Free shuttle service launches in Bend

Ride Bend offers lift to summertime hot spots

Free Ride Bend shuttle gets rolling

BEND, Ore. - Getting around Bend could be easier on you and your wallet this summer. The free ‘Ride Bend’ shuttle got underway Friday and continues all summer.

The service is a collaboration between the city of Bend, Visit Bend and the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council.

“It’s free and it’s convenient. So of course, yeah I’d use it,” said a Bend resident.

The shuttle stops at four hot spots: downtown , the Old Mill, OSU-Cascades and Galveston Avenue. The route does not hit the Eastside of town.

“We chose to focus first in an area where we know that visitors come and where we know it’s really hard to move around,” Mayor Pro Tem Sally Russell said.

Everyone involved in the project is hoping it alleviates Bend’s notoriously bad tourist season traffic and parking problems.

“If we can get people to come in, stay at a hotel, park, and then leave the car behind when they take their family out for dinner, it alleviates some of those congestion issues,” said Kevney Dugan, executive director of Visit Bend.

The pilot program is meant to run when people are out and about most, which is 2 to 10 p.m. But that could change as the program moves along.

Russell said they are looking at “what works, what doesn’t work, what we need to change, what needs to be improved? So we’re looking for feedback.”

The free rides end Labor Day.

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