Category Archives: Service Updates

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.

Neil McFarlane, TriMet General Manager

As the General Manager of TriMet, I'm responsible for running the agency. I've been here at TriMet since 1991, when I started as project control director for the Westside light rail project. When I'm not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and riding the bus and MAX. Maybe I'll see you during my commute.

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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 or call 503-238-RIDE (7433).

Dave Whipple

I'm TriMet’s manager of marketing and rider communications. I oversee the agency's web and mobile initiatives and help build useful and usable online tools for riders. I also moonlight as a musician in my spare time.

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We’re proposing changes to fares and service that would take effect in September

Weigh in on TriMet's proposed changes to fares and serviceIn December and January, thousands of people weighed in on our “Budget Challenges & Choices” survey, where we outlined options for addressing an expected $17 million budget shortfall.

Your feedback, along with recommendations from our Board of Directors and our Budget Task Force, helped us narrow down our ideas into an initial proposal, which is now available for your review.

Although we designed it to minimize the overall impact on riders, our proposal calls for some big changes, including a fare increase, a transition to one-way/round-trip tickets, and the elimination of zones (including the Free Rail Zone), as well as some cuts to bus and MAX service. Once again, we want your feedback.

Read more and weigh in on the proposed changes

Share your feedback in person at a community open house (February 11-16)

Taking TriMet to the Timbers?

Portland Timbers fans at gameHey, Timbers fans! We’re running extra service to get you there and back, but be prepared for crowded buses and trains. You can get there on MAX Light Rail and Bus Lines 15-Belmont/NW 23rd and 20-Burnside/Stark. If you’re parking downtown, you can also catch an express bus to JELD-WEN Field.

Learn more about service to JELD-WEN Field and what to expect before and after the game