Update! TriMet now says it’s decided to offer on-bus upgrades of old 1-zone and 2-zone tickets for 40 cents each.
I’ve seen this question from a couple readers now: After TriMet eliminates fare zones in September, will we still be able to use our old 2-zone tickets?
No, but you’ll be able to trade them in for TriMet store credit. (Update 6/25: You may or may not be able to trade them in for credit on the bus, too. See below.)
From TriMet’s revised fare page:
With the elimination of fare zones, 1-Zone and 2-Zone tickets will only be valid through August 31. If you are not able to use all of your 1- and 2-Zone tickets by that date, you may exchange them after September 1 at the TriMet Ticket Office by paying the difference for the Adult fare ($2.50 after September 1).
It’s an obnoxious decision for the many of us who stock up on old tickets – especially riders who don’t get downtown frequently. But it’s also more or less necessary. If TriMet allowed the continued use of 2-zone tickets, somebody could buy a year’s supply of 2-zone tickets in late August and avoid the fare hike completely.
Update: TriMet is still “exploring” what it’d take to allow riders to trade in old tickets on the bus for partial credit toward a fare. Based on the comments below and online, I asked TriMet to explain why the agency can’t make it easier to unload these by letting people pay the cash difference when boarding a bus, or by offering ticket exchanges at grocery stores and other neighborhood ticket outlets. Spokeswoman Mary Fetch’s response, by email Monday:
We are exploring the option for customers to upgrade 1 and 2 zone tickets on the bus between following the implementation of the flat fare. The complication with the outlets is that we have a contract with them that to sell tickets, not handle exchanges.