02 September 2006

[transit] Cherriots Announces New Service Levels and Fares

In the wake of the news that the last transit levy Salem voters voted on was turned down and service cuts were to be expected, Cherriots have finally announced just what those service cuts and changes are to be.

All but six of Cherriot's 29 routes (25 regular fixed routes and four park and ride routes) will suffer service reductions or changes. Most of these seem to take the form of elmination of quarter-hour runs, elminiation of two or three early runs, and elimination of inbound runs on late routes.

Saturday service is being retained, but buses will no longer run on additional legal holidays: President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veteran's Day. There already is no service on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's Day.

The fares are also going up: $1.00 regular adult, $0.75 Youth, $0.50 Senior/disabled. Wow. In my distant past, I remember when the system fare was 35 cents. And, at one time, Cherriots drivers actually gave change.

Good times.

I think Cherriots is to be commended for spreading the cuts in the evenest possible way (at least as far as I can see) and making wise choices as to what services will be maintained, especially the maintenance of Saturday service, which, if I recall correctly, may have been on the chopping block.

A summary of the changes (and links to downloadable schedule information) is here, at the Cherriots website. Changes take effect 4 September 2006.

As someone who grew up (and was a carless youth) in Salem, I always thought that Salem never has had the transit service it ought to have had. It pains me that the voters didn't value it. Such is life, though; things are kind of tough all over. Since transit is a service that serves you even if you don't use it, though, cutting funding for it we either directly or indirectly undermine ourselves.

Healthy cities have good public transportation. The way I see it, that's just the fact.

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