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Stay home. Save lives. Portland enters phase 1 of reopening.

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. In April and May, officers issued far more warnings than citations. Officers issued about 6,900 warnings for vehicles that did not display a meter receipt and about 800 for vehicles that overstayed the time allowed, from April 1 through May 26. They issued about 1,700 citations for failure to display a meter receipt and less than 300 for overstaying the time allowed.

In recent weeks, the number of vehicles overstaying meters has grown, marking it harder for customers to reach downtown shops, and making it more difficult for workers to find a space for business trips. PBOT parking enforcement officers have resumed writing citations and fewer warnings, and will continue with normal, seven days a week service, with officers traveling by foot, bike, scooter and car.

Parking enforcement plays a vital role in keeping emergency routes free, work zones safe, fire hydrants clear, and loading zones open for businesses delivering food, medicine, and other essential services.

Free parking could encourage some people to go out in public who might otherwise not do so, a situation we want to avoid. Businesses have asked us to put public health first. Once the public health crisis has passed, we will look at a range of opportunities to support small businesses and Portland’s workforce.      

Residential parking permit areas remain in effect but are not a top priority at this time. Residents are encouraged to use their guest permits for friends and family who may need access. PBOT is reaching out to each of the district parking associations to shape policy together. 


Are parking meters free? 

No. Customers must still pay for parking in our meter districts. We understand, though, that these are stressful times, and we want to give people some leeway. That is why we will issue a warning for the first infraction. We will only issue a fine the second time we cite the same car. 


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. Commissioner Eudaly instructed PBOT to temporarily reduce the all-day rate in all five of the bureau’s SmartPark garages to $5 per day. Those operational changes went into effect March 27.

In recent weeks, occupancy at the First and Jefferson garage has climbed back to more than 90% occupancy on weekdays, making it difficult for people to find a space. Effective on Monday, June 1, the First and Jefferson SmartPark garage location will raise its temporary all-day rate to $10. This will ensure an adequate short-term parking supply, in anticipation of the July opening of the new Multnomah County Courthouse across the street.

All other SmartPark garages will retain the temporary $5 all-day rate, until further notice. 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.