Category Archives: Rider News

BIKETOWN launches at Tilikum Crossing

Last Tuesday, BIKETOWN — Portland’s new public bike share system — hit the streets. We were at the launch event at Tilikum Crossing:

Ready to try it? Check out our tips for getting the most out of BIKETOWN.

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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Speeding up MAX reliability improvements

Throughout TriMet, we have been focused on improving MAX on-time performance (OTP) — our measure of reliable service — and doing it safely. Back in January, I shared our plans to improve. We’ve made some progress, and we hope it’s making a difference in your ride. MAX OTP improved from 75 percent last November to an average of just above 85 percent in June. We still have a ways to go, but we are on track and remain dedicated to achieving our long term goal of 90 percent.

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The MAX system is very complex. Over the course of a day, it is in operation for about 22½ hours and provides more than 120,000 trips. It has many moving parts that include 145 vehicles, more than 130 miles of track and overhead wire, more than 250 track switches and nearly 200 rail operators. (And that doesn’t include the many mechanics, cleaners, rail controllers, yard workers, engineers, field operations staff and others who get keep our system running safely every day.) There are many events that can cause delays to the system — here’s an update on how we are addressing some of them.

Starting on time, staying on time

To get you where you need to go on time, our trains need to start their day on time. We have improved how we track which trains are ready for service, along with how that is communicated between our maintenance and operations departments. Using the new web-based system speeds up that communication and gives us more time to focus on getting vehicles ready for service safely.

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Our managers, operators and maintenance teams also are working to ensure that our maintenance and operational checks are completed safely and in a timely manner, so our trains depart from the rail yard on schedule. But that’s just the beginning. To stay on time, we’re adding a portable data display to trains that will provide our operators with the current time and the time their train is scheduled to be at the next few stops. These mobile tablets are like the mobile data terminals on our buses that provide operators with key information, such as the time points for where they should be on their routes. I’d like to note that these are important tools to help our rail operators do their jobs, and operators will be instructed on how to use them while safely operating the train.

Uncovering common culprits

We’ve struggled with debris building up in switches, rail joint and track boxes on the Steel Bridge. This has given false indications that the track way on the bridge is occupied when it is not, leading to some significant train delays. The area of issue was in a section of the embedded track where all the MAX lines converge on the west end of the bridge. Crews have now removed the concrete around the track, which has improved drainage and gives our staff better access to keeping debris out of that equipment and also trouble-shooting any electrical issues which can rise from time to time.

Improving the tracks

Our maintenance of way department has been hard at work tackling several track projects. Some have temporarily disrupted MAX service; some have not. On the Red Line, near the Mt Hood Ave Station, crews worked overnight during non-service hours several days in a row last spring, installing anchors to the rail ties. In extreme heat, rails — which are made of steel — can expand and kink, requiring trains to run slower through the area. The new rail ties keep the rail in place. This summer we have experienced several warm days above 80 degrees, where rail temperatures can approach 20 to 30 degrees hotter than the ambient temperatures — so far we have not had any rail movement. This saves approximately 25 to 30 minutes of time throughout each service day, adding back over 150 hours of increased on-time performance over a one-year period.

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During our 1st Avenue MAX Improvements project in May, crews installed new switches and rail and improved the track bed. This disrupted MAX service on 1st Avenue for two weeks, but it has paid off with the removal of slow orders along that stretch of rail.

Now we have another big project approaching fast: From Aug. 21 through Sept. 3, the Rose Quarter MAX Improvements project will replace switches just east of the Rose Quarter MAX Station and redesign the trackway, which will create a smoother ride. We will also upgrade the signal system, which will keep trains running on schedule into and out of the station. Like the work on 1st Avenue, this will require a major disruption to MAX service. Once again, we are asking for your help by adjusting trips to avoid the rush hours, using bus service or other transportation options. Learn more at trimet.org/rosequarter

Thank you for your patience as we continue our work to increase MAX on-time performance. We have much more to do, but we appreciate you staying with us as we keep MAX moving.

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.

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BIKETOWN is coming

We know from our work creating the TriMet Bike Plan that our riders care about and rely on bike access. When BIKETOWN, Portland’s public bike share system, makes its debut tomorrow, many riders will have a new option for connecting to transit. That it’s healthy, fun and convenient is icing on the cake.

How does BIKETOWN work?

Ride for a single trip ($2.50), an entire day ($12) or for a whole year with an annual membership ($12/month).

Unlock a ride at the station using the computer and keypad on the back of the bike, and you’re on your way.

When you’re done, lock up at the station — the smart bike will know that you’ve finished your ride.

We like bike share because it extends the reach of transit, making trips by bus or train more accessible to more people. It also helps to make one-way bike trips possible and reduces barriers to biking like ownership, storage, maintenance and concerns about theft.

BIKETOWN

I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing how riders combine trips between BIKETOWN and TriMet. Personally, I’m excited to use bike share for short trips, connections to daytime meetings, getting out of the office for lunch and running errands after work.

BIKETOWN

A few things about BIKETOWN I’d like to point out:

  • If you ride on the Transit Mall (5th and 6th avenues) in Downtown Portland, be sure to stay on the left side of the roadway in the shared lanes and bike lane on portions of SW 5th. Please stay out of the transit lane(s) on the right side of the roadway, as these spaces are only for buses and trains.
  • Don’t bring the bikes on board. One of the best things about bike share is that you only use it when you need it — just park or pick up a bike wherever you’re connecting to the bus or train. (Plus, it doesn’t make sense to pay for bike share time on top of your transit fare.)
  • When you end your ride, if the BIKETOWN station closest to your destination is full, you can lock your bike at a public bike rack close to the station marked with an orange sticker for no additional charge. If you lock your bike at a public bike rack further from a station, a $2 fee applies.
  • The bikes don’t come with helmets, so bring your own if you want one and you plan on riding that day. Keeping a helmet at the office might be a good idea if you plan on riding during the day.
  • Cross tracks straight on. Crossing tracks at an angle or turning across tracks is risky — your wheel can slip into the trackbed and result in a crash. When in doubt, walk your bike across the tracks and check out these safety tips for riding a bike around transit vehicles.
  • You can make money using BIKETOWN. A little bit, anyway: Members who spot bike share bikes locked at public racks will be rewarded with a $1 account credit for returning them to a station.
  • Sneaker Bikes!

BIKETOWN

There are 100 BIKETOWN stations, which means lots of overlap with transit in Portland — take a look at the service area and station map to see what your next trip might look like.

As BIKETOWN establishes itself, we’ll continue working with our partners to encourage smooth connections for transit and bike riders. We hope to see you on a bright orange bike soon!

Learn more about BIKETOWN

Jeff Owen

Jeff Owen

I’m TriMet’s active transportation planner. I work with our regional partners to improve conditions for combining transit trips with walking and biking, including sidewalks, crossings, trails, bikeways, and bike parking. Away from work, I can be found walking, riding my bike, hiking or cheering in the Timbers Army.

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Renewing our bus fleet

If you ride often, you know we have some old buses. The kind that make you feel like you’ve time-traveled to 1995, when multi-colored cloth patterns were kinda cool, the Blazers played in Memorial Coliseum and Portland’s own Everclear released “Santa Monica” to the world.

That era is fading away, however, as we’ve put 326 new buses on the road the past four years. All of our new buses have amenities such as vinyl seats, easy-to-read LED signs, better interior and exterior lighting and onboard GPS (which improves the accuracy of our TransitTracker) — features lacking in some of our older buses. And our entire active fleet now has essentials like air conditioning and low floors for easy boarding. (We’ll keep some of the older buses as backup.)

This past February, the first batch of 77 new diesel-powered buses (the 3500 series) took to the streets. By the end of the month, they’ll all be in service.

Our buses are getting more efficient in fuel consumption and emissions, led by eight hybrid buses, four of which have all-electric capabilities. We’ve also tested some fully electric buses, technology that’s quickly advancing and certainly something we’re considering for the future.

And we’re not finished. (Not even close.)

We’re getting 151 new buses in the next three years, which will help keep the average age of our fleet to an industry-standard eight years. This way, your next ride is less likely to remind you of the time before flip phones.

Learn more about the newest buses in our fleet

Andrew Longeteig

Andrew Longeteig

I’m TriMet’s Communications Coordinator. I share what’s happening at the agency with the media and general public. When I’m not working, I’ll either be watching the Blazers or at a rock concert.

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How We Roll Pop-Up Event [SLIDESHOW]

We took over Pioneer Courthouse Square yesterday afternoon to hand out fun stuff, play games, take pictures and say thanks to our awesome riders.

We loved seeing all the smiling faces — some of them might end up on our next wrapped bus or train!

View this slideshow on Flickr

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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Line 97 will connect Tualatin and Sherwood!

Our friends in Tualatin and Sherwood have no excuse NOT to get together more often. On June 6, we’ll unveil our newest bus service — Line 97-Tualatin-Sherwood Rd — the first direct transit connection between the two towns. All aboard!

Line 97 will help connect people to jobs, shopping, services and more in these two growing communities. It also provides an alternative to driving and will ease congestion along the Tualatin-Sherwood corridor.

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Line 97-Tualatin-Sherwood is our newest bus line and the first direct transit connection between Tualatin and Sherwood.

The nine-mile round-trip journey will run every 30 minutes during weekday commuting hours. The bus’ first stop of the day is Tualatin’s WES Commuter Rail station at 6:20 a.m. It will then travel through downtown Tualatin, past industrial areas, the Sherwood Market Center, Sherwood Plaza and the new Parkway Village before making a return trip.

Line 97 will also connect you to other TriMet service. In addition to WES, you can link up with other bus lines such as Line 76-Beaverton/Tualatin, which serves Tigard and Beaverton, as well as Line 96-Tualatin/I-5, which goes into Downtown Portland or south to Commerce Circle in Wilsonville. Near the Sherwood Plaza stop, you can also transfer to Line 93-Tigard/Sherwood or Line 94-Pacific Hwy/Sherwood.

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This new bus service runs every 30 minutes during the weekday commuting hours and between the Tualatin WES Station and the Sherwood Plaza.

This is just the beginning of expanded service in this area. In the future, we plan to extend Line 97 to Bridgeport Village, the 72nd Avenue employment area, the Tigard Triangle and into downtown Tigard.

We’re thrilled to bring this new service to these communities. It’s a big part of our goal to bring more buses and trains — and better overall service — to Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties.

Learn more about Line 97-Tualatin-Sherwood and sign up for email alerts

Andrew Longeteig

Andrew Longeteig

I’m TriMet’s Communications Coordinator. I share what’s happening at the agency with the media and general public. When I’m not working, I’ll either be watching the Blazers or at a rock concert.

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Instagram Roundup: May

We reached 1,500 followers on Instagram in May — thanks to everyone who’s shared their transit photos with us and helped spread #GoByTransit!

Here are some of the sweet shots that inspired us this month:

Follow @ridetrimet on Instagram »

#trimet #max #lightrail #transit #morninglight #mounthood #mthood #railway

A photo posted by We’ll Just See About That (@verstandinvictus) on

#pdx #portland #trimet #bus #bridge #hawthrone

A photo posted by JohnaMarie (@engagedtone) on

Till next time #PDX ✌🏻

A photo posted by Pokey (@the_pokey_life) 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.

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