The Central Oregon community has waited a long time for public transportation systems in and between cities. Now, surprisingly, commuters between Bend and La Pine have not just one, but two options for public transit. Riders can choose between services provided by Cascades East Transit (CET) and Central Cascade Lines Inc. (CCL) to get to jobs, medical appointments, shopping and more.
Cascades East Transit – administered by the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC) – offers a regular, Monday through Friday service called the Community Connector Shuttle. Early morning and late afternoon shuttles between La Pine Park and Ride Lot and Bend Hawthorne Station are part of CET’s Route 4. Reservations are required, and regular commuters may purchase a Day Pass, Monthly Pass or 12-Day Punch Card depending on individual transportation needs.
Central Cascade Lines Inc. – a privately owned company – offers a similar, yet different service to commuters. Monday through Friday, five scheduled departures leave La Pine for Bend from early morning to late afternoon. Reservations are required for a guaranteed trip, and commuters purchase either Daily Roundtrip or Monthly Passes (unlimited use). But whereas CET is a generally a “station to station” service, CCL is more of a “station to door” service. Riders get on the bus in La Pine at the South County Bldg., Senior Center or La Pine Park and Ride Lot, but are dropped off in Bend at stops all around town.
“Our biggest challenge is getting employers on board with us, through means of either working with employees, adjusting start times, or getting them to sponsor events (for CCL). I don’t understand this, because a lot of our people spend a lot of money in Bend,” said Lupita Lewis, President and co-founder of Central Cascade Lines.
“Business owners and managers who want to increase commute options in the workplace might consider subsidizing all or part of public transportation costs for employees who take advantage of these options,” said Jeff Monson, executive director of Commute Option for Central Oregon.
“In some ways, La Pine is the best served community in the region,” said Scott Aycock, program administrator for COIC. In addition to getting workers to jobs, both CET and CCL transit services are used by citizens who may not be able to drive or otherwise get around on their own. Both provide a “Curb to Curb” service which complements Bend’s overburdened Dial A Ride service.
Commute Options promotes choices that reduce the impacts of driving alone. For more information about Commute Options, contact Jeff Monson, Executive Director of Commute Options for Central Oregon at 541/330-2647 or visit www.commuteoptions.org.