Category Archives: Rider News

Thanks for Your Patience During the First Avenue MAX Improvements

Asking you to avoid MAX for two weeks wasn’t easy. More than 100,000 rides are taken on a typical day — that’s a lot of people we hoped would consider taking the bus, biking, carpooling or working from home instead.

It’s the kind of thing we’d only do if we really had to — and for First Avenue, this was the case. We needed to replace critical sections of track and switches that had been in service since MAX opened in 1986, and the best way to do it was all at once. Unfortunately, that meant trains would have to be detoured around the project, adding pressure on everyone. Beyond the construction itself, we needed to communicate some complicated service messages to riders; in turn, many of you had to alter your commute and plan extra time.

We asked a lot but what you showed us was even more. The patience and cooperation you displayed was truly remarkable and deeply appreciated, and helped make a daunting project go even smoother than we hoped. Now we’re back and we’re better, and on track toward providing more reliable service.


 

Related:

MAX Reliability Improvements
Charting MAX On-Time Performance
• 1st Ave MAX Improvements Progress Reports: 1, 2, 3

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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What do you think of our Draft Bike Plan?

We’re currently creating the TriMet Bike Plan, a roadmap that will help guide future investments in biking infrastructure and amenities. This includes improving bike access to transit stops, expanding parking options, and accommodating bikes onboard buses and trains. The goal of the plan is to make bike+transit trips easier, safer and more convenient for more people.

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Biking helps to extend the reach of transit, making transit trips more accessible to more people. As the region grows and changes, we know our riders’ interest in connecting to transit by bike will grow.

This plan serves as a companion to our pedestrian access analysis from 2011. Though we don’t have direct control over sidewalks and bikeways, we recognize that if you can’t get to our bus stops and rail stations, you can’t benefit from our service, so good walking and biking connections are essential for our riders.

Weigh in: Whether you connect to bus, MAX or WES, or if you bike all the way to your destination, we want your feedback

With help from outside experts, we’ve drafted a plan that includes guidance from partners, including city and county leaders. This includes feedback from open houses, online outreach and rider comments. Of course, we also got input from our drivers. All of this was taken into account as we studied existing conditions, analyzed access to transit stations and stops, and studied best practices from other agencies around the country.

Feedback on a map at a Bike Plan open house

The plan includes recommendations for how to improve access to stations and stops, invest in bike parking improvements, and connect people with their community — all while easing traffic congestion and reducing air pollution. In the end, the goal is to make the Portland area a better place to live.

We’ll be taking your feedback through the end of the month and then finalizing the plan in June. So take a look at the plan, available for the next two weeks, and let us know what you think!

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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TriMetiquette: Let’s ride together!

The 1st Avenue MAX Improvements project has begun and for the next two weeks, May 8-21, it’s going to be a bit chaotic on our trains.

During this time, we’ll be sending out fewer trains, and all MAX lines will be running on adjusted schedules and reduced frequencies. Depending on your commute, you may have to transfer to a shuttle bus or walk a few extra blocks to your destination.

It’s going to be different — possibly a little hectic and crazy — but if we practice good TriMetiquette while we ride, it will help us navigate this disruption a little smoother.

  • With fewer trains running, space is going to be tight on board. Help out your fellow riders by moving towards the back of the bus and up the stairs on Type 4 and 5 MAX trains. (Take advantage of these cramped quarters and chat with your neighbor about the latest Game of Thrones episode.)
  • When boarding buses and trains, please let exiting riders off first. Even if you’re eager to get on board (especially if you’ve been waiting for a while), it’s easier for everyone if you let folks off the bus or train first.
  • Seats are for butts — not bags, newspapers, laptops, or feet. (Yuck!)
  • With so many riders on board it’s bound to be noisy. Please use headphones and keep your voice down during phone call conversations.
  • Offer up priority seats. In the priority seating areas, you are required to move for seniors and people with disabilities. (They need that seat more than you do!)

We sincerely appreciate your patience as we work to complete this  important project. Have an etiquette reminder you’d like to share with others? Tag your tweets with #TriMetiquette.

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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The TriMet Tickets app now connects you with more transportation options

A new feature is now included in your TriMet Tickets mobile app that allows you to easily connect with other transportation options nearby, including Lyft and car2go.

The idea is to keep you moving and help you connect to transit — sometimes you just need a ride that first mile to the station, or the last mile home from the bus stop. And in the future, we plan to add more services, such as BIKETOWN bike sharing.

How to use it

First, download the latest version of our TriMet Tickets app.

Then, tap the navigation drawer in the top-left corner of the screen and select “More Rides Nearby.” The transportation options closest to you will appear. Swipe left or right to toggle back and forth between the options.

More Rides Nearby

Finally, select your ride and you’re done! Easy, right?

Discounts during MAX disruptions May 8-21

With our 1st Avenue MAX Improvements project beginning this Sunday, May 8, the timing of this update couldn’t be better. For two weeks, MAX Blue, Green and Red lines will be disrupted and all MAX lines will run on reduced frequency. Fortunately, our friends at Lyft and car2go are providing discounts to riders through the TriMet Tickets app.

New Lyft users can enter code “FIRSTAVE” for $5 off their first 10 rides through the app. Existing users can enter code “LTMP16” for 20 percent off a Lyft ride. (The offer for current Lyft members is valid for the first 1,000 people who claim it — hurry up!)

Meanwhile, car2go is offering new members free registration and 15 minutes of drive time with promotion code “C2G15” (allow five to seven days for car2go membership activation). For existing car2go members, spend $100 in drive time in May 2016 and receive 20 minutes drive time for free. To redeem, email your membership information to portland@car2go.com.

More Lyft drivers and car2go vehicles will be positioned near high-traffic transit stations throughout the metro area to help you get where you need to go during this huge construction project.

We hope you can take advantage of these discounts during the service disruption. And we’d love to hear what you think about the new app feature! Drop us a line at trimet.org/feedback.

Download the latest version of the TriMet Tickets app here.

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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Get Ready to #BIKEMORE in May

Every ride counts.

That’s the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s new slogan to accompany its revamped annual event, the Bike More Challenge. It was formerly focused on bike commuting during the month of September, but has now moved to May (National Bike Month) and embraced all types of biking (not just to work).

We love this. Biking and transit make a natural pair — both are active modes of transportation, and they offer benefits like reduced congestion and less emissions compared to driving. They also tend to be more enjoyable ways to travel than driving alone: On the bus you can watch the world go by (or play Candy Crush), on your bike you get fresh air and an unobstructed view.

And honestly, the timing couldn’t be better this year. We’re about to start a two-week MAX improvement project that will severely disrupt service, and we’re really encouraging our riders to consider alternate ways of getting to work, school or wherever. Biking — and the Bike More Challenge, specifically — is a near-perfect solution for anyone who’s able to do it. The four steps to participating are simple:

  1. Register. It’s free, and you can join your workplace’s team.
  2. Ride. Wherever, whenever and for whatever reason. If you ride for more than 10 minutes, log your trip.
  3. Recruit. It’s more fun to ride with someone — or to challenge them to see who can log more miles.
  4. Win. There are prizes and awards, but it’s the glory you’re after.
If you're combining your bike trip with transit, lock up before you board.
Secure bike parking facilities like this Bike & Ride are available throughout the region.

If your bike route bypasses the MAX disruption, you’re in luck. But for the work-bound cyclists who need to combine their trip with transit (to get over the West Hills, for example): Park your bike before you get on board. Trains are going to be extremely full during the project, and there won’t be room for your bike. We have lots of secure bike parking around — remember your lock and you’re good to go.

The best part about the Bike More Challenge is its commitment to getting interested beginners to try cycling. If you’re a returning participant this year, consider ways you can help someone else — a co-worker, colleague or friend — enjoy life on two wheels.

Register now for the Bike More Challenge

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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How to navigate MAX during the 1st Avenue Improvements

Think of our upcoming work on First Avenue, and the accompanying service disruption, like a root canal procedure. It’s going to be messy and cause plenty of headaches. You’ll wish it were over sooner. And, in the end, you’ll be glad it happened.

And like with an invasive dental procedure, you’re going to have to be a little altered (your commute, anyways) to get through it.

We'll be replacing sections of track and switches along First Avenue in Downtown Portland.
It’s time to replace sections of track and switches like this along First Avenue in Downtown Portland.

Here are a few things we’re recommending for MAX riders during the two-week project:

Change your trip. If you can avoid peak hours or work from home, do it. Or take the bus (our buses will run on their regular routes during the project), the streetcar or try Lyft/carpooling. And if you choose to drive yourself for those two weeks, well, we get it.

Better yet, why not…

Bike there instead. May is National Bike Month and, even more excitingly, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s inaugural Bike More Challenge. Formerly the Bike Commute Challenge, which took place every September, the event is now more encompassing and accessible to every rider. Plus, it preempts the warm, sunny months that are perfect for cycling.

If you can bike all the way, more power to you. If you want to combine your trip with transit, lock up at the station (we have really nice Bike & Rides and secure bike parking all over the system) — don’t bring your bike on board. Trains are going to be packed, and it’s not worth the hassle of trying to wheel through the crowd. That’s a lot of nasty glares.

Plan extra time. In the end, we’re talking about significantly more crowded and less frequent trains, and the possibility you’ll have to transfer to a shuttle or walk a few more blocks to get to your destination. Everything’s going to take a little longer, so allowing at least 30–45 extra minutes for your trip is a good idea.

Now you’re ready to check the temporary schedules and plan your trip. (Don’t worry — our trip planner and TransitTracker will take these into account.) It’s going to be a little painful, but keep in mind what’s on the other side: more reliable service. The track and switches we’re replacing are old — MAX turns 30 this year — and malfunctions have become more frequent in the past few years. It’s time to dig in.

View animated maps and schedules for the 1st Avenue MAX Improvements

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! Pause Your Play When Crossing Tracks and Streets

You see it wherever you go, whether you’re on MAX, a bus, or walking down the street: heads down, staring at a smartphone.

Or maybe you don’t see it because you’re also texting, checking email, scrolling through Facebook or liking pictures on Instagram. Last November, we released this close-call video, in which pedestrians wearing earbuds crossed right in front of a train, seemingly unaware. Now we’re releasing new videos we hope will get people’s attention to “pay attention” when crossing streets and tracks, and when biking as well.

Hold that thought

Hold That Thought

Before you take a look at those videos, stop and consider this: Have you ever bumped into something or someone because you were distracted by your phone? A study by the Pew Research Center found that 53 percent of all adult cell phone users have bumped into something or someone — or have been on the receiving end of a bump — due to distracted walking. Those in the 18-to-24 age range run into this problem even more, with 51 percent admitting to doing the bumping and 71 percent saying they’ve been the “bumpee.” It might look funny on YouTube when it involves a fountain — not so much when it involves a train or bus.

We’ve launched a new safety campaign encouraging people to Pause your play and Hold that thought when crossing train tracks or streets. (You may have noticed the signs on buses, trains and bus stops.) Whether listening to music, talking with a friend, texting or scanning your phone, take just a moment to pause the distraction and be aware of your surroundings before you go.

Stay Alert. Stay Alive.

Every day, bus and rail operators contend with distracted pedestrians and cyclists crossing against signals and showing a lack of awareness around their vehicles. While they do their part to operate our buses and trains safely, we need you to do your part too.

  • Stop, look up from devices and look both ways
  • Obey signals
  • Remove headphones or an earbud, or stop the conversation while crossing
  • Don’t run across, even if it means waiting for the next walk signal or catching the next bus or train
  • Make sure umbrellas, hoods and other apparel don’t block your view

Our cameras captured the following videos. These aren’t meant to shame anyone, but to show how dangerous a lack of awareness is. We want everyone to stay alert and stay alive.

Roberta Altstadt

Roberta Altstadt

I’m TriMet’s public information officer. I communicate with the news media on all TriMet-related topics. When I’m not busy working, I like learning new skills, gardening, and going for walks with my sweet three-legged dog, Ernie.

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