The sun rises as a Columbia Co. Rider rolls into the bus stop on APril 15, 2019. Photo: Chas Hundley
BANKS - Vernonia Route 6, opened this April as a three-day-a-week service between Banks, Vernonia and Hillsboro, has just expanded to five days a week, according to Todd Wood, Transit Program Administrator with Columbia County Rider.
Wood had told the post in April that Columbia County was seeking funds from the Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund (STIF) to move the route to a 5 days a week service. In an email to the Post on Oct. 3, wood confirmed this as the source of funding.
The route starts at Vernonia City Hall and travels down Highway 47, making a stop at Stub Stewart State Park, then on to Banks where it picks up and drops off riders at the existing Sunset Avenue stop near Main Street before heading off to a stop at Cornell Road and ending at Willow Creek Transit Center in Hillsboro.
The bus runs Monday through Friday; there are morning and evening options for riders. The cost to ride from Banks to Vernonia one way is $3.
According to Todd Wood, Transit Program Administrator with Columbia County Rider, route 6 Vernonia had been in existence before it opened in April, but was reworked to add the stop in Banks, which was only a few miles out of the way of old bus route.
"When we decided to return the route to the old path we were thinking of ways to improve access for Vernonia residents to others systems and cities," explained Wood in an email to the Banks Post.
Wood says he spoke with the Oregon Department of Transportation, who told him it was a good idea to add a Banks bus stop, and Banks city counselor Marsha Kirk, who told him there was a need for more transportation access for Banks residents
"It seemed like the stars aligned just right," he said.
This route is among a handful of other lines that serve Banks; Tillamook County has a route that travels from Tillamook to Portland, with stops at the Tillamook Forest Center, Banks, North Plains, and Hillsboro in between.
Ride Connection operates a free bus route with stops in Forest Grove, Banks, North Plains and Hillsboro as well.