Instagram Roundup: April

This month, we’re kicking things off with a photo that set the tone for April — it shows the Unipiper revealing himself to be…Jar Jar Binks (gasp).

It was posted on April Fools’, a celebration of the goofy and the absurd (and sometimes the downright mean). Either way, it always seems to introduce a welcome levity, which is apparent in the photos you shared. There are more colors, smiles and sunshine; everything is a little brighter.

Follow @ridetrimet on Instagram »

Days like this fill me with praise ☀️🙏🏼

A photo posted by Kaitlin Purple (@kaitlinpurple) on

#trimet #transportation #bus #dope #photo #photography #pic #picture #awesome #blackandwhite #bandw #original #amateur

A photo posted by Maxwell Dylan (@maxwelldylan91) on

Waiting on the 75. #pdx #trimet

A photo posted by SAINTS NEED SINNERS (@normanrockwellhardness) on

A photo posted by Ariel Loveall (@loveallmoss) on

As always, tag @ridetrimet and #GoByTransit to share your ride!

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.

More Posts

Get Ready to #BIKEMORE in May

Every ride counts.

That’s the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s new slogan to accompany its revamped annual event, the Bike More Challenge. It was formerly focused on bike commuting during the month of September, but has now moved to May (National Bike Month) and embraced all types of biking (not just to work).

We love this. Biking and transit make a natural pair — both are active modes of transportation, and they offer benefits like reduced congestion and less emissions compared to driving. They also tend to be more enjoyable ways to travel than driving alone: On the bus you can watch the world go by (or play Candy Crush), on your bike you get fresh air and an unobstructed view.

And honestly, the timing couldn’t be better this year. We’re about to start a two-week MAX improvement project that will severely disrupt service, and we’re really encouraging our riders to consider alternate ways of getting to work, school or wherever. Biking — and the Bike More Challenge, specifically — is a near-perfect solution for anyone who’s able to do it. The four steps to participating are simple:

  1. Register. It’s free, and you can join your workplace’s team.
  2. Ride. Wherever, whenever and for whatever reason. If you ride for more than 10 minutes, log your trip.
  3. Recruit. It’s more fun to ride with someone — or to challenge them to see who can log more miles.
  4. Win. There are prizes and awards, but it’s the glory you’re after.
If you're combining your bike trip with transit, lock up before you board.
Secure bike parking facilities like this Bike & Ride are available throughout the region.

If your bike route bypasses the MAX disruption, you’re in luck. But for the work-bound cyclists who need to combine their trip with transit (to get over the West Hills, for example): Park your bike before you get on board. Trains are going to be extremely full during the project, and there won’t be room for your bike. We have lots of secure bike parking around — remember your lock and you’re good to go.

The best part about the Bike More Challenge is its commitment to getting interested beginners to try cycling. If you’re a returning participant this year, consider ways you can help someone else — a co-worker, colleague or friend — enjoy life on two wheels.

Register now for the Bike More Challenge

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.

More Posts

How to navigate MAX during the 1st Avenue Improvements

Think of our upcoming work on First Avenue, and the accompanying service disruption, like a root canal procedure. It’s going to be messy and cause plenty of headaches. You’ll wish it were over sooner. And, in the end, you’ll be glad it happened.

And like with an invasive dental procedure, you’re going to have to be a little altered (your commute, anyways) to get through it.

We'll be replacing sections of track and switches along First Avenue in Downtown Portland.
It’s time to replace sections of track and switches like this along First Avenue in Downtown Portland.

Here are a few things we’re recommending for MAX riders during the two-week project:

Change your trip. If you can avoid peak hours or work from home, do it. Or take the bus (our buses will run on their regular routes during the project), the streetcar or try Lyft/carpooling. And if you choose to drive yourself for those two weeks, well, we get it.

Better yet, why not…

Bike there instead. May is National Bike Month and, even more excitingly, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s inaugural Bike More Challenge. Formerly the Bike Commute Challenge, which took place every September, the event is now more encompassing and accessible to every rider. Plus, it preempts the warm, sunny months that are perfect for cycling.

If you can bike all the way, more power to you. If you want to combine your trip with transit, lock up at the station (we have really nice Bike & Rides and secure bike parking all over the system) — don’t bring your bike on board. Trains are going to be packed, and it’s not worth the hassle of trying to wheel through the crowd. That’s a lot of nasty glares.

Plan extra time. In the end, we’re talking about significantly more crowded and less frequent trains, and the possibility you’ll have to transfer to a shuttle or walk a few more blocks to get to your destination. Everything’s going to take a little longer, so allowing at least 30–45 extra minutes for your trip is a good idea.

Now you’re ready to check the temporary schedules and plan your trip. (Don’t worry — our trip planner and TransitTracker will take these into account.) It’s going to be a little painful, but keep in mind what’s on the other side: more reliable service. The track and switches we’re replacing are old — MAX turns 30 this year — and malfunctions have become more frequent in the past few years. It’s time to dig in.

View animated maps and schedules for the 1st Avenue MAX Improvements

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.

More Posts

You asked: Is petitioning allowed on TriMet?

With elections coming up and ballot deadlines approaching, you may have been stopped by folks collecting signatures during your commute. We’ve been asked more often lately: Are people allowed to gather signatures on board or at the station?

The answer, generally, is yes. Canvassing and petitioning are constitutionally protected activities under the First Amendment, and are therefore legally permitted on TriMet property. Of course, this doesn’t give anyone license to act disruptively or dangerously — if you ever feel unsafe, let your operator know or call the police.

And if you’re feeling like this election season can’t end soon enough, think of petitioners on transit like that one friend’s political posts in your Facebook feed. (If you can’t relate, you are that friend — it’s OK.) Just like it’s best if you scroll right past those, feel free to pass on a petition you don’t feel like signing in real life.

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.

More Posts

Heads Up! Pause Your Play When Crossing Tracks and Streets

You see it wherever you go, whether you’re on MAX, a bus, or walking down the street: heads down, staring at a smartphone.

Or maybe you don’t see it because you’re also texting, checking email, scrolling through Facebook or liking pictures on Instagram. Last November, we released this close-call video, in which pedestrians wearing earbuds crossed right in front of a train, seemingly unaware. Now we’re releasing new videos we hope will get people’s attention to “pay attention” when crossing streets and tracks, and when biking as well.

Hold that thought

Hold That Thought

Before you take a look at those videos, stop and consider this: Have you ever bumped into something or someone because you were distracted by your phone? A study by the Pew Research Center found that 53 percent of all adult cell phone users have bumped into something or someone — or have been on the receiving end of a bump — due to distracted walking. Those in the 18-to-24 age range run into this problem even more, with 51 percent admitting to doing the bumping and 71 percent saying they’ve been the “bumpee.” It might look funny on YouTube when it involves a fountain — not so much when it involves a train or bus.

We’ve launched a new safety campaign encouraging people to Pause your play and Hold that thought when crossing train tracks or streets. (You may have noticed the signs on buses, trains and bus stops.) Whether listening to music, talking with a friend, texting or scanning your phone, take just a moment to pause the distraction and be aware of your surroundings before you go.

Stay Alert. Stay Alive.

Every day, bus and rail operators contend with distracted pedestrians and cyclists crossing against signals and showing a lack of awareness around their vehicles. While they do their part to operate our buses and trains safely, we need you to do your part too.

  • Stop, look up from devices and look both ways
  • Obey signals
  • Remove headphones or an earbud, or stop the conversation while crossing
  • Don’t run across, even if it means waiting for the next walk signal or catching the next bus or train
  • Make sure umbrellas, hoods and other apparel don’t block your view

Our cameras captured the following videos. These aren’t meant to shame anyone, but to show how dangerous a lack of awareness is. We want everyone to stay alert and stay alive.

Roberta Altstadt

Roberta Altstadt

I’m TriMet’s public information officer. I communicate with the news media on all TriMet-related topics. When I’m not busy working, I like learning new skills, gardening, and going for walks with my sweet three-legged dog, Ernie.

More Posts

Hop Fastpass Will Change the Way You Pay Fare — If You Want It To

When it makes its debut next year, Hop Fastpass™ will change the way many of us ride transit. It will be a convenient option for lots of riders, allowing them to pay their way toward a daily or monthly pass, protect their balance even if they lose their card, and automatically reload funds so they’re never stuck without fare. But rest assured, you can always pay with cash, too.

We’re introducing Hop Fastpass as another option for TriMet, C-TRAN and Portland Streetcar riders — one that many have been dreaming of for years. (Electronic fare systems have been hugely successful in leading transit cities around the world.)

We’ve designed Hop Fastpass to be inclusive and accessible, but you don’t have to use it. You’ll still be able to pay with cash or purchase fares at ticket vending machines or on board buses, just like today. We want to make this clear, especially after seeing some inaccurate information floating around lately.

We do have programs to benefit low-income riders

The benefits of affordable transit are undeniable, and we’re on board. We lowered the cost of Youth fares to $1.25 back in 2014, which helps make transit more affordable for students and low-income families.  We also have $1.5 million dedicated to two programs that provide free or reduced-cost fares to non-profits and community-based organizations that serve low-income individuals and families. These groups are then able to offer fares as part of a suite of services for their clients.

For the many low-income families and individuals who ride frequently, Hop Fastpass offers a great advantage over paper tickets: the pay-as-you-go pass. This allows riders to pay towards a 1-Month Pass in increments as small as $5 – once they’ve paid the equivalent of a monthly pass, the rest of the rides are free that month. This eliminates the upfront cost of a pass while making its significant discount more accessible.

We’re (really) expanding our retail network

Right now, riders can purchase fare from about 130 retailers throughout the service area; with Hop Fastpass, there will be about 500 fare outlets. In the future, Hop Fastpass fare can also be loaded online, using a smartphone app, by phone and at our ticket offices.

And remember: You can always pay fare in cash on buses and at MAX stations.

Each rider needs their own card, but one person can manage multiple accounts

Lots of riders travel in groups, like families or classes, which is why Hop Fastpass will allow one rider to manage multiple accounts. Each rider age 7 and older will need their own card to use Hop Fastpass (just like each needs separate fare today).

Plus, there’s a big benefit to using individual cards: It will allow us to offer pay-as-you-go passes. Pay for two 2½-Hour Tickets in a day and ride free until the end of service; pay the equivalent of a monthly pass in one month and ride free until the next month. This extends the value of passes to more riders, without the upfront cost.

To kick things off, we’ll be giving out about 200,000 free cards, many of which will be available to low-income riders. Otherwise there will be a one-time $3 charge for a new Hop Fastpass card, which is designed to last for up to 10 years. The low card fee (which, when taking advantage of balance protection available with a Hop Fastpass card, is less than the cost of losing a single 1-Day Pass) will help us maintain a wide-reaching and convenient retail network.

crop53 (1 of 1)

You’ll know when you’re running low

The theme of Hop Fastpass is convenience, and that means not having to worry about your account balance. The easiest thing to do is set it and forget it — register your account and activate automatic reloading, so you’re never stuck without fare. But even if you don’t do this, you can always check your balance online, using the app or by phone. And if your balance is running low, you’ll get an alert when you tap on board. And if you don’t have money on your Hop Fastpass card, you can always pay with cash on the bus or at the train station.

Your personal information remains private

Hop Fastpass users’ credit or debit card information will be assigned secure, randomly generated alphanumeric tokens. Cybersource, owned by Visa, will handle all the payment processing for Hop Fastpass and will marry the digital tokens with the corresponding credit or debit card numbers.

Your personal information is safe, too — in fact, we’ll allow you to register your Hop Fastpass account using a four-digit security PIN that you create. We’ll tally the taps on your card to make sure you’re charged the correct fare and to cap your fares once you’ve paid the equivalent of a daily or monthly pass.

We want to know what you think

We know our riders want an electronic fare system, and we want Hop Fastpass to work for as many people as possible. We’ve welcomed public input every step of the way, and we’ll continue to share our progress and listen to riders before, during and after the system makes its debut.

Send us a note or sign up for email updates about Hop Fastpass (especially if you’re interested in the chance to become a beta tester) or to learn about upcoming public meetings and hearings.

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.

More Posts

Making MAX better will take work, time and patience

The oldest section of the MAX Light Rail system has been providing service to TriMet riders for 30 years — and it’s showing its age. So we’re tackling important necessary updates and improvements that will create better — and more reliable — service.

Improving on-time performance

In the past few years, riders have seen MAX delays and disruptions climb. Some of those delays are because of mechanical issues with sections of track called switches, problems with the electronics that operate signals and other complications with elements of the MAX system. As part of our concentrated efforts to improve MAX on-time performance, we will be replacing and upgrading some trackway materials and elements. In addition to making the system more reliable, many of the improvements will allow us to remove precautionary orders where trains run slower in specific areas.

A system well traveled

Before we take a look forward, let’s take a look back. The first section of the MAX system opened on September 5, 1986. Since then:

  • 666.4 million trips have been taken on MAX
  • 73.9 million miles have been traveled by MAX
  • 367,000 miles, on average, are traveled each month by all MAX trains combined
  • 13,000 miles, on average, are traveled each weekday by all MAX trains combined

It is a system well traveled and now it’s time for targeted major replacements and upgrades.

max-improvement-slide (5 of 7)

Taking MAX into the future

The MAX system is made up of track, switches, overhead catenary (power wire) system, traction power substations, signals and communication systems. Upcoming replacements and upgrades will touch all of them. With MAX trains running about 22 ½ hours a day, it is not possible to do all the work necessary in 1½-hour segments. So our focus is to be strategic and lessen the affect on our riders as much as possible. But the projects will affect you and require your patience, understanding and involvement, possibly even altering how and when you ride. The improvements will lead to MAX disruptions — some service impacts may be a day, others a few weeks in duration.

Here’s a look at some of the major work being planned to make MAX better:

1st Ave MAX Improvements (May 8–21, 2016)

The 1st Ave MAX improvements combine three projects into one. Crews will replace switches — sections of track that allow trains to move from one set of tracks to another — on 1st Avenue near SW Morrison and near NW Couch. They’ll replace wooden ties and other elements under and next to those tracks with updated, longer-lasting materials. At the same time, crews will replace rail in the Skidmore Fountain area. Rails wear over time and this section along 1st Avenue is part of the original MAX alignment in use for three decades. The construction will make it necessary to adjust MAX service, including reducing the number of trains running on the system. We’ll be talking more in the coming weeks about how this will affect your MAX trips during the project.

Rose Quarter TC Improvements (Aug. 21–Sept. 3, 2016)

Later this year, work moves to another of the oldest sections of the MAX system — the Rose Quarter Transit Center area. We’ll be replacing switches as well as realigning the track just east of the transit center, which will require moving poles that hold up the overhead power wire and replacing the signal system, among other work. As with the 1st Ave MAX Improvements, MAX service will need to be adjusted during this project.

SW 11th Ave/Steel Bridge Improvements (2017)

Coming in 2017, we expect two more big projects. During one, crews will replace switches, install new rail and reconstruct the track bed at SW 11th Avenue in Downtown Portland, where the original MAX alignment ended. In a separate project, we expect to begin making improvements to switches, signals and the track across the Steel Bridge.

There are other projects in the works, such as:

  • A four-year replacement of overhead power contact wire from Cleveland Ave in Gresham to Lloyd Center.
  • Upgrade and repair platform areas at Gresham City Hall and Washington Park stations.
  • A multi-year effort to design and upgrade the oldest elevators on the MAX system.

We have an aging system and we have work to do to take MAX into the future. It won’t be easy and we’ll be asking for your patience and understanding during the projects, but the projects will improve the system and your ride.

What we’ve already accomplished

Our Maintenance of Way crews are always busy performing maintenance and improvement projects. Here’s a few recent projects completed:

Doug Kelsey

Doug Kelsey

As chief operating officer, I oversee our transportation, maintenance and information technology divisions. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with family and being active outdoors, especially cycling. I'm a huge basketball fan, and I'm proud to be a co-founder of one of Canada's largest high school tournaments.

More Posts