By Katy Bryce, for Commute Options
The bus is coming! The bus is coming! No, the bus is here, and it’s waiting for you.
On September 21, Cascades East Transit (CET) expanded the Bend bus routes to better serve the community and get people where they need to be, when they need to be there. The expansion includes three additional routes, extended weekday hours of operation (to 8pm at night), and increased frequency during the week and on Saturdays. In short, Bend transit riders now have a 35% increase in service and better connectivity via east to west routes.
Judy Watts is the Outreach and Engagement Administrator for the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC), which operates CET. “Transit has become an essential part of the fabric of our community. It’s hard to believe that not long ago, transit service was unavailable. With expanded service in Bend and expanded services on the horizon for the entire region, CET looks forward to serving a vital transportation service for the region.”
We agree! A reliable and convenient bus system is a very important part of our community. Public transit allows all residents of all abilities to access jobs, school, health care and recreation. It also helps employers to retain employees by giving them a dependable and inexpensive option for commuting to and from work. We have a bus that goes to our ski area. It is just as important to have a bus that goes to medical offices, the colleges, business districts and employment centers.
How can you use the bus to get where you need to be?
Group Bus Passes. Commute Options offers Cascades East Transit bus passes to employees at partner businesses. At some point, businesses might face challenges in retaining workers that do not have access to reliable transportation. The Group Bus Pass is a very affordable benefit that businesses can offer to their employees that provides free, dependable public transportation. With the Group Bus Pass, you can retain employees and promote transportation alternatives. Contact Commute Options directly for this opportunity.
Monthly Pass. Individuals can purchase a monthly bus pass with Cascades East Transit. A monthly pass for the Bend Fixed Route service is $30. Do you spend more than $30 in gasoline (plus regular maintenance) commuting back and forth to work? If so, consider a monthly pass!
Bike and Ride. All CET buses have the capacity to carry bicycles. Get a little exercise by riding your bike to the bus stop, then hop on the bus to continue your journey. Or ride the bus to work in the morning, bring your bike and ride your bike on the way home—a happy mix of active transportation!
Ride and Ski. Winter is coming and you likely know how the road can be up to Mt. Bachelor. Purchase a Mountain Season Pass for $199 and enjoy the winter wonderland from the seat of a bus instead of gripped at the steering wheel. At 40 miles of travel for a round trip, this can pay for itself pretty quickly, depending on how often you use it.
Commute Options promotes choices that reduce the impacts of driving alone. For more information, contact Executive Director, Jeff Monson at 541-330-2647 or visit www.commuteoptions.org
Katy Bryce is a freelance writer in Bend. www.katybryce.com