Winter weather

Winter Weather Tips

If you’re riding during snowy or icy weather, here’s what you need to know.

Brush up on where to get service information

Conditions can change quickly. Before you leave, get the latest updates on snow routes, delays and cancellations:

Using the Online Trip Planner

The Trip Planner assumes that regular service is in effect, so be sure to look for Service Alerts on your trip itinerary and check for alerts again before you leave.

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Bus riders: Learn your snow route

Check your bus line’s snow route

When the snow starts falling

Buses will follow their normal routes as long as the streets are safe for travel. We work with city, county and state road crews to help make sure bus routes get plowed first. We’ll chain buses as necessary, especially those that travel at higher elevations.

Significant snow/ice conditions

As snow or ice accumulates, some lines may be canceled due to road conditions. Others will go on snow routes or otherwise avoid parts of the route that are not safe to drive on.

Severe weather service plan

If the weather gets really bad, and stays bad, we’ll limit service to a select group of bus lines operating on plowed streets, so that we can serve the most riders.

Need to know

  • If your bus stop is in the middle of a hill, walk to the bottom or top of the hill where the operator can safely stop.
  • Stand back from the curb until the bus comes to a complete stop. Buses can slide sideways in slippery conditions.
  • Keep in mind your bus may not pull all the way over to the curb, to avoid getting stuck. You may have to step into the road to board.

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TransitTracker can’t accurately predict arrival times

During snowy/icy weather, buses and trains get so far off their normal schedule or route that TransitTracker™ (our real-time arrival information system) can’t predict arrivals accurately. Instead of an arrival countdown, we’ll show how far away the next vehicle is, plus a Service Alert with details about what’s happening on that line. Learn more about how TransitTracker works

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Bundle up and expect delays

Road conditions affect all traffic, so buses may experience significant delays. Chained buses can’t travel more than 25 mph. They won’t be on schedule, but we aim to keep them moving and doing it safely.

MAX Light Rail, WES Commuter Rail and Portland Streetcar will operate normally unless there is a problem with the tracks, switches or the overhead wires. To be safe, always dress warmly, plan extra time and make sure you’re visible when it’s dark out.

Riding MAX, WES or Streetcar: What to expect

If we expect MAX, WES or Streetcar service will be interrupted for a significant period of time, we’ll send out shuttle buses to carry riders between stations. That means you’ll go to the station like you normally would, but you’ll board a shuttle bus instead. (It will pull up near the station, with a sign that says "Shuttle.") Unless otherwise indicated, the buses will stop at all stations your train would serve during its normal hours of operation.

At times, MAX may continue running overnight in order to prevent ice from building up on the overhead wires. If this is the case, MAX will be in service and carrying passengers all night long.

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