What is TriMet bus operator training like?

The first bus I ever drove, in TriMet’s beautiful old livery. These 2200s are long gone though, I was probably among the last to drive them.
The interior of these old buses were AMAZING! You want to get people back on the bus? Have seats that look like this.
Just some buses hanging out at Merlo in December 2018.
On one of our final days of training, we drove all the way out to Estacada, where the 30 goes. The 30 is unlike most routes in TriMet’s system, as it goes down a twisty, turn-y, rural highway in Clackamas County.
  • Drive down NW 23rd. Even a few years later, it can still be a nerve wracking experience driving down NW 23rd. It is probably the most difficult stretch of road in the city to handle as a driver, it’s super tight and narrow, tons of cars parked on either side, pedestrians, kids, car doors swinging open, other delivery trucks, oh and my favorite, outdoor dining pods with roofs where the roof is at the exact spot where your mirror is. Get some expert training on how to handle it before you accidentally sign it and are by yourself trying to figure it out.
  • Drive the 17 through Northeast Portland. Besides NW 23rd and pretty much the rest of the 15, this is the second hardest route to drive in the system in my opinion. The 17 wends its way through some narrow neighborhood streets in Northeast and does not have the most intuitive route. I wish I had known to ask my trainer to take us on it, because instead I rode it as a passenger and just watched what the other drivers were doing until I figured it out.
  • Drive the 19 through Southeast. Grab a paddle and some directions for this one. There a couple of different route versions for this, and the turn around up on Mt Scott feels counter intuitive.
  • Ask all those questions! The trainers have decades of experience, have driven pretty much all of the routes, and have seen just about everything.



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Don Iler

Don Iler

I’m a public transit enthusiast in Portland, Oregon. I love public transportation, history and writing.