The Hermiston City Council unanimously approved an agreement Monday night with KAYAK Transit to begin a fixed-route bus system within the community. A map of the route is available HERE (PDF), and timing for each of the stops will be developed over the coming weeks. The Council is still also taking feedback on proposed names for the new system. You can pick your choise HERE (external link).
The service will operate an hourly loop through Hermiston from 9 am through 4 pm, with the route going through downtown three times per hour, and will also access medical facilities and the main Northern and Southern commercial areas of the city.
The new bus service will be free and open to the entire community beginning January 3rd. The ability for the riders to use the system without paying a fair is made possible by a large local subsidy from the City of Hermiston, as well as anticipated Federal grant funds through cooperation with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). Due to grant conditions which require CTUIR to count any system revenue against their grant request, charging fares would cost the system more in lost grant revenue than it would bring in in fare revenue. However, this scenario of losing money on fares only holds true if CTUIR's system remains under 250,000 rides per year; therefore, there may come a time in the future when fares will be required.