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BEND, OR -- Commute Options is exploring the possibility of bringing vanpooling back to Central Oregon. It was a popular ride-sharing option until the recession when a lack of users forced the local program to end.

 

Commute Options Executive Director Jeff Monson tells KBND News, "I think there’s a need, we know there’s a lot of traffic congestion; one car, one person coming from Redmond to Bend and reverse in the afternoon, usually. That’s the typical commute pattern. And so, if we can help arrange some vanpools then we could help some people get a ride and get rid of some of that traffic." Commute Options is talking with companies like Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s ride-share branch about bringing vans to Central Oregon. "They designate a driver or two. That vanpool driver would then pickup five, seven or eight people and take them to downtown Bend, or St. Charles, or OSU, G-5 or some of the companies and areas that are thinking about vanpooling."
 
Monson says they’d like to start with routes between Bend and Redmond, which could serve more people than the current bus system. "This is a compliment to Cascades East Transit. So, they can’t serve every single need. We work with CET a lot; we promote bus ridership, too, of course. The bus system may not work for everyone, but could a vanpool sneak in there and help eight people get to work right on time, right to where they work, no parking worries?"
 
Commute Options wants to hear from commuters interested in participating so they can determine if there's enough demand. To get on the list, email Kim Curley at kim@commuteoptions.org or call 541-408-6111. Monson says each rider would pay around $100 a month for a 40-mile round trip, five days a week. 

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