Organizing People | Activating Leaders

Bus Riders Unite!

Bus Riders Unite, a project of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, is a membership organization launched in 2010 that represents transit-dependent people. Bus Riders Unite fights for environmentally sustainable public transportation in the Portland Metropolitan region, on the premise that affordable, efficient, accessible, and convenient mass transit is a human right.

Bus Riders Unite recognizes and values the diverse cultures, backgrounds, experiences, and abilities of our membership body. We seek to build a democratic, multi-lingual, multiracial, all-inclusive community-based organization. Our leadership and membership are committed to lifting up the voices of transit depndent people and people whose voices are not commonly heard.

To read the full “Bus Riders Unite Organizational Structure and Collaborative Vision” document, please click here.


OPAL initiated its Transit Justice program in 2010, spearheaded by the Bus Riders Unite membership. BRU has won many victories in the years since. OPAL staff and BRU volunteers have:East Portland Bus Stop Project

  • organized a core leadership group of transit-dependent riders
  • identified the extension of transfer times as a priority issue and won an extension after the four year Campaign for a Fair Transfer
  • assessed over 100 bus stops in East Portland that lack adequate infrastructure and amenities
  • formed a partnership with the Multnomah Youth Commission to advocate for YouthPass, preventing it from being cut from budgets for each of the past four years
  • critically analyzed TriMet budget proposals and developed an Alternative Budget
  • mobilized over 100 transit riders and allies to support alternative budget proposals
  • Testified to the TriMet board to advance BRU priorities
  • preserved round-trip transfers on a single fare
  • won $1.3 million dollar low-income rider mitigation fund
  • temporarily prevented the elimination of cash transfers

Get Involved

First Saturday of the Month Organizing: 

We’re the experts on what transit riders experience in Portland, because no one talks to more riders than we do! Out on the buses, waiting at the bus stop and transit centers, we’re having conversations and making connections to inform our work for TRANSIT JUSTICE.

Sound like something you could get on board with? Join us for breakfast, an orientation, and then some time out on the buses talking to fellow transit riders. 11am – 3pm, transit tickets included.

Third Wednesday of the Month Political Education:

Past political education topics have included: Brazil’s Free Fare movement, Non-violent Resistance, Legislative 101. Join us for informative political education from 6-8pm at the OPAL offices.

Last Friday of the Month Membership Activity: 

We rotate between membership meetings, popular education, and social activities. Check out our frequently updated Facebook page for updates!

All activities are held at OPAL Office 2407 SE 49th Ave TriMet #4, #14, #71

We welcome all bus riders and allies to build justice-making relationships, learn about our rights and public transportation, and mobilize to improve TriMet Bus service through funding and equitable policies.  Be a part of a group working to empower and be powerful in support of our rights and concerns as bus riders.

Our monthly meeting is rich with conversation, and operates as an educational space to learn about community organizing, local political issues, and trainings to recruit news bus riders. We also have a structure which has committees that you can get plugged into to work on issues that are important to you.

Stay Informed

Join the OPAL Mailing List.