Final Plan: Transit Development Plan – Final
Learn more about the data collection and analysis used to shape the Transit Development Plan through the following technical memos that outline existing conditions, needs, service opportunities and more.
This document identifies potential transportation needs based on projected population growth, demographics and population characteristics, and anticipated future development patterns. The memo suggests strategies to improve transit and support land-use patterns that enable and encourage transit use in communities throughout Wasco County.
This document describes goals for the future of transit service in Wasco County, and recommends criteria to evaluate different service ideas and investments for future investment. The framework helps us decide which ideas best match our goals for the future.
This memo is geared toward local and regional governments to enact goals, policies, and practices to support transit. This may include updating development codes or adopting practices that make transit an attractive and easy transportation choice. The memo also includes benchmarks to evaluate progress toward achieving these goals.
This memo includes recommendations for short-, medium-, and long-term transit service in Wasco County. The document outlines service operation plans, capital investments, and other recommendations to upgrade transportation vehicles, bus stops, technology and more. The memo identifies the costs and need for increased funding and financial support to enact many of the recommended opportunities.
Some Highlights Learned Through the Process:
- High proportions of transit-dependent populations live in rural areas; many of these rural areas do not have access to fixed-route transit and the rural nature of the area makes it difficult to efficiently serve with transit.
- The commute analysis shows that there is a relatively low number of commuters between incorporated cities, except between The Dalles – Hood River and The Dalles – Portland.
- A majority of deviated fixed-route and demand-response transit trips during the study period started and ended in The Dalles, with several extending beyond the formal service area to complete trips.
- The LINK’s connections to other regional transit services are gaining momentum through coordination with the Gorge TransLink Alliance. For example, the GOrge Pass program, which launched July 2021, allo
ws riders to use fixed routes across all four providers in the Gorge.
- Bus stops on the fixed routes in The Dalles are improving with amenities, sidewalk access, and more.
- Transit stops are not widely used by riders, in part due to The LINK operating as a Dial-a-Ride system for more than two decades and many riders unfamiliar with how to plan a trip using a fixed route.
- Establishing trip planning software for users and marketing the availability of stops would help improve efficiency of The LINK’s services.
- A majority of trips along The LINK’s services during the analysis period were 10 minutes or less in duration. Half of the trips were less than 5 miles long and 90% of trips were less than 10 miles long. This is due to most trips starting and ending in The Dalles, a generally small geographic area.
- Trip purpose shifted during the COVID-19 pandemic. A higher percentage of trips were coded as “personal/miscellaneous” in 2019 than in 2020 and 2021. The share of trips with the purpose of “work” increased between 2019 and 2021. Riders are currently using transit services for more essential trips rather than recreational or personal trips.
- Monthly ridership dropped by over 50% between February 2020 and April 2020 as COVID took hold. In late 2020 and early 2021, ridership has gradually begun to increase but has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.
- Transit services in Wasco County have high use by elderly individuals (over the age of 65).
- The LINK provides operating costs per hour, rides per hour, and rides per mile that are near the average of its peers.
- Seven out of the eleven active vehicles are beyond their expected useful life (EUL) timelines; all vehicles are in adequate or excellent condition. Five new vehicles were purchased in 2021 and will be used to replace older vehicles.
Additional findings related to survey data and outreach are provided in the “Outreach Findings” section of this report.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does this plan impact transit services?
A: This plan provides recommendations for updates to bus routes, investments in programs and infrastructure, and analysis of financial need and funding opportunities. These recommendations are organized into:
- short-term –within the next five years
- medium-term – five to fifteen years
- long-term – fifteen years or beyond.
Any near-term changes to services will be advertised in advance. Overall, the Plan will help guide The LINK to better serve the community with both existing resources and future funding opportunities.
Q: Can I provide feedback on the services now, even though the plan is done?
A: Yes, you can always provide feedback to The LINK through our website or by calling our offices and speaking with our Transportation Operations Manager.
Q: How else can I get involved?
A: The Wasco County Public Transportation Advisory Committee meets quarterly and receives public comments during the meeting. The Committee regularly recruits community members to serve, applications can be submitted to Wasco County. Your organization can also request a presentation from our travel trainer.
Q: Where can I find the nearest bus stop?
A: Find our route maps here or call our dispatch at 541-296-7595.
Q: How do I stay up-to-date on The LINK?
A: We share information on our website, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up for the MCEDD monthly newsletter and to receive text alerts for bus service changes due to holidays, weather, etc.