Good news for public transit in Central Oregon! Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council, the group that coordinates transit in the area, will be receiving a $25,000 grant from The Partnership to End Poverty, to help establish a fixed route bus system in Redmond.
The project is a collaboration between The Partnership, Central Oregon Community College and Cascade East Transit. The grant will make up just over half of the estimated $40,000 it will cost to run the new fixed route system through June 2014. The initial grant will allow CET to build a stable funding model, insuring that the route begins operation this month and continues to operate long term. The proposed system would be the first fixed route system, outside of Bend, in Central Oregon, and is expected to have 120 riders within the first few months of operation.
The funding boost is a step in the right direction for Redmond. In July 2012, Redmond faced a $90,559 budget deficit, and it's ridership continues to increase, especially to and from COCC's Redmond campus and the airport.
Bend's fixed route system is also bound for alteration. This week, public information sessions will be held to discuss proposed changes to Bend fixed routes 4,5 and 6. Cascade East Transit hopes that these changes will increase efficiency for the in place fixed routes without increasing the cost of operations.
Proposed changes would redesign the routes to enable Route 5 (Wells Acres Rd. that goes past the hospital) to return to regular 40 minute intervals making transfers smoother for passengers. Below is a summary of the proposal along with a map that details the changes.
• combine outbound Route 5 with inbound Route 6;
• combine outbound Route 6 with inbound Route 5; and
• return Route 4 to its former pattern and transfer the current Route 4 stops at
the Bend Community Center and Marshall High School to Route 5.
Public information sessions will be held at Hawthorne Station in Bend (334 NE Hawthorne Ave.) Tonight (Wednesday) at 4:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m., as well as on Friday at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
For more on the state of transit in Bend, read last week's feature story.