Bendites picking up e-bikes, buses, carpools to pass the pump

Fill the tank and empty the wallet.

That becomes all the more difficult to avoid as gasoline prices hit a new low in central Oregon today, averaging $5.50 a gallon.

Amid the surge, more residents are turning to options like buses, e-bikes and carpooling to get around town.

Cascades East Transit (CET) has been offering free bus rides since the start of the pandemic, with the exception of recreational routes like the Mount Bachelor shuttle.

They have seen an increase in ridership over the past two months in the area.

“For three months during the fall of last year, we completed approximately 67,000 rides on our regional community connector system and our fixed routes in the city of Bend,” said Derek Hofbauer, Outreach Administrator and CET’s commitment. “In the past few months alone, between March and May, we have made around 75,500 trips. This therefore represents a 13% increase in the number of trips. »

RELATED: Average Bend gas price tops $5.50, up $2 from last year

He thinks that the increase in the number of passengers is largely due to gasoline prices.

“We believe this is largely due to community members wanting to save money, realizing our buses are currently free, planning their trips, and letting CET drive to their destination,” Hofbauer added.

What alternative transportation options do you use, if any, to avoid high gas prices?

It’s not just the wheels of the bus that spin more frequently.

Electric bikes, like those sold at Bend Electric Bikes in Downtown Bend, have seen increased demand over the past two months.

“My paychecks have been higher, so that’s definitely my opinion there,” laughed bike mechanic Jared Conklin. “There are a lot less on the ground. It looks like we sell maybe two or three bikes a day. Before, it was one or two.

He said many people who come to see bikes cite the price of gas as the reason they move from the street to the sidewalk.

“They’re like, ‘I want this for efficiency and for fitness, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed gas prices lately.’ Definitely a big factor for people who are more into suburban styles,” he said.

RELATED: As Gas Prices Rise, More Seek E-Bikes Beyond the Pump

For others, saving money means sharing the load with others.

“We offer a carpool program, it’s about having four to 15 people together in a pre-arranged group, traveling together to and from work,” said Brian Potwin, executive director of Commute Options. “With gas prices rising and people getting back to work, we’ve become much more interested in van sharing over the past two months.”

With no end in sight for this steep incline, local transport organizations want people to know options are available.

“You can plan your trip like“, said Hofbauer. “We also have an application called Transit App which tracks buses in real time, you can also use it as a trip planning platform.

Leisure services like Ride the River and Lava Butte will launch on June 18. On the same day, CET will also bring back regional Saturday services.

Conklin thinks e-bikes have more benefits than just saving money.

“I believe it’s a bit more community-driven,” he said. “Riding a bike you talk to people, you engage with people as you go past them.”

If you are interested in having a van pool for your business, visit the Transportation Options Website for more information.


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