The Columbia County Rider public transit service in planning to significantly reduce services they provide in certain areas of the county, including Vernonia, starting April 2, 2013.
Among the cuts to the Vernonia service are a reduction of the Dial-a-Ride (DAR) Service to two days a week and a reduction to the Nehalem Valley Route from five days to three days a week, with the elimination of the midday loop.
The reduction was announced to the Vernonia City Council at their meeting on March 18, 2013 in a report provided by Columbia County Transit Director Janet Wright. According to the report, reductions in service are necessary for three reasons:
-The County’s General Fund can no longer supplement the transit program’s operating costs.
-CC Rider does not generate enough revenue to match available grant allocations to support current service levels.
-The County must comply with a requirement to establish an operating reserve of 2.5 times their monthly expenses.
In addition to the reductions to service for Vernonia, CC Rider will also be eliminating DAR service in Clatskanie and combining it with the Rainier DAR; reducing the Rainier DAR service to three days a week, five hours per day; reducing DAR service in St, Helens, Scappoose and Columbia City to five hours per day, five days a week; reduce service on the Westport to Longview and the North Flex Routes to three days a week service. There were no reductions made to the South Flex Route which serves St. Helens to Portland.
Vernonia DAR service will now be available only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Nehalem Route will only run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
CC Rider staff and the Columbia County Citizens Transit Advisory Committee (CCCTAC) decided to institute the upcoming reductions after reviews of financial and ridership data. CC Rider staff determined a need to reduce service hours throughout the system by 204 hours/week, a 36% reduction.