The Facts on Fares
Public transportation is mostly free in the downtown area. Beyond “Fareless Square,” Portland’s excellent public transport is modestly priced, and each fare is good in any direction (for at least two hours) and is valid on busses and trains. That’s enough time to visit, have a beer, and return to your hotel (www.trimet.org).
A two-hour fare (you won’t need Zone 3, so just go 2-Zone) costs $1.65. A day pass runs $4, and a seven-day pass is only $16. Seniors (65 and over) go for 80 cents, with youth/students riding for $1.30. Tickets are available at all MAX Light Rail stations, and you can use your credit/debit card to buy them.
In Fareless Square, the main entrance to Waterfront Park and the Festival is a block east from the Light Rail Station (MAX) at NW First and Oak St. The busses run on Fifth Avenue (southbound) and Sixth Avenue (northbound), and can be reached there via the free MAX (any line, Red, Blue, or Yellow) at the First and Oak station, going south. You go only two stops to the Fifth Street Mall, then head left to the southbound buses, or walk on up to Sixth, and go right for northbound busses. The buses are free in that area, too, but if you are going beyond Fareless Square, pay the driver, or put a deposit in the fare box. Take the transfer offered, which is good (in any direction) for two hours. If you are going beyond the free area on the MAX, you should purchase a ticket, and must validate it (within a two-hour timeline) before boarding the MAX.