Category Archives: Why I Ride

Why I Ride: Jana G.

Want to be featured in our rider profile series? We’d love to hear from you. Submit your story for consideration through our handy questionnaire at trimet.org/stories.

Why I Ride - Jana

Where do you live?

Orenco

Why do you ride TriMet?

TriMet is amazing. My husband and I moved from Florida last January where we dealt with bad sprawl, terrible traffic, and NO public transportation. I have spent a lot of time on mass transit in other cities and TriMet has by far the nicest, most caring people working there.

I began commuting to work on the Blue Line from Orenco all the way to NE 82nd back in August after fighting the traffic for 6 months. It has been a literal life-changing experience! The time it takes is pretty much the same as driving – maybe a few extra minutes, but worth it. I can do whatever I want in the morning: read, catch up with personal emails, Facebook, or Twitter, or just relax.

My employer agreed to let me do an afternoon “working commute” meaning I spend the last hour of my workday actually working ON the train (using my personal mobile hotspot)!

I get an extra hour at home in the evenings with my husband now and we can get by with one car. My employer even offers a fantastic incentive for using public transit, and I feel great about doing my part for the environment. My husband and I use the MAX a lot on the weekends to go to downtown Portland or Hillsboro for dinner and drinks, or whatever else captures our interest. We love TriMet and the MAX!

Which modes do you use?

MAX and Streetcar. We drive but only when we have to.

What are your favorite things to do while riding TriMet?

Read, social networking, work.

My insight:

Occasionally people forget basic etiquette when listening to music. People should invest in better headphones! I find it crazy if I can hear your music from the other end of MAX car! But it’s really more amusing to me than an issue.

What do you think is the best thing about living in the Portland area?

How nice people are to each other.

Is there anything you’d like to share about yourself?

I love Dave Matthews Band and Twitter!

Jennette Zarko

Jennette Zarko

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.

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Since her office moved, Sarah has a new perspective on her work commute

Sarah McCloskey
Sarah McCloskey

Until six months ago, my work commute between Beaverton and my office in Lake Oswego had consisted of driving a stretch of Hwy 217 during peak rush hour traffic each day. I tolerated the slow, bumper-to-bumper traffic in exchange for the convenience of driving my own car.

Since I started riding public transit, I’m more relaxed.

When I first learned that my firm would be relocating to Downtown Portland, I knew that I would need to make some major changes to my commute. If I were to continue driving to work, it would mean spending twice the time in rush hour traffic on two notoriously congested highways each day. I estimated that my monthly costs for driving and parking would amount to more than double the cost of a 1-Month Pass. Since I did not need the extra stress or expense of driving, the decision was simple: I would take public transit.

My new commute begins with a short ride on WES—now in its 5th year of service—to the Beaverton Transit Center. I enjoy comfortable seats, wide aisles, free Wifi and the friendly WES conductors. I also enjoy getting to know other regular riders that I see each day. After transferring to MAX, I have 25 minutes to get a jump on my morning email or catch up on news, books and crossword puzzles.

Since I started riding public transit, I’m more relaxed. I save money and I’m happy that I am doing my part to reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion. When I began riding, I assumed I’d miss the convenience of driving, but, with frequent arrival times, a MAX stop right outside my office and no traffic jams, I’ve found it to be much more convenient than driving!

Sarah McCloskey is a marketing coordinator at Otak, Inc. She is a new TriMet rider and commutes from her home in Beaverton to her office in Downtown Portland.

Marisa Scheidegger

I’m TriMet’s marketing communications coordinator. I write content for TriMet’s web and social media, and customer-facing print materials.
When I’m not working, I’m spending time with my husband and two incredibly bright and funny kids.

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For Katrina, her phone is her fare, and she couldn’t be happier

Why I Ride - Katrina
Whenever I tell people that I don’t have a driver’s license they’re always shocked. And when I tell them that prior to moving to Portland from Arizona, I didn’t have a car, they ask in horror, “How did you get around?” My answer: I took the bus, of course! I tell them my infamous work commute consisted of four miles of cycling, plus an hour-long bus ride.

Living in Portland is a transit-taker’s dream, and it’s a huge part of why I moved here…

Thankfully, I now live in a dense urban environment where I have a myriad of transit options. As someone who doesn’t drive, it’s not just a luxury to have access to frequent bus or train service, it’s a necessity. Living in Portland is a transit-taker’s dream, and it’s a huge part of why I moved here for graduate school three years ago.

Needless to say, when the TriMet Mobile Ticketing app was released, I literally jumped from my seat to start the download. I admit that I was a late adopter from my “dumb phone” to an iPhone, but I quickly made the transition into total digital reliance.

Since that day, the ticketing app has been the perfect addition to my transit repertoire, alongside PDX Bus and Transitive. I said goodbye to having to keep track of paper stubs and of how many tickets I had left before having to buy the next pack. Not at a grocery store or near a transit stop? Not a problem!

For me, the best thing about the app is that it’s basically foolproof. Buying tickets is easy because it remembers my card information, so even if I realize at the last moment that my pass is up, I can buy another in minutes. Whenever I see the bus on the horizon, I simply load up my app and prepare to board.

With over 60,000 downloads, the app has proven to be intuitive and easy to understand. And, when using the app for the first time, a simple explanation guides you from the get-go.

My phone literally is my fare, and I couldn’t be a happier transit rider.

Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman is a recent master of Urban Studies graduate from Portland State University and prides herself on being a pedestrian in Portland. She is currently the project Intern at DHM Research and has a blog called Think Urban. 

Marisa Scheidegger

I’m TriMet’s marketing communications coordinator. I write content for TriMet’s web and social media, and customer-facing print materials.
When I’m not working, I’m spending time with my husband and two incredibly bright and funny kids.

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Why I Ride: Tara C.

Want to be featured in our rider profile series? We’d love to hear from you. Submit your story for consideration through our handy questionnaire at trimet.org/stories.

Why I Ride - Tara

Where do you live?

Downtown Portland

Why do you ride TriMet?

I am a huge advocate of living a healthy sustainable lifestyle and am thrilled to be able to teach my twin 3 year old boys the importance of healthy, economical, and sustainable living. Our morning starts with a short ride on our Razor scooters to the JELD-WEN platform. We change trains at Pioneer Square, then ride up to North Portland, where we continue our scooter ride 4 blocks to their preschool. I then pack their scooters onto my back and continue across the freeway to work. It is by far faster to drive, but I don’t get the quality teaching opportunities with my boys, socialization with so many diverse patrons, nor the fantastic smiling faces of people watching us scooter around…they do look pretty adorable and the scooters help me to get them quickly to the next location.

Tara C's kids ride their scooters
Tara’s boys ride their scooters to school.

Ironically, the first phrase out of their mouth in the morning when their eyes open is, “Do we get to ride our scooters?”

At each stop there is the suspense of which train will come around the corner…the zoo train, the fast train, the one with steps…the whole trip is always a surprise for them.

The bonus is I work for a company that always focuses on sustainability in their building practices and design, and also encourages their employees to live this way by offering incentives like providing a TriMet pass to employees who will commute at least 4 days a week by public transportation as well as a Zipcar membership. So for, me it just makes sense in so many ways….and for my family…that’s “How We Roll!”

Which modes do you use?

Mostly we use the MAX, but around town we will also use the Portland Streetcar…but always…we bring the scooters.

What are your favorite things to do while riding TriMet?

Play “I Spy.”

Tara C's boys take a snack break
I spy…a snack break!

My insight:

Most people think that it is too much hassle to use public transportation and have got caught up with the “need” of having to have their car with them for the “just in case” scenario. Slowing your life down just a bit really helps to focus on living in the greater space around you, rather than the space within your car. The attitude of my day is greatly enhanced when I ride public transportation. Instead of sitting in traffic and dodging aggressive texting drivers, I can read a book, network, chat with a stranger, teach my children and move my body. If I miss the MAX it just gives me 10 extra minutes to catch my breath, be outside and be aware of what is going on around me…it gives me a “roll with it” attitude.

What do you think is the best thing about living in the Portland area?

Definitely the people! It is such a great mixed bag of diversity.

Is there anything you’d like to share about yourself?

Besides playing at a lot of playgrounds with the boys, I also race cyclecross, which has completely changed this Southern Californian’s attitude toward the wet winters of Oregon.

Read more about Tara in Portland Family

Jennette Zarko

Jennette Zarko

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.

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Otak designer finds “Katie Time” on TriMet

Katie Kersten, Otak

About the author: Katie Kersten is a senior graphic designer who has been working at Otak, Inc., for 18 years. She volunteers with EarthShare of Oregon and is on the board of directors for Third Rail Repertory Theatre. Katie has a passion for incorporating sustainable practices into her work and personal life. She lived in Portland for 22 years and moved to Sherwood in 2011. 

My office used to be located in Lake Oswego. Every workday I drove 14 miles round-trip from Sherwood to Lake Oswego. When my firm relocated to downtown Portland in May, my commute grew to 34 miles.

After figuring out that driving would cost around $15 per day for parking, gas, car maintenance, and depreciation, I decided my best option would be public transportation. A monthly transit pass would only cost about $5 per day, and my employer began offering a monthly transit stipend that covers the cost of the pass.

I believe that your attitude helps create your experience, and I have found many ways to enjoy my new commute.

During the past few months I’ve become a more transit-savvy rider, thanks in part to the many useful smartphone apps that have guided me. I’ve even incorporated MAX and WES into various trips.

I’ve recently integrated my workout studio into my commute without missing a beat. When my parents visit from out of town, they take the MAX from the airport to meet me downtown. This is always a fun experience for them. They are also able to have some similar experiences as I do when taking public transportation.

I’ve learned to think of my commute time as “Katie Time.” I read. I listen to podcasts, audio books, and music. I catch up with friends, family, and colleagues via email and social media. And I do research while I ride. People watching can be very entertaining, as well!

I believe that your attitude helps create your experience, and I have found many ways to enjoy my new commute.

Fun fact: Katie’s employer, Otak, Inc., recently achieved Gold Certification through the City of Portland’s Sustainability at Work program by dramatically increasing employee alternate modes of transportation! Learn more about TriMet’s pass programs for employers

Why I Ride: Ethan J.

Want to be featured in our rider profile series? We’d love to hear from you. Submit your story for consideration through our handy questionnaire at trimet.org/stories.
Rider Profile - Ethan J

Where do you live?

Mill Park, SE Portland

Why do you ride TriMet?

Driving across Southeast Portland is a bear and a half, made worse by the endless construction on Division that funnels more and more people onto the parking lot that is Powell Blvd. One day during the summer, sitting in my car on Powell, not moving, I said, “That’s it. I’ve had enough. I’ve got to get out of this car.” The next day I bought a bicycle. Being able to bike as far as I want to and then just toss my bike up onto a bus is such a convenient way to get around.

TriMet allows my husband and I to share one car and a bicycle and make it work, even though we live east of I-205, and it allows me to get to work relaxed and ready for the day (not to mention on time). The new smartphone app is just an added layer of convenience.

Which modes do you use?

Mostly bus, sometimes MAX, rarely Streetcar.

What are your favorite things to do while riding TriMet?

Read, listen to podcasts, people watch.

My morning commute involves an easy bus ride across the city, biking across the Hawthorne bridge, and then biking along the Waterfront, past the geese. It’s a much more relaxing way to get to work, and it’s good exercise to boot.

My insight:

This city’s transit system is one of the most comprehensive I’ve ever seen. If you live in SE, there is zero reason to attempt to navigate the parking lot down Powell Blvd across the Ross Island. Get out of your car, buy a bike if you want, and just go for it!

What do you think is the best thing about living in the Portland area?

It’s a compact, livable city with a lot going on, and it’s very easy to get around.

Is there anything you’d like to share about yourself?

My husband and I moved here from Oklahoma a little less than five years ago, and we love it here.

Read more about taking your bike on TriMet

Jennette Zarko

Jennette Zarko

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.

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Why I Ride: Naim

Naim sent us his story with a little help from his mom Lisa. We left his words as originally submitted. Want to be featured in our rider profile series? We’d love to hear from you. Submit your story for consideration through our handy questionnaire at trimet.org/stories.

Why I Ride - Naim

Where do you live?

Hillsboro

Why do you ride TriMet?

I am 8 years old. Because my parents are disabled, I am a full-time transit user. It is pretty interesting. I would be bored riding a car all the time. I get to meet interesting people. Because my dad has a guide dog, people come up and talk to us a lot.

“Riding TriMet has been a part of the kids’ lives since they were infants, and they often talk about how they don’t really see themselves driving (or driving much) when they get older, so I think you have life-long transit people in them.” – Naim’s mom, Lisa

Naim at the Portland Children's Museum
Naim takes his turn behind the wheel of a bus at the Portland Children’s Museum

Which modes do you use?

I use MAX, sometimes the streetcar, the bus and yesterday I rode the tram.

What are your favorite things to do while riding TriMet?

Thinking about stuff like what am I going to do tomorrow, when am I going to get married, what am I having for dinner, when will my parents let me have an iphone on the max and what will I do when I grow up and tons of other stuff.

Niam with his mom, dad, twin brother and the dog
Naim with his mom, dad, twin brother and the dog

My insight:

It is better to ride TriMet than to ride a car because they pollute and use energy and you don’t need a drivers license.

As a kid, I get lots of exersise when I ride trimet and get to be outside more. Sometimes the kids in soccer can’t run as fast or as much as me when it is hot because they are not used to it.

Sometimes, also, I know a lot more about my way around then other kids do so you learn a lot. Also, you can read books and draw pictures.

What do you think is the best thing about living in the Portland area?

Being close to lots of stuff like OMSI, Village Home, Oregon Zoo, The Tree Museum, the Airport, Starbucks, the Timbers, Northwest Children’s theater and the Children’s Museum, and the Oregon Commission for the Blind where my dad works.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself?

Niam and his family depend solely on transit to get them where they need to go
Naim with his dad Niklas and brothers Avery and Aaron

My family has my twin brother, Aaron, my mom who is deafblind, my dad who is blind and my baby brother and my dog who is a very hansome dog and is a guide dog. And also a cat and hamster. I like to play with Legos, eat pizza, play soccer, go jogging with my dad, and do drama.

 

 

 

Read more about Naim in Portland Family

Jennette Zarko

Jennette Zarko

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.

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