How well do you know our transit system in Central Oregon?
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Jobs, Internships, college classes…these are exciting opportunities for transition students! For many young adults with disabilities, learning to use public transportation is a key to making the most of these opportunities. Using public transportation is important for all parts of independent living, from getting to doctor appointments to going to the library to picking up groceries.

Fortunately, public transportation options in Central Oregon keep expanding with more options and access to more areas. Central Oregon’s public transportation system is run by Cascade East Transit (CET). CET is a region-wide network of buses and vans, on fixed routes in some areas, and on-demand in other areas. Plan your trip here!

 

True or False?
Taking the bus is expensive!

Answer: FALSE 

CET currently does not charge any fare for the bus rides. That’s right—all transit services are free of charge! This change was made for the health and safety of the drivers. Not collecting fares allows them to maintain a safe social distance from the riders. This will continue until the COVID crisis is over.

Before the fare policy changed, bus fares cost between $1 and $5 per ride, depending on the destination. Discounts were available for senior citizens and for people with disabilities. And the buses have always been free for people with disabilities while they are learning the routes! During the “travel training” period, transition students and their job coaches or teachers can ride the buses for free.

 

True or False?
The CET follows all the safety guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID

Answer: TRUE

Just like at other public places in Central Oregon, transit riders and drivers need to wear masks to cover their noses and mouths. Some seats in the buses are blocked off for social distancing, and the number of riders on each bus is limited. The buses are also cleaned and disinfected every four hours. CET follows these rules to help limit the spread of the COVID virus, so that Central Oregon’s shops and service places can stay open.

 

True or False?
I can plan my ride using an app on my smartphone.

Answer: TRUE

The Transit app for tablets and smartphones is free to download, and can be used in any city. Instead of showing a complicated table of departure times for every bus route, Transit only shows the information you ask for. The app asks for where you are starting, where you are going, and when you need to arrive. The app then maps out the walking distance to the bus stop, outlines the route the bus will take and shows where the stops are, and lists the time you need to get on the bus.

 

True or False?
Not all CET buses are ADA compliant.

Answer: FALSE

Every bus and van in the CET system is wheelchair accessible and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Wheelchairs are always secured in the van or bus, for the safety of everyone. Service animals are welcome aboard the transit vehicles too.

In 2021, the CET system will upgrade the technology on its buses to assist passengers who are deaf or have visual impairments. An automated system will announce upcoming stops, and electronic LED signs will list the upcoming stops.

 

True or False?
CET Bus routes connect every town in Central Oregon.

Answer: Trick question… FALSE (but almost true!)

CET routes go between all the towns of Central Oregon: Bend, Redmond, Madras, Warm Springs, Sisters, LaPine, and Prineville. However, not every town goes directly to every other town.

For example, a student in Bend can travel directly to Redmond, Sisters, or LaPine. But to travel to Prineville, riders would need to transfer buses in Redmond, and that can get complicated.

The good news is the CET system keeps growing and expanding routes. One example is Route 31, the new summer route between LaPine and Sunriver. This route is especially helpful for transition students in LaPine who are hired for summer jobs in Sunriver, and need reliable transportation to and from work. The route is scheduled to run daily between June and September, 2021.

Bend is the only town in Central Oregon with buses that follow a set schedule on fixed routes. In other towns, passengers call the Dial-A-Ride service to schedule transportation. These trips need to be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance, and can be arranged up to 30 days in advance. It’s a good idea to add in extra time, to allow for delays. CET is working to increase the availability of rural transit.