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Transit to expand in Columbia area

The Dalles Transit Center is located at 802 Chenowith Loop Rd. in The Dalles. Columbia Area Transit (CAT) will expand services beginning June 11 to include an intercity service between Hood River and The Dalles.

Photo by Mark Gibson
The Dalles Transit Center is located at 802 Chenowith Loop Rd. in The Dalles. Columbia Area Transit (CAT) will expand services beginning June 11 to include an intercity service between Hood River and The Dalles.



Columbia Area Transit (CAT) will expand coverage beginning June 11 to include an intercity service between Hood River and The Dalles, along with fixed routes in Hood River between Upper Valley and Rosauers and between Cascade Locks and the Hood River port transfer site.

On the fixed routes, one-way fare in Hood River and Wasco Counties is $1 and kids under the age of seven 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 transportation district will hold a special board meeting at 9 a.m. on June 8 to consider a draft of the plan and make any needed changes before adopting it and forwarding it 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 to start 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 one-fourth 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 their 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 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 at the Hood River County Transportation District offices, 224 Wasco Loop, Hood River. A celebration of expanded transit services throughout the Gorge will be held June 16, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the new bus stop between the Event Site and the Hood River Valero Gas Station at the Port of Hood River.



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