Florence to Yachats Connector Launches September 4
Media Contact: Therese Lang
Beginning on Tuesday, September 4, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), cities of Florence and Yachats, along with Lane Transit District (LTD) will launch the Florence-Yachats Connector bus service, a pilot program that will close the last gap of public transit service on the West Coast highway of the United States.
The pilot will run from September 4, 2018 through June 30, 2019 utilizing ODOT grant funds. LTD is providing technical expertise and support for the service. ODOT grants have allowed the purchase of a new vehicle for the service, which will be operated through River Cities Taxi, who also operate the Rhody Express service in Florence.
While a permanent vehicle is being manufactured, LTD is utilizing a temporary vehicle to launch the service on September 4. The permanent vehicle will be a new, 25-foot El Dorado Aerotech cutaway bus and can comfortably hold up 10 people with additional space for two wheelchairs. Bicycles are allowed as space permits.
“The pilot program will be used to determine whether this service is highly desired and whether it is financially sustainable,” said Mark Bernard, Regional Transit Coordinator with ODOT. “We will look at ridership data, collected by LTD, to gauge the level of use and interest. If it looks like it is highly used, then we will all come back together – the two cities, ODOT and LTD and determine the next steps in providing this service along this segment of the Oregon coast.”
The service will begin in Florence at the Grocery Outlet and proceed on Highway 101 with one stop at the Carl G. Washburne State Park, where it will continue on to Yachats, stopping at the Log Church (3rd and Pontiac). The route is 25 miles each way.
“We’re just thrilled to have this service launch,” said Glen Southerland, Florence city planner. “We recognized that there was a big gap in public transportation between Florence and Yachats and this program will allow us to fill that gap, at least for the next year.”
The fare is $2.50 for a one-way trip and $5 for all day service. Tickets are available through River Cities Taxi, who is contracted to operate the service. Riders can purchase their one-way or day pass when boarding the vehicle. The $5 fare includes round-trip service on the Connector, and also a day pass on the Florence Rhody Express. Passengers should arrive early and have their fare or exact change ready as the bus driver does not carry cash and cannot make change.
“We really need the community to come out and support this service if they want it to continue beyond the pilot program,” said Barbara Frye, Yachats city councilwoman. “It will be important for the community to demonstrate the need for this service by using it.”
Service will operate four round trips between Florence and Yachats.
For more information or for a full schedule of service, please visit www.LTD.org/connector.