Visitors and residents near downtown Bend will have access beginning Monday to a free, on-demand, curb-to-curb transportation option. The pilot service was designed as the next iteration of Ride Bend by the Mobility Lab at Oregon State University – Cascades with support from public partners.
The new Ride Bend service will launch July 1 at an event at 11 a.m. in the Old Mill District, near the footbridge.
At the event, ride service partners will provide an overview of the service, and introduce the Ride Bend vans and Ride Bend app to the public. Parners on hand will include: Casey Bergh, OSU-Cascades transportation and sustainability manager; Derek Hofbauer, outreach administrator with Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council; and Stephen Murray, co-founder of Downtowner, a provider of micro transit offerings in large, mid-size and small cities across the country.
“Ride Bend’s re-design uses technology to create a more customer-focused and convenient public transit option,” said Bergh. “The findings of the Ride Bend pilot study will help inform future public transportation investments by the City of Bend and Cascades East Transit.”
Ride Bend will serve an area surrounding downtown and the Old Mill District. The fleet includes two 12-passenger vans, including a wheelchair accessible van.
Service will be available from noon to 8 p.m. daily through Labor Day and will be operated by Downtowner.
Beginning Sept. 2, Ride Bend will serve OSU-Cascades and Central Oregon Community College students in an area west of Northwest 14th Street, an area which had previously been served by the discontinued Cascades East Transit route 12.
In addition to the Mobility Lab, Ride Bend partners include the Bend Metropolitan Planning Organization, Cascades East Transit, the city of Bend, St. Charles Health System and Visit Bend, with in-kind support from Bend 2030, the Downtown Bend Business Association and Old Mill District.
“Ride Bend is a fresh, new improvement to our transportation options," said Sally Russell, mayor of the City of Bend. “Especially during the summer months we need to make it easier and more efficient for residents and visitors to move around our community."
The Mobility Lab is a collaborative convened by OSU-Cascades that brings innovation in transportation options to the region by informing policy, developing pilot projects and assessing the effectiveness of transportation options.
To learn more, visit OSUcascades.edu/ridebend.
Note to Editors: Digital images of the Ride Bend vehicle design and service area map are available for download and use with this article: https://beav.es/ZMM
About OSU-Cascades: Oregon State University’s campus in Bend, Ore. features outstanding faculty in degree programs that reflect Central Oregon’s vibrant economy and abundant natural resources. Nearly 20 undergraduate majors, 30 minors and options, and three graduate programs include computer science, energy systems engineering, kinesiology, hospitality management, and tourism, recreation and adventure leadership. OSU-Cascades expanded to a four-year university in 2015; its new campus opened in 2016.