For those who would like to live without owning their own motor vehicle there is perhaps no city more accessible than Portland. There are nearly limitless choices to get around Portland. Due to its world-class public transportation, bike-friendly roadways and numerous car-sharing and taxicab services.
The following are some of the ways you can easily get around Portland, even if you don’t have a car of your own.
Public transit options
Portland is perhaps best known for its public transportation system. Which is incredibly wide reaching for a metro area of its size and population. TriMet operates MAX a light rail system that stretches from the city core out to the suburbs of Beaverton, Clackamas, Gresham, Hillsboro and Milwaukie. As a result, people can live anywhere in the Portland area and still get to work or school without the use of a car.
Additionally, TriMet operates a comprehensive bus system with routes that run through the tri-county Portland area. Most of these buses (and all MAX trains) have bike racks, making for a convenient option for riders to get around Portland. Plus there’s the Portland Streetcar which runs through downtown, the Pearl District and the inner east side of the city.
Those who live in Vancouver also have an easy way to get around Portland by using C-TRAN. The express bus route runs along I-5 from Salmon Creek on the north side of Vancouver all the way to Portland’s city center.
Ride-sharing and taxi services
The Rose City has a number of respected taxi services including Broadway Cab, Radio Cab, Union Cab, Green Cab and Portland Taxi. However, Uber and Lyft have recently begun operating here. Both services are now available. All you have to do is download the Uber and/or Lyft app to book rides and make payment.
Another option is EcoCab, a newer company that uses only all-electric vehicles. It’s more of a traditional taxi than a ride-sharing service and features a number of Tesla sport sedans in its fleet. Although rides tend to be a little more expensive, it can be a good option to get around Portland for those concerned about environmental impact.
Car-sharing and rental options
Car sharing has been popular in Portland for several years. Two of the most common options being Zipcar and Car2Go. In fact, you’ll find these vehicles parked all over the city. Additionally, there are designated lots for them in several popular neighborhoods complete with charging stations. Users pay a monthly or annual fee and a per-hour or per-mile rate. Vehicles may be reserved online or through a mobile app.
There’s also GetAround, a different type of car-sharing service that allows people who own idle vehicles to essentially rent them out on a temporary basis. This works similarly to Zipcar and Car2Go. However, you are using a privately owned vehicle rather than company-owned.
Specialty transportation options
The metro area has a few options to get around Portland, including Wingz. Since January 2016, Wingz offers rides to and from Portland International Airport (PDX). Drivers use their own vehicles similar to Uber and Lyft. Wingz drivers are trained and undergo a background check. You can book your ride in advance. Wingz will send a car that will accommodate passengers and luggage.
EcoShuttle offers a variety of transportation services using its fleet of biodiesel vehicles that run completely on non-toxic biodegradable waste grease. The company’s services include airport shuttles, city tours, wine tours and special events.
Walk or ride your way around
Of course it’s possible to enjoy much of what Stumptown has to offer by walking or riding a bike. For people on foot the city is pretty easy to navigate especially when it comes to downtown and the neighborhoods on the inner east side. This becomes a little more difficult if you go further east or west. As East Portland can lack sidewalks in some areas and the West Hills are exactly that, hilly.
Portland is also one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country. Many major thoroughfares have designated neon-green bike lanes. There are also a number of “greenways” which are roads that technically allow motor vehicles but are primarily used by bicyclists.
If you don’t own a bike of your own there’s Spinlister. A peer-to-peer bike-sharing platform that allows you to search for bikes (along with snowboards and surfboards incidentally) available from owners across the city. Searches can be conducted online or through a mobile app. Like car-sharing services you may rent bikes by the hour or day paying a fee accordingly.
No shortage of options available to get around Portland
Whether you’d like to catch a ride walk or bike there are plenty of opportunities to get around Portland and Vancouver without worrying about the expense and environmental impact. Make sure to consider all of these options as you plan your trips around town.