Josephine Community Transit Celebrates a Big Win

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New transit hub is bringing multiple benefits

A couple of years ago, we told you about finding innovation everywhere you look in Oregon – including in Grants Pass, and in particular, within Josephine Community Transit. The team there had successfully applied for funding from ODOT’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund program (that one-tenth of one percent payroll tax we all pay) and other programs, and they were poised to make some big updates – such as bringing on more electric buses.

JCT was one of the smallest urban areas to add electric buses. With these new funds, they were also creating their first-ever transit hub, centrally located in the downtown area, and it would be complete with EV charging equipment for the new buses.

A small transit district can dream big, too – and dreams often do come true.

A better way to serve riders

The new transit hub opened late last year, and Josephine Community Transit is busy keeping passengers out of the rain and snow, riding safely in low- and no-emissions buses.

“The [new]transit hub accommodates six buses at any given time and each of our routes has a specific place to park. And each route has its own individual shelter and place for passengers to wait,” said Scott Chancey, Transit manager with Josephine County. “Prior to this, between three and five buses would converge along Highway 99 at the Josephine County Courthouse at the bottom and top of the hour, Monday through Friday. There was no specific designated parking for any specific route and only one shelter to accommodate all the passengers.”

Chancey, as we wrote in July 2022, had been working on this transit hub dream since 2017. The timing was perfect: the district would be receiving new electric buses, and the new hub would have the infrastructure to support them. But it offers more than that.

“The new parking lot has eight total spots, two of which are designated for people with disabilities. The parking is available for the general public, JCT customers and people using it as a park and ride to travel outside Grants Pass,” Chancey said. “I have now seen three people either get off Route 100 and go to their car or park their car and go get on Route 100. This is something I knew was happening, but never had any proof. It is kind of like a reverse park and ride, or people traveling outside the urbanized area, rather than into it.”

More wins for Josephine County

The new hub is also saving time on routes, and that has allowed service to expand. Chancey is hearing praise from riders.

“Passenger feedback has been very positive,” he said. “Just like originally planned, monthly bus passes were offered to residents of the apartment complex located behind the transit hub. Of the 11 residents, three are taking us up on the offer on a regular basis.”

Chancey said they’ll soon be reaching out to the neighborhood in other ways, too – perhaps with a punch card that passengers can take to surrounding businesses to encourage interaction.

“I want to show [the businesses]not only who our passengers are, but let the local businesses get to know how much they contribute locally as well.”

And soon, the team will make way for more climate-friendly buses.

“We have 17 fixed route buses for service and four are now electric,” Chancey said. “In another year, we will replace two of the existing gasoline-powered buses with hybrid diesel/electric.”

About Author

Shelley Snow is the Strategic Communications Coordinator with Oregon Department of Transportation

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