Moving ‘Forward Together’ to meet our community’s needs

Oct 18, 2022

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 changed where people go and how they travel. We’re glad to see a lot of people using transit again, with more than one million trips per week for the past five months. As we continue to adjust to “new normals” after the pandemic, we want to make sure that our transit service reflects our community’s needs. To accomplish this, we’re developing a new transit service concept called “Forward Together” that could lead to a comprehensive re-thinking of our bus service. Here’s a look at some ideas that we think may make our bus service better, plus details on how to weigh in.

Exploring the concept and background

As a starting point, as we continue to restore our bus operator workforce, we anticipate growing our bus service by more than 30% over current levels in the coming years. As that happens, it’s important that bus service aligns with how riders use transit, now and in the future. The Forward Together Draft Service Concept suggests re-structuring our bus network to give more people access to our services, to reach more jobs, schools and destinations. 

To guide our thinking, TriMet conducted an initial community survey in spring 2022 that asked what should be considered when planning bus service for the future. The feedback we heard from 5,500 riders, stakeholders and community members was strongest in two themes: focus on ridership and improve connections to destinations for people with low and limited incomes. 

We listened, and we formed a transit service concept to support what’s important to our community. To best achieve the goals and feedback we heard, the Draft Service Concept could mean adjustments for more than 80% of our bus lines, in routing, frequency and/or hours of service. Overall, the changes we’re thinking about may: 

  • Bring bus service closer to 50,000 more people.
  • Make weekend service available to 100,000 more people.
  • Provide Frequent Service to 50% more people and jobs.
  • Make it easier to reach more jobs in 45 minutes or less.

Broadly speaking, the concept takes a look at reducing service in relatively low-ridership, high-income areas in order to increase service in areas where people have lower incomes. Those increases may come in new Frequent Service bus lines, new routes serving new areas and changes to current bus service.

We want to be clear: The service concept we are presenting is a draft. It’s meant to start a conversation and get feedback from our community. It will probably change a lot based on what we hear from you. 


We want your feedback!

So, what do you think? Are we on track?  Is this how our bus service should serve riders? We invite you to review the Draft Service Concept, then weigh in here and let us know what you think by October 31. Your feedback is very important!


Let’s meet to talk about the draft service concept

We know these possible changes are significant and a lot to consider. We invite you to join us at one of the upcoming open houses events — in person or virtually, and in English or Spanish — to learn more about the Draft Service Concept. Our team of planners and consultants will be available to answer your questions and get your feedback to help shape the future of TriMet bus service.

Tuesday, Oct. 18, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

PCC Cascade – Lobby of Cascade Hall, 5625 North Albina Avenue, Portland

Wednesday, Oct. 19, 4 – 6 p.m.

Rosewood Initiative – 14127 Southeast Stark Street, Portland

Thursday, Oct. 20, 5 – 7 p.m.

Shute Park Library – 775 SE 10th Ave, Hillsboro

Saturday, Oct. 22, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Zoom virtual open house in Spanish — Meeting Link

Wednesday, Oct. 26, 5– 7 p.m.

CCC Harmony – Room 120/130, 7738 Southeast Harmony Rd., Milwaukie

Thursday, Oct. 27, 5:30– 7 p.m.

Zoom virtual open house in English — Meeting Link

You can RSVP for these open house events on Facebook.

Remember, your feedback matters! 

Do you have questions about the Draft Service Concept? Get more information about Forward Together online. You can also call 503-238-7433 or contact us online.

What are the next steps?

Based on what we hear from our community, we’ll revise this concept to create a bus service plan that we’ll present to the TriMet Board of Directors at its December meeting. During that meeting, we’ll share the results of what we heard from the community. 

Then, we’ll share the refined bus service concept broadly with the community. You’ll see details about exactly what parts of the revised concept we think we will be able to do each year, and you’ll be able to provide feedback about them. 


When could the changes to bus service happen?

We don’t have a firm date, but riders could see the first service changes as early as September 2023. But, the full “Forward Together” plan is dependent upon ending our operator shortage. While we’re making progress in increasing the number of bus operators who drive for us, we can’t stand by a firm date, though we hope to roll out the new service changes within the next five years. 

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