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LTD Reconnects Modified Cottage Grove Connector

August 13, 2020
LTD, in partnership with South Lane Wheels, will resume operation of the Cottage Grove Connector, the District’s mobility-on-demand pilot program for essential trips, beginning Aug. 17, 2020.

Cottage Grove residents can request a ride for an essential trip within the city limits aboard the Connector by downloading and using the TransLoc Microtransit smartphone app or telephone (942-0456 ext.1), 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday - Friday. The Cottage Grove Connector vehicle capacity is four riders.

“LTD is pleased to resume modified service of the Cottage Grove Connector pilot program to provide riders-on-demand access to the essential places they need to go, such as the grocery store or to medical appointments, “ said John Ahlen, LTD’s Accessible Services Program Manager. “As part of LTD’s Health-First initiative, Cottage Grove Connector vehicle operators and passengers will be required to wear hands free nose and mouth coverings while observing social distancing requirements to use the Connector to get around Cottage Grove.”

Other Cottage Grove Connector pilot project Health-First actions include:

•    LTD/South Lane Wheels will regularly wipe down all hard surfaces in the vehicle.
•    Vehicle operators will open vehicle windows for fresh air as often as possible.
•    Vehicle operator temperatures will be checked prior to beginning work.
•    Social distancing is required for all persons not traveling together (maximum of four people per vehicle).

The Cottage Grove Connector is $1 per passenger one-way. LTD fare media, including student ID, half-fare, or honored rider passes are not currently accepted on the Cottage Grove Connector. Children aged 5 and under ride for free. Carry-on items are limited to what can be carried on board by the passenger and held on their lap or stored under their seat.

To access LTD Route 98 to Creswell/LCC/Eugene, riders can use the Cottage Grove Connector to be taken to the LTD bus stop at Walmart during the Connector’s operating hours.  In addition, the Route 98 bus currently travels from Walmart through the center of Cottage Grove before departing for Creswell, Lane Community College, and the Downtown Eugene Station.

Prior to the Cottage Grove Connector pilot program postponement in March due to  COVID-19 restrictions, community residents had embraced the service as a convenient way to travel across town. On average, more than 100 people per day were using the service instead of driving a personal vehicle or using other less efficient means of personal transportation to go to medical appointments, shopping, or visit friends and family.

“The Cottage Grove Connector is convenient and is providing LTD with important ridership data that will help inform future mobility-on-demand services in Cottage Grove and other communities in the District, as well,” Ahlen said.  “LTD will evaluate the Cottage Grove Connector pilot program in the coming months to determine its viability as a more permanent service option.”

Initial funding for the Cottage Grove Connector pilot program was made possible through the Oregon Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund (STIF). This reintroduction is funded from STIF and money awarded to LTD through the CARES Act.

In August 2019, LTD had launched EmGo, a similar mobility-on-demand program in downtown Eugene. Its operations remain postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions until further notice.

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