Covid-19 Transportation Questions and Answers

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The Covid-19 health emergency has impacted every aspect of our daily life. This includes transportation. As our response continues to evolve, we are receiving questions about transportation and how people can continue to get where they need to go safely.

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This FAQ will be updated as needed.  

What is the guidance regarding public transit such as TriMet MAX and buses, the Portland Streetcar, the Portland Aerial Tram, and BIKETOWN bike-share? 

As of June 24, face coverings are required on public transit including TriMet MAX, buses, and Portland Streetcar, and are still required on Portland Aerial Tram.

TriMet: Since April 2, TriMet has limited buses to 10-15 passengers at a time. TriMet service alerts related to Covid-19 here: : https://trimet.org/health/

Portland Streetcar: As of March 23, Portland Streetcar has reduced regular weekday service to every 20 minutes. Service alerts and updates posted here: https://portlandstreetcar.org/

Portland Aerial Tram: Limited to patients and staff with the following fares:

  • OHSU identification badges
  • VA Portland Health Care System employee cards
  • Shriner’s Hospitals for Children – Portland employee cards
  • Patients of OHSU, VA Portland and Shriner’s Hospital

Although Multnomah County was approved for Phase I reopening, access to the Portland Aerial Tram will continue to be restricted to the fares listed. Tram operators will not allow more than 20 people at a time to ride in each of the two cabins, down from a normal capacity of 79 people per cabin. Like health care institutions nationwide, these measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of patients, hospital staff, and the broader community. Additional details regarding OHSU’s visitation policy can be found here.

BIKETOWN, Portland's bike-share system, is closely monitoring the situation and taking guidance from the CDC and local health officials. High contact surfaces on vans used to transport vehicles will be disinfected at the start of each shift. It’s a good idea to wash your hands immediately after riding all forms of public transportation, including bike-share. More updates on reduced fares and their response to Covid-19 here: https://www.biketownpdx.com/blog/covid19


What is the guidance related to taxis, Uber and Lyft? 

As of June 25, all drivers and passengers in private for-hire transportation such as taxis, Uber, and Lyft, are required to wear masks, face shields, or face coverings. For more information, drivers should contact the company they work for. Both drivers and passengers can check Oregon Health Authority’s website for further guidance.

Radio Cab is sharing updates on their service related to Covid-19 on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RadioCab

Uber’s information about what they are doing related to Covid-19: https://www.uber.com/us/en/coronavirus/ 

Lyft’s information: https://www.lyft.com/safety/coronavirus 

The CDC has also issued guidance for ride-share, taxi, limo, and other private for-hire drivers and businesses to know about Covid-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/rideshare-drivers-for-hire.html


What is the guidance for e-scooters? 

As of late June, Bird, Lime, Razor, and Spin are all operating at normal levels with enhanced cleaning procedures in place. Bolt will resume operating in Portland soon.

Check individual companies for availability and pricing.


Is PBOT making changes to streets and sidewalks for communities and businesses?

Yes. Beginning in early May, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) launched a new initiative called Safe Streets to respond to the Covid-19 public health crisis. PBOT has made temporary changes to city streets to give people more space to walk, bike, roll, do business, and get around in their neighborhood. Learn more at Safe Streets Initiative.


What is happening with public meetings?  

During the first two weeks of the public health emergency, PBOT cancelled all public meetings and open houses to protect Portlanders from the spread of Covid-19. During that time, PBOT developed new protocols for public meetings. Since April 1, the bureau has been conducting all public meeting using digital platforms which will allow for public participation while supporting the "Stay Home, Save Lives" order.

Is parking enforcement still happening? 

Yes. Since stay home orders for the Covid-19 pandemic emerged in March, PBOT parking enforcement officers have prioritized essential parking access, such as keeping disabled parking spots, fire hydrants, and loading zones clear. All parking meters are being enforced.


Are downtown SmartPark garages open?

Yes. Many downtown residents—and workers who perform critical tasks—normally take transit to their destinations, but they now find themselves in a position where they need to either keep their vehicle downtown or drive downtown to work. This situation creates a hardship for many who must be able to park their vehicles. On March 27, Commissioner Eudaly instructed PBOT to temporarily reduce the all-day rate in all five of the bureau’s SmartPark garages to $5. On June 1, due to higher demand at the First and Jefferson garage, the all-day rate was raised to $10.

Effective Sept. 21, all SmartPark garages will now be at the $10 all-day rate. Rates for short-term parking of one to four hours have not changed. Customers who stay longer will pay the all-day rate for that garage up until 5 a.m. the following day. Customers who stay for short stays will continue to pay the $1.80 per hour rate. Security officers will continue to patrol the garages 24/7.

Read the May 29 press release "SmartPark and parking enforcement adjust for downtown revival" here.

Read the March 27 press release "Portland Bureau of Transportation temporarily reduces all-day rates at SmartPark garages to $5 per day" here.


Can companies deliver groceries and other needed goods around the clock? 

Yes. Title 18, the Noise Code, has always recognized that as a vibrant city, we need ways for commerce-related deliveries to occur 24/7, and in all sectors of the city. Applicable city code here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/citycode/article/692843 


Is PBOT continuing Gravel Streets service? 

No. PBOT maintenance crews are focused on providing critical maintenance work to keep our transportation system running. Gravel Streets service is not defined as critical maintenance and has been paused for now. PBOT is developing a schedule for when this work will resume.


How can I contact PBOT during the crisis?

For emergency road hazards call PBOT’s 24/7 maintenance dispatch at 503-823-1700.

For general PBOT questions, please leave a detailed message at 503-823-5185 or email PBOTFrontDesk@portlandoregon.gov. Customer service staff are returning calls and emails throughout the day.

For Covid-19 related customer service hours and operational changes for all city bureaus, check for updates here.