Getting Around Portland | University of Portland

Getting Around Portland

Are you curious about the best way for your student to get around Portland? Here are several options to consider:

  • Public Transportation
    • Portland’s bus service, TriMet, offers a number of opportunities for public transportation. UP has convenient bus stops right off campus, connecting your student to the Portland metro area. To help your student be confident using the bus, you’ll likely want to chat with them about public transportation etiquette and suggest they download the TriMet apps for ticket purchasing and trip planning.
  • Pilot Express and other shuttles
    • Will your student only need transportation to and from the airport or to the grocery store? UP has programs for that! Before every major break there are signups for Pilot Express, which for a small fee takes students to and from the airport, as well as to the train and bus stations. On weekends there is also a free shuttle that runs students to and from our neighborhood grocery stores.
  • Zipcar
    • The University is a partner with Zipcar, a car-sharing platform that allows students to pay for an account and then borrow a car from campus by the hour or day, with gas and insurance included. Learn more about  Zipcar.
  • Bringing a bike to campus
    • Bicycle racks are conveniently located outside almost every building on campus, and we even have a bike rental and mechanic shop in the Beauchamp Recreation Center. If your student is open to cycling, it is a great option (both financially and environmentally) as our campus and the city of Portland are both very bike friendly. Encourage your student to thoroughly review UP bike policies and procedures.
  • Rideshare Apps
    • Rideshare apps offer a quick and convenient method for getting to and from locations, especially if they’re not easily reachable by public transportation or bicycle. The Pilot House is a great option as a pick-up spot due to its covered patio and location near the main entrance.
  • Bringing a car to campus
    • Resident students classified as freshmen may not bring a car to UP. If this policy poses a hardship, an exception may be granted by the Director of Campus Safety. Before deciding to bring a car to campus, you’ll want your student to consider the following:
      • Thorough review of UP’s parking regulations and vehicle registration.
      • The costs associated with owning a car: insurance, gas, a parking permit, car payments, etc.
      • The responsibilities and additional costs of caring for a vehicle: oil changes, services and maintenance, etc.
      • Where will you keep the car during breaks? If your student opts to leave their car on campus during a break, they should notify Campus Safety so that they can keep an eye on the car in cases of inclement weather.
    • Something to consider:
      • Research on college students has consistently shown that those who live on campus are more successful than their off-campus peers in the areas of academics, community, and leadership. While we are not aware of research directly targeting car-owning students versus non-car-owning students, car-owning students tend to find and keep jobs off campus, gravitate towards living off campus, and keep more distance from campus life (in general). Car-owning students may still succeed in college, but the odds decrease as they become less campus-centered.    

For further details on any of these transportation options, please visit the Parking and Commute Options Page.


What is best for your student and their budget?

Some families have approached this decision by assigning a logical dollar amount to their student’s transportation needs, and then letting their student use that sum as they like, with all the consequences that involves. For example, if getting off campus several times a week via TriMet costs about $15-20, and pitching in for gas when a friend drives to fun places is another $20/month, you might arrive at about $75/month as the budget for transportation expenses while attending UP. Only you and your student knows what is best for them and their transportation needs. Weighing the costs of various options may be a great experience in budgeting for them.


Please feel free to reach out to our office if you have any further questions. We are happy to direct you to the appropriate office on campus if needed.