Portland’s Trimet!

Coming to Portland from Southern Oregon was a big change for me and getting used to living in a metropolitan area was not easy. Driving downtown seemed difficult to even think of (although as months went by, it was just fine). Portland traffic, especially after work-shifts, gets a bit crowded. When I see no hope of getting to PSU driving or finding a parking place, I turn to a rescuer that Portland is known for: the Trimet public transportation system.

Created in 1968, Trimet provides commuter rail, light rail, streetcar and local buses in the Portland metropolitan area. Among these services there are four light rail lines, one commuter rail, one streetcar and 79 bus routes. What is not known about Trimet is that it carries more people than any other transit system its size in the States: Weekday boardings averaged over 300,000 trips.

What is great about Trimet’s MAX Light rail, however, especially for students like myself going from the city center to PSU, is the yellow Free Rail Zone. After school, I could take the Max and go pretty much any place I needed to go downtown and go back to Pioneer Square to get back home; all for free. Nevertheless, coming this September 1st, MAX Light Rail and Portland Streetcar service in downtown Portland and the Lloyd District will no longer be free. Moreover, most fares are going up.

How do PSU students, faculty and staff feel about these changes?

5 thoughts on “Portland’s Trimet!

  1. Hi Flamur,
    Thank you for bringing up this subject. TriMet has been an invaluable partner in making the PSU campus more accessible and livable. I want to point out one important correction to your post: beginning Sept 1st, all PSU students and employees will be able to ride the Portland Streetcar for free. This includes the entire Streetcar system from NW Portland to South Waterfront, not just the soon-to-be-former “Free Rail Zone”. When the east side Streetcar line opens on Sept 22nd, it will also be free to PSU community members. Just show your current PSU Photo ID card to ride. Unfortunately the MAX light rail trains will not be included in this benefit.
    This program is the result of a new sponsorship agreement between PSU and the Portland Streetcar, which is a separate transit system from TriMet (however, the streetcars are driven by TriMet operators and TriMet contributes a small amount of funding to their budget).
    Again, thank you for bringing up the subject of commuting and transit. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
    Best regards,
    Ian Stude
    Transportation Options Manager
    Portland State University

  2. Hi Ian,
    Thank you for pointing that out too. I actually got that information from the Trimet website: http://trimet.org/alerts/farechanges.htm under “The Free Rail Zone is going away” section and it says “It’s the end of an era. Come September, MAX Light Rail and Portland Streetcar service in Downtown Portland and the Lloyd District (the Free Rail Zone) will no longer be free” but I did not see anywhere the part about the students and PSU employees. Good to know. Thank you

  3. Flamur,

    You wrote a nice article. However, as a resident of Woodburn and a PSU student, I think Tri-Met is a bit overrated. They limited access in the southern part of Metro. Those of us that work and go to school from Tualatin south, have no easy way to get downtownin a decent amount of time. At least for me it is not easy or fast.
    I will have to drive from my job in Tualatin on Wednesdays this fall to get to class in time. Although Tri-Met offers the West and East side great access, untill they really connect the south Metro area so that we can get to Portland as easily as other areas,
    My suggestion is they expand WES to go into downtown directly and meet up with a bus or Max line there near the Steel Bridge, then all the way out in Beaverton..
    Until then, I will drive my car and pay the high parking rates, so that I can get to class on time and graduate next June.

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