Hermiston’s Workforce Taxi Program Sees Growth in Early 2021

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Ridership in the Workforce On-demand Ride Cooperative (WORC) rebounded in the first quarter of 2021 as more residents used the service to access jobs at grocery, retail, and fast food establishments in Hermiston and the surrounding communities.

The WORC taxi program was started in October 2019 and is subsidized by state transportation funding. Employees and employers can purchase ticket packets at reduced rates for scheduled transportation provided by Hermiston Taxi to and from their workplace.

After a decline in demand for the program in the second quarter of 2020 during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city began offering free ticket packets in August to help people access their workplace.

Workers continued to purchase new tickets after the free program expired in January, with an average of 598.5 tickets purchased each month between January and April 2021.

“The goal of this program from the beginning has been to make sure lack of transportation isn’t an obstacle for people to get to their jobs, and we’re really pleased that WORC is providing another option for people,” said Mark Morgan, assistant city manager. “The program is averaging about 20 riders per day to all kinds of workplaces.”

About 78 percent of April ridership was to or from grocery, retail, or fast food jobs, with about 7 percent to industrial worksites. The program is available to employees and employers in Hermiston, Umatilla, and Stanfield.

More information about WORC, as well as the senior and disable taxi program and the Hermiston Area Regional Transit (HART) fixed route bus service can be found at www.hermiston.or.us/transit.