Hang onto your cash, bus riders. While the bus routes to the Oregon Country Fair have always been free, this year the entire LTD system will cost nothing for the duration of Fair, which runs July 12-14.
“It’s the first time that anybody’s bought out the entire system,” says LTD spokesperson Andy Vobora. The Fair, which has long emphasized sustainability and public transit, paid $32,370 to sponsor all of LTD’s routes during the three-day event.
In previous years, the Fair has contracted with LTD for some of the buses providing transport to the event. Vobora says that the Federal Transit Administration has a lot of regulations around federally funded transit districts competing with private charter operators for event services. Those rules were revised in 2008. “The more we looked at that, the more we recognized that we were probably in violation of their rules, and they were ultimately going to tell us that we couldn’t participate any more,” he says.
Any time an organization subsidizes service to an event, it becomes a charter, but by sponsoring the whole system, the Fair and LTD are in the clear. Vobora says he sees it as a win for everyone. “It should be great for everybody to be able to ride for free those three days.”