TriMet's light rail scored another success in July, with ridership up across the board and in some cases by double digits, but the number of passenger trips on buses slipped slightly.
The big standout in the monthly figures released Tuesday was ridership on the MAX Green Line carrying passengers between downtown Portland and Clackamas Town Center. It recorded a jump of nearly 16 percent on weekdays last month compared with July 2010, or nearly 24,000 trips.
WES, which runs from Beaverton to Wilsonville, saw a jump of nearly 17 percent compared with July 2010, more than 1,600 trips.
The two lines opened in 2009.
Overall, weekday trips on MAX's five lines rose nearly 6 percent in July, nearly 138,000 trips. That compares with a slight slip in bus ridership. In July, weekday passenger trips on buses fell 0.2 percent to nearly 184,000 trips. Weekend bus ridership fell a tad as well, by 0.3 percent to 184,000 trips.
The drop in bus ridership follows service cuts over the past two years as TriMet plugged a $60 million budget gap, said Mary Fetsch, spokeswoman for TriMet. It's unclear whether those cuts account for the rise in MAX ridership in recent months.
One bus-riding positive: a 0.2 percent increase in bus trips during rush hour, indicating people are going to work.
The rising price of gas, nearly $4 a gallon in July, could be boosting passenger trips.
Transit riders will have to pay more in September. Ticket prices for adults will go up by 5 cents and passengers will have to pay $4 more for a monthly pass.
The day after fare increases, TriMet will celebrate a milestone: Sept. 2 marks the 25th anniversary of its first MAX line running from Portland to the east side. That year, it averaged nearly 20,000 weekday trips -- fewer than the Green Line in July. Tickets were cheaper, too: $1.35 would take you to Gresham.