TriMet FX line features longer buses, bigger stations
The public is invited to a community celebration to mark the completion of TriMet's FX2-Division line on Saturday, Sept. 17. It will include free rides on the Fast Express 60-foot articulated buses between Portland and Gresham. They have room for 60% more riders than standard buses. Regular service starts the next day.
To accommodate the longer buses, the Division Transit Project constructed 42 new bus stations between inner Southeast Portland and Gresham's Cleveland Park & Ride for the new line. Many are larger than existing stations elsewhere.
Because Division Street is already heavily developed, four different station designs are used to maximize the rider experience while accommodating pedestrians, bicyclists and autos. The stations were placed where rider demand is greatest to reduce travel times and get people to their destinations faster.
The stations feel more like a MAX station than a typical bus stop. They have amenities such as weather protection, lighting and TransitTracker real-time arrival displays.
Some stations east of 82nd Avenue, where more space was available, are larger. Those west of 82nd Avenue will see modest changes to improve the rider experience.
The four designs are:
• Pedestrian pass-through: This station is similar to a typical bus stop, with the station platform on the shared sidewalk. Riders wait on the back of the sidewalk, near the shelter, and board when the bus stops and doors open.
• Pedestrian bypass: This station is also similar to a typical bus stop, but the sidewalk is behind the station platform. Riders wait on the platform and board when the bus stops and doors open.
• Shared bicycle and pedestrian: Bicyclists, bus riders and pedestrians share the space at this station. The bike lane is near the front of the station platform and sidewalk area. Cyclists are required to stop when approaching the station, at the "wait here" marking, when a bus is stopped so riders can board or exit the bus.
• Island: The station platform is near the front of the station area, along the street. A bike lane runs just behind the station, with a sidewalk beyond that. Cyclists must yield to people at the two marked crossings who are moving to or from the station or the street.
Locations for the four station designs can be found at trimet.org/fx/stations.
The Division Transit Project also increased safety for pedestrians and riders getting to and from their bus stations. Some 4.5 miles of protected bike lanes and new accessible ramps, sidewalks and pedestrian crossings were installed around stations and major intersections.
Back to the future with articulated buses
The new 60-foot articulated buses are not only longer than standard buses, they feature multiple-door boarding, allowing riders to enter and exit quickly. Bikes will be brought on board, rather than placed in a rack on the front of the bus while the bus waits.
Some longtime TriMet riders may remember riding articulated buses many years ago. TriMet first used articulated buses 40 years ago, but they proved to be unreliable. In contrast, the new 60-foot buses purchased for TriMet's new FX service are an improvement in every way.
In January 1982, 87 Crown-Ikarus bendable buses went into regular service on two TriMet lines, at the time known as Line 44-Sherwood-Gresham and Line 57-Forest Grove. Unfortunately, they proved to be problem-prone, resulting from the untested marriage of American-made components with the tried-and-true Hungarian chassis and body.
TriMet's new articulated buses have many advantages over their earlier predecessors. For starters, they are built by Nova Bus, a division of Volvo Group, at its facility in Plattsburgh, New York.
The new buses can carry up to 115 passengers, including the operator, whereas the previous ones could only accommodate 64 riders. The new buses also have other superior design features, including electronic Hop fare readers with contactless payment at every door, two internal bike racks and priority seating for seniors and people with disabilities.
TriMet has purchased 31 of the buses for approximately $935,000 each.
"Whether it's a 60-foot bus or a 40-foot bus, the operation is very similar," said TriMet Bus Training Supervisor Jeff Muceus. "The FX buses are the same width and have a turning radius within inches of our traditional buses. For the operator who is at the wheel, their focus is always safety — for themselves, our riders and everyone who is around them."
The new FX articulated buses run on renewable diesel, a cleaner-burning fuel TriMet is using in all its buses.
Grand opening celebration set Sept. 17
TriMet FX will be a new type of improved bus service that will be faster and more reliable than standard bus service on Sunday, Sept. 18. To celebrate the launch of its first FX line — FX2-Division — and this historic new service, TriMet will host a grand opening the day before, on Saturday, Sept. 17. It'll be a family-friendly event open to the public to celebrate community and culture. During the celebration, free rides will be provided on its new, longer, green FX buses.
Learn more about the celebration here.
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