It’s fitting that Georgea Edwards and Erin Block work in Oregon’s most visited public space, Pioneer Courthouse Square—also known as “Portland’s Living Room.”
For many TriMet riders, Georgea, Erin and their colleagues are like family. They are two members of a Customer Service team that staffs the TriMet Ticket Office, which is adjacent to Pioneer Square’s fountain. Housed there for more than 25 years, it remains a vital resource for transit riders.
“TriMet is often the only lifeline that many of our riders have,” Erin says. “I take great pride in the work I did as a Trip Planner [in TriMet’s Customer Service call center] and feel even more privileged to be able to help the same people in person now that I work at the TriMet Ticket Office.”
I take pride in the work I did as a Trip Planner and feel even more privileged to be able to help the same people in person now that I work at the TriMet Ticket Office,” says Erin.
While TriMet offers riders options like a mobile ticketing app and ticket vending machines to buy tickets and passes, the ticket office maintains a steady customer base that visit every month.
“We are part of their regular routine,” says Georgea. “We work with them to update their Honored Citizen identifications cards, help them plan trips and make sure they get their monthly passes.”
Since TriMet opened the ticket office in 1984, the space has seen a few renovations. Previous iterations included the Lost & Found (now at 4012 SE 17th Ave.) and a bike rack where cyclists could practice loading their bikes on buses. But the core mission of the office has remained the same: selling tickets and passes, and helping riders plan their trips.
“The most noticeable change for us was when we added the 30-Day Pass,” Georgea says. “This was a big help to riders who may not have been able to stop in on the first of the month or didn’t have the resources for a monthly payment at the start of each month. Now they get the discounts of a monthly pass no matter when they purchase the pass.”
Her recommendation is to buy a 50-cent vinyl sleeve to protect the pass (available for purchase at the ticket office). “This will help ensure the expiration date doesn’t wear off before the pass expires,” she says.
Nowadays, Georgea and Erin see a steady stream of riders every day of the week instead of huge lines when monthly passes go on sale. That said, they still suggest patience for those who are looking for a quick visit.
“The vast majority of riders visiting the ticket office are Honored Citizens and they come to us because they need our assistance,” Georgea says. “Sometimes processing their requests takes a little longer, and that’s okay. It’s why we are here.”
In 2012, TriMet moved its ticket outlet sales program to Pioneer Square. “We process requests for more than 130 vendors in the region who sell TriMet tickets to their customers,” Erin explains. “We have outlets that have regular standing orders and then others that submit requests as needed. We are distributing more than $3 million in tickets each month.”
Next time you’re down at Pioneer Square during the day, stop by and say hi. Georgea, Erin and the rest of the ticket office staff will be happy to help you!
The TriMet Ticket Office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Note: Questions about citations and exclusions are handled by the courts, not the ticket office staff.