The Portland Aerial Tram had its biggest day of 2008 during the recent snow emergency, recording a total ridership of 5,428 on Tuesday, Dec. 23 – and for the first time since operations began 23 months ago, the two Tram cabins reached full-capacity loads of 78 people on some trips.
OHSU President Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A., in an e-mail to employees today, said, “I … want to send up a holiday toast to the Portland Aerial Tram, which once again proved invaluable. Tram operators extended hours, waived fares, and ran the Tram through holidays and Sundays. Their efforts meant we always had a safe, reliable way to get people to and from Marquam Hill, even in the midst of ice, snow, freezing rain and slush.”
Tram ridership totaled 37,644 during the 13 days of the snow emergency beginning on Dec. 15. The $4 fare typically charged to non-OHSU riders was waived throughout the five-day stretch when road travel was most difficult – from Sunday, Dec. 21, through Thursday, Dec. 25 – to accommodate Marquam Hill residents who otherwise would have been stranded.
The Tram operated 18.5 hours straight, from 5:30 a.m. until midnight, on six of the 13 days, and 18 hours on Christmas Day. “Our people worked 43 hours of overtime during the storm period,” said Portland Aerial Tram General Manager Mike Commissaris of Doppelmayr CTEC, which contracts with OHSU to operate the facility.