Category Archives: Rider News

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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More service brings more riders: adding up TriMet’s ridership stats

Riders often tell us what they want their transit service to look like: more frequent buses, more trains, better connections and early morning and late-night trips. More and better service, clearly, are big motivators to getting you on board.

Since fall 2013, we’ve been making big strides toward getting service hours back to the high levels that predate the Great Recession—and now we’re almost there.

When we looked at our winter quarter ridership numbers (December–February) compared to the same period the previous year, we got some insight into just how these service improvements affect riders’ habits. So we were pretty happy to see a 2.8% increase in overall ridership this last quarter over the year before. It’s a small percentage that tells a big story, considering three very different factors that go into it:

Rides on buses were up 4% overall, and up 5.4% on our Frequent Service lines.

Bus Weekly Boarding Rides

Bus ridership has been growing pretty consistently over the last year since we started adding back service that was cut during the recession. In September 2013, we began making improvements to return Frequent Service to every 15 minutes or better.  (Our 12 Frequent Service bus lines are our most popular lines, providing more than half of all bus trips.) We’re making good progress toward delivering the improved bus service that riders want and deserve. 

MAX Light Rail ridership was up slightly, increasing 1% over the previous year.

MAX Weekly Boarding Rides

WES Commuter Rail ridership was down 10.7% (about 170 rides a day).

WES Weekly Boarding Rides

Why the drop? We’re not sure, exactly, but our manager of service performance and analysis suggested low gas prices as a likely factor. As gas prices fall, some riders may be going back to their cars for some trips.

Are you a WES rider or Highway 217 commuter? We’d like to hear what you think: Let us know at trimet.org/feedback.

More service, more riders

The demand for transit is strong in the Portland area, and we’re excited to be in a position to grow our system again. As we add more service on the street, more people are noticing (and taking advantage of it!).

Where do we go from here? We’re looking ahead and planning future improvements, particularly for bus service. We’ve been asking riders in different parts of town what improvements they’d like to see as resources become available. Learn more and share your vision for the future of transit in your community »

Want to dig in to the data? Check out our complete performance dashboard and sign up to get updates by email »

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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March 18 is Transit Driver Appreciation Day!

Have you thanked your bus driver or given your MAX operator a friendly wave lately?TDAD logo

Just last year, more than 250,000 transit operators in the U.S. gave us over 10.5 billion rides. And while many of us greet our drivers with a “Hello” and exit with a “Thank you,” we think they deserve some official recognition, too. That’s why on March 18 riders across the country celebrate Transit Driver Appreciation Day!

This day of thanks began when riders in Seattle thought to recognize their friendly operators on a significant date: March 18, when the world’s first urban bus system made its debut in Paris in 1662. In the centuries since, public transit operators have kept the world moving. They’ve helped us through everything from day-to-day traffic to serious economic recessions—needless to say, the job isn’t always easy.

So let’s show our appreciation by saying “Thanks,” signing a card and submitting commendations. Like the official Facebook page and tag your shares with #tdad.

Look at what your fellow TriMet riders are saying about their operators, and add your story!

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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We’re rolling out service improvements again!

Spring service changes are just around the corner!—Starting March 1, we’re improving bus service on 18 lines with a focus on matching schedules to traffic conditions, relieving crowding and reducing wait and transfer times.

  • frequent-serviceImproved Frequent Service: All our Frequent Service bus lines will have 15-minute (or better) service most of the day on Saturday.
  • Better schedule reliability: We’re adjusting the schedules of nine lines to match service with daily traffic conditions.
  • Efficient transfers at Tigard TC: We moved around bus stops for lines 12, 45, 64 and 76/78 at the Tigard Transit Center to better coordinate bus arrivals and departures, meaning a smoother and safer ride for you!

We know you want more and better service. That’s why, over the next few years, we’re working to grow our network of buses and trains—while improving your overall experience on board.

Check the new schedules before heading out. (And don’t forget!—Transfer times increase to 2½ hours on March 1, too!)

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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