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TriMet donates two used buses, offsetting Columbia County Rider bus shortages

COURTESY PHOTO: CC RIDER - Columbia County Rider received two used buses from TriMet earlier this week for $10 each. The two 40-foot buses had been used by TriMet for more than a decade, but are still in better condition than many buses CC Rider has used over the years. The buses will fill in for gaps in CC Rider's fleet, which has seen shortages as buses have needed repairs.

Updated July 3 to include photo of new bus

TriMet, the public transit agency for the Portland metro area, is donating two used buses to Columbia County Rider, alleviating a bus shortage that has left riders standing or sitting in the aisles on the nearly hour-long ride from St. Helens to downtown Portland.

CC Rider currently has two 40-foot buses, which each seat 43 passengers. For more than a month, one of those buses has required a string of repairs that have put it out of operation, according to CC Rider Transit Administrator Todd Wood.

"With that bus down, I've had to send in buses that only carry 30 passengers. So oftentimes we have people sitting in the aisle way, sitting on the stairs, standing, on their way to Portland. That's not really acceptable. We need to have seats for everybody," Wood said.

TriMet has agreed to give CC Rider two 40-foot buses for $10 each. The two buses have been used by TriMet for 21 years and each has driven more than 500,000 miles, the intergovernmental agreement between CC Rider and TriMet shows.

Compared to many buses that have made up CC Rider's fleet over the years, the buses from TriMet are in good condition.

"The first 40-footers that we got at (CC Rider) were about 30 years old," Columbia County Commissioner Henry Heimuller said. "One of them had about 800,000 miles on it and the other one had 1.1 million miles on it when we took them, and we ran them in front line service for about three or four years... So I'm anticipating we'll be able to fill a lot of gaps with these for a while." PMG FILE PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - CC Riders aging fleet, housed at their Deer Island transit center, will gain two used buses in a donation from TriMet. Though the buses have been used by TriMet for 20 years, CC Rider Transit Administrator Todd Wood says they will be helpful alternates for times —  like now — when other buses are out of operation.

Wood, who worked at TriMet before coming to CC Rider last year, said TriMet's training and performance standards for mechanics means the used buses are in good condition.

"It's always been in TriMet's best interest to keep their buses running at peak performance, so I have no doubt that these have been well maintained," Wood said.

To get the buses ready for use, CC Rider will have to put in fare boxes, program GPS, remove TriMet logos and put on CC Rider logos, and have a mechanic perform a safety inspection.

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