Category Archives: Rider News

5 holiday safety tips for TriMet riders

MAX Red Line and ridersWhile 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!

 

 

How Tilikum Crossing lights up the night

You’ve probably been bombarded with status updates and photo galleries of the new lighting system on the Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People. We just finished our second lighting trial where the artist fine-tuned the color and motion program and its relation to the Willamette River’s activity.

Sadly, the lights will not be turned on permanently until September 2015, when the new MAX Orange Line opens. So until then, here are some interesting tidbits of information about the lights to hold you over.

  • The lighting system was created by San Francisco artist Douglas Hollis and his wife, the late Anna Valentina Murch, for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project’s Public Art Program.
  • There are 178 LED lights aesthetically placed on 40 bridge cables, the four transmission towers above and below the deck, and on the Sonic Dish artwork along the Eastside Esplanade and future Willamette Greenway at the ends of the bridge.
  • The lights change colors based on the Willamette River’s speed, height and water temperature.
  • This data is collected by a U.S. Geological Survey river monitor near the Morrison Bridge.
  • Specialized software designed by programmer Morgan Barnard takes that data and translates it into movements of color and light across the bridge.
  • The water temperature determines the base color.
  • The river’s speed controls the pace the colors change and move across the bridge.
  • The river’s height is displayed by a second color that moves vertically up and down the towers and the cables.

Learn more about the MAX Orange Line, opening in September 2015!

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!

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.

Jailbreak

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

We’re testing an all-electric bus

Electric Test Bus

Photo courtesy of John Vincent/Portland Tribune

If an especially quiet silver-and-black bus rolls up to your stop, rest assured… it’s a real TriMet bus! Well, at least for a while it is. Starting June 23, an all-electric test bus will join the fleet for about two weeks as we try out the latest in environmentally friendly bus technology.

BYD electric bus facts:

  • Battery lasts up to 24 hours
  • Charges in 2-4 hours
  • No transmission or internal-combustion engine
  • Battery is disposable and pollution-free
  • Zero emissions

The zero-emissions, American-made bus will run on various TriMet routes between June 23 and July 3, providing extra trips between scheduled service on weekdays. (It doesn’t have a fare box, so rides will be free!)

On loan from the manufacturer, BYD Motors, Inc., this bus can go 24 hours on a single charge, and the battery is disposable and pollution-free. Initial testing also suggests a big cost savings on fuel and maintenance compared to diesel, compressed natural gas and hybrid-electric buses—even other electric buses.

As the Portland area moves toward more renewable sources of energy, we’re exploring other fuel-efficient options for our bus fleet.

We’ve applied for a grant from the Federal Transit Administration to purchase nine all-electric vehicles and charging stations. This test is an opportunity for us to “kick the tires.”BYD logo

Have you ridden the BYD electric bus? We’d love to hear your feedback! Email us at comments@trimet.org or call 503-238-RIDE (7433) option 5.

Here’s a great video from our friends over at portlandtransport.com:

9 new apps in the TriMet App Center

Transit apps on phonesHave you visited our App Center lately? We just added nine new apps for riders, all created by independent programmers using our open data. Thanks to these developers, TriMet riders have a variety of helpful trip tools available to help make their transit trips easier.

Check out the latest apps, all of which are free of charge:

  • Nimbler: Searches for nearest stops, provides arrival information, displays a map and vehicles on map. For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • RideScout: Plans and compares transportation options. For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Acehopper: Provides schedules and real-time information. For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Walk Score: Provides transit scores and locates walkable apartments near public transit. For web browsers
  • TripGo: Plans transit trips. For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, web browsers
  • PortlandBus: Searches for stops, provides arrival information, displays a map, plans transit trips, shows real-time traffic cameras. For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Search Playground: Open-search tool for quickly finding arrival times and route info and planning trips from the browser search tool. For web browsers
  • Smart Ride: Searches for nearest stops, provides arrival information, displays a map, plans transit trips. For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • efoBus: Searches for stops, provides arrival information, displays a map, plans transit trips. For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android

We invite you to take these new apps out for a spin. And be sure to let the developers know how they work for you. They’d really appreciate your feedback!

See the complete list of transit apps available in the TriMet App Center

Note: These aren’t “official” TriMet products, so we don’t endorse, warrant or support any of the applications listed here. We tested them initially to make sure they work, but they are provided as-is. 

3 essential tips for keeping your smartphone or tablet safe on transit

Rider with smartphone

Do you carry a smartphone or tablet? More than half of us do these days, and with the popularity of TransitTracker, rider apps and mobile ticketing, we’re using our devices on transit more than ever. Here are some tips that can help prevent you from becoming a target for would-be thieves, and help recover your device if it is ever stolen:

1. Set up GPS tracking

Find My iPhone

If your phone or tablet is ever lost or stolen, having GPS tracking enabled can help you (and the police) find it.

If your phone or tablet is lost or stolen, having GPS tracking enabled can help you (and the police) find it. This is a quick, simple and free process for iOS and Android devices that can help police track down the thief.

2. Ride smart

The safest place for your electronic device is out of sight. Here are some safety tips if you use a phone or tablet on board:

  • Always be aware of what is happening around you.
  • Hold your device with both hands to make it more difficult to snatch.
  • Don’t use your device near train doors. Many robberies take place as the doors are closing, allowing the thief to get away.
  • White or red headphone cords are often a telltale sign that you have an expensive device. Consider changing the cord to a less conspicuous color.

3. If your device is stolen…

  • Never resist or chase a thief. No gadget is worth getting hurt!
  • Write down the thief’s description, including any identifying characteristics and clothing.
  • Immediately report to the police by dialing 911 or notify the operator or a TriMet supervisor.
  • Contact your wireless carrier. They can lock or wipe your device remotely, which makes it worthless to the thief.