I am puzzled by recent letters from people looking forward to taking light rail to downtown Portland. We already have fairly convenient direct public transportation to downtown Portland in the form of C-Tran express service. In most ways, MAX will be less convenient than C-Tran: scheduled travel time to downtown Portland is already slower on MAX from the Expo Center than it is from downtown Vancouver on the 105 bus, due to MAX’s local stops; express buses can be taken from any of several park and ride lots, while taking MAX from anywhere outside downtown Vancouver will require driving or taking a local bus into downtown; and many C-Tran trips use new, comfortable buses that outclass the hard seats on the MAX.
While express bus service would be improved if it were more frequent during the day and extended into evenings and weekends, I am sure those changes would be far cheaper than constructing and maintaining light rail across the river. I also wonder why we believe that many people who are unwilling to take the bus now would be suddenly inspired to use public transportation by a less convenient MAX alternative.