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Three downtown Portland MAX stations will close and bus service will be increased throughout the region

COURTESY TRIMET - Line 20-Burnside/Stark serves riders from Gresham to Beaverton.TriMet is making some big service changes starting this weekend.

"Transit works best when it is safe, fast and frequent," TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey said during a Friday morning press conference to announce the changes. "Why fight traffic, deal with parking and add to our region's congestion and climate crisis by driving alone, when you know that the next bus is right around the corner?"

TriMet is kicking off increased service along a 40-mile stretch between Tualatin, Tigard, Beaverton, Portland and Gresham. The changes are intended to shorten waits between buses, provide more weekend service, and better connect to MAX transfers.

In addition, underutilized MAX stations in downtown Portland will closed to speed up light rail travel times through the urban core.

Beginning on Sunday, March 1, two of the stations be permanently closed: the Mall and Southwest 4th stop, along with the the Mall and Southwest 5th Avenue stop. The Kings Hill and Southwest Salmon station between the Goose Hollow and Providence Park stations will also be shut down for the one-year trial.

Bus lines to see big changes include:

• Line 20-Burnside/Stark A Frequent Service upgrade will provide an important East-West connection to the Portland region. Buses will now run every 15 minutes or less most of the day, every day. Line 20 is the second busiest bus line in TriMet's system, with about 11,400 daily rides. It serves 26.5 miles between Beaverton and Gresham transit centers, with buses running 24-hours a day, every day.

"Expanding frequent transit lines is a big deal for riders, providing more reliability, more convenience and more options," Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson said at the press conference. "Our region is growing, and so is our traffic. Getting people on transit by making it more convenient is huge."

• Line 76-Hall/Greenburg A Frequent Service upgrade will be made to the line fomerly named 76-Beaverton/Tualatin to 76-Hall/Greenburg. Line 76 serves a nearly 13-mile route between Beaverton Transit Center and Legacy Meridian Park Hospital in Tualatin. Frequent Service on Line 76 answers a call from residents and leaders in Washington County for more and better transit service.

"Transit that is more frequent fosters freedom and independence," Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten said at the press conference. "Frequent Service transit encourages ridership; ridership benefits the environment."

• Line 42-Denney/Hall will be replaced by Line 78. South of the Tigard Transit Center, Line 78 will stay on its current route to Lake Oswego. This change will bring earlier and later buses and weekend service to the current route of Line 42.

The press conference was held at the Beaverton Transit Center, which is the busiest in the TriMet system, with nearly 112,000 trips making connections there each week. It will also get new, larger bus shelters and real-time transit tracker digital displays in the coming months.

You can find more information on the changes here.

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