A Beginner’s Guide to Portland Public Transportation

By Sydney Gannon | September 9, 2022 3:33pm

The 35, 44, and 75 are bus lines that run close to campus.

Media Credit: Sydney Gannon / The Beacon

It can be easy to feel confined to campus as a new student, especially if you don’t have a car. Even with many local public transportation options, figuring out how to use it can be intimidating. 

Here is a guide to public transportation in Portland: 


For getting around the North Portland area and beyond, TriMet buses are often convenient options for UP students. The 35, 44 and 75 TriMet lines all run through the North Portland area and have stops close to campus.

To get started on planning a bus trip, first download the Hop Fastpass app on your phone. With the Hop Fastpass app, you can add money to a virtual bus card, find bus stops near you, see when the next bus is coming, plan an entire day out on the town and more. These functions are also available on the TriMet website

TriMet provides affordable rates, with an adult fare of $2.50 for every two and a half hours. To use the virtual Hop card, tap your phone on the green Hop reader when you board the bus. Contactless credit and debit cards can also be used for payment.  

MAX Light Rail

Photo courtesy of TriMet

Another option by TriMet is the MAX (Metropolitan Area Express) light rail. This can be used for long-distance trips to areas surrounding Portland. 

MAX has five lines that run through the Portland area: the blue, orange, green, yellow and red lines. Each line stops at every MAX station on its route and arrives every 15 minutes. 

A map of the MAX light rail routes. Photo courtesy of TriMet

The adult fare for MAX light rail is the same as TriMet buses. Use the Hop Fastpass app to pay by tapping your Hop card on the green Hop reader before boarding your train. The Hop Fastpass app can also be used to plan trips with MAX light rail.  

Nike Biketown  

A Nike BikeTown rack can be located outside Lund Family Hall.

by Sydney Gannon / The Beacon

With a station located outside Lund Family Hall, Nike Biketown is a convenient and affordable option for UP students. It costs $1 to unlock an ebike and an additional $0.20 for each minute that you use the bike. 

The bike lock that comes with each ebike can be used to lock it to a Biketown station for free or to a normal bike rack for an extra $1.   

The Nike Biketown app can be used to find a nearby, available bike. Use the app to scan the QR code on an ebike to unlock its cable. You can also use the app to find a route to your destination as well as to reserve ebikes. The Lyft app can also be used to find, reserve and unlock Nike Biketown ebikes. 


Zipcars can be found around campus, including the parking lot behind Pilot House.

by Sydney Gannon / The Beacon

Zipcars, which has a partnership with UP, are parked around the UP campus and are also available for students to use. 

UP students can sign up for a Zipcar membership for $35 a year. Zipcar reservations start at $9.50 per hour and $79 per day for students. Gas, insurance, maintenance and 180 miles per day are included in every reservation. 

You can apply for the membership by following the link to the Zipcar page on the UP website, and must have a valid driver's license. According to the Zipcar website, most applications are approved instantly and then you will be ready to drive. 

Zipcars can be reserved through the UP website or the Zipcar app. The app can be used to lock and unlock the car during your trip and the keys will be inside the car when you arrive. Zipcars are then returned to the same parking spot they were picked up in. 

Sydney Gannon is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at gannon24@up.edu.