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Leigh Holcombe
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Unfortunately, I think the reason people love the idea of driverless cars so much is that they want the ability to read or surf the web during their commute, but don't want to do it on the bus.
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When I visited Portland last summer on business, I stayed in a hotel right on the rail line between the airport and downtown. I found that the most convenient way to pay for transit was to purchase a pass. There are machines located at every rail station that sell short-term, half-day, and full-day passes for a reasonable price. You can pay with cash or a credit card, and you get a non-flimsy paper ticket that is good for rail or bus. I found the full-day pass to be just about perfect, and I spent the whole day riding around the city hassle-free. As a visitor who wasn't very familiar with the system, it was quick and easy to pay one rate for all my trips. I think the new app system will make it very easy and fun for regular users to pay for transit, which may induce them to ride more. But don't disparage the incredibly handy pass and ticket system TriMet already has in place.
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Sep 6, 2013