Portland Oregon Public Transportation: TriMet Bus & Light Rail Guide

Public Transportation in Portland

Portland is a bustling metropolitan port city bordered by the massive Columbia River on the north and bisected by the Willamette River through the middle of town. The system of highways, freeways, bridges, and busy city streets can be confusing to navigate at first. Fortunately, the city of Portland has a robust public transportation system that makes it much easier for people to make the daily commute to work, play or shopping. Read on for a look at some of the best public transportation options in Portland, OR.

TriMet Buses & Portland Streetcar

Portland's TriMet is the main bus (and rail) service. TriMet operates 84 bus routes in and around Portland, which are too numerous to describe in full here. Commuters can find a complete list of routes and maps on the TriMet website. It's one of the most convenient ways to get from the suburbs to the Downtown Portland neighborhood for work or shopping. Many of the TriMet lines connect directly to light rail and commuter rail stations throughout the Portland Metro area. TriMet buses run from the city of Beaverton and the suburb of Hillsboro in the west; to the city of Gresham and the Troutdale community in the east; and from Oregon City in the south to the Portland International Airport in the north.

The Portland Streetcar is a smaller bus service that operates primarily in the Downtown Portland area, on both sides of the Willamette River. To the east of the river, the Portland Streetcar lines loop from East Portland to Lloyd District and back. To the west of the river, the lines loop from Downtown Portland to the Nob Hill neighborhood and Pearl District. It's an excellent option for touring the sights and shops in the downtown area.

TriMet and Portland Streetcar Fares:

  • Adult: $2.50 for 2.5 hours; $5 Day Pass
  • Youth (7-17): $1.25 for 2.5 hours; $2.50 Day Pass

TriMet - MAX Light Rail & WES Commuter Rail

TriMet also operates the MAX Light Rail system in Portland. This commuter train system runs every line, every 15 minutes, throughout most days of the week. The five light rail lines are color-coded to make it easy to keep track of them. The Green Line, for example, runs from the station at Clackamas Town Center to Portland State University and back. Park & Ride locations allow 24-hour free parking for commuters riding the MAX Light Rail.

The WES Commuter Rail is another commuter train option that operates between the suburb of Wilsonville, the Tualatin community, the Tigard community, and the city of Beaverton. It offers the same Park & Ride services and charges the same fare for commuting as the MAX Light Rail. The "WES" stands for Westside Express Service—the four communities served are all to the west and southwest of Portland. The WES Commuter Rail connects with the MAX Light Rail and the TriMet bus system in Beaverton, allowing commuters to leave their homes all the way out in Wilsonville and arrive in Downtown Portland in about 45 minutes.

Light Rail & Commuter Rail Fares

  • Adult: $2.50 for 2.5 hours; $5 Day Pass
  • Youth (7-17): $1.25 for 2.5 hours; $2.50 Day Pass

Taxis, Rideshares, and Carshares

Radio Cab is the main taxi service in Portland, OR. It's available 24/7 and serves most of the Portland Metro area and the city of Vancouver, WA, on the other side of the Columbia River. Frequent cab users can get a Radio Card and reload money on it to make paying fares easier.

Radio Cab Rates

  • Initial Fare: $3.80
  • Each Additional Passenger: $1 each
  • Each Mile: Additional $2.80

There are four major carshare services that operate in Portland. Free 2 Move has a fleet of Jeep Compass and Jeep Renegade mini SUVs in the city that are available for short-term rentals for service members. Zipcar has designated parking spots throughout the city and hundreds of short-term rental vehicles for its members. Turo and Getaround are carshares that allow members to rent out their own personal vehicles to others. Members are required to be 19 or older and must have good driving records to use these services. Rates vary between each carsharing service.

Uber and Lyft are the primary rideshare services in the Portland area. Each is simple to use with its respective mobile phone app for an affordable ride anywhere in the city.

Uber & Lyft Rates

  • Lyft: Starts at $5
  • Uber: Starts at $7.30

Additional Portland Transit Services

Portland has several additional transit services, including a bikeshare program, an electric scooter (e-scooter) program, or simply using one's own two feet.

Biketown has over 1,500 bright orange 8-speed bikes that anyone can rent to pedal their way around Portland. The bikes have payment and locking technology attached to them, making it easy to find and reserve one through Biketown's smartphone app. There are 20 Biketown kiosks located in Portland, where bikes can be picked up or dropped off.

Biketown Fares

  • Membership: One-time $5 fee
  • Bike Rental: $0.08 per minute, $2.40 per half-hour

The E-Scooter program is still in the early stages in Portland. Four companies offer differently colored electric scooters that are part of the pilot program. Bird Community Pricing offers black e-scooters, Bolt Forward scooters are yellow and black, Lime Access scooters are green, and Spin scooters are orange. Each E-Scooter company has its own smartphone app for users and has its own rules for membership eligibility.

E-Scooter Fares

  • Unlock a Scooter: $0.50
  • Per-Minute Pricing: Ranges from $0.07 to $0.17 per minute

Portland is also a great place to walk around and enjoy the scenery, with river walkways, nature trails, and views of the city skyline at sunset. The city recommends several great places for pedestrians to walk or jog and enjoy the views. Forest Park has more than 70 miles of wooded trails; the park is located to the northwest of Downtown Portland. Washington Park is another great place to walk around; it encompasses the Oregon Zoo, the Hoyt Arboretum, the Portland Japanese Garden, and the International Rose Test Garden. Mt. Tabor Park provides the opportunity to walk on the cinder cone of an extinct volcano, right within the Portland city limits!

Public Transit Makes It Easy to Traverse Portland, OR

The TriMet system of buses and commuter rails in Portland carries more travelers each year than any comparably-sized city. This is a testament to both the efficiency and affordability of public transportation in the "Rose City." The distances that a commuter has to travel are much less of an obstacle, thanks to the many affordable ways to get around the Portland Metro area. In fact, Portland has many walkable neighborhoods where having a car isn't necessary at all! For those who do own a car, check out the guide to driving around the Portland metro area.

If you're inspired by the opportunities in Portland, Oregon, contact Matin Real Estate at (503) 622-9601 to get in touch with a local Portland real estate agent and find the ideal Portland home for you today.

Post a Comment