Why Did My Bus Pass Me By?

May 22, 2019

We’ve all been there.

You’re waiting at the stop and see your bus coming down the road. It’s getting closer, closer…wait, it’s not slowing down? Oh no, it’s not stopping! ARGH!  

This experience can leave you feeling like Charlie Brown as the football gets yanked away, but we promise — it’s not because the bus operator is out to get you.


Here are the most common reasons why a bus might not have stopped for you:


The bus is full

We love that so many people trust us to get them around town. But a little too much trust all at once means a packed bus. Sometimes there just isn’t space for more passengers to safely ride, and the driver will display a “Drop Off Only” message until some get off.

The driver couldn’t see you

We get it — in a city with weather this moody, we love to wear all black too. We’re not going to tell you to wear reflective clothing every time you want to ride, but do make sure you’re standing in a visible (and safe) location. Be aware that some times of the day or weather conditions can make it especially hard to be seen, so wave your hands or your phone’s flashlight if you need to.

It’s running *really* late

There are a lot of things that can delay a bus: traffic, an on-board incident, passengers who need more time to board. If a bus gets too delayed, it starts to interfere with other buses and we need to take action…which unfortunately means skipping stops. The good news? There’s probably another bus right behind it. And more good news: that next bus will likely be less crowded than the delayed one. This is another reason you’ll see a “Drop Off Only” message.

It’s not in service

There’s nothing worse than spotting the bus in the distance and getting excited, only to see “Not in Service,” “Garage” or “TriMet is Hiring” written across the top. That bus might be heading home for the day, going to get refueled, or sneaking off on an important mission. Be patient, your scheduled bus is still on its way.  Check Transit Tracker to see when it’ll arrive.

It was a mistake

This one is a bit embarrassing but yes, mistakes do happen. Sometimes it’s because a driver is new to the route. Other times they just plain didn’t see a stop (nobody’s perfect, after all). If you think this might be the case, please let us know by contacting the Help Center. 

It’s unsafe to stop

If it’s snowy or icy and your bus stop is on a slope, it may not be possible for the bus operator to safely stop without sliding. In this case, make your way to a stop at the top (or bottom) of the slope, where the driver can safely stop. If you need help, give us a call/text at 503-238- RIDE (7433).
Hopefully this is a rare occurrence — we’re here to get you where you need to go. If a bus doesn’t stop for you, we sincerely apologize and we hope you’ll let us pick you up with the next bus. And don’t forget: our customer service team is always available to help if you text or call 503-238- RIDE (7433) or message us on Facebook and Twitter (@trimet).
Misty Earisman

Misty Earisman

Marketing Communications Coordinator

Can usually be found riding her bicycle, practicing yoga or watching cooking videos. Also really loves goats.

earismam@trimet.org | All posts

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