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Linn Benton Loop Bus System AnniversaryMatt Lintz Salem-News.com
30 Years serving Albany, Corvallis, Philomath, and Adair Village
(ALBANY, Ore.) - The Linn-Benton Loop Bus System will mark its 30th anniversary on Friday October 8, 2010. Friday passengers, already riding free during Try Transit Week, will be treated to some giveaways as part of the celebration.
The Linn-Benton Loop was born in response to the gas crisis of the early 1970s. The Linn-Benton Transit Committee was established in 1974 by the Oregon District 4 Council of Governments; by 1978, numerous local agencies were involved in planning and implementing Loop service. The Loop bus service was officially dedicated on August 25, 1980.
The original Loop provided transportation between Albany, Corvallis, Philomath, and Adair Village. Philomath and Adair Village were dropped later due to low ridership. Service to Oregon State University began in September 1980.
The first Loop bus was a leased 53-passenger Crown Coach; original fare was 50 cents. The first new bus, a Gillig Phantom suburban coach, came in 1983. Today, the Loop system has three buses including a 2010 Eldorado National EZ Rider II that went into service this summer. The new bus was purchased with 100 percent American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds through the Oregon Department of Transportation Public Transit Division.
Over the years, the service schedule has ranged from a high of 14 to a low of 5 runs per day; the Loop currently makes 11 runs per day and passenger cash fare is $1.25 one way. Ridership has been at an all-time high for the past two years: in 2009, the Loop provided 106,000 rides. A new record is expected this year, with college enrollment higher than ever.
Funding for the Loop includes local support from the cities of Albany and Corvallis, OSU, Linn-Benton Community College, Linn and Benton counties, and Hewlett-Packard. Local funds are used to match various federal and state grants. Cash fares also contribute. Pass programs allow anyone with identification from OSU, LBCC, H-P, and Samaritan Health Systems to ride for free. In 2001, the Loop provided over 73,000 rides to students with either an LBCC or OSU ID.
"For 30 years, thousands of individuals have benefitted from this vital transportation link," said Chris Bailey, Airport and Transit Manager for the City of Albany. "The Linn-Benton Loop is looking and planning for the transportation need in the mid-valley as well as celebrating the past accomplishments of the service.
"Of course, none of our accomplishments could have been achieved without our dedicated staff of bus drivers," Bailey added. "Happy birthday, Loop!"
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