All posts by 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.

You asked: How will the MAX Orange Line work in Downtown Portland?

The new MAX Orange Line will run 7.3 miles from Oak Grove into Downtown Portland, passing through towns and fields before reaching Tilikum Crossing, the newest span over the Willamette.

 

We’re often asked what happens after Orange Line trains go over Tilikum Crossing and enter Downtown Portland: Do they turn around at PSU? Do they become Yellow or Green line trains? Will I have to transfer to get to the Transit Mall?

The Orange Line will share Green/Yellow line tracks once it reaches the PSU South/SW 6th & College Station in Downtown Portland. What’s more, the Orange and Yellow lines will share vehicles — this is called interlining. Throughout most of the day, Orange Line trains heading north will continue as Yellow Line trains along their normal route.

This means a one-seat ride from Milwaukie and Oak Grove into Downtown Portland and beyond, all the way up to Expo Center.

Similarly, most Yellow Line trains headed south will continue as Orange Line trains down to the end of the line at the SE Park Ave Station. Interlining is more efficient than turning Orange and Yellow trains around Downtown; it requires fewer trains and eliminates transfers for north-south riders.

Most MAX Orange Line trains will continue as Yellow Line trains in Downtown Portland. Most southbound Yellow Line trains will continue as Orange Line trains before reaching Union Station.
So why isn’t this a Yellow Line extension?

Separating the two lines gives us flexibility, allowing us to increase frequency on one line without affecting the other. (For example, projections of high ridership on the Orange Line mean that some of its trains will turn around at Union Station during rush hour to meet that demand.)

Looking down the road, any addition of light rail or high-capacity transit in the future — like the options Metro is studying for the Southwest Corridor — would have an effect on ridership patterns on the system.  It’s possible that the difference between service frequency on the Orange and Yellow lines might become even more pronounced. As it is, we expect relatively few riders to travel between Milwaukie and North Portland; most are likely to head Downtown or transfer to east-west service.

Additionally, we think the Orange Line deserves its own recognition as a pioneering endeavor. Besides showcasing the first bridge of its kind in the U.S., the Orange Line features a host of sustainable elements like eco-roofs, eco-tracks and bioswales to capture stormwater runoff. And it serves a distinct corridor stretching from the region’s urban core to growing communities, setting it apart as our region’s newest light rail line.

Get more MAX Orange Line details at catchtheorange.com »
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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Let’s Dump the Pump on June 18

What would you do with an extra $999 this month? How about an extra $11,985 this year?

Those are the latest numbers from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), a non-profit organization that calculates average savings for a two-person household that takes transit instead of owning a car. According to the June 2015 study, Portlanders save the 10th-most among U.S. cities.

DTP email

If you’re wondering where these figures came from (and how they could possibly be so high), consider that they’re based on Portland’s average gas price. APTA also assumes that you (and the other person in your household) are driving 15,000 miles per year, and that your car gets just over 23 miles per gallon. These numbers obviously vary for every driver, but they work as reasonable estimates.

Once costs such as parking, maintenance, registration, insurance and other basic charges are factored in, it’s easier to see how simply paying $100 each month for a transit pass could lead to big savings.

That’s just what leaving your car behind does for you. But everyone in our community stands to benefit from your decision to hop on transit (or your bike, or your own two feet). One fewer car in transit means less traffic and shorter commute times. It also keeps pollution out of the air—for each mile taken on TriMet, 59% less carbon is emitted compared to driving alone. And, according to APTA, every $1 invested in public transportation, $4 is returned to our economy. Not bad!

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So let’s celebrate the difference we can make. June 18 is National Dump the Pump Day—our chance to show ourselves, our neighbors, family and friends that taking transit is the smart thing to do. Plan to commute by bus with a coworker who’s new to TriMet. Go on a picnic in Washington Park and take the train. Calculate your gas savings and share your results on Facebook using #DumpThePump.

Now back to the twelve-thousand-dollar question. With all that extra cash, here are some things you might consider:

  • Season tickets to the Blazers
  • Reservations to a new restaurant each month
  • The latest Apple gadget
  • Dream big and save up—this could take a dent out of a future housing payment or college tuition!

You probably don’t need to be told what to do with $11,985. But you can make a commitment to dump the pump and spread the word, and start on the path toward saving.

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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More Frequent Service arrives in time for summer

How might more Frequent Service on MAX help you this summer?

If you work on the weekends, you’ve got an easy answer. And if you’re looking forward to some free time, think of the festivals, markets, parks, picnics, playdates and out-of-town visitors. (That’s just the start—we can get pretty creative on those long summer days!)

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Next week, we’re adding 135 trips to MAX on the weekends—upping our yearly investment by $1.1 million.

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Last year, after it had thinned in the wake of the Great Recession, we began restoring Frequent Service in steps, beginning with mid-day buses. Then came weekday evening service and, most recently, Saturday service on MAX.

Our service hours are finally back to pre-Recession levels (hooray!), but we’re not stopping there. Bolstering our system with more and better service remains a priority. This fall will see the historic opening of the MAX Orange Line (and an attendant increase in bus service), as well as more Sunday Frequent Service on bus lines.

Check out MAX schedule changes effective June 7 »

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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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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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 »

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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!

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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!

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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?

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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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March 18 is Transit Driver Appreciation Day!

Have you thanked your bus driver or given your MAX operator a friendly wave lately?TDAD logo

Just last year, more than 250,000 transit operators in the U.S. gave us over 10.5 billion rides. And while many of us greet our drivers with a “Hello” and exit with a “Thank you,” we think they deserve some official recognition, too. That’s why on March 18 riders across the country celebrate Transit Driver Appreciation Day!

This day of thanks began when riders in Seattle thought to recognize their friendly operators on a significant date: March 18, when the world’s first urban bus system made its debut in Paris in 1662. In the centuries since, public transit operators have kept the world moving. They’ve helped us through everything from day-to-day traffic to serious economic recessions—needless to say, the job isn’t always easy.

So let’s show our appreciation by saying “Thanks,” signing a card and submitting commendations. Like the official Facebook page and tag your shares with #tdad.

Look at what your fellow TriMet riders are saying about their operators, and add your story!

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

Why We Ride: 7 Reasons Transit is the Way to Go

Savvy commuters already know that transit is the smart and inexpensive way to get around, but in case you need a little more motivation to leave your car at home, here are 7 reasons why transit is the best way to go:

#7 – It’s safer.

According to National Safety Council data, riding the bus is 170 times safer than riding in a car. And an Allstate Insurance study found that Portland is one of the least safe driving cities in the U.S.!

TriMet Rider#6 – You have options.

Whether or not driving is an option for you, TriMet provides the freedom to go where you want, when you want.

Fact: Each year, 11 million rides on TriMet are taken by seniors and people with disabilities. And TriMet’s LIFT paratransit service provides over 1 million rides per year.

#5 – Less stress.

When you let a professional do the driving, you don’t have to deal with traffic or worry about navigating or finding a parking spot.

Fact: According to Texas A&M’s annual mobility study, the average Portland-area commuter spends 44 hours a year stuck in traffic!

Me time#4 – More “me” time.

Instead of driving you can read a book, surf the web, text friends, get some work done, take a nap or just relax and enjoy the scenery.

Fact: Several research studies have shown that using your commute time to enjoy simple activities can make you feel happier and more relaxed. 

#3 – It’s healthier.

Taking TriMet helps us get more exercise because of the walking and biking we do going to and from our stops—it’s active transportation. Besides, it’s a great opportunity to get out in our community, meet neighbors and discover new things.

Fact: A study in North Carolina showed that light rail passengers were 81% less likely to become obese over time and would lose an average of 7 pounds over a one-year period. 

Shopping#2 – It’s actually pretty fun.

Transit is great for getting to and from work but it’s also a popular way to get to school, shops, concerts, libraries, and picnics in the park. Get out and explore your city!

Fact: 1 in 4 transit trips is for shopping and recreation.

#1– You save big on gas, parking and car payments.

Obviously, when you ride TriMet you don’t have to pay for parking or gas. And if you go completely car-free, it could also mean no loans, insurance or tune-up costs.

Fact: According to the American Public Transportation Association, transit riders in Portland can save up to $950 a month ($11,401 a year). 

These are some of the most common sentiments about the value of taking transit, but we all ride for different reasons. How about you—What is your inspiration for catching a bus or boarding the train?

WEIGH IN: Discuss this post on Facebook

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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