The Gorge’s new bus service: Columbia Gorge Express bus started Friday with service to Hood River

GORGE EXPRESS stops at Rooster Rock, Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, and Hood River.

Submitted photo
GORGE EXPRESS stops at Rooster Rock, Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, and Hood River.



ODOT’s Columbia Gorge Express bus service began its third year on May 25, and will now go as far east as Hood River and operate seven days a week, year-round.

On Friday, the bus began its Friday-Saturday-Sunday service — plus Memorial Day — from Gateway Transit Center in Portland to Rooster Rock State Park, Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks and Hood River.

SCHEDULE SUMMARY

Eastbound: Buses leave Gateway every hour or so from 8:30 a.m. to 5:50 p.m., reaching Hood River in about 75 minutes.

Westbound: Buses depart Hood River about every two hours, with the first one at 9:55 a.m. and the last to leave Hood River at 7:10 p.m. The only stop for the final westbound bus is Cascade Locks at 7:38; it arrives at Gateway at 8:21 p.m.

Gateway Center is a hub for TriMet buses and MAX light rail service.

That means the first westbound service to Gateway gets you there at 11:20 a.m., providing a 5-hour window in greater Portland. Eastbound, the 5:50 p.m. Gateway departure stops only in Cascade Locks, at 6:33 p.m., before arriving in Hood River at 7:03 p.m.

One way fares are $7.50 to Gateway, and $15 round trip. Hood River to Cascade Locks is $2.50 each way.

On June 11, the bus will start service seven days a week, year-round.

“This service opens up access to the treasures of the Columbia River Gorge to people who had no way to get there in the past,” said Rian Windsheimer, ODOT’s regional manager for the Portland area. “The expansion of this service to Cascade Locks and Hood River is not only critically important to the economies of hard hit Gorge communities, but also will allow folks to explore a variety of new recreation opportunities throughout the Gorge while some of the trails they are used to visiting remain closed.”

In 2016, season one surpassed expectations — nearly 30,000 trips over 18 weekends — and highlighted the demand for transit service in the Gorge. Season two in summer 2017 saw about the same total ridership, but over just 15 weekends, the last three weekends cancelled because of the Eagle Creek fire. Average daily ridership increased by 10 percent from 2016 to 2017.

A round-trip ticket from Gateway Transit Center to Multnomah Falls will still cost $5 per person and an all-day, hop-on/hop-off pass will cost $15 for individuals and $40 for a group of up to four people (group passes are only available online). Children 6 and under ride for free.

Riders are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to avoid boarding delays. Travelers may also park at Rooster Rock State Park, pay the day use fee of $5 per vehicle and ride the shuttle for no additional charge.

ODOT will have staff on hand on weekends at Multnomah Falls to assist riders with the service.

For the full schedule, tickets, and more information go to www.ColumbiaGorgeExpress.com.



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