Category Archives: Rider News

Buses keep getting cooler

And we mean that literally.

If you think the heat wave we endured over the last couple weeks felt epic — well, you’re not wrong. It was our second-hottest stretch on record, and it made going about our business both difficult and uncomfortable to some degree. We reached the point where air conditioning becomes essential — especially when we’re on the move.

But for bus riders, getting a ride with A/C hasn’t always been a guarantee. That’s why, over the last four years, we’ve put 249 new buses into service as part of an accelerated bus-replacement program. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, we suspended our regular bus purchases; since then we’ve redoubled our efforts to return the fleet to an average age of eight years (the industry standard).

Today, we have more vehicles with amenities like:

  • low floors
  • air conditioning
  • better lighting, inside and out
  • larger windows
  • easy-to-clean vinyl seats

See the full list of features on our new buses »

At the moment, there are only nine buses in the fleet — about 1.5 percent — that aren’t equipped with air conditioning. By next summer, the delivery of 77 new buses will complete our replacement program, and you can rest assured that the next bus you catch will be cool.

New bus, anyone? 🚌🚌🚌🚌 #3400series #TriMet

A photo posted by TriMet (@ridetrimet) on

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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A pioneering connection between Tualatin and Sherwood

Tualatin and Sherwood are five miles apart, but they’ve never had a direct transit connection.

This gives us extra cause to celebrate last week’s announcement of a new bus line between the two cities — our first new line in years. We plan to start service next June by running buses during weekday commute hours. The route hasn’t been set, so the new line doesn’t have a name or number yet.

Get email updates about the new Tualatin–Sherwood bus line »

Both cities’ mayors have emphasized the importance of the connections this bus line will provide. Residents need to get places: Tualatin’s WES Station, downtown and industrial areas; the shops at Sherwood’s Parkway Village. After months of work and conversations with both communities, we determined that a line with 5,200 hours of service could begin as soon as summer 2016.

(We understand if you’re eager to get on board sooner, but consider all that’s left to do: researching the route, building bus stops, creating schedules, assigning operators, coordinating connections…)

We’re grateful for every opportunity to provide more and better service, and to be able to bring communities together makes that feeling even better. Often, when it comes to planning for the future, it’s easy to think change is still years down the road — this is a nice reminder that great things are often just around the corner.

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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Ten bus lines that will change when the MAX Orange Line opens

A lot will change when the MAX Orange Line opens in September. Light rail reaching north Clackamas County means new ways of getting to work, family, friends and opportunity — even if you’re not taking a train.

Pedestrians and cyclists are eager to upgrade their commute and take Tilikum Crossing. Streetcar riders will finally be able to loop around the City Center. Even the raindrops will have new places to go, with all the bioswales, stormwater planters and rain gardens along the corridor.

Line 17-Holgate will shift its route to Tilikum Crossing on Sept. 13.
Line 17-Holgate will shift its route to Tilikum Crossing on Sept. 13.

But some of the biggest changes coming with the Orange Line are for bus riders. Some lines will be combined to reduce redundancy and take advantage of the light rail line. Some will get more frequent service, or additional service hours. A couple routes will shift to Tilikum Crossing.

The changes to bus service you’ll see on September 13:

Line 9-Powell and Line 17-Holgate will shift from the Ross Island Bridge to Tilikum Crossing. Line 9 will also see its Frequent Service restored to 15 minutes or better on Sundays. Both routes will connect to the MAX Orange Line at stations between Southeast and Downtown Portland.

Line 19-Woodstock will start service earlier on weekend mornings, with trips beginning around 8 a.m. Buses will connect to the Orange Line at the SE Bybee Blvd Station.

Line 28-Linwood and Line 34-River Rd will combine to become Line 34-Linwood/River Rd. This new route will run twice as frequently as the 28 and 34 do now, and it will connect with the Orange Line at the Milwaukie/Main St Station and at the SE Tacoma St/Johnson Creek Station.

Line 31-King Rd and Line 33-McLoughlin will combine to become Line 33-McLoughlin/King Rd. This new route will head up to Milwaukie (as the 33 does now) then turn east on its way out to Clackamas Town Center. This line will increase frequency and hours of service along King Road, and Frequent Service will be restored on Sundays.

Line 32-Oatfield will connect with the Orange Line at the Milwaukie/Main St Station before reaching Jackson Street, where it will turn around and head back south.

Line 99-Macadam/McLoughlin will add new service to Oregon City in the mornings and to Downtown Portland in the evenings. There will be new stops and service on Tacoma Street, and the route will move to serve Macadam Avenue and cross the new Sellwood Bridge once it opens. It will connect with the Orange Line at SE Park Ave and SE Tacoma St/Johnson Creek stations.

Line 154-Willamette/Clackamas Heights will extend from Oregon City out to Clackamas Heights, which will see more service than Line 34 currently provides.

Four other lines (29, 70, 75 and 152) will connect with the Orange Line on the Eastside, though their routes won’t change.

See the complete list of bus changes associated with the MAX Orange Line »
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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New rules for vaping and service animals

As you know, we have a set of “Rules for Riding” in place to help our riders and employees feel safe and comfortable while on the transit system. Effective today, we’ve revised our rules on two issues that we know are really important to riders—smoking and service animals. Here’s what’s changing:

“No smoking” now includes vaporizers

Smoking (anything!) is already prohibited on all TriMet property for the health and comfort of our riders. But we’re updating our rules to specifically call out vaporizers/vape cigarettes in addition to e-cigarettes. Many of you have called or written us about riders vaping at stops and stations, and this change will allow us to enforce the smoking ban more effectively. So, when you see a “No Smoking” sign, that means no smoking—of any kind.

As to where you can and can’t smoke, there is an exception to the rule: Smoking is allowed outside of bus shelters and MAX stations along public sidewalks, such as in Downtown Portland.

By the way, if you see someone smoking regularly at a stop or station at around the same time of day on the same days of the week, let us know. Enforcement actions include a $250 fine or even an exclusion from the system.

If you smoke, please be courteous to your fellow riders and smoke away from the shelter, and definitely not on buses or trains!

Companion animals must be in a carrier

For the safety of our riders, we’ve revised our definition of a service animal. Effective today, pets that provide emotional support or companionship (“companion” or “comfort” animals) are no longer considered service animals and will have to ride in a closed carrier. Only guide dogs, signal dogs or other animals trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability will be allowed on board outside of a carrier.

So how can operators tell if an animal is really a service animal? Operators 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. We know some people abuse this policy, but there’s really not much we can do about it.

Keep in mind, 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.

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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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!

2015_DTP_PrintReadyArtwork_Button

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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Heads up! Trains are testing along the Orange Line

Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People, and the new MAX Orange Line don’t open until September 12, but we’ve got light rail trains and buses already out testing the new routes. That means you’ll see trains and buses in areas they may not have traveled through before.

Our operators are always scanning their routes for pedestrians and cyclists, but an extra set of eyes always helps! Please be on the lookout for buses and trains in both directions, especially along the MAX Orange Line and near Tilikum Crossing. If we all stay alert, everyone will stay safe.

Be safe around trains

Stay off the tracks. At 30 miles per hour, it takes MAX trains two blocks to come to a complete stop, and they can’t swerve around you!

7563423082_fd9f1a52ec_zBike across tracks straight on. Crossing tracks at an angle or turning across tracks is risky. Your wheel could slip into the track bed and cause you to crash! When in doubt, please walk your bike across the tracks.

Please wait if you see a train coming. Flashing lights or a lowering gate means a train is approaching the station. It is illegal to bike, walk, skate or drive around lowered gates.

Cross legally. The only legal and safe place to cross train tracks is at designated crosswalks.

Stay alert around tracks. Headphones, music and texting can be distracting and keep you from noticing an approaching train.

Do not trespass on tracks. It’s illegal and can result in a fine or jail time.

Be safe around buses

Please stop, look and listen for buses before crossing the street.

Bike signals closeupWhile biking, please pass on the left if you see riders are boarding or deboarding.

Make sure the operator can see you. If you can’t see the operator—either in the mirror or directly—he or she can’t see you.

Don’t cross in front of a stopped bus. Traffic going around the vehicle may not see you!

If driving around a bus, please give the operators extra space as you change lanes. Buses cannot stop as quickly as cars.

We want you to stay safe while you’re out and about, so please stay alert while walking or biking around buses and trains—and share these tips with your family, friends and neighbors. Let’s all work together to keep everyone safe!

Find out more about the MAX Orange Line, check out the calendar of opening events and sign up to get updates by email.

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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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!)

frequent-service

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

mississippi (1 of 1)

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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