PORTLAND, Oregon — A new bus line along Southeast Division Street is almost ready to start running in Portland. TriMet said it will change things for the better in a big way.
TriMet is pretty proud of its 30 new bright green buses ready to roll on SE Division Street. The FX2-Division line will move people between downtown Portland and Gresham. It features brand new high-capacity buses and a lot of roadway improvements.
Earlier this week the transit agency gave members of the media riding tour one of the 60-foot buses that bend in the middle, taking them on part of the 15-mile route the busses will serve.
“This is our new articulated bus that will be used for our new frequent express bus service that launches September 18th,” explained TriMet spokesperson Tia York.
The FX2-Division bus line is the result of a $175 million federally funded project six years in the making. Working with the cities of Portland and Gresham and Oregon Department of Transportation, contractors have remade SE Division Street to accommodate the new transit line.
Community members have been wanting an end to Division Street traffic congestion for more than a decade, said Dylan Rivera a spokesperson of the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
“It's a growing area but it's had a lot of challenges because of Division Street and it's been hard to get to where you need to go on public transit because of the traffic,” said Rivera.
Now traffic signals will work with the big buses in mind, all along the line. Officials believe it will also improve the flow of other vehicle traffic at the same time.
TriMet training officer Bruce Boagar is excited about the improvements and new line.
“Oh yes absolutely and we have a new lighting system; this bus will get all greens and we're going to push the traffic through the lights ahead of us," said Bogar.
Bogar is training other operators to not be intimidated by the buses, which might be the biggest hurdle.
"Other than that it's actually really easy to drive, this has a 30-foot wheelbase as opposed to a 40-foot wheelbase. These actually turn a lot easier than a 40-foot bus,” said Bogar.
It will be a brand-new experience for passengers starting with three doors to choose from for boarding and exiting. There are bike racks inside — and there is a system for disabled riders to lock their wheelchairs down without assistance from the operator.
The buses will offer a smoother ride on the road between Portland and Gresham.
“So hopping on the bus, hopping on FX, if you've been thinking about trying transit this goanna be a faster, higher tier type of transit service from TriMet and we invite you and welcome you to hop on board,” said York.
FX2-Division service starts Sept. 18, 2022.