What is Bus Riders Unite?

Bus Riders Unite! (BRU) is the Portland Metro region's transit union, dedicated to advancing better public transportation for all! Those of us who ride transit know the issues that we confront on a daily basis, and how to solve them. We unite around environmental justice and civil rights issues to create change. Our current areas of focus include:

  • Safety and demilitarization
  • Affordability and access
  • Anti-discrimination and unfair targeting of BIPOC & low-income communities
  • Updated infrastructure 
  • Increased service and routes
  • Real community engagement

Who are we and who do we organize?

BRU organizes transit-dependent riders, namely low-income people, people-of-color, immigrants, people with disabilities, parents, youth, and seniors. BRU is a multiracial, multicultural, intergenerational membership. 

Where and when do we meet?

BRU hosts general membership meetings on the third Thursday of every month from 6:00–8:00 PM. 

BRU historically met in person at the OPAL office on SE 82nd Ave, but has met virtually since March 2020. There are no plans to meet in-person through 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic.

Why should I participate? 

Bus Riders Unite fights for equitable and environmentally sustainable public transportation, on the premise that affordable, efficient, accessible, and convenient mass transit is a human right. When we make transit more accessible, reliable, and safe, we make taking transit a better option than cars, especially single-occupancy vehicles, which is key to working against climate change. This is just one way we recognize that transportation justice is environmental justice.

BRU has won battles to increase access to reduced fares and extended transfer times, and is currently working on defunding transit police in order to make riding transit safer for all. We have a vision for a fareless transit system, and we need you to join us to make that possibility a reality.

What do we do?

In our monthly meetings:

  • We hear from guests who speak on ongoing issues in the transit community. Past guests have included representatives from the Interstate Bridge Replacement Project, Stop the Sweeps PDX, and more.
  • We share information about upcoming transit developments and research.
  • We discuss actions for upcoming TriMet board meetings, and attend and testify at meetings.
  • We meet with the Metro Area’s transit decision-makers.
  • We organize our community by talking to other riders about joining our campaigns.
  • We train members to organize and advocate for the issues that matter most to them.
  • We plan direct actions like banner drops, street theater, and more.
  • We receive political education on topics like the intersection of racial justice and transportation justice.

How do I get involved?

Email our Bus Riders Unite! Community Organizer, Maia Vásconez-Taylor at [email protected].

Please consider donating to OPAL to support environmental, racial, and economic justice.