing trends: increase in fare and checking tickets.
Now, first let me explain I understand why you increase fares. People are riding free and you need to make up the loss income somewhere. Punishing those of us who are already paying is not the answer. It just ticks us off and tempts us to stop being model citizens.
Second, checking tickets is a wonderful idea and I support this endeavor wholeheartedly. I do not, however, support your checking people getting OFF the train at PGE. I have to admit, I thought that PGE was the last stop in Fareless Square and based on the people I saw ticketed last week I was not alone in this confusion. Check the people who are continuing on to Beaverton, they are the ones who are stealing from the public. I'm not sure one stop past Fareless Square is worth the time when you have a trainload you're sending West without a second glance.
These are my suggestions: check people on the trains at stops that are obviously outside of Fareless Square, put in a system that prevents people from boarding without a ticket (I believe the BART in San Francisco has such a system), and stabilize fare prices.
Thank you for your years of service getting me where I need to go. You are appreciated.