The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things — transit included. But one thing that remains the same is our commitment to safely get you where you need to go.
First things first: please only travel on transit for essential trips right now. This could include heading to a job, medical appointment or caring for a family member. All other trips should be avoided for the time being. Due to social distancing, there’s limited space on buses and trains now, and we want to make sure the doctors, nurses, grocery store staff, warehouse staff and other essential workers can get where they need to go.
What you need to know
Only ride if necessary
Governor Kate Brown and our regional health leaders have asked Oregonians to stay home in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At this time, you should only ride transit if necessary to access food, medicine or essential work.
Buses are limited 10–15 riders at one time — 10 individuals, or up to 15 if people are riding together (such as couples of parents with children).
With everyone now wearing face coverings on board and with more frequent cleanings, we'll soon be able to carry 19–24 riders at one time.
If a bus is at capacity, it will not pick up new passengers until someone exits. We’ll try to adjust service if buses are consistently full, but you may still want to leave extra time for your trip.
There are a lot of essential workers keeping our community going right now — make sure you leave them a seat so they can get to work.
Face coverings required
Scarfs, bandannas and fabric masks are all okay, so long as they cover your nose and mouth. As we recently announced, all TriMet employees must wear face coverings too.
You do not need to wear medical masks (like an N95) to ride – those are in short supply, so leave them for the health care workers who need them.
Children under the age of two should not wear face coverings, and individuals may not use a covering if a medical condition prevents it.
You can learn more about face coverings from the CDC, including how to make them from common household supplies.
Here’s more on the changes coming to transit on May 20th.
In order to help with social distancing, some bus seats have signs on them that ask riders not to sit there. These signs are arranged to give riders a safe amount of space from each other and the operator.
Temporary Service Changes
Ridership has dropped as much as 70% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve temporarily reduced service to adjust to the decreased demand for transit and to make sure we can bounce back when the pandemic passes.
Many lines now have service similar to what they’d have on a weekend. We’re putting the most buses on lines that serve hospitals, medical centers, and major employment centers.
Riders should stay a safe distance from each other on board buses and trains.
We’ve added a second yellow line that’s near the Priority Seating area. Riders should stay behind this line when the bus is in motion — it’s there to help operators practice social distancing while they’re driving. Our bus operators interact with riders for hours at a time, so we ask you to give them plenty of space and avoid interacting with them when possible.
Don’t forget to practice social distancing while waiting for buses and trains and when boarding and exiting.
No more cash
We’ve temporarily stopped accepting cash on buses in order to minimize the time riders spend near our bus operators. Instead, you’ll need to pay with Hop: a plastic Hop card, your phone using a mobile wallet or virtual card, or a Hop ticket purchased at a ticket machine at a MAX or WES station.
If you don’t already have a Hop card, you can get a free one by visiting the TriMet Ticket Office in Pioneer Courthouse Square. We’ll also mail you a card if you call 503-238-RIDE (7433) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, address (including city, state and zip code) and what type of Hop card you need (Adult, Youth, or Honored Citizen). At this time we are only honoring requests for Hop cards from within the TriMet service area.
We’re frequently wiping down all places people may touch on buses and trains with disinfectant This includes things like railings, straps, doors, exit buttons, seats, the operator cabin, and more. Initially this was done every night but it will soon be done about every 4 hours during the day as well.
We also purchased new disinfecting fog machines & we’ll have 36 by the end of May. Over the course of three hours, these foggers will fill a bus with a hydrogen-peroxide mist that will disinfect an entire bus, including spots our nightly cleanings have a hard time reaching.
All high-touch surfaces on our system — including MAX stations and elevators — are wiped down with disinfectant every day. This includes ticket vending machines, Hop validators, pay phones, and elevator doors and buttons.
Sanitizer and Disposable Mask Dispensers on Transit
We’re putting hand sanitizer and disposable mask dispensers on board all our vehicles. Please use your own sanitizer and face coverings, if possible. Both of these items are still in short supply. We need to make sure those who have no other way to get face coverings have access to them.
Protecting TriMet Staff
Employees are provided with sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Local distilleries, including Freeland Spirits, have stepped up and provided us with a supply of sanitizer. We can’t thank them enough!
All employees have been provided reusable cloth face coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
At the start of 2020, about half our buses had clear plastic protective barriers between operators and riders. We’ve been using those buses to help provide extra protection for operators. We’re now adding protective barriers to the rest of our bus fleet. They should all be installed by early summer.
All our employees can take leave for COVID-19, including if they need to quarantine themselves due to possible exposure to the virus, if they need to care for an ill family member, or if they’re sick themselves. Full-time employees can take up to two weeks of COVID-19 related sick leave, in addition to existing sick time. Part-time staff have access to a leave proportional to the number of hours they work.
What you need to do if you’re riding
We strongly urge riders to follow these recommendations from the CDC:
Keep at least six feet between you and other people when using transit.
Wash your hands
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when you aren’t able to wash your hands.
Don’t touch your face
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Cover your cough or sneeze
Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw that tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, use your elbow (and not your hands).
Stay home if you’re not feeling well
Wear a face covering
Wear a cloth face covering when using transit. Save the N95 masks for health care workers.
Here’s what the CDC says about face coverings, including how to make one out of things you probably have at home.
Status and hours
We strongly recommend you check our service alerts before making essential travel on transit — it’s where you can find the most up-to-date information on delays or changes.
Buses and trains are now coming less often in most cases.
Sign up to get service alerts
Due to reduced demand, LIFT is temporarily reducing reservation call center hours to 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on weekends. Customer service hours are 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday.
The Transit Mobility Center is closed until further notice.
TriMet Ticket Office / Lost & Found
Our ticket office at Pioneer Courthouse Square and Lost & Found office at our Operations Headquarters are open normal hours. Please stay at least six feet from our staff and other riders.
Due to staffing shortages, we’ve reduced our Customer Service hours. We’re available by phone from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and by text, email or social media until 9:30 p.m., seven days a week.
Why is transit still running?
Transit is considered an essential service. Our buses and trains transport medical staff, first responders, transit and grocery store employees and others who must travel to help others and to keep our community going. At this time, you should only ride transit if necessary to access food, medicine or essential work.
I have to ride transit. How can I do so safely and responsibly?
You should only use transit for essential trips, but it’s safer for everybody if you follow a few simple guidelines.
Do you plan on having people board buses through the back doors?
Unfortunately, this is not possible at this time. Operators can unlock our back doors but they can’t open them remotely. Riders would have to pry them open with their hands, which would create a major touchpoint.
Where to get info about COVID-19
Riders should follow the recommendations of local and national health authorities. You can follow them via the links below.