PORTLAND, Ore. — TriMet is prepared for more crowds traveling to Moda Center now that Multnomah County has eased COVID-19 restrictions just in time for Game 3 of the Portland Trail Blazers' playoff series on Thursday.
Moda Center is approved for half-capacity. TriMet is prepared with more staff on hand and extra MAX service running around Moda Center.
TriMet has had similar experiences with both the Portland Timbers and the Portland Thorns welcoming some fans back to Providence Park. TriMet said it expects about 10% of the Blazers crowd to use their services Thursday evening.
TriMet spokesperson Tyler Graf said that could mean about 800 extra riders.
"So we're factoring that in and we will be running a couple of extra service trains to help manage the crowd," said Graf.
TriMet's coronavirus policy remains the same since last summer. Capacity is restricted on MAX trains and buses, masks and 3-foot spacing are required and riders are encouraged to use available hand sanitizer.
TriMet saw a huge drop in ridership when the pandemic first hit last spring. It's been slow to rebound, but TriMet notes back-to-back months of increased ridership in March and April. That's a trend it expects to continue as restrictions continue to ease across Portland and more large events return.
As of last month, ridership is now more than 800,000 a month.
TriMet has a team looking into different post-pandemic scenarios.
"We don't expect ridership to return to the same levels that we had during pre-pandemic times, for several years, said Graf. "And it still might look a little bit different at that time."