Guide to Portland Transit

Portland’s public transit system TriMet gives you easy and affordable access to all that Portland has to offer. With all of the buses, trains, and even a bike sharing system, many of our students can get around without a car.

Transportation & Parking Services at Portland State is an excellent source of information. They’ve even created a guide for all the ways you can get to campus. Let’s go over the options you can use to get around.

Public transportation

  • Buses: TriMet offers almost 80 bus lines, with many buses running every 15 minutes or less during most of the day. There are multiple bus lines with stops at PSU.

TriMet buses often don’t announce every stop. If you’re unfamiliar with the area you may find it helpful to watch your location on a map or tell the bus driver where you want to get dropped off.

If you’re travelling from Vancouver, WA, you’ll be happy to know that the local bus line C-Tran connects with TriMet in a couple different locations, giving you seamless transportation to campus.

  • MAX Light Rail: The MAX lines run frequently throughout the day. If you live farther from the city, there are park and ride locations where you can park for free 24/7 and hop on the MAX. This way, you can avoid the struggle of limited downtown parking.
  • Portland Streetcar: This streetcar system offers two loop routes around downtown Portland. The Portland Streetcar runs through the center of PSU campus, including stops in the Urban Center Plaza and Park Blocks. The Portland Streetcar is FREE to you if you’re a PSU student—your PSU Student ID card is valid fare.
  • Portland Aerial Tram: This tram is as much a tourist destination as it is practical transportation, carrying riders 500 feet above the city with breathtaking views. It connects the South Waterfront district to the main Oregon Health & Science University campus.
  • LIFT Paratransit Service: TriMet offers shared-ride public transportation services for people with a disability or disabling health condition that makes them unable to use regular buses or trains. You can arrange rides in advance by reservation.
  • WES Commuter Rail: This rail line connects commuters from west of the Willamette to the metro area. It runs during morning and afternoon rush hours every 30 minutes.

If you think you’ll be using public transportation frequently, you should look into buying a Student Viking Pass, which is usually cheaper than paying as you go. This pass is valid on all TriMet buses, MAX trains, Streetcars, WES trains, Aerial Tram and C-Tran local bus services. 

TriMet periodically offers free transit rides and extended late-night hours on holidays to keep Portlanders safe. You can stay informed and see updates if you follow TriMet on Twitter.

The PSU Campus Map is also a good place to start to see the transit options and where each of them stop on campus.

Other Transportation Options


You know those orange bikes you see people riding around the city? You can rent those bikes through Nike’s Biketown program. You can sign up for a membership or pay as you go.

If you’re planning on riding a bike around the city, visit our blog post dedicated to Bike Resources at Portland State for tons of information about parking, repairs and clubs to join.


The Transportation & Parking Services Office has a variety of parking permit options that can fit your needs if you’re planning on commuting to campus. These permits are specific to the location you can park in, so make sure to check which lot you're allowed to park your car in.

The parking structures where students can park include:

If you're only planning on occasionally coming to campus, you can use street parking and pay through the app ParkingKitty. There are several options for students who use their car occasionally and want to use visitor or hourly parking options.

Other car options include:

  • Carpooling: You can reduce costs and emissions by signing up for a Carpool Permit or sharing rides with Drive Less Connect, a free service offered by the State of Oregon that helps coordinate carpooling.
  • Carsharing: You can use car-sharing services rather than own your own car. These services are great if you don’t own a car but need to occasionally use one to travel, move big items, or get around town.

Visit our Transportation & Parking Services Office to learn more about the best option for you.