Category Archives: Service Updates

More service improvements are on the way

TriMet riders exiting bus

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 service again.

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.

Be sure to sign up for email updates for the lines you ride to get all the details about the upcoming changes.

Note: These improvements are part of our Fiscal Year 2015 budget, which assumes that the economy continues to improve and that the financial equivalent of TriMet’s labor contract proposal is accepted.

TransitTracker now shows “canceled” buses

TransitTracker on m.trimet.org showing canceled bus.

   TransitTracker on m.trimet.org showing canceled bus.

It already does a decent job of telling you if your bus is running late. Now, when the bus is not coming 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 at that 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 transittracker@trimet.org.

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Mid-day riders: More frequent buses are headed your way!

Frequent Service

Here’s some good news: Starting Monday, March 3, buses on 10 of our popular Frequent Service lines will come more frequently during the day. Thanks to an improving budget outlook, we are now able to add 15-minute service—which had been cut over the last few years due to the recession—during mid-day hours on weekdays.

Buses will arrive every 15 minutes during the day on the following lines:

  • 6-Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
  • 8-Jackson Park/NE 15th
  • 9-Powell Blvd
  • 12-Barbur/Sandy Blvd
  • 14-Hawthorne
  • 15-Belmont/NW 23rd
  • 33-McLoughlin
  • 54-Beaverton/Hillsdale Hwy/56-Scholls Ferry Rd
  • 57-TV Hwy/Forest Grove
  • 75-Cesar Chavez/Lombard

We’re also adding more buses on Line 4-Fessenden/Division during weekday evenings and all day on Saturdays.

This means less waiting, shorter travel times and better connections. Plus, when buses come more often, you have a bit more flexibility in your schedule (and a better chance of getting a seat). Many of our mid-day riders depend solely on transit to get around, so we know that better frequency makes a big difference.

This is just the first step toward restoring our Frequent Service network. It will probably take a year or two to get back to 15-minute service (or better) all day, every day—meaning evenings and weekends, too—but that’s our goal.

We’d love to hear how this change affects you. And as always, we welcome your comments and suggestions about your trips on TriMet. Thanks for riding, and we’ll see you on board!

Preview the new schedules effective March 3

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Bringing back 15-minute Frequent Service

Frequent ServiceNext March, buses on 10 of our popular Frequent Service lines will come more frequently during the day. Thanks to an improving budget outlook, we are happy to begin restoring 15-minute service—which had been cut over the last few years due to the recession—starting with mid-day hours on weekdays.

Effective Sunday, March 2, 2014, we’re bringing back 15-minute service during the day on the following lines: 

  • 6-Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
  • 8-Jackson Park/NE 15th
  • 9-Powell Blvd
  • 12-Barbur/Sandy Blvd
  • 14-Hawthorne
  • 15-Belmont/NW 23rd
  • 33-McLoughlin
  • 54-Beaverton/Hillsdale Hwy/56-Scholls Ferry Rd
  • 57-TV Hwy/Forest Grove
  • 75-Cesar Chavez/Lombard

We’re also adding more buses on Line 4-Fessenden/Division during weekday evenings and all day on Saturdays.

For riders, this means less waiting, shorter travel times and better connections. Plus, when buses come more often, you have more flexibility in your schedule (and a better chance of getting a seat!). Many of our mid-day riders depend solely on transit to get around, so we know that better frequency makes a big difference. 

Before the recession, “Frequent Service” meant that buses and MAX came every 15 minutes or better throughout the day, every day. We had to temporarily reduce frequency on these and other lines due to budget shortfalls. Today, we are in a position to begin restoring service, due to increased revenue from advertising, and lower health insurance costs for non-union employees.

Restoring Frequent Service has been a top priority for me, and improving mid-day service is just the first step. It will probably take a few years to get back to 15-minute frequency all day, every day—meaning evenings and weekends, too—but that’s our goal.

Stay tuned for more details about the service improvements coming up in March and the restoration of 15-minute Frequent Service. Be sure to sign up for email updates for the line(s) you ride to get the latest service updates.  

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Thank you for your patience

MAX on Steel BridgeRiders, thank you so much for your patience.

Yesterday was a challenging day. Most of the light rail system and the streetcar lines were shut down during the morning commute after a “surge arrester” on the Steel Bridge shorted out and overloaded downtown substations.

We deployed bus shuttles to bridge the service disruption, but many riders arrived late to their destinations. This is not how your commute is supposed to be, particularly on a Monday morning. We all know that Mondays are tough enough and I can’t thank you enough for your patience through it all. Dependable and reliable service is what you should expect from us.

Our operators, field operations and customer service teams stepped up to minimize the disruption. I received a heartwarming call from a rider who is visually impaired. He wanted to recognize all of the TriMet supervisors and security personnel who assisted him when the system went down. He was thankful for those individuals who helped escort him from the MAX to his bus connection.

Our rail maintenance crews and engineers from the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project restored nearly all service except the segment over the Steel Bridge by 8:45 a.m. Service over the bridge was restored at 7 p.m.

We know that preventive maintenance is the key. We are learning a great deal from this incident and will look at how we can prevent something like this from happening in the future.

Reliability is also why I’ve accelerated bus replacement in the coming three budgets. Our bus fleet is too old and as a result has become less reliable for riders. Another 70 new buses are arriving this summer, 60 next year and another 60 the following year. By 2016, the average age of our fleet will be the industry recommended standard of eight years.

Additionally, TriMet will receive well-timed federal State of Good Repair funds this summer to support maintenance of our region’s first rail line, the Eastside MAX Blue Line, which opened in 1986. This is part of a larger effort we call “Renew the Blue,” which included a new station at Gresham’s Civic Drive and a rebuilt station in Rockwood, among other upgrades.

These investments should improve reliability for riders moving forward. In the meantime, we greatly appreciate your patience.

Minor bus service improvements may be coming this September

TriMet Line 4 bus and ridersWhile TriMet’s long-term financial future is still uncertain, our Fiscal Year 2014 Proposed Budget has some good news for bus riders. It includes $2.1 million for minor service improvements on a handful of busy lines, which will help relieve overcrowding and improve schedule reliability.

The following changes, if approved, would take effect in September 2013:

4-Division/Fessenden There would be a slight increase in frequency on weekends to relieve overcrowding.
6-Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Time would be added to existing trips to better match schedules with traffic conditions on weekdays and weekends.
9-Powell Service would begin 1/2 hour earlier on weekday mornings.
10-Harold St There would be minor weekday schedule adjustments to better match schedules with traffic conditions.
12-Barbur/Sandy Blvd There would be a slight increase in frequency on weekend evenings to relieve overcrowding.
14-Hawthorne There would be minor weekday schedule adjustments to better match schedules with traffic conditions.
21-Sandy/223rd Ave Service would begin 1/2 hour earlier on weekday mornings.
33-McLoughlin There would be a slight increase in frequency on weekday evenings to relieve overcrowding.
36-South Shore There would be minor weekday schedule adjustments to better match schedules with traffic conditions.
37-Lake Grove There would be minor weekday schedule adjustments to better match schedules with traffic conditions.
47-Baseline/Evergreen Buses would run to PCC Rock Creek, via NW 174th Avenue and Laidlaw Road, instead of running to Sunset TC. There would be more frequent buses between Orenco/NW 231st Ave MAX Station and PCC Rock Creek on weekdays.
48-Cornell There would be more frequent rush-hour buses between Sunset TC and NW Stucki Avenue on weekdays.
62-Murray Blvd There would be minor weekday schedule adjustments to better match schedules with traffic conditions.
94-Pacific Hwy/Sherwood Mid-day express buses would be added and rush-hour local buses would be added between Tigard TC and Sherwood to improve transfer connections.

Learn more about the proposed improvements and how you can provide your feedback

Sneak peek: ticket printers on buses coming this summer

We’re installing new ticket printers on buses to make transfers more consistent for riders and easier for operators. Testing will begin on lines 17 and 70 in mid-March, and the printers will be up and running on all buses later this summer.

We’re improving the way we issue bus transfers, so that they’re more consistent and predictable for riders, and easier for operators.

You may have already seen the new ticket printers mounted near the farebox on some of our buses. (See photo at right.) We’re gradually installing them on the fleet, and testing will begin on lines 17 and 70 in mid-March.

Soon, instead of manually punching and tearing a newsprint receipt, your operator will be able to instantly print out a 2-Hour Ticket or 1-Day Pass simply by pressing a button on the console.

This will take the mystery out of getting a bus transfer, as all single-ride transfers will be valid for exactly 2 hours from the time of purchase, just like MAX and WES tickets.

The easy-to-read tickets will look like other TriMet tickets, with a foil security strip and the expiration time.

The existing transfer system requires the operator to manually adjust a “cutter bar” to change the expiration time for transfers, and punch each one with the ticket type and day code. The time given varies depending on the day of the week and where you boarded in relation to the end of the route. The new ticket printers will simplify and speed up this process, and make all transfers consistent.

Stay tuned for details about the ticket printers and when you can expect to see them in action. Even better, sign up to get updates by email.

Questions? Feedback? Let us know what you think. Contact us at http://trimet.org/feedback or call 503-238-RIDE (7433).