Combining biking and transit: One rider’s story

As Bike Month continues, we’d like to introduce Brian, a daily TriMet rider who combines biking with transit trips:

Brian combines biking with transit on his commute.
Brian combines biking with transit on his commute.

Brian recently told us about his commute options from southwest Beaverton to Downtown Portland, where he works as an architect. All of them combine biking with some form of transit, whether bus, MAX or WES.

At the start of his daily commute, Brian chooses between walking to a stop along Line 92 or Line 62, biking to WES or driving to Sunset Transit Center to park and hop on MAX to get into Downtown Portland.

Bike & Ride facility at Sunset Transit Center
Bike & Ride facility at Sunset Transit Center

Brian says he benefits in many ways from his typical commute:

“Here’s the obvious great thing about my bike-WES-MAX commute: exercise, riding through Fanno Creek Greenway and not having to bring a bike on MAX,” he says. “Instead, I lock it up dry and safe for the day.”

He takes advantage of secure enclosed bike parking at Sunset TC, accessible with a BikeLink card.

Bike & Ride facilities can be accessed with a BikeLink card.
Bike & Ride facilities can be accessed with a BikeLink card.

Although many riders choose to bring their bike on transit so they can ride to their destination, Brian points out that it can be nice to leave your bike behind, knowing it’s safe and secure.

Safe, secure and dry!
Safe, secure and dry!

We want riding to transit to be an option for anyone who’s interested. We’ll continue to add bike parking when we can, and we always appreciate riders like Brian who share their stories encouraging others to saddle up.

It’s great to hear from riders who combine biking and transit trips, whether for commuting or for recreation. If you’d like to share your ride with us, email bikes@trimet.org.

Jeff Owen

Jeff Owen

I’m TriMet’s active transportation planner. I work with our regional partners to improve conditions for combining transit trips with walking and biking, including sidewalks, crossings, trails, bikeways, and bike parking. Away from work, I can be found walking, riding my bike, hiking or cheering in the Timbers Army.

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How going green improves more than just your commute

We make going green so easy, you might not even notice the benefits beyond being Earth-friendly. Try it and you’ll likely find it’s the better choice for your wallet and your health, too.

We make it as simple as possible to use our system, which may be why 78% of our riders choose TriMet over driving. Beyond the convenience of multiple modes—bus, MAX and WES—tools like the Trip Planner and real-time TransitTracker data help you find the right route, down to the minute. And, as more than 100,000 users will attest, our TriMet Tickets app makes it easy to buy a fare anytime, anywhere using your smartphone.

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So where does the green part come in? When you ride the bus, MAX or WES Commuter Rail, you’re helping reduce emissions and easing congestion. For each mile taken on TriMet, 59% less carbon is emitted compared to driving alone. Plus, the Westside MAX can carry about 2.5 lanes worth of traffic on Sunset Highway, so both the Earth and drivers sitting in traffic thank you!

And after 100 million trips a year, we know our riders are getting something out of this, too:

  • Instead of paying for parking and gas every day, our riders get to spend it on something else, like gardening supplies or a nice lunch. According to the American Public Transportation Association, those savings could be up to $985 a month!
  • In addition to monetary savings, you get to preserve some peace of mind when riding with us. While others may sit in traffic for an estimated 44 hours a year, you can spend that time answering emails, reading a book or simply taking some well deserved “me” time.
  • Also, that extra walk to the bus stop gives you a few more minutes of daily exercise. Or feel free to ride your bike to a stop to get in a bit of exercise (we’re bike-friendly)!

So, next time you consider how you can make an additional green choice in your life, consider rolling with TriMet. We’re excited to see you aboard!

Stefania Hajnosz

I’m TriMet’s marketing and outreach intern. I help with miscellaneous writing projects and market research. I ride the bus most days and can be found exploring the city in my free time.

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More service brings more riders: adding up TriMet’s ridership stats

Riders often tell us what they want their transit service to look like: more frequent buses, more trains, better connections and early morning and late-night trips. More and better service, clearly, are big motivators to getting you on board.

Since fall 2013, we’ve been making big strides toward getting service hours back to the high levels that predate the Great Recession—and now we’re almost there.

When we looked at our winter quarter ridership numbers (December–February) compared to the same period the previous year, we got some insight into just how these service improvements affect riders’ habits. So we were pretty happy to see a 2.8% increase in overall ridership this last quarter over the year before. It’s a small percentage that tells a big story, considering three very different factors that go into it:

Rides on buses were up 4% overall, and up 5.4% on our Frequent Service lines.

Bus Weekly Boarding Rides

Bus ridership has been growing pretty consistently over the last year since we started adding back service that was cut during the recession. In September 2013, we began making improvements to return Frequent Service to every 15 minutes or better.  (Our 12 Frequent Service bus lines are our most popular lines, providing more than half of all bus trips.) We’re making good progress toward delivering the improved bus service that riders want and deserve. 

MAX Light Rail ridership was up slightly, increasing 1% over the previous year.

MAX Weekly Boarding Rides

WES Commuter Rail ridership was down 10.7% (about 170 rides a day).

WES Weekly Boarding Rides

Why the drop? We’re not sure, exactly, but our manager of service performance and analysis suggested low gas prices as a likely factor. As gas prices fall, some riders may be going back to their cars for some trips.

Are you a WES rider or Highway 217 commuter? We’d like to hear what you think: Let us know at trimet.org/feedback.

More service, more riders

The demand for transit is strong in the Portland area, and we’re excited to be in a position to grow our system again. As we add more service on the street, more people are noticing (and taking advantage of it!).

Where do we go from here? We’re looking ahead and planning future improvements, particularly for bus service. We’ve been asking riders in different parts of town what improvements they’d like to see as resources become available. Learn more and share your vision for the future of transit in your community »

Want to dig in to the data? Check out our complete performance dashboard and sign up to get updates by email »

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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Why all bus stops are not created equal (and how we make improvements)

Ten bus stops were recently nominated by riders as the worst of the worst in The Oregonian’s #MyTerribleBusStop poll. So… Out of the 6,660 bus stops in the TriMet service area, why are these such stinkers? Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at why some stops get shelters and benches, while others are just a lonely pole in a ditch.

Sidewalks and crosswalks

Judging by what you’ve told us, riders’ biggest concern is access—specifically, how easy it is to get to and from the stop. It’s no fun crossing a busy street to wait for the bus in a drainage ditch… and it’s not safe, either.

It’s important to note that the majority of our stops are located on land that belongs to someone else, whether it’s a city sidewalk, a county right-of-way, a state-owned highway or private property.

TriMet worked closely with the City of Portland on the Division Streetscape project.
We worked closely with the City of Portland on the Division Streetscape project. We depend on our city, county, state and property owner partners when it comes to infrastructure such as sidewalks and crosswalks.

Of course, it’s ideal to put a stop in where there’s already an existing sidewalk and crosswalk—but that’s not always possible. Not all of the neighborhoods we serve have them, and often there is limited space to work with in the location where a stop is needed. In some cases, it comes down to either having a bare-bones stop with no amenities, or not having a stop at all.

That’s why we need a lot of help from our city, county and state partners and private property owners to make these kinds of improvements.

A few years ago, we launched the Pedestrian Network Analysis Project, which helps us focus on and locate the areas where access improvements have the greatest need and provide the biggest opportunities. The analysis was an effort to help our city, county, state and property owner partners identify where to invest in sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, seating and other upgrades that can make a big difference for transit riders.

We also work to actively build relationships with private property owners and developers to make sure that transit access is not an afterthought when planning new developments.

Before
After
HillsboroWinCo
In front of the Hillsboro WinCo Foods on Hwy 8, in place of a drainage ditch along the roadway, now a wide sidewalk with a bus shelter greets riders because of a partnership between Oregon Department Of Transportation, Washington County and TriMet.
Before
After
TriMet worked with developers when the Fred Meyer block on West Burnside was transformed. Where riders previously experienced a tight sidewalk and tight shelter, now they have a wide sidewalk with a covered bus stop bench designed into the side of the building.

Gimme shelter
Many neighborhood stops like this one at SE 28th and Bybee Blvd do not have space for amenities.
Many neighborhood stops like this one at SE 28th and Bybee Blvd do not have space for stop amenities like shelters and benches.

When we’re deciding which bus stops get shelters and other amenities, we have to take ridership into account—Shelters are considered only at stops with at an average of at least 50 weekday boarding rides. With limited resources available for bus stop improvements, this helps make sure we’re investing in the places that will benefit the most riders.

In some cases, though, even highly used stops don’t get a shelter. For example, on land connected to private property or parking lots (as shown in the example at right), sometimes a shelter just won’t fit.

What’s with all the trash?

Sometimes trash can accumulate at bus stops, and we appreciate riders letting us know when a special clean-up is needed. Plus, some litterbugs like to use our garbage cans as their household dumpster, so it can be tough to keep these stops clean 100% of the time.

Thankfully, the individuals, businesses and community organizations that volunteer through our Adopt-a-Stop program help us keep things tidy. (Thank you!) Together, we can make bus stops better, so if you ever spot an issue at your stop—let us know.

Making bus stops better

In the last two years, we’ve upgraded more than 370 stops, with an additional 100 projects being planned or under way right now. In recent months we’ve partnered with New Seasons Market to provide a stop next to their newest store, equipped with awnings and seating. We worked with Go Lloyd to install new digital screens in the Lloyd District, and with the help of KNOVA Learning Center, we were able to install two new shelters at Stark & 182nd Avenue.

Our bus stops team is always working to improve the safety, comfort and accessibility of our stops—we just need a lot of help from our city, county and state partners, private property owners and you.

Jessica Ridgway

Jessica Ridgway

I'm TriMet's Web and Social Media Coordinator. I develop content for our website and social media channels. I'm a daily MAX rider and an adopted Oregonian.

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Will you stand up for transportation?

APTA_SUFT Logo_FINAL-01On April 9, communities across the country are coming together to send a powerful message to Congress: We need long-term federal funding in America’s transportation network.

The nation’s transportation infrastructure is rapidly falling into disrepair and, in the long run, short-term and inconsistent funding will slow progress and cost taxpayers more.

Want to show your support for public transportation?

Public transit is an important part of America’s transportation system and it benefits everyone—even those who don’t ride! When you take public transportation you help boost local and national economic growth, ease traffic congestion and reduce air pollution. Plus, it helps get us to all the places we need to go! Want to voice your support for expanding and improving public transit across the nation? Here’s how you can participate:

  • Join us on Thursday, April 9, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pioneer Courthouse Square and show your support for public transportation. We’re parking a 40’ bus decked out in stickers right in the middle of the square—come on by and take your photo with the bus or in the operator’s seat! There will be crew on site to help take your photos. (Don’t forget to share your photo with the hashtag #SU4T!) We’ll also be handing out some TriMet swag and you can enter our raffle to win a book of 2½-Hour Tickets (a $25 value).
  • Share your support online by using the hashtags #SU4T and #StandUp4Transportation

Congress must take action by May 31. Join us as we stand up for transportation and help bring all of America’s public transportation, roads, bridges, ports and rail systems up to speed!

Jessica Ridgway

Jessica Ridgway

I'm TriMet's Web and Social Media Coordinator. I develop content for our website and social media channels. I'm a daily MAX rider and an adopted Oregonian.

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The Spring Break Staycation Guide

Waterfalls, blossoms, showers and sunshine: spring is when Portland really sings. If you’re lucky enough to have a break in the coming weeks (or if you’re looking after someone who does), why not plan the ultimate staycation? Here are some activities just a hike, splash or cycle away—We’ll take you there!

Hit the trail!

Stone House on Lower Macleay Trail. (Brian Lum)

Macleay Trail

Start along the trail at Lower Macleay Park, under the NW Thurman Street Bridge, and follow charming Balch Creek upstream. After nearly a mile you’ll come across a cool remnant of Forest Park’s past: the Stone House. This old structure was a rest station until the Columbus Day Storm of 1962, after which it was deemed damaged beyond repair. It’s fun to explore the ruins now, and it makes for an interesting photo op!

Now that you’ve walked to a little house, why not hike up to a big one? Head up the Wildwood Trail from here to visit Pittock Mansion. Don’t worry if you’re too tired to tour the house: the lawn provides a great place to eat a sandwich, as well as an amazing view of downtown Portland.

Get there by bus »

Tryon Creek State Park

It’s easy to enjoy a park like Tryon Creek, Oregon’s only state park in a major metro area. Are you a hiker? It’s got miles of trails, including the accessible Trillium Trail. Equestrian? Try the North Horse Loop—or the West Horse Loop! Cyclist? A bike trail lines the park’s eastern edge. Just want some peace and quiet? Take a seat in the Glenn L. Jackson shelter and watch the wildlife.

Get there by bus »

fanno-1
Greenway section of Fanno Creek Trail. (Finetooth on Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Fanno Creek Regional Trail

The segments making up the Fanno Creek Regional Trail will one day become a premier recreational corridor. For now, think of it more as a choose-your-own-adventure. Follow the historic Oregon Electric Train route and you’ll find picnic areas, play equipment and restrooms along the way. In Greenway Park you’ll pass through grassy fields and follow Fanno Creek. Keep an eye out for the Fanno Farmhouse!

Get there by bus »

For more, check out Transit to Trails »

Splash into spring!

pool-1-2
Mt. Scott Indoor Pool. (City of Portland)

East Portland Indoor Pool & Mt. Scott Indoor Pool

The most important thing to know: these pools have slides. It might be more accurate to call these “aquatic complexes”—bring the family and friends, because there’s an area for everyone. The competitor in the family can go for a P.R. in backstroke in the heated lap pool. The thrill-seekers will love waterslides of all sizes, and you’ll all enjoy the lazy river.

Get to the East Portland Indoor Pool by bus »

Get to the Mt. Scott Indoor Pool by bus »

Beaverton Swim Center

The L-shaped pool here is kept at about 86 degrees—If that isn’t enough to get you in the water, how about dropping in for some Zumba? Whether you’re splashing through Open Swim or taking a class called Deep Water Warrior, you’ll find your groove here.

Get there by bus»

Check in to a new museum!

ORHC-1
Oregon Rail Heritage Center. (Sam Churchill on Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Oregon Rail Heritage Center

Did you know Portland is the only U.S. city to own two operating steam locomotives? You can get a guided tour of each at this museum tucked away near the future Orange Line MAX OMSI/SE Water Ave station. On Saturdays, after you’ve taken in the latest exhibit, hop aboard the charming, family-owned Oregon Pacific Railroad passenger train for the short trip down to the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. All aboard!

Get there: Portland Streetcar CL Line »

Washington County Museum

Interesting things are going on here on the second floor of downtown Hillsboro’s Civic Center. An exhibit called INNOV8: The Silicon Forest in Washington County tells the story behind tech in the region, then challenges visitors to think about the future. Other exhibits examine the area’s history, from the Kalapuya Indians to David Douglas to immigration during World War II.

Get there by MAX or bus »

Museum of Contemporary Craft

Although it’s been around in some form since the 1930s, the identity of this surprising little museum has changed many times over the years. And so has crafting—Visit the exhibitions here and you’ll be amazed at the vitality, vibrancy and balance between utility and beauty found among the collection.

Get there by MAX or bus »

Still thinking about skipping town?

20110708 trimet red line.0530
MAX Red Line to PDX. (TriMet)

If you’re heading out for a proper vacation, we’ll get you to PDX. Be sure to plan extra time getting there, though—The Port of Portland is forecasting record Spring Break travel this year, meaning it could take longer than usual to check in and get through security once you’re at the airport. And don’t forget—getting to Union Station is a snap, too.

Have a fun, safe break!

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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TriMetiquette: You told us what makes you cringe on board

Back in February, we asked for feedback about which transit etiquette, or “TriMetiquette,” rules riders should follow. Well, the results are in!

After sorting through 1,071 responses of what bugs you while you ride, we’ve narrowed it down to three TriMetiquette sub-categories: Noise, Gross and Space.

noise_header

About 45% of the responses mentioned annoyances involving noise. Two hundred and seventy-seven responses were about people talking too loud while on board (“Speakerphone is not for the bus!”), and about 207 replies referenced riders playing music or games too loudly on their personal devices.

“Turn your music down, we can all hear it coming from the headphones and it sounds awful. Keep your voice down during both face-to-face and phone conversations—if the phone connection is poor, call them later—we don’t want to listen to you yell into thin air.”

gross_header

This sub-category covers a range of pet peeves including feet on seats and smoking (“People always ignore the non-smoking signs and smoke right next to passengers”) to odd smells (“Bathe, for the love of all that’s holy, and not in Axe.”) and offensive personal grooming habits (“No cleaning your ears or clipping your fingernails on the bus”).  Overall, 51% of the received feedback fell into this category—164 replies were specifically about feet and dirty shoes on seats.

“No feet on the seats! I think that feet on the seats is unclean, gross and it makes it difficult for other people who really need a seat (when the bus or train is full).”

space_header

Leading the way with a whopping 639 replies and 60% of the responses were frustrations about space. Riders really can’t stand seeing other riders take up more than one seat (“One butt, one seat”), stand too close for comfort (“Please do your best not to lean on your fellow passengers”), exit the bus from the front (“Remember, exiting by the front door keeps everyone waiting“), or hop on the train before letting others off.

“Stop blocking the door when people are trying to get off the MAX.  Stand back and let people exit before getting on.”

But the pet peeves don’t stop there—we also received plenty of feedback about practicing common courtesy, like giving up your seat to seniors, people with disabilities or others who could really use is, and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze

We want you to have an enjoyable ride, but that can’t happen without your help. So, let’s be considerate to one another, use headphones while we ride, keep our belongings  on the floor and our feet off the seats!

Jessica Ridgway

Jessica Ridgway

I'm TriMet's Web and Social Media Coordinator. I develop content for our website and social media channels. I'm a daily MAX rider and an adopted Oregonian.

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