Questions on cables’ safety demand 24-hour Metro shutdown, Wiedefeld says
. . . Metro is 40 years old, and the lack of a complete system rebuild from ground up is leaving Metro a dangerous, unsafe, "national embarrassment."
Electric rail transit requires full tear down and replacement of nearly everything but the ground every thirty to forty years. But the cost of this is horrendous, and none of the transit providers charges a sufficient fare to even approach paying for daily operations, let alone this massive additional cost. Just to be clear, this full tear down and replacement cost is usually about equal to the initial build cost, which for most locations was paid for with majority assistants from the federal government. But the feds don't pay for this, only the original capital construction. So, cash strapped by the shockingly high operating costs, the agencies simply dither, hoping the problem will go away, or succumb to the point source repairs which Metro performs.
Obviously that does not work.
The Portlandia East Side light rail is now 30 years old, and past the point where it needs a full tear down and replacement. TriMet is not performing, nor does it have scheduled anything similar. TriMet riders should begin to plan appropriately. The East Side trains will begin having more and more problems, there will be increasing shutdowns, and disrupted service.
It is time for a conversation about whether performing this retrofit, which will likely cost $500 million dollars, or more, would be worth it, or whether Portlandia would be better off replacing this with a bus service which could span the short time until the share ride self drive car obliterates transit completely.
Or, more likely, TriMet can dither, allowing fires, track breakages, electrical failures, computer failures, and collisions to mount. Then the people will vote with their feet, and bikes, and cars, until there is nothing left.