All posts by TriMet Staff

5 holiday safety tips for TriMet riders

While Transit Police officers ramp up their missions during the holiday season to help keep you safe, there are also steps you can take to protect yourself and your belongings when you’re out and about on TriMet:

  1. Pay attention to your belongings. This is especially important when a bus or train is getting ready to leave a stop or station. Thieves may try to snatch items just as the doors are about to close.
  1. Keep your purse, backpack, bag and shopping bags close. Don’t set them down on another seat or a bench. (And hey, that’s just good TriMetiquette, anyway!)
  1. Keep your phone and other devices hidden. When listening to music, put your phone in a pocket or a bag that’s under your control.
  1. When it’s dark out, stand near others in well-lit areas. Move toward the bus stop pole as the bus is approaching or toward the train as it arrives at the station.
  1. Parking at a Park & Ride? Store your belongings out of sight. Put your stuff in the trunk or use a cargo cover in the back of your car. Thieves are on the lookout for quick “smash-and-grab” opportunities.

Here’s to a fun and safe holiday season for you and yours!

December 3rd is International Day of Persons With Disabilities

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You probably didn’t know it, but today is International Day of Persons With Disabilities. The day was established in 1992 by the United Nations to highlight the importance of inclusiveness and accessibility in our society and development.

This year’s theme focuses on the opportunities for technology to improve the lives of the more than 1 billion people who live with some form of a disability. (That’s about 15% of the world’s population!)

When we design products, buildings, cities and vehicles in a way that is accessible and inclusive, it can make a huge difference to someone with a physical or mental disability. But it’s really much bigger than that: Accessibility makes the world a better place for everyone.

Anything you can do to improve accessibility is a benefit to all users.

According to the UN, “Evidence shows that when barriers to their inclusion are removed and persons with disabilities are empowered to participate fully in societal life, their entire community benefits.”

That’s certainly true for transportation. If you can get around, you have an opportunity to fully participate in your community.

And when it comes to building an accessible transit system, TriMet is fortunate to have the guidance of the Committee on Accessible Transportation (or “CAT,” for short). The CAT is a 15-member citizen committee that advises the TriMet board and staff on plans, policies and programs with the goal of improving access to transit services.

“Anything you can do to improve accessibility is a benefit to all users,” says Jan Campbell, the committee’s chairperson.

“When you hear the next stop being announced on the bus, or you see a family use the boarding ramp—these are features that were designed to help people with disabilities get around,” Jan adds. “But in the end, they make transit easier for all riders.”

TriMet service is a lifeline for many of us who can’t drive due to our age or a disability. Each year, 12 million rides are taken by seniors and people with disabilities who would otherwise have few options for transportation.

“That’s what’s good about TriMet,” says Jan. “We really do have one of the best transit systems here, and we have put a lot of effort into making it totally accessible for everybody.”

In partnership with the World Affairs Council, TriMet has recently hosted visitors from Canada, Turkmenistan, Egypt and Korea who wanted to learn about the accessibility of the Portland area’s transit system.

Here are a few of the accessibility features on TriMet that you might use every day:

  • Buses, MAX trains and streetcars have ramps that extend for easier boarding if you need it, and most buses can “kneel,” lowering the first step closer to the curb. Just ask the operator.
  • All vehicles have priority seating areas inside by the door for seniors and riders with limited mobility, plus space for mobility devices.
  • At MAX, WES and Streetcar stations, there are textured tiles along the length of the boarding platform to warn you when you’re near the platform edge. You can feel these tiles with your feet or a cane.
  • Many bus stops and MAX stations have digital displays that show you when the next bus or train is expected to arrive. At some stations, including those on the Portland Transit Mall, you can also hear an audio announcement of the next arrivals by pushing a button.
  • MAX trains and buses announce their line name and destination over an external speaker system as they pull up to a stop. Inside, major stops and transfer points are announced over the speaker system and displayed on a reader board.
  • For riders who have a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from riding regular buses or trains independently, TriMet’s LIFT paratransit service can help keep them moving.

Learn more about accessibility features on TriMet

Learn more about the International Day of Persons With Disabilities

Take TriMet to holiday tree lighting events

Pioneer Courthouse Square TreelightingLet us help you get in the holiday spirit—take a bus or hop on the MAX to these accessible tree lighting events in the greater Portland area!

Portland: Celebrate 30 years of lighting the 75-foot tree in Pioneer Courthouse Square. The event runs from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, November 28th.

Lake Oswego: The tree lighting events at Bigelow Plaza and Millennium Plaza Park take place on Friday, November 28th at 5:30 p.m.

Gresham: Take part in the Spirit of Christmas on Saturday, November 29th, at the Arts Plaza. The lighting of the 60-foot Ponderosa pine tree will begin at 5 p.m.

Hillsboro: The annual tree lighting ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. on November 29th at the Tom Hughes Civic Center Plaza.

Cornelius: Join the annual tree lighting ceremony at Veteran’s Memorial Park on December 5th. The event begins at 6 p.m.

Tualatin: Head to the Lake at the Tualatin Commons on December 5th for the city’s tree lighting ceremony. The countdown to tree lighting and Santa’s arrival starts at 6 p.m.

Tigard: On December 5th head over to Liberty Park for the Holiday Tree Lighting and Santa’s arrival! The event runs from 7 to 9 p.m.

Beaverton: The 11th annual tree lighting ceremony takes place December 5th at 7 p.m. at City Park (across from the City Library).

Sherwood: Catch the tree lighting event on December 6th during the city’s Winter Festival. The lighting ceremony takes place in Cannery Square Plaza after 4 p.m.

Milwaukie: The Tree Lighting Ceremony is set for December 6th—the lighting event follows the Milwaukie Umbrella Parade and should begin around 4:45 p.m. at City Hall.

Fairview: Join the city’s eighth annual tree lighting on December 6th at 6 p.m. The event takes place at Fairview City Hall and Community Park.

Oregon City: The annual tree lighting event downtown begins at 5 p.m. on December 6th. Following the lighting ceremony is the opportunity to sit and take your picture with Santa!

Avoid the hassle of traffic and parking and allow us to get you to the festivities—plan your trip at trimet.org.

I’m running the entire MAX Blue Line in a “TriMet Ultramarathon”

Steven Wong
Steven Wong

My name is Steven Wong and I’m on a mission.

In 2013, I ran 26 races before my very first marathon, the 2013 Portland Marathon. This year, 2014, has been a Marathon of Marathons where I completed nothing but half marathons, full marathons, and one ultra marathon.

Before the end of this year on December 1st, 2014, I will be running the entire MAX Blue Line from Hillsboro to Gresham, to inspire the human race and to celebrate TriMet’s 45th birthday!

I want to change [the tragedies in my life] into a motivational story to inspire people to keep moving forward, keep turning the pages of their stories, and keep chasing their dreams.

My life is filled with unfortunate events that have made it so painful in so many ways. I want to take all the tragedies in my life and change them into something inspirational. I want to change it into a motivational story to inspire people to keep moving forward, keep turning the pages of their stories, and keep chasing their dreams.

TriMet Ultramarathon

The MAX Blue Line is 32.7 miles long, stretching across four different towns (Hillsboro, Beaverton, Portland, and Gresham). I will be taking the sidewalk and side roads to meet up with my Support Team at each of the 47 stops along the way. Please spread the word of my journey and tell others about this marvel of a milestone! You can follow my progress on Monday on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What: Steven Wong’s TriMet Ultramarathon
When: Monday, December 1st, 2014 — start time is 7 a.m.
Where: All 47 stops along the entire MAX Blue Line

TriMet Tickets app users: Be sure to recall tickets before switching phones

blog phoneAre you using the TriMet Tickets app? Plan to purchase a new phone this holiday season? Make sure to recall your tickets from your old phone to your online account first, so you don’t accidentally lose any tickets.

Your tickets are stored on your phone (which makes it possible to use them without an Internet connection), so you’ll need to transfer your tickets from your phone onto your online account before shutting off the network connection to your old phone. Here’s how to recall your tickets:

  1. When your old device is still connected to the network, login to your TriMet Tickets online account.
  2. Go to the “My Account” tab, then to “My Tickets” and click the “Recall Tickets” button.
  3. On your old device, go to the “My Tickets” tab and refresh. You should see your tickets moved.
  4. When you get your new phone, open up your TriMet Tickets app and sign in.
  5. Go to the “My Tickets” tab and refresh to download your tickets.

Note: We recently added the ability to recall or move active multi-day tickets—such as 7-Day, 14-Day and 30-Day tickets—from your phone to your account and back again. (In the past, only unused tickets could be moved.) Active tickets can be transferred to your account and back to the phone one time.

If you experience any problems during your upgrade, please contact the TriMet Tickets Help Desk at mobiletickethelp@trimet.org. We’re here to help!

MAX Day 2014

This is a guest post by Aidan, age 11.

My name is Aidan and I am in 5th grade. On October 30th, 2014, I had the day off from school.

I set the alarm for 5 A.M. so that I could achieve my goal. My goal on “MAX Day” was to ride the 4 TriMet MAX lines past or even to all 87 MAX stations. I also planned to ride both WES and both Portland Streetcar lines. I video taped it and made a summary video that I posted on YouTube. Check it out!

I came up with the idea of MAX Day when I enjoyed my ride from my house to the zoo when I was young (age 6). Soon I decided that I could ride the MAX to every stop on the system, and then one day I did! When I was 8, I did my first MAX day ever, but I did not ride WES or the Streetcar line at the time. Since then I have completed three more MAX days, one when I was 9 and twice in 2014 (at ages 10 and 11) which included riding WES and Portland Streetcar!

On the morning of MAX Day, my Dad and I took off on our 14-hour adventure!

I started at a Line 99 bus stop and made my way to Milwaukie, where I caught a Line 31 bus and took it to Clackamas Town Center, where there I took MAX trains! I rode the trains in the sequence of Green, Blue, Red, Yellow, NS Line Streetcar, CL Line Streetcar, NS Line Streetcar, Blue, Line 76, SMART, WES, Blue, and 99.

The people at TriMet were really nice and gave me a tour at Ruby Junction Rail Yard, so I could learn more about MAX trains.

 

 

Ask TriMet: Are pets allowed on board?

With all the buzz about dogs on transit in the news today, here’s a quick refresher on our pet policy.

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Pets are allowed on board buses and trains, but only in an enclosed carrier. Service animals are allowed on a leash.

First off, pets are allowed on board buses and trains, but only in an enclosed carrier.

Service animals (those trained to help people with mental or physical disabilities) are allowed on a leash, but Fido must remain under the owner’s control and behave appropriately.

How do we know for sure that it’s really a service animal? We don’t. The operator can ask, “Is that a service animal?” and “What service is your animal trained to perform?” But that’s about it. By law, if a rider claims their animal is a service animal, we have to take their word for it.

The operator will intervene, however, if the animal is behaving aggressively or makes a mess on board.

It’s no secret that some people abuse this policy, but unfortunately there’s not much we can do about it.

All that said, many riders legitimately need and use service animals to help them get around—and it may not always be obvious that an animal is a service animal.

If you have a concern about an animal on board, please tell the operator or contact Customer Service.

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski

Open data is making transit better, one app at a time

John Canfield
John Canfield’s start-up, Nimbler, just launched its fourth transit app.

John Canfield is the Founder of Nimbler and the VP of Risk Management at WePay. John previously worked at eBay, Zip2 and Creative Labs. John has a masters degree in electrical engineering from MIT and an MBA from Stanford.

I have been in the high-tech industry my whole career, working in start-ups and large tech companies. Over the years, the hot areas of innovation have shifted from the computers themselves, to packaged software, to the Internet, to mobile devices.

But I never heard people talking about transportation being a hot area of innovation until this last year.

Millennials are leading us away from the car-dominated America of past generations. They are looking for options. Start-ups and established players are offering an array new services — carsharing, bikesharing, ridesharing, and transportation apps of every sort.

Transit agencies are offering real-time arrival times so riders can find the best route and get there with a minimum of waiting. Uber, a five-year old start-up, just was valued at $18 billion — one of the highest private valuations ever. Venture capitalists around the world are taking notice.

The Portland area plays a special part in this transportation innovation. In 2005, an engineer at Google started working on a skunkworks project to build transit directions into Google Maps.

The big problem was where to get the data. Transit agencies had schedule data in proprietary systems that varied widely from agency to agency. Even if the data were technically accessible, many transit agencies did not want to publish it for free.

TriMet had a different approach. They proactively reached out to Google looking to partner. The result was the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS), which is used to communicate schedule data.

Google launched its transit directions in Portland first. Now, Google and other apps offer transit directions around the world using GTFS.

TriMet also innovated by investing in open-source trip planning. Traditionally, when transit agencies wanted a trip planner for their website, they worked with private software companies to build one just for their agency. TriMet instead started a project in 2009 with OpenPlans to build an Open Trip Planner for the Portland area that combines bike and transit directions.

The start-up I founded, Nimbler, just introduced its fourth transit app: Nimbler Portland. At the heart of Nimbler’s routing lies Open Trip Planner and GTFS. Nimbler offers transit directions, bike directions and combinations of the two. Nimbler also integrates with TriMet’s real-time vehicle location feed to provide real-time arrival predictions that minimize wait time.

Without the innovative approach of TriMet working with Google, OpenPlans and Open Street Maps, apps like Nimbler would not be possible. Because of TriMet’s leadership, apps around the world are benefiting and innovating using open source and open data for transportation.

One bent bicycle wheel. And one bruised butt.

Last September, Ian Sutherland got hit by a MAX train near Gresham and lived to tell the tale.

It was the route he took to work every day. It was like clockwork. Except that morning.

“I was pre-coffee, running late,” says Ian.

So he took a later train. When his train stopped, he got off, put his headphones on, clipped into his bike and set out across the crosswalk. Only he failed to see that he didn’t have a green signal as he usually did.

“Pay just as much attention around the MAX as if you were crossing a freeway. Or operating heavy machinery. Oh and don’t put on your headphones or mount your bike until you’re well clear of the tracks.”

“The other people at the crosswalk were standing there waiting. And I just kept on moving… on autopilot.”

It wasn’t until he was in the crosswalk that he saw the other train. The one that was speeding towards him only 20 feet away.

At that point Ian had two choices: either go for it and ride the bike as quickly across the tracks as possible, or turn back.

He chose to turn back by making a sharp left turn only to get his back tire stuck in the tracks. He unclipped from his pedals just as the train caught up with his backside and his back tire.

He was thrown many feet through the air but landed well.

He blames the accident on his “complacency.” Asked what he would tell his little sister about riding MAX, Ian chose his words carefully:

Ian Sutherland“Pay just as much attention around the MAX as if you were crossing a freeway or operating heavy machinery,” he says. “Oh, and don’t put on your headphones or mount your bike until you’re well clear of the tracks.”

That’s really good advice… Ian narrowly escaped a serious accident.

As a result of this incident, he has graciously agreed to be a model for our “Be Alert” safety campaign. We’re glad you’re OK, Ian!

Watch NewsChannel 8’s story about Ian’s accident at kgw.com

3 ways to kick off the perfect Oregon summer

This is our city’s time to shine. Summer is Oregon’s reward to its citizens for all those gray months. And it’s catnip to tourists who you’ll no doubt be entertaining.

Here’s a breakdown of just a few of the must-dos in Downtown Portland as well as a long list of the lesser known goings-on inside and outside of Portland that shouldn’t be overlooked.

1. PIONEER COURTHOUSE SQUARE EVENTS

It’s called “Portland’s Living Room” for a reason. During the summer it’s rare to find the Square not teeming with music, flowers or food.

flicks on the bricksSome of our favorite events include:

Noon Tunes. Otherwise known as the perfect lunch hour. Enjoy free concerts every Tuesday and Thursday from July 15 to August 14.

Flicks on the Bricks is great way to spend an evening downtown. Come see the Square magically transformed into Portland’s largest outdoor movie theater! Live pre-movie entertainment begins at 7 p.m. every Friday from July 26 to August 16.

Yoshida’s Sand in the City. No time to go to the Coast? Then come to Portland’s biggest beach party. Sand in the City takes over the Square on July 18-20.

Finally, Festa Italiana brings Italy to Downtown Portland with lots of spirited entertainment and food from August 21 to 23.

2. OPEN MARKETS

Our area is known for its outdoor markets and every year they just keep getting bigger and better.

Farmers Market Here are three that can’t be beat:

Portland Saturday Market: A lot more than tie-dye and patchouli can be found at this downtown market which has become the largest outdoor arts and crafts market in operation with well over 200 booths. The food stalls and live music alone make the Saturday Market worth the visit. (Open Saturday and Sunday through December 24)

Portland Farmers Market: With eight locations all over Portland there are more than enough opportunities to see what foods you might fall in love with this summer. The most popular location is on the PSU campus at SW Park Avenue and SW Montgomery Street. There any Saturday you can visit over 130 booths of deliciousness. (Saturdays through December 20)

Beaverton Farmers Market: Open since 1998, Beaverton Farmers Market has been around even longer than Portland’s Farmers Market and it has just as many booths! (8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., May to November)

3. TRANSIT TO TRAILS

Enjoy the mild temperatures and rainless days while you can!Transit to TrailsThe Portland metropolitan area has more than 10,000 acres of parks and natural areas. Here are some of our favorite trails from North Portland to Tualatin to Buxton and a lot of points in between that you can visit by taking TriMet.

Of course this is just a very short list of some of the top must-dos. Even though the Rose Festival is over there are more than enough events to keep you busy until September! So enjoy the summer and let TriMet help make your trips easier.

Your comprehensive list of summer events