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More riders, more changes for GroveLink


Schedule, map improve while ridership cracks 500

News-Times Photo: Chase AllgoodGroveLink, the free local bus line serving Forest Grove, adjusted its schedule Monday, Nov. 18, to account for emerging ridership patterns, including off-route stops that were taking more time than expected.

“We added more time to certain routes,” said Lydia Corran, outreach director for Ride Connection, the transportation nonprofit that operates GroveLink.

The service has also added nearly 100 new “riders” in the past few weeks, a new stop and a new, more detailed GroveLink map, with every street on the route labeled.

Both the brochure and the schedule changes came in response to rider requests and complaints, including several calls from passengers waiting for buses that were running late.

GroveLink drivers often found themselves falling behind schedule after deviating to pick up or drop off riders at off-route locations — a perk that is part of the service, Corran said.

This was particularly problematic for the former west loop run that started at 1:07 p.m. That run now starts at 1:15 p.m. and takes 35 minutes instead of 18 as it did previously. Other changes include the starting time of the first west loop run, which now leaves at 6:30 a.m. instead of 6 a.m.

GroveLink also added a new stop at Watercrest Road and Forest Gale Drive because so many people were already flagging down the bus at that corner, Corran said.

Besides getting a new schedule and brochure, GroveLink got nearly 100 new riders in the past few weeks. Ridership took a huge jump the last week of October, cracking 500 rides (518 total) for the first time since the service began Aug. 19. The previous high point was 423 the second week of October.

Most of the growth is in the late afternoon on the west loop, Corran said, where more evening commuters are taking GroveLink.

But the east loop is starting to pick up along the employment corridor of 24th Avenue down to ViaSystems. Where there used to be only one rider from 3 p.m. on, there are now eight, Corran said. “That shows us that word’s getting out.”

Get the revised GroveLink brochure online at rideconnection.org/ride/services/grovelinktransit.aspx or around town at Safeway, Adelante Mujeres, City Hall and the Forest Grove library, aquatic center, senior/community center and family resource center.