Ride TriMet free on Saturday, Feb. 4 and stand for equality to honor Rosa Parks


Transportation partners C-TRAN and Portland Streetcar will once again join TriMet in suspending fares to promote transit equity on Rosa Parks’ birthday

Rosa Parks, 1913 – 2009

“Her courageous act drew national attention to a simple truth, that civil rights must be protected for all,” states TriMet General Manager Sam Desue Jr., in an audio promotion for the day of free bus and train service. “By remaining seated, she took a stand.”  

Desue, who in 2021 became the first Black leader of Oregon’s largest transit agency, has long considered Parks to be a personal role model. He’s asking everyone who rides on Feb. 4 to reflect, not only on her contributions but also those of many others.

Samuel (Sam) Desue, Jr.
Sam Desue Jr.

TriMet will honor the life and legacy of civil rights icon Rosa Parks with free rides on her birthday, Saturday, Feb. 4. Our partners at C-TRAN and Portland Streetcar will once again join us in suspending fare collection for the day, to promote transit equity and encourage reflection on Rosa Parks’ historic stand for equality on board a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. Her refusal to give up her seat to a white person led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision, declaring segregation unconstitutional on public transit, bringing a turning point in the civil rights Movement.

“Think about the struggles of the men and women who came before us. Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Andrew Young, all of those who have given their all, and some who gave their lives, for us to enjoy the freedoms and equality that we have today,” he said, with a reminder that the struggle isn’t over. “And continue to fight for freedom, social equity, justice and equality.”

Later this month and throughout 2023, TriMet will pay tribute to Rosa Parks with a bus decorated with special artwork in her honor. Created by Portland-based artist Hampton Rodriguez, “Rosa Parks’ Legacy” includes images depicting her arrest, the struggle to end segregation and the freedom she achieved, through equal access to public transportation. The bus will be assigned to different routes daily and will serve riders across our 533-square-mile service district for the rest of the year. 

TriMet’s 2023 Rosa Parks bus displays “Rosa Parks’ Legacy,” by Hampton Rodriguez

Parks’ heroic stance contributed to the passage of landmark federal legislation, including the Civil Rights Act, adopted in 1964. The law bans discrimination on the basis of race, skin color or national origin. 

TriMet’s Board of Directors passed a resolution in 2020 declaring Parks’ birthday as a day to acknowledge her role in the civil rights movement. One year later, the Board adopted an ordinance that changed TriMet code to allow for fares to not be collected on Feb. 4 for years to come.

Learn more at trimet.org/rosaparks.