Tri-Met Transit

Tri-Met Fact Sheet

September 1996


Tri-Met is a regional government established to provide public transportation within specified areas of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties.

Tri-Met is governed by a seven-member board of directors--unpaid citizens appointed by the governor. Each board member represents a geographical district.


Ridership on buses and MAX light rail has increased to record levels, with total ridership more than doubling in the last 20 years.

Graph showing growth 
in ridership


Map of Service Area

Tri-Met serves 592 square miles of the urban portions of the tri-county area.

Portland Transit Mall

Tri-Met customers can catch buses on more than 50 routes along the Portland Transit Mall. Exclusive bus lanes span 36 blocks on Fifth and Sixth Avenues in downtown Portland. MAX light rail intersects the mall offering easy transit connections. The first of its kind in the country, the mall is the cornerstone of Portland's Downtown Plan and clean air strategy.


The mall has made transit more convenient, attractive, and reliable while reducing bus travel time and conflicts between transit and auto traffic. The state-of-the-art information system, with computerized television screens and trip-planning kiosks, makes transit easy for passengers to use. Since the decision to build the mall, downtown Portland has seen more than $1.5 billion in development.


The 22-block transit mall was constructed in 1976. Federal funds paid for 80% of the $15.9 million project; Tri-Met funds provided the remaining 20%. The mall was extended to 36 blocks in June 1994.

MAX -- Metropolitan Area Express

Tri-Met's light rail system known as MAX provided nearly 9 million rides last year. The 18-mile Westside extension is under construction and will begin operation in fall 1998. Planning is also underway for a 21-mile extension to the south and north. Tri-Met and MAX are both regarded as national models in how to use transit to manage growth and revitalize communities.

Map showing MAX route

Eastside MAX

Tri-Met's 15-mile light rail line has provided more than 75.7 million rides since it opened on September 5, 1986. Since that opening, MAX service hours have increased 7.5%, yet ridership has increased 35%.

MAX was completed on time and under budget. The Banfield Transitway Project--the first joint highway-transit project in the United States, included construction of both light rail and 4.3 miles of the Banfield Freeway (I-84).

Construction & Funding

Construction: March 1982-Sept. 1986
Funding: $214 million
Federal: 83%
State/Local: 17%

Light Rail & Livable Communities

Light rail not only provides millions of rides each year, it's also an effective tool to create livable neighborhoods and encourage transit-oriented development. This type of development can be seen along every segment of the Eastside MAX line.

Graphic showing 
dollars of new development adjacent to Eastside MAX

New Development Adjacent to Eastside MAX

Downtown         $396.4 M
Lloyd District    767   M
Banfield            1.3 M
Burnside           68.3 M
Gresham            77.7 M

For example, the $262 million Rose Garden arena could have easily been built in the suburbs. But with one MAX line already in operation, and another slated for construction, the Portland Trailblazers opted for a transit-friendly location. All told, more than $1.3 billion worth of development has occurred within walking distance of the Eastside MAX line since the decision to build.

Westside MAX

Construction is underway on the 18-mile Westside MAX project that will extend light rail from downtown Portland through Beaverton to downtown Hillsboro. The $944 million project opens in fall 1998. Two MAX stations in the Goose Hollow neighborhood will open in fall 1997.

The extension has 20 MAX stations including the Washington Park Station. That station will serve the twin-tube 3-mile underground tunnel that carries MAX under Portland's West Hills.

Westside MAX has great potential for transit-friendly development. There is already over $90 million of development underway near the MAX line and much more is expected in the future.

Tri-Met is the first transit agency in the U.S. to order low floor light rail cars, which make boarding easier for everyone. The 46 new low floor cars will be part of the fleet providing service along the 33-mile MAX line. The first low floor cars will begin operating on Eastside MAX in 1997.

Construction & Funding

Construction: July 1993-Fall 1998
Funding: $944 million
Federal 75%
State/Local 25%

South/North MAX

Planning is underway to design a South/North MAX extension. Segment I of the project would expand the MAX system from Clackamas County through Milwaukie, and connect with Portland State University, the downtown Transit Mall, and The Rose Garden arena. Tri-Met is working to secure 50% federal matching funds for the project. Alignment of Segment I is being studied.


Local tax support for Tri-Met comes from payroll related taxes at a rate of .6176% ($6.17 per $1,000) on gross payroll.

Operating Revenue Sources (FY 96)

Payroll Taxes         $108,072,068 (71.4%)
Cigarette Tax            1,789,625 ( 1.2%)
Interest                 2,452,189 ( 1.6%)
Passenger Revenue       31,965,230 (21%)
Federal Operating        2,040,724 (1.4%)
Other Sources            5,080,639 (3.4%)

Fares (Bus & MAX)

Fares are the same on buses and MAX--transfers are free. Tri-Met's service area is divided into three fare zones.

                                     10        Monthly     Annual 
                          Cash      Tickets     Passes     Passes
   All  Zones            $1.35     $12.50      $46.00     $505.00
   2 Zones                1.05       9.50       36.00      395.00
   Short Hopper           8.50       ---         ---         ---
   Honored Citizen*       0.50       4.00       10.00      110.00
   Youth**                0.80       7.00       27.00      295.00
   LIFT                   1.00       9.00       20.00        ---
   Day Ticket             3.25       ---         ---         ---
Children age 6 and under ride free with a fare-paying rider
* Age 65+ or Medicare or Tri-Met Honored Citizen card.
** Age 18 and under with ID.

How Passengers Pay Fares:
Cash                 38%
Monthly Pass         49%
Discount Ticket      13%

Fareless Square

All rides are free within 300 square block area of Portland's downtown, bounded by the Willamette River, I-405 and NW Irving Street.

Other Services

In addition to bus and MAX service, Tri-Met provides these services:

Reduced Parking Rates for Carpoolers

In cooperation with the City of Portland, Portland Development Commission, and the State of Oregon, parking permits for carpools of two or more people are available for reduced rates in downtown Portland and the Lloyd District. For information call CAR-POOL, or (503) 227-7665.

Park & Ride Lots

Commuters can take advantage of free parking at nearly 60 Park & Ride lots along most Tri-Met routes. Many lots are community-donated. For Park & Ride lot information, call (503) 238-RIDE.

Commuter Programs for Employers

Tri-Met helps businesses develop transit programs for their employees to get to work in the most convenient and cost-effective manner.

The services include arranging on-site transportation promotions and training company representatives on the "how-to's" of using Tri-Met and carpooling. For information, call (503) 238-5879.

Bikes on Tri-Met

Bicyclists with permits can take bikes on MAX and use bicycle racks on all Tri-Met buses. The $5 permits are available to cyclists 8 years or older. For information, call (503) 239-3044.

Transportation for People with Disabilities

Fixed Route

All but a few Tri-Met buses are accessible to customers who use mobility devices during weekday rush hours. Alternative accessible service is available to those customers. All Tri-Met buses are accessible on weekends.

Tri-Met offers a 50 cent cash fare to seniors and passengers with disabilities; nearly 100,000 Honored Citizen cards have been issued. Honored Citizens make up about 11% of Tri-Met's average monthly ridership.

LIFT Service

Tri-Met LIFT provides door-to-door rides for customers unable to use other bus or MAX service because of a disability. LIFT service is available from 4:30 a.m. - 2:30 a.m. seven days a week, provided by companies on contract with Tri-Met. Rides must be requested by 5 p.m. one day in advance.

Ridership has grown 20% in the last two years to over 550,000 rides this year. Approximately 300 new applicants for LIFT service are received monthly. LIFT has added 27% more service hours in the last two years and is expected to add another 10% next year. To register for LIFT service, call (503) 238-4952, TTY 238-5811 or fax 239-3092. To schedule a ride, call (503) 233-LIFT.

Passenger Facilities

90 bus routes
642 buses
8,000 bus stops
26 MAX vehicles
30 MAX light rail stations
810 bus shelters
41 Portland Transit Mall shelters
16 transit centers where buses and trains meet at timed intervals to help suburban commuters
60 Park & Ride lots


Number of Employees: 2,226
Operators: 1,189; Maintenance: 447

Tri-Met Customers

Pie chart

Customers who: 
Have a car, but prefer Tri-Met    70%
Can't drive                        7%
No car available                  14%
Don't have car, prefer Tri-Met     8%
Don't know                         1%

Source: Tri-Met Attitude & Awareness Survey, August 1996.

Tri-Met Board of Directors

Director                District           Term Expires
Phil Bogue, President      SW Portland            1/98
Shirley Huffman            Washington County      3/00
Valerie White              NW & N Portland        6/97
Donald McClave             SE Portland            1/98
Nita Brueggeman            NE Portland            1/97
Paul Kreider               E Multnomah County     3/00
George Passadore           Clackamas County       7/99


With privately owned Rose City Transit facing bankruptcy, the Oregon Legislature passed a bill enabling the formation of public transit districts. Tri-Met took formal possession of Rose City Transit properties and 293 aging buses and began operating as a public transit agency.

Tri-Met expanded operations to the suburbs, acquiring the privately owned Blue Lines.

The 22-block Portland Mall was constructed--the first if its kind in the nation.

March 1978
Portland Mall was dedicated as an integral part of the successful downtown clean air strategy.

The 15-mile MAX (Metropolitan Area Express) light rail line was constructed between downtown Portland and Gresham.

September 5, 1986
MAX line opened with a three-day community celebration that drew 200,000 people.

September 1989
Tri-Met named "America's Best Large Transit Agency" by the American Public Transit Association.

May 1993
Tri-Met ordered 46 low-floor light rail trains that will make boarding easier for everyone. The cars are the first of their kind in North America, and some will begin operating on Eastside MAX in 1997.

July 1993
Westside MAX construction began.

December 29, 1995
Drilling completed on the first of two three-mile tunnels for Westside MAX.

August 1, 1996
The nation's first low-floor car arrived at Tri-Met.

August 15, 1996
Drilling completed on the second of two three-mile tunnels for Westside MAX.

September 5, 1996
MAX's 10-year birthday. More than 75 million rides have been given since service began in 1986.

How We Get There Matters.
Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon

4012 SE 17th Avenue, Portland, OR 97202-3993
(503) 238-RIDE ; TTY (503) 238-5811

[Home] [Contact Us]
Tri-Met Fact Sheet / 3.04.97/
Send comments about this page to
Copyright © 1995-96 Tri-Met