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Grants return county's bus service on limited scale

Mt. Adams Transportation has reprieve for its bus service

The Mt. Adams Transportation Service has won a partial reprieve for its bus service.

Beginning Sept. 17, the county transit agency will start twice a day service between Goldendale and Bingen/White Salmon, with connections to The Dalles and Hood River. The service is available because the agency was able to qualify for a federal Job Access grant and a matching Welfare to Work grant from the Washington Office of Trade and Economic Development.

At the end of July, the existing thrice-a-day bus service was ended following the loss of a state Rural Mobility grant.

Roger Gadway, director of Mt. Adams Transportation Service (MATS), said the service will be similar to what was offered before, except on a more limited scale.

"Buses will still be starting from White Salmon and Goldendale at about 7 a.m., and meet in The Dalles to make transfers," Gadway said.

Another trip will leave the same points a bit before 5 p.m.

There will be no service on the weekends.

"We've streamlined it," he said.

According to Gadway, the new grant is for a total of $146,200, and will fund two new 14-passenger seat buses. The new buses will give the county a total of seven buses available for operations, with a backup bus stationed in Goldendale and White Salmon.

"I'm happy we're able to do this," Gadway said. "It's giving an option to people trying to use the bus service on a regular basis and had it yanked out from under them earlier. This new service is not quite as convenient, but it's something that's close."

The new buses won't arrive until Oct. 1, but Gadway said it is important to start the service before then.

"We're trying to start sooner because businesses are hiring for their fall schedules, and the community college starts soon, so this will allow those who want to enroll in classes to do so," Gadway explained. "That's why we're pushing ahead before we get the new buses."

For schedules or other information on the bus service, call MATS at 493-4662.


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