How to pay for your rides on Trimet

Last updated on April 19th, 2019

I love mass transit, and Trimet gets me where I want to go in Portland, Oregon! The payment options have been changing, so here’s an update on the current situation.

Portland’s mass transit is straightforward to ride. You can pay with cash as you get onto buses, but you need to buy your fare before you get onto the light-rail trains (MAX). Fare info is here on the Trimet website.
If you want to plan further ahead, we now have Hop Fastpass. You can buy a Hop card at the kiosks at the light-rail stations, online, at a wide variety of stores, and at the Trimet offices in Pioneer Square. You can also set up a phone application to pay for your fare.
Using your Hop Card: tap your card or phone at the pad when you get onto the bus or onto the light-rail platform. You do not need to tap when you get off. There are some great perks for doing this:
  • if you ride twice in a day, you have an all-day pass (this used to drive me crazy when I wasn’t sure how many rides I’d take in a day)
  • if you spend $100 in a calendar month, you have a monthly pass
  • you can register your card in case you lose it
  • you can set your card to autoload so you always have a fare
There is a non-Hop card option for your phone as well. For this, you need to activate your fare before getting onto the bus or the train. Show the activated fare to the bus driver when you get onto the bus. For MAX, you only need to show your fare when requested by a fare inspector.
The lightrail system (MAX) first started to be built out in the 1980s, and none of the stations have turnstiles for fares. This means that we’re on the honor system to pay for our rides. Please pay for your ride! There’s all sorts of great Trimet and mass transit history info on in the Trimet history section of their website.
Trimet has all sorts of things that make me happy, but recently I’ve been appreciating the music lyrics on the front of the buses on the bike racks — keep an eye out!