To those who missed the Grand Opening of the Central Loop on September 22-23, by the time you read this the Portland Streetcar should be alive and operating. The new route, called the Loop, begins at Portland State University and travels north through downtown, and Â crosses the Broadway Bridge. From there, it proceeds along Northeast Broadway and Northeast Weidler streets, down Seventh Avenue, west on Oregon Street to the Oregon Convention Center, and south on Northeast and Southeast Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. to OMSI. Â The return route is along Northeast and Southeast Grand Avenue and Northeast Broadway. Â It will hopefully become a true loop in 2015 when the new Willamette River bridge is completed; currently the Portland Streetcar is $7.4 million short of the funds to make the connection from OMSI to the bridge. Â The streetcar continues to operate its older west side route from Northwest 23rd to Avenue to Southwest Waterfrontâgiving downtown residents greater service.
Another new change is that downtown residents no longer have the free streetcar use they have been accustomed to. Starting in September, Portland Streetcar Inc. and TriMet, which runs the car on contract with the non-profit, instituted the following fare system: $1 to ride the streetcar for 2 hours: $2.50 to ride the streetcar and any TriMet facility - bus or light rail - for 2 hours, switching at will: $5 to ride any sort of mass transit all day. There are Honored Citizen fares for the elderly for $1.60, youth fares for $1, and monthly and yearly passes at reduced rates. Â These can be purchased at Safeway or the Lloyd District Transportation Management Association office at 700 N.E. Multnomah St.