Cascades East Transit is rolling out new service between La Pine and Sunriver—and will begin running more often during the weekday schedules for Bend and Community Connector routes. More buses more often along CET routes allows more options for physical distancing. All CET weekend services will remain suspended until further notice.

The Route 31 La Pine to Sunriver service is a Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund (STIF) project that is being implemented to fill existing transportation gaps and provide greater access to jobs and other essential services. The 2020 summer service will operate seven days per week from June 1 through September 7. Bus stops along Route 31 will be located at 4th and Huntington, St. Charles Family Clinic, and Wickiup Junction in La Pine (a designated Park and Ride) and at the Library and Resort in Sunriver.

Deschutes County Commissioner Patti Adair mentioned, “The new La Pine to Sunriver summer transit service will connect La Pine and Sunriver residents to employment opportunities, health care needs, and other essential services. This vital transportation link between La Pine and Sunriver will help foster economic development and job growth in Southern Deschutes County.”

“This bus line was the result of lobbying by all of the Deschutes County Commissioners who saw a need for a specific transportation service between La Pine and Sunriver and realized this was an intended use of the 2017 Transportation Bill additional State funding,” said Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Henderson. “We worked to accelerate this process.”

“I look forward to riding the new route,” said Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone.

The La Pine and Sunriver Area Chambers of Commerce, the City of La Pine, community partners, and residents contributed to Route 31 planning efforts and are eager to see the project come to fruition. John Holland, Board President of the Sunriver Area Chamber of Commerce, noted “This new service will provide a convenient and efficient transportation option for residents and employees to travel between the communities of Sunriver and La Pine, thus helping to revitalize our economy as we recover during this unprecedented time.”

CET is also implementing new transit guidelines released by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) on May 15. High touch surfaces on buses and at facilities are being wiped down every four hours and additional signage and visual cues have been placed on all buses to encourage passengers to stand and sit at least three feet away from other passengers and six feet away from drivers. CET staff are posting maximum occupancy numbers on each bus to ensure adequate social distancing between passengers and drivers and prevent crowding. Extra buses are also being staged to help on routes where buses are getting full; however, passengers should allow extra time when making trips.More about the efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 can be found at the CET website.

The health and safety of all Cascades East Transit (CET) riders and staff is a top priority, and never more so than during the coronavirus pandemic. CET continues to take necessary precautions to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. High-touch surfaces in vehicles and at facilities are disinfected multiple times per day, hand sanitizer is provided in all buses and transit stations, and drivers and passengers are required to wear face coverings. Additionally, CET encourages social distancing between drivers and passengers by blocking off seats, allowing rear-door boardings on our low-floor buses in Bend, and by temporarily suspending fare collection to avoid the exchange of money. 

Passengers are still required to wear face coverings such as masks, scarves, and bandannas when boarding the bus. Exceptions are being made for children under two years of age and for people with disabilities or with certain health conditions who cannot wear a mask. CET drivers are also required to wear face coverings and they will hand out masks free of charge to customers who do not have one. “We take the cleanliness of our buses and the health and safety of our staff and passengers very seriously, said COIC’s Executive Director, Tammy Baney. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is a team effort and we want to thank our riders for adhering to both existing and new guidelines when making essential trips such as going to the doctor, pharmacy, a job, or grocery store.” Find more information about CET’s efforts to help keep our community moving safely. See the OHA COVID-19 updates and guidelines. 

Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC) was designated a Council of Governments in 1972 under ORS 190. Cascades East Transit, operated by COIC, provides fixed-route and Dial-A-Ride services in Bend, Community Connector regional services, general public Dial-A-Ride services in Redmond, La Pine, Prineville, Sisters, and Madras, flex-route service in Warm Springs and recreational routes like Ride the River, Lava Butte, and the Mt. Bachelor shuttle.