With all the buzz about dogs on transit in the news today, here’s a quick refresher on our pet policy.
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 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
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.”
Have you ridden the BYD electric bus? We’d love to hear your feedback! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-238-RIDE (7433) option 5.
I’m TriMet’s Executive Director of Transportation. I started at TriMet as a bus operator in 1987. I have direct responsibility for the Transportation Division, which includes all bus, MAX, WES and LIFT operations. I work every day to keep TriMet service safe, dependable and friendly.
Have 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
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.
I have worked in TriMet’s Information Technology Department since 1997 and currently lead a team of innovative web developers and analysts as the IT Manager of Geographic Information Systems and Location-Based Services. I lead several open data and open source software initiatives including opentripplanner.org, maps.trimet.org, rtp.trimet.org, developer.trimet.org, trimet.org/apps. After initiating collaboration with Google for the first release of Google Transit, I helped pioneer the now worldwide standard General Transit Feed Spec (GTFS). I received my degree in Geography from the University of Kansas.
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
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.
As TriMet's Safety and Security Executive, I lead the agency's efforts to make safety not only a priority but a core value. I have more than 30 years of experience in the field, having worked on a number of major transit projects around the world. Most recently, I worked in Abu Dhabi as lead of the Surface Transport Safety and Security Project. I also served as director of safety and security for the Federal Transit Administration.
UPDATE: Bus and MAX service improvements took effect August 31, 2014. Check the new schedules to see if your trips are affected.
It’s been a while since we’ve been able to say this: We’re increasing serviceagain.
After several long years of service cuts and fare increases caused by the Great Recession, we are finally able to add more service.
This summer and fall, you can expect more Frequent Service, more new buses, better schedule reliability and less crowding:
More Frequent Service: This September, we’re adding weekday evening trips on our Frequent Service bus lines and MAX to restore 15-minute (or better) frequency into the evening hours. That’s good news if you ride Lines 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 33, 54, 56, 57 or 75. MAX Green Line will also run every 15 minutes or better into the evening hours.
Less crowding: Also in September, we’re adding more buses to Lines 4, 8, 9, 10, 15, 20, 33, 44, 76, 94 and 99 to relieve overcrowding.
Better schedule reliability: Schedules are changing on Line 71 (in June), Lines 20 and 87 (in September), and Lines 19, 22, 48 and 72 (in December) to better match schedules to traffic conditions and ridership.
More new buses: 90 new buses are joining the fleet in 2014, for a total of 249 buses replaced since 2012.
MAX reliability and safety: Over the next year, we’re investing in much-needed signal, track and switch improvements throughout the MAX system to improve reliability and on-time performance.
We know riders want more and better service, and we’re excited to be in a position to grow the system again. These improvements should help reduce wait times, improve connections and give you a more comfortable ride.
It already does a decent job of telling you if your bus is running late. Now, when the bus is notcoming at all for some reason, TransitTracker can let you know.
Starting Monday, May 19, you’ll notice TransitTracker reporting some arrivals as “canceled.” We’re testing a feature of our new bus dispatch system that should make TransitTracker a lot more reliable when it comes to reporting canceled buses.
It’s important to know if the bus isn’t coming so you can decide if you want to wait, catch another bus or make other plans. This was the number one request from riders in a recent survey about how they use TransitTracker. (Thanks again to everyone who weighed in!)
Why would a bus be canceled? Construction, mechanical problems, accidents, weather conditions and other issues can result in a bus trip—or part of a trip—being canceled. That means some or all of the stops on the route won’t be served.
Until now, when a bus was canceled, TransitTracker would typically show a scheduled time (“2:45 p.m.”) instead of a countdown (“4 min”). That’s what the system does when there’s not enough data to predict an arrival time. But this is misleading because it implies that the bus is going to arrive atthat specific time.
In other cases, TransitTracker would show an arrival countdown even though the bus trip had been canceled. After Due had come and gone, you’d wonder, “Did the bus just disappear?”
This is the phenomenon many riders know as “ghost buses.” And it’s particularly frustrating when you’ve been waiting at the stop for a while, only to find out your bus has… well, vanished!
Thankfully, our new bus dispatch system can identify canceled trips and pass that information along to TransitTracker. Now that we can flag those no-shows as “canceled,” there should be far fewer instances of ghost buses, and more reliable arrival information overall. (Note: This won’t get rid of all ghost buses, or any ghost trains for that matter. We expect to address those in future upgrades.)
This is a small but important improvement that we hope will make your life a little easier. We’d like your feedback, too. If you notice any issues with the new canceled-bus notices, or if you have any other comments about TransitTracker, please let us know at email@example.com.
I'm TriMet’s senior marketing communications coordinator in charge of interactive media. I manage online initiatives and help build useful and usable online tools for riders. I also moonlight as a musician in my spare time.
I'm TriMet's Web and Social Media Communications Coordinator. I help develop and maintain TriMet's web and social media content. My family uses a combination of carpooling, Portland Streetcar, biking and riding Line 38 to get to work and school. It’s just how I like it - a little different every day! You can also occasionally catch me performing around Portland with various improv groups.