The Ultimate Guide to Public Transportation in Portland

The Ultimate Guide to Public Transportation in Portland

Portland is quickly becoming a tech hub in the United States. With companies like Intel, Google and Amazon setting up shop in the city, many young professionals have followed. As a result, the need for an efficient and easy-to-follow guide to Portland transportation has only increased. 

Portland is ranked as one of the best transit cities in the country. Public transportation in Portland is reliable, affordable and eco-friendly. There are several different types of transportation available, including buses, streetcars, the light rail and the MAX. This guide will outline the best ways to get around Portland using public transportation. 

A streetcar in Portland, Oregon

Public Transportation in Portland

TriMet System

The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, also known as the TriMet system, is a great example of how a well-run public transportation system can improve the quality of life for local residents. The TriMet system offers buses, light rail and commuter rail within the Portland metropolitan area, which helps to reduce traffic congestion. Additionally, it's an environmentally friendly option that helps reduce the number of cars on the road. The TriMet system is also affordable, making it a great option for any budget

Hours of Operation: Max trains run all day long every day, every 15 minutes. 

Price of Ticket: A Day Pass is $5 for adults and $2.50 for youth 

Consider getting a Hop FastPass (Hop for short). You can purchase one from a Hop ticket machine found at most stations. The Hop tickets are $5 for an adult and $2.50 for youth. 

Streetcar

The Portland streetcar started its first service in 2001. Now it has expanded to offer three full lines and 16 miles of track around Portland’s central city. It would be a great way to see some attractions including Portland State University and the downtown area, which is popular for shops and restaurants. The streetcar runs every 15 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays and every 20 minutes on Sundays.

Hours of Operation: 5:30 am to 11:30 pm Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 11:30 pm Saturday and 7:30 am to 10:30 pm Sunday. 

Price per ticket: An all-day pass is $5 for adults and $2.50 for youth and seniors

Bike and Electric Scooter Rentals

Portland was recently named the Most Bike Friendly City in the U.S. There are many bike lanes and a great bike-sharing system that works well for the city. The bike-sharing system is called BIKETOWN. BIKETOWN is offered in partnership with Nike, allowing easy access throughout the city. Patrons will see the bright orange bikes all over town. There are more than 1500 bikes available to rent. It’s a fun and affordable way to get around the city. 

How to start: First you have to choose a plan on the website or mobile app. After you choose your plan, unlock a bike by scanning the QR code on the bike with your phone. When you are finished with your ride you can park your bike at any BIKETOWN station or lock it at a public bike rack. 

Price: A single ride is $1 to unlock + $0.20 per minute

Electric scooter rentals work the same and offer a very fast and affordable way to get around the city. You simply download the providers' app and unlock the scooter after paying for your trip. 

Price: A single ride is $1 to unlock + $0.15 per minute

Taxi and Rideshare

Taxis are available 24 hours a day around the Portland area. Broadway Cab and Radio Cab are two of the most popular operators. Rideshares like Uber and Lyft are also available for use.

Portland Public Transportation Tips

Public transportation in Portland is efficient, affordable and wide-reaching, making it an excellent option for getting around while you’re in town. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during your trip:

  1. The buses and trains usually run on time, but be sure to check the schedule before you leave.
  2. The MAX trains cover most of the city, so they're a great way to get around.
  3. The Hop Fastpass is a great deal that allows you access to the TriMet, C-train and streetcar. 
  4. Helmets are required for riding e-scooters, according to Oregon’s laws. 
  5. Portland is a very bike-friendly town so most locals will be on bikes and scooters. 

Avoid the Hassle

Car sharing with Avail is another great and affordable option for getting around Portland. Every trip includes Allstate insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance, and you can add a second driver for free. Plus, having your own car gives you the freedom to explore Portland the way you want to while saving you from the logistics involved with taking public transportation.