MAXimize Your Commute

Like several PSU students, I take the MAX to school. It’s an efficient way to commute. It takes me about 50 minutes to get to campus from Gresham City Hall. Some advantages of taking the MAX are, saving money on gas and getting free parking at several MAX stations. Occasionally, I like to work the system and drive to the Lloyd Center and park for free there, then hop on the MAX in the free fare zone to campus. It’s free parking and public transportation… hard to beat that!

However, taking this public transportation can be an uncomfortable experience. The MAX is used by many individuals, including strange creepy people who make you feel on edge. I have lost track of the amount of times I had to get up and move to a different seat or get off the MAX and get on a different train. I have also noticed that a lot of young women put up with stranger’s inappropriate behavior by staring out the window or plugging in their iPods. We often see strangers meeting on a train or subway in movies and falling in love. However, in reality most people do their best to avoid any kind of contact with others aboard the MAX.

In order to change this pattern and create a safer environment, TriMet needs to step it up with more security. Although there are security cameras, I rarely see police or TriMet security on board. This is leading to increased crime rates at MAX stations and instilling fear in the public.

What’s your experience commuting on TriMet to PSU?

9 thoughts on “MAXimize Your Commute

  1. You’ve had to get off the max or move to another seat? I’ve never had to do that. I’ve never heard of anyone having to do that, and I’ve never seen anyone being harassed except by people trying to get us to vote.

    My experiences have been so opposite of yours that I honestly have a hard time believing it. I mean, I can believe that you decide to move to a different seat occasionally, but more times than you can count? It just sounds like fear mongering.

    I do realize that as a woman you might be more susceptible to harassment by creepy guys, but I’ve honestly never seen it happen on the bus or the MAX. I’m not an un-observant person either, as people watching is the best diversion TriMet has to offer.

    What kind of behavior are you referring to specifically? Maybe it was too quiet for me to hear or always happening out of sight. I ask because if someone is doing something inappropriate to a girl, I’d have no problem interfering.

    1. I used to ride the SE Portland Max to Gateway and I have been harrassed by many men, almost every time I rode it. One time it was by a group of 3 men who thought I was talking on the phone and not listening to them. They proceded to have an extremely lewd conversation about me. Now I ride the NE to Expo Center Max and I don’t get bothered at all. Of course, I have learned to sit in the row that faces a wall so no one can turn around and start talking to me, but even when those seats are availabe, I have no trouble. SE Portland just seems to carry its own special folks!

      1. Richelle: I definetly think location has to do with how often these situations occur. I am not surprised that you had these experiences near Gateway. I think that an increase in security would really reduce these situations. If they see a police officer on board, they are less likely to behave inappropriately.

    2. Joe: Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you’ve had a pleasant experience with TriMet. I’m not trying to bash on the MAX, I’m only speaking my experiences, and they do highly involve harrasment. I think the fact that we are different genders has a lot to do with it. I’m really surprised you haven’t noticed this sort of behavior on board. To answer your question, the kind of behavior I am talking about is older men sitting next to me, and making me feel uncomfortable by: starring, getting to close for comfort, and talking very inappropriately to me. What’s worse is that they continuously do this the whole ride, so I decided I’m not going to put up with it and started changing seats or getting off the MAX. This behavior doesn’t usually occur in a very noticable manner. I’m sure others usually think its just two people having a conversation, but little do they know the female feels very uncomfortable and maybe in danger.

      1. Yep, you have summed it up nicely Atziri! The behavior is not always noticeable to others not directly nearby, but it is still quite disconcerting. I too have learned to just move rather than deal with it.

    3. I really do love taking the max; it’s convenient and it saves a lot of money, but I definitely agree that they are some really uncomfortable moments that make the max a unique place.
      I have encountered a few situations.: just yesterday aboard a max going back to Hillsboro, I sat next to a man who was holding a Mountain Dew bottle. All was well and I was listening to my music and occasionally chatting with my friend when I noticed he wasn’t drinking it, but actually spitting into it. I was like, “what in the world?” and then I realized he was chewing tobacco and taking a spit every 20 seconds or so. It was really disgusting, but there were no other seats available so I just faced the other direction. Not to mention, I’m sure we have all ran into the hobo type that is sick and not afraid to make it known. I have had a hobo sit next to me many times and it’s fine, I don’t mind, but I do when they are wiping snot everywhere, as well as when they get up from their seat and it’s wet underneath with a good-sized puddle. Those are just gross situations. There are also the weird situations, where a mentally unstable passenger sits next to you and starts talking about how the max is going to crash and we’re all going to die and then runs up and down the max with a pink wig on. And then there are the rude situations where someone will harass the man in the wheelchair and make jokes. And I’ve had a man start talking rudely about college students, more specifically PSU students, but no worries I put him in his place, but in a respectful way so that I wouldn’t prove his point. And then I’ve had the worst experience to top them all, we drove under suicide bridge and I was looking outside my window and there was a freshly dead body right by the window and there were police everywhere. I never want to see that again. People in the max were crying and it was just not good.
      I know I sound like I’m bashing on the max, but I’m not. I use it all week to get to PSU and there are some really nice people. I’ve seen people help an elderly man and others reunite when they haven’t seen each other in forever. It’s always an interesting day on the max and although it can be a little scary, it can also be a really nice experience — especially on a sunny day. =]

      1. Ashley, thank you for your comment. Wow, it looks like you’ve had quite the experience on the MAX. You just never know what you’ll encounter on there.

  2. I ride the bus three to four days a week. I have witnessed, and been the target of, some pretty inappropriate behavior.

    Sometimes it’s harassing, sometimes it’s anti-social. Spitting on floors, talking so loud on their cell phone I can’t hear my music with headphones on, men I don’t want to know asking for my phone number, people eating, putting on makeup, plucking their eyebrows, brushing their hair, everything but taking a sponge bath and brushing their teeth.

    And that is during the work commute hours. The middle of the day or late at night is a whole different group of people and can be far worse.

    My personal bubble has shrunk to the point where someone can practically be sitting on me, but I still have had to move several times when I ended up next to someone with questionable hygiene, or marginal sanity.

    Admittedly, you get what you get when you take public transportation, but depending on which bus or Max line you are on, you can experience some scary things.

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