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The nonprofit network that serves Forest Grove, Cornelius, North Plains, Hillsboro and Banks is expanding its reach.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: CHASE ALLGOOD - Ride Connection is expanding their services in western Washington County.It's about to get a little bit easier to get around Washington County.

Ride Connection, a private, nonprofit organization that offers alternative means of transportation for residents looking to access the goods and services necessary to survive, announced this week that it is aiming to expand free transportation services in Forest Grove, Cornelius, North Plains, Banks and rural Washington County.

Plans include expansions of the GroveLink, WestLink, and rural Washington County door-to-door transportation programs.

"We've been hearing from our customers for years that they want more scheduled times throughout the day, and more flexibility with the service," Ride Connection planning supervisor John Whitman said. "Our outreach confirmed that, and it also exposed new areas to expand and improve our service, and better ways to market it and spread the word."

COURTESY PHOTO - Map of current Ride Connection service area.Whitman said the general public expansion is set to begin in November, while the Westlink expansion will likely occur in January 2021.

Westlink, which currently connects residents of Forest Grove, Banks and North Plains with the Hillsboro Transit Center and operates Monday through Friday, with one morning and one evening trip, will now include two mid-day round trips, an additional bus stop in North Plains near Pacific Street and Glencoe Road, additional stops in Forest Grove to make connections to TriMet Route 57 and GroveLink, and will offer deviations off route to pick up and/or drop off within the city limits of North Plains and Banks.

The Rural General Public Door-to-Door service currently allows residents to request trips between rural Washington County up to west of 10th Street in Hillsboro. Medical appointment trips can be made as far east as 185th Avenue in Hillsboro, and ride availability is Monday through Saturday at predetermined pick up and return times. As part of the expansion, customers can request trips as far east as Southwest 185th Avenue going south to Southwest Kemmer Road, west to Southwest 175th Avenue and south to Southwest Roy Rogers Road.

Additionally, medical appointments can be made as far east as the Willamette River, customers will be limited to 23 round trips per month between urban and rural destinations, and while previously only offering urban-to-rural or rural-to-urban trips, the service will now provide rural-to-rural trips outside the TriMet service boundary within Washington County.

COURTESY PHOTO - Map of proposed Ride Connection boundary expansion.The expansion is being funded as part of a partnership between Ride Connection and Washington County, with statewide transportation improvement House Bill 2017 funds that come from the new 0.1% employee payroll tax to expand public transportation in Washington County, particularly rural western Washington County.

The Ride Connection network is made up of a collection of agencies that serve older adults and people with disabilities as well as low-income individuals and general public, by offering a variety of transportation options in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties.

Together, the network provides over 500,000 rides and supports more than 2,000 individuals with training and access to public transportation each year.

If you have any questions regarding the expansion or would like to provide feedback, you can do so at rideconnection.org/washcoexpansion.


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