Local News

Saturday Community Connector, Summer Shuttles To Return

BEND, OR -- Cascades East Transit resumes Saturday Community Connector Service this weekend. Saturday routes between Bend and Redmond, Madras, Warm Springs, Sisters and Prineville were cut in February due to a driver shortage. CET’s Derek Hofbauer says they’re still trying to hire more people but they’re competing with a lot of other employers. "We’ve increased our wages; that was helpful. And then, we’re just kind of working on - between our recreation services and our other service, how to have more full time jobs, so they aren’t these kind of seasonal, on-call."

He tells KBND News CET still needs more drivers before the full bus system will return to regular frequency, "Our Bend fixed routes, most of them are still on what we call a Saturday schedule, which is just a reduced frequency schedule. Except for our routes one and six, which cover the main portions of Bend. They’re our highest ridership routes, and those we actually have enough drivers, we were able to bring those back to a regular frequency."

Hofbauer says for now, Bend Fixed Route, Dial-A-Ride and community Connector routes remain free to the public, probably through the end of the year, "If our fixed-route system were whole and we had that increased frequency, we would probably do it sooner. We’re kind of waiting until we have enough drivers for the Bend fixed route." He says COVID Relief dollars help cover the loss in revenue.

Also launching this weekend Ride the River and Lava Butte summer shuttles run through Labor Day, weather permitting. Ride the River is $4 for an all-day wristband; the Lava Butte bus is $3 per passenger for a round trip.

Schedule information for Ride the River, Lava Butte, and Saturday Community Connector Routes 20, 22, 24, and 26 can be accessed at CascadesEastTransit.com.

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