CAT prepares to expand service

‘Fixed route,’ TD routes start June 11

CAT buses will soon be familiar sights between Hood River and The Dalles.

Photo courtesy of CAT
CAT buses will soon be familiar sights between Hood River and The Dalles.

Columbia Area Transit (CAT) will expand the services beginning June 11 to include intercity services between Hood River and The Dalles, along with fixed routes in Hood River between the Upper Valley and Rosauers, and between Cascade Locks and the Hood River Port transportation hub site.

On the fixed routes, one-way fare in Hood River and Wasco counties is $1 and kids under the age of 7 can ride free with an adult.

The new routes are part of the Hood River County Transportation District’s drafted Paratransit Plan, which details updated Americans with Disabilities (ADA) services. An Employer Universal Pass Program and an online fare payment system are also considered in the plan.

The Hood River County Transportation District will hold a special board of directors meeting 9 a.m. on June 8 to discuss a draft of the plan and, at the end of this meeting, the board will make any needed changes to the plan before adopting it and sending it over to the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The transition aligns with a 10-year master plan adopted by the district last year.

On May 26, CAT contracted with Gray Line of Portland and started an 18-week-long demonstration of weekend fixed-route ADA accessible trolley service within the City of Hood River. Riders may request a route deviation of up to a quarter of a mile by calling Gray Line a day ahead.

The new system will keep Dial-A-Ride, a request based door-to-door transit service, and offer priority to ADA eligible passengers who go through a self-certification process. Beginning June 1, CAT began enforcing its policy that riders must schedule their rides by 5 p.m. the previous day.

Dial-A-Ride has been the primary local transportation system for all Hood River passengers, including those who are ADA eligible, in the past, but with the added fixed routes, this service will primarily serve ADA eligible Hood River residents who are unable to use the fixed route bus service, such as riders with disabilities, senior citizens, or passengers unable to safely make it to a stop along the fixed route.

“We want to continue to provide dial rides to everyone in the community who may need it,” said CAT Executive Director Patty Fink.

A one-way Dial-A-Ride pickup and drop-off within Hood River and Wasco counties costs $2.

The cost is higher than the fixed-route fare because “it costs more to do that kind of (service) deviation,” Fink said.

Services will continue to be offered in Mosier and surrounding areas, Fink said, primarily through Dial-A-Ride, but pickup will also be provided at a site along the route between Hood River and The Dalles.

She encourages the public to try out the fixed routes and attend the June 8 board meeting, Hood River County Transportation District offices, 224 Wasco Loop, Hood River.

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