Columbia County Commissioners have approved a contract revision with MTR Western, LLC, the company that operates the CC Rider bus fleet.
The revision completes the final component of the CC Rider Transit Program restructuring and setting the stage for service sustainability for the foreseeable future, according to a release from Columbia County.
The contract revision reflects a rate adjustment that is a result of the service reductions implemented earlier this year and is retroactive to July 1, 2021.
"The economy of scale comes into play. It costs a fixed amount to run the transit operation and even though the County has cut routes due to the pandemic causing a decrease in ridership, fixed costs remain the same," Commissioner Henry Heimuller said. "The hourly rate had to be adjusted to compensate for that. That rate will be renegotiated as routes are added back. Again, the economy of scale."
When ridership on transit routes plummeted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the county opted to focus on CC Rider's most utilized services, the St. Helens to Portland commuter route and Dial-A-Ride, and suspend service to extremely low ridership routes.
The Dial-a-Ride program provides an important service for many residents of Columbia County by allowing them full freedom of mobility to travel within the County.
"Dial-a-Ride is a valuable door-to-door transportation service for Columbia County veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, and those who can’t use standard fixed-route transit," Columbia County Transit Director John Dreeszen said. "With Dial-a-Ride, they can more easily travel to medical appointments, meetings, running errands, or even buying groceries."
Columbia County Rider transit services are primarily grant-funded and provide lower-cost transportation than other popular alternatives available to county residents. Columbia County and CC Rider are committed to serving the County's needs to the best of our ability with the resources that are currently available.