Getting Around This Town Is Easy
PDX is the designation for Portland International Airport. Amtrack and Greyhound also use “PDX” – some of the time.
Amtrak & Greyhound are Downtown, across the street from each other. They are located on the Portland Transit Mall, inside the Free Rail Zone. Tracks for MAX – Portland’s Light Rail system – cross between them.
Bus, Rail, Taxis, Towncars, Rentals, Tour Buses
Less than $3 Each Way will get you from PDX Airport to Downtown and the Convention Center, on MAX, Portland’s Light Rail system. Follow signs on Baggage Claim Level.
This Slide-Show may help visualize taking MAX from Airport Baggage-Claim into Downtown Portland.
Downtown Portland is a Free Rail Zone were you may ride all MAX lines and Streetcars for free. The Free Rail Zone extends from Portland State University Through Downtown Portland, across the river to The Rose Quarter, The Oregon Convention Center , and Lloyd Center Mall.
Tri-Met: is the local Light Rail, Heavy Rail, Streetcar and Bus Agency. One ticket on any mode is good for a transfer to another mode during it’s effective time. Absent snow or other natural disaster, these trains do run on time. So do the busses.
A 7-Day pass on TriMet is only $23 ($13 for age 65+). That’s less than most one-way airport shuttles. You can buy passes of all types from a machine at the Airport, or any MAX stop. An all-day or multi-day pass lets you ride bus and rail all over the City of Portland and ‘burbs. You don’t have to show a pass to board, but you do need to show one if asked by a “Fare Inspector” while onboard.
Map: Full System in PDF
Map: City Center and Free Rail Zone
Map: Transit Mall and Free Rail Zone info
Transit System Quirks
- Urban transit systems have quirks that are known to locals, but bedevil travelers. Tri-Met has two. Not so bad, but worth knowing, nevertheless.
- – when buying a pass for a few hours you can select 2 or 3 zones. Buy all 3 zones unless you want to spend a lot of time figuring out if you could have saved $0.30.
Most bus lines have two “legs.”
- That is, they have a Northern run and a Southern run. Most lines come downtown where you can transfer from one train or bus to another. A bus or train going downtown from the Northern “leg” will drop off passengers downtown then pick up passengers for the Southern “leg.”
The bus will not change numbers when it crosses through downtown.
- You can think you’re boarding a #42 going North, but end up boarding #42 going South if you’re not careful.
- Fortunately, the downtown Transit Mall is on one-way streets, one running North, the other South, which will give you a clue to the whole system. You’re expected to know all this, but it’s rarely stated.
- The #12 Bus shows where this can confuse: Heading North from downtown, it will take you to
- botanical garden in Northeast Portland. Heading South, it will take you to the big Barbur Blvd. Transit Center.
- Ask any bus driver or bus rider if you feel uncertain.
- In Portland, as with most cities its size, there are taxi stands outside the airport, train station and many hotels. Otherwise you generally call and wait.
- It’s possible to flag an empty passing taxi, but they are rare, even downtown.
(#1 Cab Co.)(No website) 503/227-1234
(#2 Cab Co.)(No website) 503/227-1212
503/238-8880 – 800/245-8880
503/408-8888 – 800/266-1161,
Pacific Cascade Towncar
503/516-2000 – 503/525-0123
Pioneer Executive Towncar
503/899-6451 – 360.883.5511
Portland Limousine Company
Royal Shuttle Airport Service
Airport Shuttle Services
Rent A Car Locations via Google Maps .
- Typically it is much cheaper to rent a car away from the airport. If your hotel is served by MAX this can work out quite well for your pocketbook. The off-airport rental source may even pick you up at your hotel and deliver you a MAX stop, or the airport when you’re all done.
- New car dealerships sometimes have car rental desks where prices are very good.
- is one such, and quite near Downtown and the Convention Center.
Bus and Tour Operators
Blue Star Bus
Pacific Northwest Sightseeing Tours
Eco Tours of Oregon
Sea to Summit Tours & Adventures
America’s Hub World Tours
Wine Country Tours and Adventures
Pacific Cascade Towncar