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Portland Public Transportation Guide | 🚌 Getting Around Portland Like a Pro

Planning on moving to Portland, OR in the coming months? Ranked as one of the top places for public transportation in the nation, Portland offers a wide variety of transit options for everyone. From the city to the suburbs, getting around the area is easy and affordable. Residents never have to worry about having access to a vehicle, since public transportation is so accessible and flexible. Although there can be occasional delays (as with all forms of public transportation), the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

If you are considering car-free living upon moving to Portland, check out the top choices available to all visitors and residents.

Overview of Public Transportation in Portland, OR

New to public transportation in Portland? In addition to basic forms of transit that are used in most large cities — such as the bus — the city offers several unique options that are not as readily available in other locales. The MAX Light Rail and the Portland Streetcar are two additional ways to get around the city quickly and efficiently.

Prior to relocating to Portland, be sure to download the following apps to make your life easier:

  • Hop Fastpass  — Allows you register a virtual Hop card to pay for your fare on TriMet, C-TRAN, and the Portland Streetcar.
  • PDX Bus, MAX, Streetcar & WES — Displays arrival times for all forms of public transportation in Portland.

Portland Bus Transportation | TriMet

Public buses in Portland are owned and operated by the city’s primary public transit authority, TriMet. Bus routes operate throughout the downtown area, as well as in the surrounding suburbs, making getting around Portland extremely easy.

Portland Bus Fare Pricing

  • Adult fare (ages 18-64): $2.50 for two and a half hours
    • Ride free after spending $5 in one day, or $100 in a month.
  • Honored citizen fare: $1.25 for two and a half hours
    • Eligible individuals include those who are 65+, those with disabilities, individuals on Medicare, and those who meet certain income thresholds (proof of eligibility is required upon boarding).
    • Ride free after spending $2.50 in one day, or $28 in a calendar month.
  • Youth fare (ages 7-17, and students in high school/pursuing a GED): $1.25 for two and a half hours
    • Ride free after spending $2.50 in one day, or $28 in a calendar month.
    • Proof of eligibility is required for individuals ages 15–17.
    • Children 6 and younger ride free with a paying passenger.

How to Ride the Bus in Portland

Want to know how to ride the bus in Portland? Learning this method of public transportation is quick and easy. The TriMet website can be used to track current routes, as well as the position of buses that are on the road.

Before boarding, knowing how you’ll pay for your fare is important. Payments are accepted at either the Hop reader at the MAX/WES station, or on board the bus. TriMet offers a wide array of options for paying for your Portland bus fare:

  • Phone tap payment (mobile wallet): Use Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay on your phone to purchase your fare. Available for adult fares only.
  • Contactless credit/debit cards: Available for adult fares only.
  • Hop Card: Available for all fare types. Allows riders to take advantage of reduced fares.
  • Virtual Hop Card: Use the Hop app on your phone to create and reload your virtual Hop Card. Available for all fare types.
  • Paper Hop tickets: Available at MAX and WES Stations for all fare types.
  • Cash: Available for all fare types.

Once you’ve determined how you plan to pay for your Portland bus fare, you can plan your trip by entering your to/from destinations on the TriMet website. You can also explore routes to see where each bus goes. Select bus stops and all TriMet MAX stations are equipped with digital signs that show the time of the next arrival.

 

 

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Portland MAX Light Rail and WES Commuter Rail | TriMet

Prefer to use Portland’s light rail or commuter rail? The Portland MAX Light Rail and WES Commuter Rail are two highly convenient ways of getting around Portland. Both public transportation options link the city to surrounding cities, including Beaverton, Tigard, Wilsonville, and many others. The MAX Light Rail provides service directly to the Portland International Airport. Both rails are operated by TriMet.

How to Ride the MAX Light Rail in Portland

The MAX Light Rail runs every 15 minutes, making it a great choice for those wanting a public transportation option with frequent stops.

TriMet operates the following MAX Light Rail lines:

  • Blue Line: Connects Portland City Center, Hillsboro, Gresham, Beaverton, and East Portland.
  • Red Line: Connects Portland International Airport, Portland City Center, East and Northeast Portland, and Beaverton.
  • Green Line: Connects Portland City Center, Portland State University, Clackamas, and East/Southeast Portland.
  • Yellow Line: Connects Portland City Center, Portland State University, North/Northeast Portland, and the Expo Center.
  • Orange Line: Connects Portland City Center, Portland State University, Milwaukie, Southeast Portland, and Oak Grove.

When you get familiar with where each line goes, you do not need a schedule or route map to plan your trip. This makes the MAX Light Rail one of the easiest forms of transportation in the city. Fares and payment options are the same as what is offered on the TriMet buses (including the Hop Card).

How to Ride the WES Commuter Rail in Portland

The WES Commuter Rail is a fantastic option for commuters who would typically ride their vehicles on 217. Linking Tigard, Beaverton, Tualatin, and Wilsonville, this is another streamlined form of public transportation. Simply show up at the station that is closest to you, and disembark where needed.

Fares are the same as the TriMet buses, and contactless payment is accepted at every stop. At the four WES Stations, travelers can take advantage of Park and Ride lots that are free and open 24 hours a day.

Other amenities available to riders on board the WES Commuter Rail include free Wi-Fi, bike racks, and easy boarding.

Portland Streetcar | TriMet

Hands down, one of the most unique and beloved forms of public transportation in Portland is the Portland Streetcar. Also owned and operated by TriMet, visitors and residents routinely take advantage of this affordable and accessible way to get around the city.

How to Ride the Portland Streetcar

Accepted fares on the Portland Streetcar:

  • Hop Fastpass
  • Streetcar-only fare: $2 for two and a half hours
  • TriMet Adult 2.5-Hour fare: $2.50 (valid for the Portland Streetcar and all other TriMet transportation)
  • Honored Citizen/Youth 2.5-Hour: $1.25 (valid for the Portland Streetcar and all other TriMet transportation)
  • TriMet One-Day Pass: $5 (valid for the Portland Streetcar and all other TriMet transportation)
  • TriMet Honored Citizen/Youth One-Day: $2.50 (valid for the Portland Streetcar and all other TriMet transportation)

Fares can be purchased either through the TriMet ticket office, or at one of the platform machines. Only credit and debit cards are accepted for Portland Streetcar fares at the platform.

After you’ve purchased the appropriate fare option for your needs, you will take one of the following lines:

  • A Loop: Clockwise – Pearl District -> Lloyd District -> OMSI -> PSU
  • B Loop: Counter-clockwise – Pearl District -> PSU -> OMSI -> Lloyd District
  • NS Line North – South Waterfront -> 23rd
  • NS Line South – 23rd -> South Waterfront

The Portland Streetcar website provides a fantastic map to help riders get around Portland with ease. This detailed map shows where each loop/line goes, and where you can take a MAX transfer (if needed to arrive at your destination).

Hours of operation for the Portland Streetcar are as follows:

Monday through Friday

      • 5:30am–10:00am: Every 20 Minutes
      • 10:00am-7:00pm: Every 15 minutes
      • 7:00pm-11:30pm: Every 20 minutes

Saturdays

      • 7:30am-10:00am: Every 20 Minutes
      • 10:00am-7:00pm: Every 15 minutes
      • 7:00pm-11:30pm: Every 20 minutes

Sundays

    • 7:30am-10:00pm: Every 20 minutes

Bicycling Around Portland

Getting around Portland by bicycle is a top choice among many of its residents. Thanks to the city’s bicycle-friendly culture — including support from The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) — riding, maintaining, and parking your cycle is ultra easy. There are plenty of maps available to help cyclists know how to travel from point A to point B.

Don’t have your own ride? Not a problem. In collaboration with Lyft, visitors and residents can use the city’s Biketown service. This rideshare service allows individuals to affordably rent one of 1,500+ bikes that are located across 180 stations in Portland.

Portland Public Transportation to Top Destinations

Want to know how to get to some of the city’s top destinations? Below is a brief overview on how to get to some of the most popular spots in town.

Portland Public Transportation FAQ

  • Does Portland, OR have good public transportation? 
    • Yes, Portland has one of the best public transportation systems in the entire nation. Day and night, visitors and residents have a myriad of choices when it comes to getting around both the city and the surrounding suburbs. Public transportation in Portland is accessible, affordable, and easy to understand.
  • Do you need a car to get around Portland? 
    • No, you do not need a car to get around Portland. With four main options for public transportation, options on getting around the city abound.
  • What public transportation is in Portland?
    • The main types of public transportation available in Portland include the bus, light rail, commuter rail, and streetcar. Each option has its own unique benefits, and hours of operation that suit your needs.

Searching for the best Portland moving company to help you relocate to your new city? We are here to help! Providing trustworthy and reliable service, our team at PDX Movers offers a wide range of services — including packing, storage, transportation of your belongings, and more. Call us today at 503-746-8795 to learn more.

 

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