We here at ratpag are still basking in our victory – public transit use at its highest levels in over 50 years – but once we sobered up, a little over an hour ago, we realized that there is still work to be done. So, as a result, we are proud to introduce ratpag’s Shit List.
Topping our list is, as you may have presumed, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Journal Sentinel took time away from their coverage of rats in the wrong kind of Subway to report on Milwaukee County’s shameful 2% drop in bus ridership between 2012 and 2013. Shame on you, Milwaukee. Rob Henken, president of the Milwaukee-based Public Policy forum, feels that “ultimately, this [drop in ridership] could be a weakness for Milwaukee, given that across the rest of the country, this type of transit is doing well.” To this we say: Do not underestimate the power of ratpag, Milwaukee. Another drop in ridership and we will not hesitate in banning all ratpag followers and loyalists from visiting your beer-soaked, clown-filled city.
Next we turn our attention to Portland, Oregon. Portland! Yes, Portland. According to The Oregonian, the TriMet (Portland metro area’s mass transit agency) saw ridership crash by 3.8 percent between 2012 and 2013. Portland, you’re supposed to make our job easy. Now you’re on our shit list.
Portland is feeling optimistic and, for that, we’re glad. A fifth light rail line, the “Portland-to-Milwaukie orange line, is expected to draw new riders when it opens in September 2015.” Why can the Milwaukie that nobody’s ever heard of get light rail while the Milwaukee with the International Clown Hall of Fame not get one? There’s no clear answer (there probably is) but our friends at the Journal Sentinel have some (old) theories.
But back to Portland, the TriMet is looking to restore more frequent service just this month, enact more proper marketing, and is encouraged by a 1 percent increase in MAX (light rail) ridership this winter and an over 2 percent increase in system ridership. There’s still plenty of work to be done but we’re optimistic, one day and hopefully soon, that Portland will be removed from our Shit List. Best of luck to Milwaukee, WI, as well.