Ridership on the Hermiston Area Regional Transit (HART) increased by about 1,120 passengers in 2019, with 1,442 riding during the recently extended morning and evening hours. In total, 5,897 riders used the bus service in 2019.
HART is a managed by Kayak Public Transit and offers no-fare rides to 21 stops in Hermiston on weekdays between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. In a response to public requests, two hours were added in both the mornings and evenings at the beginning of 2019.
Daytime hours saw a decrease of about 300 total riders but remained the most popular travel times, with each hour averaging about 1,485 passengers over the course of the year. The expanded hours each averaged about 721 riders.
“We’re happy to see people taking advantage of the early morning and evening hours, and expect to see that increase as people get used to the expanded options,” said Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan. “We want to be attuned to the public’s needs and make sure everyone can get where they need to be, whether that’s the grocery story, a job, or a medical appointment.”
Walmart and the Hermiston Plaza remain the two most popular stops, with about 1,400 riders loading or unloading at Walmart and 1,350 at the Plaza in 2019. In October, the single Columbia Avenue stop was split into individual stops at both the Stafford Hansell Government Center and Blue Mountain Community College.
Kayak Public Transit is operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, which provides bus service in northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington. HART is funded through an intergovernmental partnership between the city and Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation where the city provides local matching funds for Kayak to leverage against state and federal grants.
For more information about Hermiston’s public transportation options, visit the city’s website.