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The MAX, or Metropolitan Area Express, is the light rail system for the Portland metropolitan area. It's operated by TriMet, the same agency that operates the local bus lines, paratransit, streetcar and tram.

In all, construction costs on the full system have added up to $2.8 billion in 2010 dollars, with the Orange Line extension to Milwaukie poised to add another $1.5 billion to the total when it opens in 2015.


[edit] MAX lines

As of the MAX Green Line's opening in September 2009, MAX includes four lines and a total of 52 miles, all which meet in downtown Portland:

[edit] Fares on MAX

Fares are required on MAX, but on most of the system the requirement is enforced only by fare enforcement officers who conduct random checks of the trains. This honor system leads to fare-jumping by people who think they will not get caught.

[edit] Bikes on MAX

Bringing a standard-size bicycle onto MAX is free and welcome: TriMet's Type II, Type III and Type IV MAX cars have four hooks each designed for hanging bikes upright.

However, TriMet does not allow bicycle trailers, tandems, three-wheeled bikes, or recumbents larger than a standard bike.

Bicycle trailers in particular can become a problem if, as happens from time to time, a parent becomes separated from his or her child while trying to board.

"If a passenger gets off the train, there is no way to know they intend to get back on." TriMet Bicycle Coordinator Colin Maher wrote in May 2011, after one such incident.

[edit] TriMet's busiest MAX stations

Portland's 10 busiest MAX stations, in combined ons and offs per stop daily, are (as of fall 2010):

However, if all four Pioneer Courthouse Square MAX stops and all four Rose Quarter stops were counted together, Pioneer Courthouse Square would be TriMet's busiest with 21,827 ons or offs, followed by Gateway with 14,852, then Rose Quarter with 13,647.

For full data, see our list of ons and offs at every TriMet stop. Data provided by TriMet, May 2011.

[edit] History

First called the Banfield Light Rail Line, Portland's light rail system was renamed "MAX" after a public contest won by Jeff Frane, a local typography designer.

As recounted by the Portland Tribune, the idea came with an assist from Frane's son Alex:

"I used to read him these picture books and there was a character - I think he’s a rabbit - his name was Max," Frane told the newspaper. “The ad agency had a list of criteria. The name had to be simple, had to be friendly. I was playing around with acronyms. Max just seemed like a really friendly name."

For winning the contest, Frane got the cash equivalent of a TriMet annual pass, about $400. Frane put it toward a down payment on his house, the Tribune reported.

[edit] External links

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