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Public transportation system strains under constraints imposed because of COVID-19 crisis

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Fears about the COVID-19 virus have cut TriMet's MAX train ridership.TriMet, the public transportation agency for the Portland metro area, announced late Thursday that it has seen a decreased ridership.

On Friday morning, TriMet ran some MAX Orange, Red and Yellow Line trains as single, low-floor vehicles because of lack of ridership. But the agency returned to regularly using two-car trains when some riders complained about the change.

The agency is urging people to continue to spread out by at least 3 feet when they're using public transportation.

Ridership has decreased as people have been encouraged to work from home, or have been laid off from work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"140,000 less [sic] people rode with us yesterday, compared to our weekday average from February," TriMet tweeted Thursday. "We miss you, but thank you for not riding. You're keeping the Portland region safer. And for those of you who still have to ride — there's plenty of room to spread out and social distance."

Tram limited OHSU employees, patients

The Portland Bureau of Transportation and Oregon Health & Science University announced Friday morning that Portland Aerial Tram is temporarily restricted to only hospital employees and patients.

The rider restriction adheres to new visitor restriction measures that OHSU also enacted beginning Friday; it is temporarily not allowing any hospital visitors.

The hospital said the aerial tram will now only operate with a capacity of 20 people in each of the two cabins, down from a normal capacity of 79 people per cabin.

General public ticket sales for the tram are expected to resume once hospital visitation restrictions are lifted and the risks of the coronavirus outbreak subside, the hospital said.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. You can read their full story here.


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