TriMet begins restoring weekday bus service

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Aug. 30 service change adds more buses during weekdays on 20 lines, plus schedule and route changes on others

Line 4-Fessenden bus serves stop at Rose Quarter Transit Center

TriMet is beginning to add back service, bringing service levels to about 90% of where we were before the COVID-19 pandemic. This will begin when our 2020 fall service schedules go into effect on Sunday, Aug. 30 and comes after temporarily reducing service in April due to the pandemic.

“The pandemic has changed the way we live, the way we gather, the way we travel, and transit has changed a lot too,” said TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey. “Before COVID-19, TriMet was in the midst of the largest bus service expansion in our region’s history. However, the pandemic had us turning our focus to efforts that help keep riders and employees safe, while keeping essential workers moving. With all the steps we’ve taken and as more service returns, we want to show our riders we are ready for them when they’re ready to come back to transit.”

Twenty bus lines return to regular weekday service

Regular weekday service returns to 20 TriMet bus lines starting Monday, Aug. 31. TriMet reduced service by about 20% in early April when ridership dropped due to COVID-19. As part of our fall service, we will add back more than 420 trips into the schedule, bringing service levels to near where they were before the pandemic.

Our 65 additional bus lines will stay at current service levels, and MAX and WES schedules will remain the same. This helps keep our operations in line with ridership, with fewer people commuting during peak travel times and fewer buses needed for high school student trips.

TriMet continues to limit the number of riders on board buses to leave space for physical distancing. However, in restoring service on 20 popular lines, riders gain more options for their trips and can expect fewer buses that are at capacity.

Route adjustments improve service, access to transit

TriMet is making several minor route adjustments to help improve service and keep buses on time. On Sunday, Aug. 30, trips on Line 72-Killingsworth/82ndfrom Clackamas Town Center that currently end at Northeast Killingsworth Street and Cully Boulevard will instead end at Killingsworth and 72nd Avenue. Minor bus stop changes at NE Killingworth & Cully will make it easier for riders to identify the correct stop to board buses bound for Clackamas Town Center.

Then on Monday, Aug. 31, Line 11-Rivergate/Marine Dr will move off Marine Drive at North Leadbetter Street. The modification will improve access to the Bybee Lakes Hope Center, a new transitional housing facility in North Portland that serves people experiencing homelessness. Also on Monday, several trips leaving downtown on Line 96-Tualatin/I-5 will start at Southwest Columbia Street and 10th Avenue instead of Jefferson Street and 10th, due to construction at the Portland Art Museum.

Returning to transit

With Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties still in phase one of the state of Oregon’s reopening plan, TriMet asks that riders continue to only use transit for necessary trips. However, we would like to assure those who are riding or may be coming back soon, that we have put numerous measures in place to help keep them healthy and safe:

TriMet has elevated cleaning protocols on buses and trains, at MAX stations and transit centers
  • Cleaning & sanitization – TriMet has implemented extensive cleaning and sanitization measures in response to COVID-19. In addition to thoroughly sanitizing all buses and trains daily, we have hired more cleaning personnel, dedicated to disinfecting the touchpoints on our vehicles, with the goal of cleaning at four-hour intervals throughout the service day. We are also sanitizing Hop validators, railings, benches and other frequently used surfaces at MAX stations and transit centers throughout the service day.
  • Face coverings required – Face coverings are required on all TriMet vehicles. Free, disposable face coverings are available on board all buses and trains. We also encourage riders to wear face coverings at stops, stations and transit centers, when maintaining 6 feet of physical distance may be difficult. This also follows the state of Oregon mask requirement.
  • Limited space onboard – Space on board is limited. Based on the direction of the Oregon Health Authority, TriMet encourages riders to space themselves from other riders by at least 3 feet on board our buses and trains and from bus operators by at least 6 feet. The physical distancing on board limits the number of riders to 19-24 on a standard bus, 22-26 seated passengers on MAX trains and 25-37 on WES trains, depending on the model. The capacity range allows space for couples, families and others, who may be traveling together.
  • Hand sanitizer available – All buses, LIFT paratransit vehicles, WES trains as well as some MAX trains have hand sanitizer available to riders.

Steel Bridge Project Complete

TriMet timed our 2020 fall service plan to coincide with the end of the Steel Bridge MAX Improvements project. The project, which is the most ambitious to revitalize the MAX system in TriMet history, closed the Steel Bridge to MAX, bus and automobile traffic for four weeks, between Sunday, Aug. 2 and Saturday, Aug. 29. During the closure, crews are replacing nearly 9,000 feet of rail, as well as the most heavily used switches on the transit system. We are also upgrading signaling equipment. All of TriMet’s MAX trains cross the 108-year-old bridge multiple times each day. The work will help speed up trains and make the entire MAX system more reliable and resilient for decades to come. Learn more at trimet.org/steelbridge.  

A MAX train crosses the Steel Bridge

Portland Airport MAX Station Closure

While Sunday, Aug. 30 means a return to regular service across the Steel Bridge, it also marks the beginning of the second planned closure of the Portland Airport MAX Station, due to construction at PDX. Travelers taking the MAX Red Line to or from the airport will have a short shuttle bus connection between the terminal and the Mt Hood MAX Station, about two miles away. The shuttles, operated by PDX, run at least every 15 minutes until about 10 p.m., when they will run every 30 minutes until the end of service. Riders traveling to the airport should plan ahead and leave an extra 10 minutes for their trips during the closure. The Portland Airport MAX Station is scheduled to reopen on Sunday, Nov. 15.