TriMet MAX trains at Beaverton Transit Center in Beaverton, Oregon. A Blue Line train departing for

Hillsboro is on the left,  and a Red Line train waiting to depart for Portland International Airport is on the right.

(Musashi1600, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)




The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) is a transit agency that serves most of the Oregon part of the Portland metropolitan area. Created in 1969 by the Oregon legislature, the district replaced five private bus companies that operated in the three counties: Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas. TriMet began operating a light rail system, MAX, in 1986, which has since been expanded to five lines that now cover 59.7 miles (96.1 km). It also operates the WES Commuter Rail line since 2009. It also provides the operators and maintenance personnel for the city of Portland-owned Portland Streetcar system. In 2023, the system had a ridership of 62,055,600, or about 196,900 per weekday as of the fourth quarter of 2023.

In addition to rail lines, TriMet provides the region's bus system, as well as LIFT paratransit service. There are 688 buses in TriMet's fleet that operate on 85 lines. In 2018, the entire system averaged 310,000 rides per weekday and operates buses and trains between the hours of approximately 5 a.m. and 2 a.m. TriMet's annual budget for FY 2018 is $525.8 million, with 30% of resources coming from a district-wide payroll tax and 10% from fares. The district is overseen by a seven-person board of directors appointed by the state's governor. As of 2022, the agency has around 3,428 employees.


General information

TriMet operates a light rail system (MAX Light Rail), the Portland Streetcar, and a commuter rail line (WES Commuter Rail).
TriMet is "a municipal corporation of the State of Oregon", with powers to tax, issue bonds, and enact police ordinances and is governed by a seven-member board of directors appointed by the Governor of Oregon. It has its own boundary, which currently encompasses an area of about 533 square miles (1,380 km2). The TriMet district serves portions of the counties of Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas; it extends from Troutdale to Forest Grove east to west, and from Sauvie Island to Oregon City and Estacada north to south.

For more than 30 years the agency called itself Tri-Met, but it formally dropped the hyphen from its name in 2002, as part of a new corporate identity strategy involving a redesigned logo and new color scheme for its vehicles and other media.

TriMet was formed in 1969 after disputes between the Portland city council and Rose City Transit Company, the private company that previously operated the bus system serving the city (but not its suburbs). The new public agency was created by an ordinance of the Portland city council, under provisions of a law enacted by the 1969 Oregon Legislature, and took over all of Rose City Transit's service and fleet effective December 1, 1969. Bus service in the suburban portions of the metropolitan area was operated by four smaller private companies which had a common union and were collectively known as the "Blue Bus" lines: Portland Stages, Tualatin Valley Buses, Intercity Buses and Estacada-Molalla Stages. These were taken over by TriMet on September 6, 1970. Eighty-eight buses owned by the four suburban companies were transferred to TriMet, but many were found to be in poor condition and the TriMet board soon took action to replace them with new buses.

As of July 2022, TriMet operates a total of 696 buses on 85 routes, 145 MAX light rail cars on five lines, and 253 LIFT paratransit vehicles. Each of the five MAX and 17 of the bus lines are designated as "Frequent Service" lines, scheduled to operate at headways of 15 minutes or less for most of the service day (service is less frequent in the early morning and late evening).

TriMet connects to several other mass transit systems:

  • C-Tran, the public transit district for Vancouver and Clark County, Washington
  • Canby Area Transit, the public transit service for Canby and rural areas south of Oregon City along Highway 99E (formerly within the TriMet district)
  • Cherriots, the public transit service for Salem and Keizer. This connection is at the Wilsonville Station of TriMet's WES Commuter Rail rail line.
  • Columbia County Rider, the public transit service for Scappoose, St. Helens, and Columbia County
  • Portland Streetcar, a circulator streetcar service in downtown Portland and neighborhoods near downtown
  • Sandy Area Metro, the public transit service for Sandy (formerly within the TriMet district)
  • SMART, the public transit service for Wilsonville (formerly within the TriMet district)
  • South Clackamas Transportation District, the public transit service for Molalla and rural areas south of Oregon City along Highway 213 (formerly within the TriMet district)
  • Tillamook County Transportation District, the public transit service for Tillamook and Tillamook County
  • Yamhill County Transit Area, the public transit service for McMinnville, Newberg and Yamhill County

TriMet, Average Daily Ridership, All Modes, 2002–2016 Updated link:
TriMet also links to various local shuttle services operated by the following: Ride Connection, which serves Banks, Gaston, King City and North Plains; the Swan Island Transportation Management Association; the Tualatin Transportation Management Association; Intel; Nike; and Oregon Health & Science University, including the Portland Aerial Tram.

Long-range transportation planning for the metropolitan area is provided by Metro, an elected regional government. Metro also has statutory authority to take over the day-to-day operations of TriMet, but has never exercised that power, as past studies of such a merger have found it to be problematic.


MAX train traveling on the Yellow line (Interstate Avenue).

(Alphalife, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


Rail lines

See also: MAX Light Rail, WES Commuter Rail, and Portland Streetcar (all coming soon)

TriMet runs the MAX Light Rail (short for Metropolitan Area Express) system, and contracts with Portland and Western Railroad to operate the WES Commuter Rail line (short for Westside Express Service). Fares on MAX (as well as WES) are the same as TriMet bus fares, and fare collection uses a proof-of-payment system (or honor system) with ticket vending machines at each station. Fare inspectors patrol the system randomly. Incidents of violence on the system have led to calls for more security, and some have argued that more thorough checking of fares would improve riders' overall feeling of safety.

The TransitTracker system uses satellite tracking on buses and sensors in the MAX tracks to predict arrival times at stops and stations. Additionally, TriMet is partnering with Google Maps to install Bluetooth low energy beacons on MAX platforms, allowing nearby Android device users to directly receive schedule and alert information.

TriMet trains operate using reporting mark TMTC.

TriMet's rail lines include:

Light rail

  • Blue Line: Hillsboro – Beaverton – City Center – Gresham
  • Green Line: Portland State University – City Center – Clackamas
  • Orange Line: Union Station – City Center – Milwaukie
  • Red Line: Beaverton – City Center – Portland International Airport
  • Yellow Line: Expo Center – City Center – Portland State University

Commuter rail

  • WES: Beaverton – Tigard – Tualatin – Wilsonville

From 1991 until 2014, TriMet also operated the Portland Vintage Trolley service, which ran on a portion of the MAX system on most weekends. It was reduced to only seven dates per year in 2011 and was discontinued entirely in July 2014.

Additionally, the Portland Streetcar system, which is owned and managed by the City of Portland, not TriMet, is operated and maintained by TriMet under contract with the City of Portland. TriMet also provides a portion of the funding for the streetcar lines.


TriMet 122. (Steve Morgan, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)

TriMet 207. (Musashi1600, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)

TriMet 306. (Steve Morgan, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)

TriMet 422. (Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons)

TriMet 525. (Steve Morgan, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)

TriMet 605. (Truflip99, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Light rail (MAX)

TriMet's fleet includes 145 light rail vehicles, of 5 general types: TriMet Type 1, Type 2/Type 3 (almost identical), Type 4 and Type 5. The first two cars of Type 5 entered service in April 2015. TriMet placed an order for new cars to replace the Type 1 trains in 2019. The first car arrived in December 2022, to be tested.

Designation Car numbers Manufacturer Model First used No. of seats/overall capacity Quantity
Type 1 101–126 Bombardier N/A 1986 76/166 26
Type 2 201–252 Siemens SD660 1997 64/166 52
Type 3 301–327 Siemens SD660 2003 64/166 27
Type 4 401–422 Siemens S70 2009 68/172 22
Type 5 521–538 Siemens S700 2015 72/186 18
Type 6 601-630 Siemens S700 2024 (expected) unknown/168 30

Notes on capacities:

The capacities given are for a single car; a two-car train has double the capacity.
The Type 2 cars originally had 72 seats, but eight seats were later removed, to make space for bicycles.
All of these capacity figures are based on "normal" loading conditions (defined as 4 standing passengers per square meter by industry standards); under so-called "crush" loading conditions (6-8 standees per m2), all of these cars are capable of carrying many more passengers than stated here.


WES Commuter Rail car in central Beaverton.

(Pi.1415926535, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Commuter rail (WES)

Main article: WES Commuter Rail
The commuter rail line between Beaverton and Wilsonville is operated primarily with trains made up from a fleet of four Colorado Railcar Aero diesel multiple unit railcars. TriMet also owns four Budd RDC diesel multiple-unit railcars, of which two have entered service and are used as a backup.



For more information on buses click HERE.


Paint schemes

TriMet has had four main paint schemes during its five-decade history. The agency's first paint scheme, adopted in April 1970, featured a tangerine (or orange) base with silver (unpainted metal) along the middle portion of the lower half and a white stripe below and above the windows. The windshield also had a white outline around it. The white above the windows curved upward to the roof at the first door, leaving the bus's front section all orange at the roof.

TriMet's second paint scheme, which was adopted in August 1980 and was the agency's standard paint scheme from 1980 to 2002 (but remains in use on most of the Type 2 MAX cars in 2021), features a white base with a three-color stripe below the windows. The stripe colors are (in order from top to bottom) burgundy, red and orange, and near the front on each side the stripe makes a sharp bend and angles upward to the roof (except on MAX cars). The logo of TriMet – which at that time was still using the hyphenated spelling Tri-Met – was shown on the front end.

TriMet's third paint scheme, of white with blue and "buttery" yellow, was adopted in August 2002. It features a white base with a large blue semi-circle at the top, curving downward, and a smaller pale yellow semi-circle at the bottom, curving upward. This was the first paint scheme to use the current logo.

TriMet's current standard paint scheme was introduced in early 2019. It is all-over blue with three orange vertical, and slightly angled, lines in the rear portion on each side, with the middle line being thicker than the two outer lines. TriMet's Frequent Express (FX) buses will have a similar paint scheme, but with green and blue colors.

There have also been other paint scheme variations. TriMet's 3800-series battery-electric buses use an all-blue paint scheme with several blue stripes and wind turbine graphics to call attention to their being all-electric buses. The WES RDCs use a paint scheme of mostly bare metal with a large white stripe along the windows, and a smaller blue stripe above the white stripe. The front of the train has a blue and yellow stripe pattern.




  • 1969 Tri-Met takes over for the nearly bankrupt Rose City Transit Company. The system has 175 buses and a daily ridership of about 65,000.


  • 1970 Tri-Met takes over the "Blue Bus" companies, the four companies which had been providing bus service to and within Portland's suburbs, adding another 88 buses to the agency's fleet.
  • 1973 Route numbers (or Line numbers) are adopted for the first time; previously, routes had been designated only by names.
  • 1974 The first shelters at bus stops are installed.
  • 1975 The "Fareless Square" is created in downtown Portland, with the goal of reducing short automobile trips within the city core and attracting more riders. Fares outside the Square are 35 cents. The zone-based fare system was discontinued at that time, but was reinstated less than four years later and remained in use until 2012.
  • 1977/78 The 22-block Portland Transit Mall opens on downtown's Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The mall includes bus-only lanes and provides a hub to make it easier for riders to make connections.
  • 1978 After 3½ years using a "flat" fare system, a zonal fare structure is reinstated, with three fare zones. Zone 1 consisted of downtown Portland and extending about one to two miles (3 km) out. Zone 2 was a ring around Zone 1 out two to three more miles. Zone 3 wrapped around Zone 2 and consisted of the rest of the system within the suburbs of Portland.


  • 1981 24-hour recorded schedule information becomes available over the phone.
  • 1982 Tri-Met introduces articulated buses for the first time. The buses were manufactured by Crown-Ikarus, a now-defunct partnership between Ikarus, of Hungary, and Crown Coach, of California, but they proved to be sufficiently trouble-plagued that the agency later sues the manufacturer to recover expenses tied to excessive repairs; a settlement was reached in 1987. The last bus was retired in 1999 and TriMet did not purchase articulated buses again until 2019 (for the Division Transit Project, to enter service in 2022).
  • 1982 In September, Tri-Met introduces a proof-of-payment (or "self-service") fare system for all service, but discontinues it in June 1984, due to fare evasion, high equipment repair costs and other problems.
  • 1983 Completion of the installation of two-way radios on the entire fleet; 100 buses already had radios by 1980, and all others were equipped in 1982–83.
  • 1986 As part of a package of budget cuts, Tri-Met discontinues its all-night "Owl" service, making Portland the second largest U.S. city without all-night transit service. Seven regular (daytime) bus routes also were eliminated.
  • 1986 The 15-mile (24 km) long MAX Light Rail line between Portland and Gresham opens. It reintroduces rail transit service to the Portland area, missing since the 1950s.
  • 1989 Tri-Met is named the best large transit system in North America by the American Public Transit Association.


  • 1992 The first bike racks are installed on the fronts of some Tri-Met buses, as part of a one-year trial project.
  • 1995 Tri-Met's website goes online, hosted by local ISP Teleport (which eventually becomes acquired by, later to become part of Earthlink). At the time when Internet access was less ubiquitous, Tri-Met also offered a dial-up information service through Teleport using a Unix shell and Lynx.
  • 1996 Tri-Met begins to equip its bus fleet with vehicle tracking system equipment, to enable monitoring of buses in service, using GPS technology.
  • 1997 The first low-floor buses and light-rail cars go into service.
  • 1998 Westside MAX (now known as the Blue Line between Portland and Hillsboro) opens. Tri-Met also establishes bus lines that come every 15 minutes or sooner everyday, lessening the need to consult a schedule when using them.
  • 1999 Satellite-assisted bus arrival time displays (later to be named Transit Tracker) are installed at select major bus stops in North Portland and downtown.


  • 2001 Fareless Square is expanded to a small portion of Northeast Portland between Lloyd Center and the Steel Bridge. Airport MAX (the Red Line) begins service on September 10 after a public/private partnership, prompted by a proposal from Bechtel Corporation, enables its construction years ahead of TriMet's plans for the use of public funds. Bechtel received exclusive development rights to 120 acres (486,000 m2) near the entrance to Portland International Airport. The original MAX line began to be referred to as the MAX Blue Line upon the opening of the Red Line. Bus sector symbols began to be phased out from maps and publications.
  • 2002 With the September schedule change, Tri-Met launches a new corporate identity strategy. It is renamed TriMet (without a hyphen) and a new logo and blue, white and yellow livery are introduced. An improved automated phone service is introduced.
  • 2004 Interstate MAX (the Yellow Line) opens along Interstate Avenue. The fleet has grown to 638 buses, 208 paratransit vehicles, and 105 trains with a daily ridership of over 300,000.
  • 2005 TriMet introduces biodiesel fuel into its fleet, using a B5 blend (5 percent pure biodiesel, 95 percent petroleum diesel), initially on LIFT (paratransit) minibuses only. Use of B5 biodiesel was expanded to the entire bus fleet in late 2006.
  • 2007 The Portland Mall, on 5th and 6th Avenues, is shut down for rebuilding and southward extension (to PSU), including adding a second light-rail alignment through downtown. The rebuilding, to take over 2 years, is part of the MAX Green Line project, but will also replace all infrastructure for buses on the already 29-year-old transit mall. Most bus routes serving downtown are detoured to other streets until 2009.
  • 2009 The 14.7-mile (23.7 km) WES Commuter Rail opens on February 2. WES (Westside Express Service) provides service between Beaverton and Wilsonville with stations in Tigard and Tualatin in between.
  • 2009 In May, the Portland Mall reopens for buses, and testing and training runs for the new Mall MAX tracks begin, for opening August 30.
  • 2009 Due to the national recession's effect on the agency's finances, the board approves a series of service reductions, to take effect in September. The board votes on August 12 to discontinue Fareless Square for bus service beginning in January 2010, while retaining fare-free rides in the downtown area on MAX and the Portland Streetcar.
  • 2009 On August 30, MAX service on the transit mall is introduced, with the shifting of the Yellow Line to the new alignment. September 12 brings the opening of the Green Line, also using the new transit-mall tracks, running from downtown (PSU) to Clackamas Town Center. It is TriMet's first light rail line serving Clackamas County.


TriMet's Tilikum Crossing, built as part of the MAX Orange Line project, opened in 2015.

(Steve Morgan, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)



  • 2012 TriMet purchases 55 new Gillig diesel buses to begin replacing buses dating back to 1990. The last four of the new buses are hybrid-electrics estimated to be 20-50% more fuel-efficient and produce 95% fewer emissions; they replaced hybrid buses that were in service since 2002.
  • 2012 TriMet discontinues "Free Rail Zone" (formerly known as the "Fareless Square") in Downtown Portland and ends use of three-zone, distance-based fare system. Until this time, the TriMet district was divided into three fare zones, with fares based on the number of zones in which a passenger traveled.
  • 2015 TriMet opens the new MAX Orange Line from Downtown Portland to Milwaukie, and the Tilikum Crossing, used by the Orange Line and two bus lines
  • 2018 After 32 years without any all-night transit service, TriMet extends service hours on lines 20-Burnside/Stark and 57-TV Highway to run 24 hours a day. The agency also establishes Line 272-PDX Night Bus to provide early-morning service between NE 82nd Avenue and the Portland International Airport.
  • 2019 TriMet introduces a new paint scheme, the first such change since 2002.
  • 2019 TriMet's first battery-electric buses, numbered 3801–3805, go into service.


  • 2022 on September 18, TriMet's 14-mile Frequent Express line opens. 31 60-foot Novabus LFSA buses are put into service for use on the line.
  • 2023 TriMet's Type 6 trains arrive for testing.



TriMet works with local jurisdictions and agencies to identify and recommend priority transit projects to include in Metro's Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). The 2018 RTP is Metro's latest iteration, and it lists three funding scenarios that divide the region's proposals into three priority levels. The highest priority projects, which are referred to as "2027 Constrained", are proposals the region expects to have funding for by 2027. The "2040 Constrained" lists projects that fit within the region's planned budget through 2040, while the "2040 Strategic" are projects that may be built if additional funding becomes available. TriMet also has a page on their website discussing the future plans for their rail and bus lines.


Communities served

The following cities and unincorporated communities (*) are in the TriMet service area:

  • Aloha*
  • Beaverton
  • Bethany*
  • Cedar Hills*
  • Cedar Mill*
  • Clackamas*
  • Cornelius
  • Durham
  • Estacada
  • Forest Grove
  • Fairview
  • Gladstone
  • Gresham
  • Hillsboro
  • Happy Valley
  • Johnson City
  • King City
  • Lake Oswego
  • Milwaukie
  • Maywood Park
  • Oak Grove*
  • Oregon City
  • Portland
  • Rivergrove
  • Sherwood
  • Tigard
  • Troutdale
  • Tualatin
  • West Linn
  • Wood Village

TriMet buses and commuter rail also serve Wilsonville, Oregon, which is outside the TriMet district, in order to provide connections to transit services operated by SMART in that city.

A state law that went into effect on October 1, 1987, enabled communities with a population of less than 10,000 to petition to leave the TriMet district. A petition, which needed to be signed by at least 15 percent of registered voters in the affected area, must demonstrate that a community is not receiving adequate service and that TriMet's payroll tax is adversely affecting business activity for the withdrawal from the transit district to be approved. The first three areas to make use of the law and withdraw from the TriMet district, effective January 1, 1989, were Damascus, Molalla, and Wilsonville. The Boring area was removed from the TriMet District on January 1, 2013.



TriMet employs a transit police division to patrol its services. Officers in this division normally serve with local law enforcement agencies and are assigned terms with the transit police; this partnership with local police enables the closest available unit to respond to incidents. TriMet also partners with the Transportation Security Administration, which provides a canine unit to detect explosives and deter acts of terrorism. Riders are encouraged to alert TriMet employees using on-board intercoms or to dial 9-1-1 when witnessing crime or suspicious activity. TriMet operates over 4,000 security cameras. All TriMet vehicles became fully equipped with cameras in 2014.

In the aftermath of the 2020 George Floyd protests, TriMet reallocated $1.8 million in police contracts and established a transit public safety committee to reevaluate safety and security. In June 2020, an audit by Portland's Independent Police Review concluded that accountability for the transit police, which the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) oversaw, "fell short of the community's expectations". According to the audit, PPB's management "led to some adverse outcomes with community members when they have a negative encounter with a transit officer and learn that accountability is elusive." The following March, TriMet reassigned control of the transit police to the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office. In fall 2021, TriMet deployed a Safety Response Team on MAX. The 24-member team is unarmed and aims to "connect riders in need with social services, reduce 911 calls for non-emergencies, and provide emergency supplies to those who need them."


TriMet operates a light rail system (MAX Light Rail), the Portland Streetcar, and a commuter rail line (WES Commuter Rail).

(Haha169, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)



Locale: Portland metropolitan area, Oregon
Transit type: Local bus, Light rail, Commuter rail
Number of lines: Bus: 85, MAX Light Rail: 5, WES Commuter Rail: 1
Number of stations: Light rail: 97, Commuter rail: 5
Daily ridership: 196,900 (weekdays, Q4 2023)
Annual ridership: 62,055,600 (2023)
Began operation: December 1, 1969
Number of vehicles
Buses: 696
Light rail: 145
Commuter rail: 6
System length
Light rail: 60 mi (97 km)
Commuter rail: 14.7 mi (23.7 km)
Track gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge