Name: Tami Black
Occupation: President of TAC Transportation, Inc., dba Pacific Crest  Bus Lines
Hometown: Bend, OR
Age: 49

Tell us a little bit about your business and how it relates to transportation options in greater central Oregon and Oregon.

Pacific Crest Bus Lines provides various transportation services and operates multiple routes within the state of Oregon.

I originally purchased the company in 2006 with 3 business partners, and now I am the sole owner. The company has evolved over the last 13 years from an Amtrak Thruway bus and an airport shuttle to having four divisions and 20 employees.

Service is provided daily from Coos Bay, OR making stops in Reedsport, Florence, Eugene Amtrak, Eugene-Springfield Greyhound and arrives at the Bend Hawthorne Station. It then makes the return trip back to Coos Bay. This provides transportation services from the coast to central Oregon and also provides passenger transportation from the coast and central Oregon to the I-5 corridor, which in turn allows passengers to travel north and south from Eugene, interlining with Greyhound and Amtrak.

The High Desert POINT Amtrak Thruway bus travels twice daily from the Redmond Airport to Chemult to meet the Coast Starlight Amtrak Train, stopping at Bend Hawthorne Station, Sunriver, LaPine and on to Chemult. These tickets are booked solely through Amtrak. Because the train can run behind, the shuttle bus waits in Chemult for the train to arrive and provides a comfortable and dry place for the passengers to wait, as well as providing the return service for passengers arriving on the train. This allows connections to central Oregon for passengers traveling on the northbound and southbound trains.

From Oakridge, Oregon we operate the Diamond Express in Lane County, which runs three times a day, Monday through Friday from Oakridge to Eugene to provide service to the residents of Oakridge.  Many use the service for transportation to work, school, doctors appointments and shopping, This service also provides access to public transportation on the I-5 corridor, via the Eugene Amtrak Station, as well as east and west from Eugene.

Our charter bus service provides transportation around Oregon and into Washington and California, for various groups.  Many groups in the area book charter bus service with us to consolidate transportation to and from a variety of events.

Who is your typical customer, and how are you helping them with their needs?

We have a variety of customers in our demographic, from college students to commuters that live and work in different areas of Oregon. Many passengers either do not have a vehicle at their disposal, or would rather use public transportation to conserve resources and save money. Helping our customers get to their destination safely, economically and on-time as possible is essential for their comfort and our success of providing transportation services.

How many people do you serve in a year? How many miles in a year?

In combining all our routes and services, transportation is provided to over 40,000 passengers per year and travel in excess 450,000 miles annually!

Do you have any thoughts on how rural/regional transportation can be improved?

In my opinion, more awareness of the public transportation services available would increase ridership and assist in relieving traffic congestion. Having been in this industry as a business owner since 2006, I still hear on a regular basis that people are unaware of routes available.

Another improvement would be the ability to make more rural stops along routes, with dedicated locations that provide shelter, benches and restrooms for the passengers to use. For our Coos Bay – Eugene – Bend service, it is in the works to be able to share data between our interlining partners.

What’s coming up for future plans? Any new routes, services, opportunities, or challenges that you see ahead?

Currently we are focusing on our rural stops being easily accessible, by way of location as well as awareness and the ability to easily purchase tickets online. We work closely with Greyhound and Amtrak to improve the systems. With the advances of the data communications, our goal is to be able to add stops along our already existing routes. An example of a challenge we have faced is having to discontinue a stop in Sisters, OR due to the interlining agencies not being able to share data, which was causing over selling of seats during the busier times. This created a safety issue and frustration with passengers having a ticket to ride the bus but not a seat. With the planned data improvements, we will have accurate passenger counts and be able to safely add rural stops.

We have recently added to our charter division. Providing transportation for private groups is a growing need and our goal is to be able to accommodate the services requested.

Do you have any advice to people who want to get out of their cars and use other forms of transportation (such as local or regional buses)?

If you would like to save money in your travels, you should consider riding the bus! Especially if you are traveling long distances with multiple connections, you will find that the cost of a bus ticket is significantly less than the cost of fuel for a personal vehicle. If traveling to a well-populated area, intercity services could then be used for travel at your destination. Riding the bus also provides the opportunity to enjoy reading or just having leisurely time during your travels.

Any other thoughts on the state of rural transportation options?

There is a need for more rural transportation options in Oregon. Many small towns have a need for transportation to and from their areas, however there are not currently options in a large percentage of less populated towns. State and Federal funding are crucial to the success of rural transportation, as there is not the population needed to cover the costs of purchasing the buses and operating the routes.