Better transit: Keeping Oregon Moving

Oregonians will soon have more bus service, thanks to a first-time stable, significant and statewide source of funding for public transit (part of the 2017 “Keep Oregon Moving” transportation package championed by Oregon Environmental Council and our allies).

From Kayak Public Transit serving the Pendleton-Umatilla area to RVTD serving the Rogue Valley, from Ride the Wave serving Tillamook County to CET serving the Bend area, transit agencies large and small are planning new and enhanced service that will make transit a desirable lifestyle choice, better serve the transit dependent, provide access to affordable housing, support economic development, and enhance tourism. And the connections between cities will improve.

Better transit is key to environmental sustainability and public health. Every time one of us chooses to take a bus over driving, we reduce our carbon footprint by about 33%. Convenient, reliable public transit helps combat climate change, clean our air, and control sprawl.

Here’s what a couple of transit agencies are planning:

  • Corvallis Transit System will be able to expand by 25%, extending weekday service to 9 PM and providing service on Sundays, increasing frequency on popular routes, and adding both a crosstown route and a downtown circulator.
  • Kayak Public Transit is planning service improvements that will get employees to the Port of Morrow from Hermiston and Umatilla County as a whole. The agency is also working regionally to help passengers transfer seamlessly from one transit system to another, this will help residents better access higher education opportunities among other things.
  • Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) is building a 2040 plan that will incorporate recent new investments in evening and weekend service with a comprehensive review of opportunities to extend and improve transit access across their service area.
  • South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART) in Wilsonville, while working to eliminate all fares, will increase weekday and weekend service, add additional frequency to existing service, greatly improve inter-city connections, and add new programs such as vanpools, medical shuttles, and bikeshare. SMART’s fleet, committed to 100% alternative fuels by 2028, will be able to meet that goal, make facility improvements, and significantly reduce its carbon footprint.

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