Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oregon city buses go fare-free

Corvallis public transportation goes fareless

Rides will be free on Feb. 1 as new taxpayer transit operation fee covers the cost of Corvallis Transit System, Beaver Bus

Colin Bowyer 2/1/11

On Feb. 1, users of the Corvallis Transit System and the Beaver Bus will no longer have to pay a fare.

The Corvallis Public Works Department announced earlier this month that because of a reallocation of taxpayer funds to the new Transit Operations Fee, voted on by the City Council, passengers will be able to ride for free.

Originally, the city's general fund, from property taxes, provided for transit costs. Now with the Transit Operations Fee in place, that money from the general fund can be put toward the library, parks and other social services, according to Transit Coordinator Tim Bates.

Unfortunately, the Philomath Connection, Linn-Benton Loop and the 99 Express will still charge a fee because they are not owned and operated under the City of Corvallis.

Because the Beaver Bus is 30 percent funded by the City of Corvallis and 70 percent funded by the students, that will also be free of charge.

The Corvallis Transit System services an average of 2,280 people a day and stretches out to a majority of the Corvallis neighborhoods and the Hewlett-Packard facility on the North side of town.

Bates is optimistic about the change.

"I hope that it gets new riders on the busses," Bates said. "I would hope that people that ride it now will continue to ride it and bring in more people who don't ride it now."

Additionally, CTS riders with monthly passes containing an expiration date past Jan. 31 will be refunded their money.

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