Like a lot of Portlanders, I am a constant rider of Trimet. I ride the MAX all over Portland. I have ridden dozens of different bus lines to many different locations.
Everyone who rides Trimet knows some trips are more “interesting” than others, and if you don’t know what you are doing, it is not necessarily the safest of places. There are numerous interesting characters and you have to figure out where you are going and when you have to leave to get there on time. Keeping this all in mind, here are a few tips to having a safe enjoyable ride on Trimet.
Plan your trip ahead of time
We have all been in a rush to make it out to the bus before it gets there, but it helps to know when the bus is coming. The MAX and Streetcar run a bit more often than most busses, but when it comes to specific lines, it will help you out so much in the long run. There are numerous ways to plan out your trips ahead of time, including apps, the trimet website (trimet.org) or by simply calling/texting trimet with your stop ID.
Planning out your trips will avoid long waiting times and the possibility of screwing up where you are going. It may even help you figure out a faster route to your destination, or a closer bus stop.
There is always some strange person on Trimet that just starts talking to you. Whether or not it’s the MAX, bus or streetcar, it is almost a rite of passage to have someone who you do not want talk to you try to make friends. Avoiding this can be difficult, and to be honest, sometimes the story afterwards is worth talking to the person in the first place. But if you do not want to talk to them, simply put headphones on or act interested in something else. Also, avoid sitting in places where these people tend to be.
Honestly, these people can be anywhere, and you have no idea when someone is going to ask you for money or ask you to use your phone so they can call their mother. But once you are on the bus, MAX or streetcar, it is usually pretty easy to tell who these people are.
Pay your fare
Trimet has cracked down on fares the last few years, by getting rid of fareless square and putting more and more Trimet staff on all their different forms of transportation to check for fare. Although it seems easy to try to get a free, short ride on the MAX, it is not worth having to pay a humongous fine that no one wants to have to deal with. It’s so much easier to just pay the $2.50 ahead of time, and have a worry free ride.
Take advantage of Trimet, we are lucky in Portland to have such a great public transportation system. If used correctly, Trimet will help out your college career tremendously. As Portland State students, we all have access to the hub of Trimet downtown, and we even get to ride the streecar for free with a valid PSU ID.