ashland.news
July 23, 2024

Ashland Crosstown bus service begins Monday

A new bus stop marker on East Main Street across from the council chamber building will be unveiled Monday, June 26, when a new intercity RVTD route begins serving Ashland. Ashland.news photo by Bert Etling
June 22, 2023

Route runs from hospital to Albertsons, connects with intercity local and express routes

By Damian Mann for Ashland.news

Getting around Ashland will become a lot easier on Monday when a new neighborhood bus route begins operation.

Route 17, the newest route offered by Rogue Valley Transportation District, will circulate every hour through previously unserved streets to connect with Southern Oregon University, schools and shopping centers.

The route will loop from the Asante Ashland Community Hospital to the shopping area around Shop’n Kart and Albertsons, traveling along Maple Street, Hersey Street, North Mountain Avenue, East Main Street and Wightman Avenue.

The new intra-Ashland bus route is due to start Monday, June 26.

The “Ashland Crosstown” route will also circulate on Clay Street and Tolman Creek Road, providing greater reach into more residential areas.

RVTD had plans to put the route on Oak, Helman and Nevada streets as well as Abbott Avenue, but further review projected low ridership from these areas. Also, existing bus sizes are too large to easily navigate those narrower streets.

Paige West, RVTD planning and strategic programs manager, said RVTD will continue to consider adding in those streets in the future.

Based on RVTD’s analysis, most of the potential riders in the Oak and Helman neighborhood live within a relatively short eighth of a mile of Hersey.

Similarly, Abbott Avenue is fairly close to both Clay and Tolman Creek.

West said RVTD might eventually expand Route 17 to Clover Lane, next to Interstate 5, where the Ashland Emergency Food Bank is located.

Another possibility could be so-called deviation routes, where a rider requests in advance to be picked up off the main route.

A new bus stop marker on Tolman Creek Road next to Albertsons will be unveiled Monday, June 26, when a new intercity RVTD route begins serving Ashland. Ashland.news photo by Bert Etling

West said this option is being studied, but if it gets rolled out, a rider would be required to make the request ahead of time.

Deviation routes are typically found in areas where there is a mix of urban and rural areas, she said.

Route 17 will operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. (The last run starts at 4 p.m. and ends at 4:43 p.m., according to the schedule.)

The stops will be located at one-quarter to one-half mile intervals, and Ashland residents have probably already noticed the white metal poles and small seats located on various streets in the city.

It will take up to one hour to complete the route through Ashland, based on the number of stops, school zones, railroad crossings as well as traffic.

Fares for Route 17 are $2 a ride, with a transfer allowed in a 90-minute window. That would allow a rider to hop on Route 17, and then transfer to Route 10 or express Route 1x, both of which go to Medford.

Route 10 will intersect with Route 17 at various points, including at SOU, near Shop’n Kart and near the hospital.

Bus passes are available through employers and schools that greatly reduce the fare.

The UMO app available on Android and Apple devices is another option to pay for bus fares and to get alerts.

West said riders can get a head start figuring out how to ride Route 17 by doing a trip planning exercise in the app. She said customers should plug in the June 26 date when doing the exercise.

For those who need additional help riding the bus, West suggests riders contact customer service at RVTD to assist with travel training: 541-779-5821.

The new route, as well as other new routes in Jackson County, are made possible from $3.5 million a year in ongoing state grant money, which is derived from payroll taxes.

RVTD has 14 routes serving communities from Ashland to Central Point and from Jacksonville to Eagle Point.

Reach freelance writer Damian Mann at dmannnews@gmail.com.

Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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