PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Yes, just about everything is shut down or grinding to a halt. But there are people who still need to get to work, appointments, have places they must be.
And a lot of them use TriMet. Just not as many as before.
TriMet officials said there was a 10% drop on trips taken on MAX and WES trains last week, which followed a 5% dip the week before. TriMet data obtained through a public record request shows 316,415 people used TriMet transportation on Feb. 3 compared to 281,000 on March 6.
They said late Tuesday they have not made any changes to their transit schedules — yet.
“We help move health care workers, social service workers, our own transit staff, first responders and others who must travel during this time so they can help keep people safe and healthy and keep our community going,” TriMet spokesperson Roberta Alstadt said in a statement. “However, we may need to adjust service due to any new direction from health authorities and government leaders or due to staffing levels.”
Creating distance on transit
The Priority Seating section on buses is now generally folded up and marked off with red tape, officials said. People who need that area can still sit there and the operator will remove the tape.
But there are fewer riders at this time so “there is more space for people to spread out on board, even with the Priority Seating area marked off.”
The buses and trains are cleaned and disinfected nightly. That includes the spots people touch the most — the ticket machines, Hop validators, doors and buttons. But remember: a spot is only clean until someone touches it or sneezes/coughs nearby.
TriMet officials said it does seem people are trying to distance themselves as much as they can, and the Oregon Health Authority said riders should have at least 3 feet of space. With fewer riders, there is more space.
Employees working hard
“We want to thank our frontline staff – our operators and supervisors – our maintenance staff and all the other employees who work hard to keep our buses and trains rolling and provide a safe system for our operators and those who are riding at this time,” Alstadt said.
So if you’re riding, be nice to each other. Create some space and treat all the TriMet workers with respect and a pleasant demeanor.