Hermiston Renews Contract with Kayak Public Transit for Bus Service

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Hermiston residents will be able to continue getting free bus service after the city renewed its contract with Kayak Public Transit. (Photo courtesy of city of Hermiston)

Hermiston residents will continue to have free bus services in town after the city renewed its contract with Kayak Public Transit.

The two-year agreement calls for the city to pay Kayak $25,000 per year to operate in-town bus service from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, which owns Kayak, has been providing an intra-city bus route in Hermiston since early 2018.

Originally, the plan was to have the city pay Kayak $150,000 from the city’s General Fund for the service which could be used as a local match against operational grant funding. That figure, however, was reduced to $125,000 due to available grant funding.

During the COVID pandemic, the city and Kayak agreed to tap into a reserve balance which further dropped the city’s annual cost to $50,000 which the city has been paying for the past two years.

That payment is now $25,000 as Kayak is continuing to utilize the reserve balance to cover local matching on grant funds.

“So far, Kayak has done very well in obtaining grant funding to prevent the fund balance from declining over time, so this additional cutback on the city’s contribution is intended to preserve city resources within the General Fund,” said Assistant Hermiston City Manager Mark Morgan. 

That cost could go up, said Morgan, if grant funding is eliminated in the future.

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