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Program will link Wilsonville campus with downtown Portland

Wilsonville’s South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART) agency recently announced it has reached an agreement with the Oregon Institute of Technology on a pilot project to offer late-night bus transit service for students at the Oregon Tech Wilsonville campus. by: JOSH KULLA - SMARTs 2X line already stops at TriMet's Barbur Boulevard Station. A new planned night route also will stop there on its way to downtown Portland.

Starting in September, a new SMART bus route available to the public will depart at 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays from the Mentor Graphics Corp. headquarters on Boeckman Road with a stop at the nearby Oregon Tech campus. It then will proceed north along Interstate 5 to the TriMet Barbur Boulevard Transit Station and on to the downtown Portland Transit Mall.

The pilot project, known as SMART Route 9X, is set to begin no later than Sept. 23. It is slated to continue until next summer. During this time, SMART and Oregon Tech will evaluate utilization of the service and related issues to determine if there is sufficient demand to continue beyond the pilot stage.

Mateo Aboy, associate provost and vice president for research at Oregon Tech, said the added convenience for students located across the metro area is welcome.

“The staff and students of Oregon Tech appreciate the wonderful welcome that we have had with the city of Wilsonville,” said Aboy. “We draw students (from) across the region, many of whom regularly utilize public transportation. SMART’s new late-night service to Portland will facilitate the ability of students to attend Oregon Tech Wilsonville.”

In consideration for this increase in service, Oregon Tech, in conjunction with the Associated Students of Oregon Institute of Technology, is providing a proportional cost-share to the city for the new service.

The university anticipates its night students will take advantage of this new service, which also will be available to the general public at the standard fare rate of $1.50 to the Barbur station or $3 to downtown Portland.

“Our partners at Oregon Tech Wilsonville have been great to work with,” said SMART Transit Director Stephan Lashbrook. “As a pilot project, we’ll continue to work with them throughout the coming academic year to make sure this is meeting their needs and ours. Oregon Tech has quite a few evening students and we’re hoping that they will want to take advantage of this new service.”

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