PORTLAND -- Nothing comes free these days, especially when it comes to riding around on the TriMet MAX or streetcar downtown.
Changes go into effect on Saturday. TriMet and the city are eliminating what used to be the Free Rail Zone, covering a large section of downtown and over the Rose Quarter.
Trimet is trying to make up a $12 -million budget shortfall.
It used to be $2.10 to ride the MAX for two zones, $2.40 for unlimited use all day. Now, TriMet has eliminated fare zones.
It's $2.50 for two hours -- no matter where you go -- that ticket covers both MAX and streetcar, and $5 for the day.
Seniors can buy a two-hour ticket for $1 and youths, $1.65.
"We've been talking to the community for eight months and got 16,000 comments and the overwhelming comments were we will tolerate the fare increase if you preserve the service," said TriMet spokesperson Mary Fetch.
But there are certainly some up in arms, including protesters at Pioneer Courthouse Square Thursday afternoon, who complained the increase affects those who can least afford it.
"Unfortunately, I don't think they took everything into consideration. $2.50 is a lot of money to a lot of people, that's a gallon of milk," said OPAL protester Hector Jr. Osuna.
"It's pretty impossible, It's going to get really expensive," said Elisa Morishita.
Morishita lives downtown, takes the streetcar everywhere, and the MAX to work at the Rose Quarter.
TriMet has set aside $1 million a year out of its reserve budget so nonprofits can apply to purchase tickets at a discounted rate of 20 percent and then pass them on to clients.
A "pack the MAX" meeting was set for Shemanski Park at 12:30 Saturday.