Jan 31, 2024 - News

TriMet will sub buses for night trains

A TriMet MAX train at dusk at the Hollywood station in Portland

TriMet is considering replacing more MAX trains with night buses when ridership is lightest. Photo: Courtesy of TriMet

TriMet is planning to cut late-night MAX trains and replace them with buses starting this summer.

Why it matters: Ridership has inched back up to 1.22 million trips per week, down from a peak of 1.83 million before COVID-19 hit in March 2020.

  • In its Revised Service Concept, TriMet is looking to cut costs where the service is unpopular and focus on serving growing suburbs and work centers.

TriMet says, on average, passengers took just over 1,200 trips on MAX trains between midnight and the start of more frequent service shortly before 4am in 2023.

  • From 4am to midnight it was over 70,400.

Between the lines: Since 2015, the 291-Orange night bus has run on roads near the MAX Orange Line.

  • It fills a gap when a scant few riders use the train, which runs from downtown Portland to Milwaukie.

TriMet is considering using night buses on other MAX lines.

By the numbers: If MAX service ended at 1:12am and resumed at 4am, that could save $962,739 a year.

  • But if MAX Orange service ended at 11:12 pm and resumed at 4am, TriMet would save $4.4 million in a year.

TriMet spokesperson Roberta Altstadt cautioned that "the numbers are a very preliminary estimate."


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