Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation -Kayak Public Transit
4 counties in 2 states
served by Kayak Public Transit
service miles provided
Scroll down to learn about Kayak Public Transit's Better Transit goals, service enhancements and impacts, and to hear local stories of how Better Transit would impact the people of this community.
Click here to view or download a PDF.
Since it began in 2002, Kayak has steadily grown into a large, regional transit provider serving Umatilla, Union, Morrow and Walla Walla counties. Currently, Kayak is unable to adequately serve the needs of the region in terms of accessing the necessary goods and services community members need in their lives. Kayak has worked with the community to identify the following goals to help meet the transportation needs of the region.
Serve the Transit Dependent
For those unable to drive, or without access to a car, Kayak is their only means of getting to work, school or regional services. Kayak wants to make it safer and easier for those relying on their services to get wherever they need to go through enhanced bus stop locations and more frequent fixed routes.
Make Transit a Lifestyle Choice
Many in the region are forced to travel long distances to meet their needs. Kayak wants to provide a reliable transportation option for people and an alternative to driving their cars thousands of miles every year, helping people save on costs that can be put back into local economies and reduce harmful environmental impacts.
With Better Transit, Kayak Public Transit could provide much needed enhancements to their regional fixed-routes, drastically reducing wait times between buses and better connecting people from where they live to the major activity centers of the region.
Note: All proposed Better Transit Service enhancements are contingent on the availability of additional transit funding
Kayak’s service enhancements would add new morning, midday and evening service, as well as safety improvements to the three most used routes in the region:
- Hermiston Hopper – Service between Hermiston-Pendleton-Mission
- La Grande Arrow – Service between La Grande-Mission-Pendleton
- Walla Walla Whistler – Service between Walla Walla-Pendleton-Mission
By making these enhancements, Kayak would make a real and lasting impact on those that use transit by:
- Cutting wait times between buses in half
- Allowing more flexibility for riders going to work, shopping, or medical and social services appointments
- Providing safer bus stop locations throughout the service area
- Providing upgraded technology for both drivers and passengers
- Reducing crowding on buses during morning commute time
MEET CINDY FRESTON
"I TELL EVERYONE TO RIDE THE BUS. IT GOES TO PENDLETON, IT GOES TO LA GRANDE, IT'S FREE!"
As a tribal coordinator, Cindy has the opportunity to tell a lot of people about Kayak's services. Often times tribal members and other residents will live in one community and work in another, making transit a vital job connection. For low income, elderly, and other residents needing social assistance, the bus provides a way to access these services.
"WHEN YOU LIVE IN A RURAL AREA, YOU CAN PUT A LOT OF MILES ON A CAR JUST GOING PLACES YOU NEED TO GO."
Transportation can be expensive. With the cost of fuel, maintenance, and a vehicle itself, it can be expensive to drive everywhere. This is especially true in rural areas, where places are further spread out. By taking Kayak to work, Cindy is able to significantly reduce her driving. Now she doesn't need to buy a new car every several years, and spends less at the mechanics. Cindy is confident that Better Transit would make Kayak more attractive to many of the people she works with, providing these same benefits to a greater number of tribal members.
Meet Gail Redberg
"I ride the bus to do my part in reducing the burning of fossil fuels, and because it is safer."
Gail lives 25 miles northeast of Walla Walla, WA in the hills between Dixie and Waitsburg, and commutes to work in Mission, OR as the manager of the CTUIR Tribal Native Plant Nursery. While she used to drive her own vehicle for over an hour to get to work, she started taking Kayak five years ago. Gail said the bus has become like a second home, and that the money she saves on transportation costs has made it possible for her to remain working at a job she loves.
"expanding service will make the stressful aspects of life more convenient."
Under current levels of service, it is hard for Gail to use Kayak when her schedule varies throughout the year. When she has doctor's appointments, she has to take a whole day off because the bus runs so infrequently. Expanding service would allow her, and many others, to schedule their appointments and access the services they need without having to worry about how and when they'll get home. Gail is confident that the reduced wait times would grant people greater mobility in the region, and increase their overall quality of life. Kayak needs Better Transit to make this happen.