My Email To TriMet On Fare Increases

Next week, the TriMet Board of Directors votes on a fare increase proposal which increases the Honored Citizen fare from $1.25 to $1.40.

While in general I think that we should be supporting mass public transit as a public right rather than on the backs of fare-payers, I sent an email specifically addressing the matter of increasing fares for Honored Citizen tickets.

Please do not include honored citizen fare increases as part of this fare increase.

I can’t speak for anyone else but as an independently-living, middle-aged autistic adult, budgeting can be one of the trickiest things to get right consistently and overtime, even with the use of technological tools.

The fact that the minimum $5 I can load onto my HOP card means exactly four tickets is profoundly useful to a brain that needs predictability and, often, straightforwardness in order to successfully navigate a world not designed for the neurodivergent.

It’s the sort of thing that’s easily dismissed by the neurotypical but the fact that it’s easy at a glance to know if I have four, three, two, or one ticket left is important, because every tiny bit of cognitive work I can dispense with means that much more likelihood of having sufficient “spoons” to get through an entire day. Every savings of mental energy, no matter how small, counts as they add up.

(Please look up spoon theory.)

This is the sort of accounting—that of physical and psychological resources—that autistics need to perform in ways and to extents other people simply do not even need to be aware of, let alone perform.

It bears repeating: not only does every penny count but so does every spoon.

Please reject fare increases for Honored Citizen tickets.

For whatever it’s worth, despite this being on a Friday afternoon, within minutes I received confirmation that my email had been received, shared with the board, and will be included in the records of the upcoming meeting.

While I don’t, in fact, expect them to keep Honored Citizen fares unchanged, at this point I take every opportunity I can get—spoons willing—to communicate that while little inconveniences often just roll off the backs of neurotypical people, they accumulate for neurodivergent ones, sometimes quite quickly.