Commuters get a bus boot

Commuters get a bus boot

Workers commuting between Astoria, Warrenton and Hammond this fall got a much better bus schedule as the local transportation district expanded its service.

Three routes serving the neighboring cities were expanded Sept. 1. Now buses leave every half-hour during peak commuting hours, which doubles the previous service that was available, says Roni Shaw, Sunset Empire Transportation District operations manager.

Shaw says riders have complained about waiting an hour between buses, making it impractical for workers to use the buses to get to work.

“Six years ago there were 1,500 to 1,600 [riders] a week and now there are more than 7,000,” she says. “I’m positive with the new 30-minute service that will increase again.”

Using a $465,000 grant from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the district purchased four new buses with increased passenger capacity from EK Coaches in Oregon City. They will replace four older buses with more than 500,000 miles on their odometers.

“We are reaching as far as we can,” Shaw says. “People realized how easy and cost effective it is to ride.”

WILLIAM E. CRAWFORD