As a regular light-rail commuter, I'm surprised to see the one-sided, negative slant toward safety on the MAX (Pressure mounts for more MAX fixes, Nov. 16, Fear rides the MAX, Nov. 9).

After years of riding the MAX on a daily basis, I have yet to see any violence or encounter anything more than nonthreatening, eccentric Portlanders.

Portland is a very crime-free city, relative to other major metropolitan areas.

There are two things to consider before criticizing the MAX.

First, the MAX is much safer than just about any other light-rail system in this country.

Second, I'm all for more security on the light rail, but that would mean Portlanders would actually have to start paying a reasonable amount of taxes, like other major cities do, and we know how that always goes over!

My family and I love the MAX and will continue to ride it without any fear at all.

Christopher VanOchten

Northeast Portland

Swifter buses would attract middle class

Your article talked about crime on MAX (Pressure mounts for more MAX fixes, Nov. 16), but there will be high crime rates until TriMet changes the target ridership to include the middle class.

Having slow buses that take three hours to travel across town will always appeal only to those who have too much time on their hands, or to those who have no other choice.

Moving the populace from place to place economically should not exclude making it convenient as well.

Throw in a couple of express buses between hubs, and you start to include the bigger part of the (nonoffending) population.

David Sideras


Tourists, shoppers use Fareless Square, too

As a regular transit passenger, I read the Portland Tribune's article (Pressure mounts for more MAX fixes, Nov. 16) in which the elimination of Fareless Square is discussed as an an option to increase security on TriMet.

While I agree that changes are in order, I disagree with making changes that will harm Portland's economic and sustainable future.

I support a proactive approach that would include installing ticket vending machines on each MAX train, rather than relying on passengers to purchase tickets before boarding.

In addition, I support a modification of Fareless Square.

Seattle, a larger and more progressive metropolitan city, has limited fareless hours that extend throughout daylight and into early evening to accommodate commuters and visitors - which stimulates tourism and the economy.

Portland State University is situated right in the heart of Portland. And while Portland's downtown retail business area is relatively small, it includes many locally owned businesses.

The businesses depend on commuters and visitors, along with those who work and live in the downtown core.

Eliminating fareless travel in the downtown and Lloyd Center areas will have a negative impact on Portland's economy, tourism and livability.

In a state with no sales tax, we cannot afford to close the door on businesses and people that both feed our economy and fit Portland's model of a livable and friendly city.

Jacqueline Lerner Aderman


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