Next year, Division Street will be home to a new, high-capacity, frequent service bus line dubbed FX™, or “Frequent Express.”
The bright green, 60-foot-long buses will offer a 60 percent increase in rider capacity, run every 12 minutes, and cut travel times between Downtown Portland and Gresham on Line-2 by up to 20 percent, according to TriMet. The buses will be introduced when the Division Transit Project—a 15-mile construction project expanding bus stations and transit signal priority infrastructure along SW and SE Division—is completed in 2022. Construction on the project is 70 percent completed.
“We’re excited for the day that FX™ will speed up transit service and provide better access to jobs, education, community services, and all of the possibilities that come with fast, efficient public transit,” said TriMet General Manager Sam Desue, Jr. in a press release Friday.
Riders will be able to board the longer buses at multiple doors, shortening the boarding time at each bus stop and causing less traffic back-ups. According to TriMet, the buses will also be able to move around traffic congestion using transit-only lanes that are being added to the route as part of the Division Transit Project.
The FX™ buses will run on renewable diesel, a type of fuel made from vegetable and animal fats, that emits about 4.2 percent less carbon dioxide than petroleum diesel, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). TriMet will be switching all of its bus fleet to renewable diesel in the coming weeks. The switch, in combination with the agency’s transition to renewable electricity, will cut TriMet’s carbon dioxide emissions in half. The agency estimates the reduction in emissions is comparable to taking 12,000 cars off the street.
The FX™ buses will transition to electric buses by 2040, in line with TriMet’s goal of running a zero-emission bus fleet by that year.
The Division Transit Project has been under construction since late 2019 and includes 20 new marked crosswalks, 4.5 miles of protected bike lanes, and almost 81,000 square feet of new sidewalks along the corridor. The $175 million project is being contracted by Raimore Construction, a Black-owned construction firm, and is expected to create 1,400 jobs.
“The City of Portland heard from the community that people wanted this to be more than just a transit project,” Portland Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said. “They wanted better bus service, but also safety, housing, and jobs. The Division Transit Project will make our streets safer for everyone traveling in East Portland.”
At this time, it’s unclear if TriMet will introduce FX™ bus service to other lines throughout the tri-county area.