The Portland Aerial Tram will resume Sunday service beginning May 18 to accommodate anticipated summer tourist demand. It will operate from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays through Sept. 14.
In addition, starting on Monday, June 30, the Tram’s schedule will be modified to better serve weekday riders and to enhance operating cost efficiencies. On that date the Tram will begin operating on a published schedule during non-peak weekday hours, departing every 10 minutes (or sooner depending on passenger load) rather than adhering to the current fast-turnaround, “load-and-go” practice, which occasionally has meant leaving with only a few passengers. Load-and-go will now occur only during rush hours, from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Also starting on June 30, weekday service will begin and end a half hour earlier, beginning at 5:30 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. and ending at 9:30 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. Saturday service will continue its regular schedule, starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m.
“Sunday service proved to be exceedingly popular last year, particularly for out-of-town visitors, which is why the service is being offered again this year,” said Susan Hartnett, Oregon Health & Science University’s director of transportation. “The weekday schedule changes are important because they will reduce the wear and tear on equipment and the long-term costs associated with repair and replacement of parts. Starting a half hour earlier on weekdays also will help medical staff who need to be at the hospital for 6 a.m. patient rounds.”
“Going to an every-10-minute departure schedule during non-peak hours,” added Michael Brooks, OHSU transportation operations manager, “is expected to help extend the life of the haul rope and other vital machinery, which have been subjected to greater-than-expected wear due to the frequency of departures. Scheduled departures will allow people to plan their travel more effectively and to resist the tendency to run – and possibly risk falling – to catch a departing tram.”
A total of 7,674 Sunday fare paying riders accounted for $30,696 of Tram fare revenues last year, or about 10 percent of all fare revenues in the May-through-September period.
The Tram schedule changes were authorized by the Portland Aerial Tram Executive Management committee, which provides oversight and policy guidance. Its membership consists of three city representatives, three OHSU representatives and an independent third-party representative jointly selected by the city and OHSU.
About the Tram
The Tram is Portland’s public transportation link connecting South Waterfront with Marquam Hill and OHSU’s main campus. It opened to the public on Jan. 29, 2007, and by Oct. 27 had carried its one-millionth rider. Its use eliminates an estimated 2 million vehicle miles annually, saving 93,000 gallons of gas and reducing greenhouse gases by more than 1,000 tons. It is owned by the City of Portland and operated by Doppelmayr CTEC under a contract with OHSU. The Tram, its lower terminal, and OHSU’s Center for Health & Healing have served as the linchpin for the reclamation and redevelopment of South Waterfront, Portland’s largest neighborhood revitalization and the home of the future OHSU Schnitzer Campus.
Oregon Health & Science University is the state’s only health and research university, and its only academic health center. It is Portland’s largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government), with more than 12,400 employees. The university’s size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU also is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to each county in the state. As a leader in research, OHSU earned $307 million in research funding in fiscal year 2007. It serves as a catalyst for the region’s bioscience industry and is an incubator of discovery, averaging one new breakthrough or innovation every 2.7 days, with more than 4,100 research projects currently under way. OHSU disclosed 132 inventions in 2007 alone, and OHSU research has resulted in 33 startup companies since 2000, most of which are based in Oregon.