Common Questions

Service

The bus drove right by without stopping to pick me up

We know it’s frustrating being passed up, especially when it’s cold or wet outside. If the bus didn’t stop for you, it’s probably because the bus was full or running too late, or the operator couldn’t see you.

  • When you see a bus labeled “Drop Off Only,” that means it’s not stopping to pick up passengers at all — the bus could be completely full or it could be running late.
  • During rush hour or when it is completely full, a bus may skip your stop even if it doesn’t say “Drop Off Only.”
  • To make yourself more visible, stand, move or wave as the bus approaches. Waving your phone or a flashlight can help the driver see you.
  • It’s also possible that the operator was new to the route or filling in, and accidentally missed your stop. If you believe this was the case, please let us know so we can try to prevent it from happening again.

Are dogs allowed on board?

Pets and companion animals are only allowed on board buses and trains if they are in a secure, enclosed carrier.

Service animals are allowed on board without a permit, but your driver may ask to confirm that your animal is a service animal. Service animals, as defined by our Code, must follow these specific guidelines.

If you have a concern about an animal on board, ask your operator.

Why was my bus/train late?

We do our best to keep you moving and on schedule, but sometimes your bus or train may arrive late. It may be tempting to blame the operator, but delays are most often caused by the same things that affect other road users:

  • Heavy traffic
  • Accidents
  • Weather/road conditions
  • Special events
  • Police activity
  • Missed signals
  • Construction

Still, we’re always looking for ways to improve our on-time performance. This can include making adjustments to schedules, stop spacing, operator training and traffic signal priority. If you have suggestions for improving our reliability, please let us know!

Real-time arrival information is available at trimet.org, by calling 503-238-RIDE (7433) or by texting your Stop ID to 27299. These GPS-based predictions will give you a good idea of when your bus or train is coming, though the factors listed above can affect their reliability.

You can help keep your bus stay on time by being at your stop with your fare ready five minutes before its scheduled arrival. Once you’re on board, make way so others can get on or off, and exit through the rear door when possible. On MAX, don’t hold the doors open.

I was running for the bus/train, but the driver left without me

Bus and MAX operators have a brief window of time to board waiting passengers, close the doors and make it through a green light. In some instances, opening the door again to let you on would cause your bus or train to miss a signal — this may seem like a small inconvenience, but these delays add up quickly and can make the bus or train fall behind schedule.

By the way, we don’t advise running for any bus or train. It’s not worth the risk.

Why do MAX and WES trains have to slow down in hot weather?

In short, trains slow down in 90+ degree weather as a safety precaution because extreme heat can cause the rails (which are made of steel) and the overhead power wires (which are made of copper) to expand. Here’s a little more of the reasoning behind this safety measure:

When it’s 100 degrees out, a 1-mile stretch of MAX tracks may expand up to a few inches. This rail has to go somewhere, and when it gets too hot it can actually bend or lay over on its side! Our operators and controllers call this a “sun kink.”

The overhead power wires may also expand in the heat. Because copper expands more than steel, and because we can’t allow the overhead wires to sag, we have a system of pulleys with counterweights that tug on the wires to keep them tight. Sometimes, it gets so hot that the counterweights touch the ground and the wire starts to sag anyway.

Our operators have to watch for both sagging power wires and “sun kinked” rails when it’s really hot out. To be safe, they slow down to make sure nothing goes wrong. As it gets hotter, they have to slow down more.

So what does that mean for riders?

When temperatures rise into the 90s, trains traveling in speed zones above 35 mph will need to run 10 mph slower. This will affect segments of each MAX line and WES and cause minor delays to service.

If temperatures climb above 100 degrees, trains cannot go faster than 35 mph and a 10 mph reduction in posted speed applies to all areas between 25 and 35 mph. This often results in delays up to 15 minutes throughout the system.

Per Portland & Western Railroad requirements, WES trains may go no faster than 30 mph once temperatures reach 95 degrees.

Like in other cities, our system is designed for the average temperature ranges of our local climate. When temperatures are at the extremes of that range, the materials in the system are sometimes unable to adapt.

Fares

Can I use cash?

Yep! If you’re using a Hop card, you can reload using cash at hundreds of stores in our retail network and at agency ticket offices. You can also buy 2½-Hour Tickets or 1-Day Passes on board buses and from ticket machines. Exact fare is required on buses — drivers cannot make change.

Can I pay with my phone?

Yes. You can buy an Adult fare simply by tapping your phone with a mobile wallet (using Android Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay) on the Hop reader as you board. Note: Honored Citizen and Youth fares are not available when you pay with a mobile wallet. And if you want to earn a month pass as you ride (and save money!), you’ll need to get a Hop card.

Bikes

Why isn’t there more space for bikes on board MAX?

We know many people want to bring their bikes on board, but we also have to consider the overall capacity of the vehicles and balance the needs of riders, people using mobility devices, parents with strollers, and cyclists all sharing the same space. There’s often not room for bikes on board MAX, especially at rush hour.

That’s why we’ve focused on secure Bike & Ride facilities and other bike parking to ensure cyclists can ride to transit and be able to board, while parking their bike at the station. Another alternative is to use a folding bike, as they are allowed on board buses and trains.

There are bikes blocking the doors and/or aisles on MAX. What do I do?

We’re sorry for the inconvenience — we know it can be challenging to accommodate bikes on board crowded trains. If you’re bringing your bike on board, keep in mind that space can be extremely limited at times like rush hour or during special events. If you combine bike and transit trips regularly, consider using one of our secure bike lockers or Bike & Rides.

Why isn’t there more space for bikes on the bus bike racks?

We’ve tested racks that hold three bikes to see if we could increase bike capacity on buses, but we found that the larger racks just aren’t a safe option for us — they can block the driver’s vision as well as the bus’ headlights. The larger rack can also make it unsafe to turn in areas with narrow streets or tight clearances.

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