C-TRAN (Washington)

The Clark County Public Transit Benefit Area Authority (C-TRAN) is a public agency serving Clark County, Washington, United States, including the cities of Battle Ground, Camas, Vancouver and Washougal. Founded in 1981, C-TRAN operates regular route bus services within Clark County, as well as Dial-A-Ride services for qualified persons with disability (C-VAN) and a reserved, on-demand service in eastern Clark County (The Connector). C-TRAN also provides express commuter services between Clark County and various points in Portland, Oregon, including downtown, Parkrose-Sumner and Delta Park MAX Light Rail stations (in northeast and north Portland), Lloyd District, and Oregon Health and Science University.

Based out of three transit centers (Vancouver Mall at the Westfield Shoppingtown Vancouver, Fisher's Landing in east county, and 99th Street at Stockford Village), as well as the Salmon Creek Park & Ride, 28 transit routes operate to serve the approximately 350,000 residents of Clark County. C-TRAN's 111 transit coaches and 50 paratransit coaches travel over 14,472 miles daily.

Service increases and reorganization in 2000

On July 1, 2000, C-TRAN opened its fourth transit center facility in Fisher's Landing replacing the Evergreen Transit Center (now Evergreen Park & Ride) as its east county hub. Along with the opening of Fisher's Landing Transit Center, many lines serving east Clark County and Vancouver Mall areas have been rerouted and frequency increased. Fisher's Landing Transit Center links eastern Vancouver with Camas, Washougal and Parkrose (in northeast Portland, Oregon). Around the same time, C-TRAN changed its transfer design to conform with that of TriMet, allowing C-TRAN riders to use its transfer to ride on any route in any direction (unlike previously, in which C-TRAN transfers were marked with the route number to prevent riders from using it to make a round trip or a stop-over). The "Day Code" on a C-TRAN transfer (and today, C-TRAN Day Pass) is identical to that of TriMet, consisting of two letters out of the eight-letter pool: M, J, I, E, X, D, B and C.

Clark County Proposition 1 (2004) and C-TRAN's future

In November 2004 a ballot initiative known as Proposition 1 was defeated by a simple majority of voters. While 46.33 % of eligible voters, or 73,959 ballots, approved this measure to increase the Clark County sales tax by 0.3 % (from the current 7.7 %) to continue the funding of the public transportation, 53.67 % (85,684 votes) rejected the proposition.

The Proposition 1 was intended to provide continued funding sources for C-TRAN after the 1998 statewide repeal of Washington motor vehicle registration tax.

As a result of the lost revenue, effective Sept. 25, 2005, C-TRAN could have reduced its services by 46 %, effectively eliminating about a half of currently existing bus and paratransit services. The planned service reduction would have eliminated all services to the north beyond Salmon Creek Park & Ride, including commuter services to Ridgefield; all services to the east beyond Fisher's Landing Transit Center, discontinuing all Camas and Washougal services including the Connector; end all Vancouver-Central Portland express bus services; and drastically reduced the frequency of surviving routes (except for the 165-Parkrose Express, whose services would be increased).

Vancouver-Central Portland commuter lines would have been replaced by 205-Interstate 5 Shuttle, 234-Salmon Creek Shuttle and 257-BPA Shuttle, all of which would have terminated at TriMet's Delta Park/Vanport MAX Station.

In addition to major downsizing of services, C-TRAN proposed to close two park and ride lots, reduce service center hours, end service day at 8 p.m. weekdays and ending most weekend runs. As a result C-TRAN intended to also lay off a large number of employees.

To make up lost revenues the C-TRAN board of directors also considered a fare increase, elimination of free transfers and termination of reciprocal fare agreement with TriMet.

Most of these service reductions were avoided after C-TRAN passed a special ballot measure in September 2005 (see below). C-TRAN still operates all commuter lines to and from downtown Portland's transit mall.

New fare structure and 2005 service reductions

In May 2005, as the first phase of the two-part service reduction strategy, C-TRAN introduced a new fare structure. Under this scheme, the previously All-Zone commuter services between Portland, Oregon and Clark County with the sole exception of the 165-Parkrose Express were designated "Premium" routes (i.e., Routes 105, 114 that originates in Portland as "105-114", 134, 157, 164, 177 and 190 are all Premium services). No regular monthly or all-day passes from either TriMet or C-TRAN are now accepted on the Premium buses, unless a passenger purchases a $105 Premium pass (which is also valid as an All-Zone pass in C-TRAN, Portland Streetcar and TriMet). A single-ride fare on a Premium bus is $3. Fares on Premium buses are now collected as passengers board, and previously-allowed free rides within Portland's Fareless Square between Portland State University and the Pearl District have been eliminated.

C-TRAN no longer issues or accepts transfers. Passengers now need to either pay on each ride or purchase an all-day pass (either a C-Zone day pass valid only on C-TRAN regular routes for $3, or an All-Zone day pass valid also on TriMet for $6.00). In pursuant to the reciprocal fare agreement, C-TRAN continues to accept TriMet's $4 day passes and TriMet "A" (all-zone) or "3" (zones 2 and 3) passes and the "A" (all-zone) or "3" (zones 2 and 3) seven-day passes.

C-TRAN intended to eliminate nearly half of all transit services effective September 25, 2005, unless additional funding is secured. Another ballot measure, however, brought a new funding. (See below.)

C-TRAN redistricting and new C-TRAN benefit area ballot measure

On June 1, 2005, the boundaries of the Clark County Public Transit Benefit Area were reduced from the whole Clark County to the area including only the cities of Vancouver, Camas, Washougal, Ridgefield, La Center, Battle Ground and Yacolt, as well as the unincorporated areas surrounding Vancouver that are part of the Vancouver Urban Growth Boundary. This is done so that, unlike in the failed 2004 Proposition 1, only those who would benefit from C-TRAN services will vote on any future ballot measure to secure new funding for the transit service.

C-TRAN proposed a special election in September 2005 to decide on whether residents within the new C-TRAN benefit area will pay an additional 0.2 % (from 7.7% to 7.9% in Vancouver) sales tax to maintain the current C-TRAN service level.

The measure passed by a wide majority. C-TRAN continues to operate, and now with fresh funding, is expanding.

2007 Service

C-Tran continues to run 7 days a week and on holidays. Holidays are operated with reduced local service similar to Sunday's service, trips to and from Portland are less frequent, some express and limited routes may not run. Local service starts at about 6:15am and ends about midnight. Weekday express and limited service to Portland begins at 5:20am with the last trip to Vancouver at 7pm. On Saturdays, there is no service to Portland excluding the #65 to Parkrose and the #4 Fourth Plain to Delta Park and Jantzen Beach. Saturday service on the #65 starts at about 8:30am with the last trip back to Vancouver departing at about 6:40pm. Saturday service on the #4 starts at about 6:30am and the last trip from Delta Park departs at midnight. On Sundays, the only service over the Columbia River is the #4 to Jantzen Beach and the Delta Park MAX Station. The Connector runs weekdays from 5:30am to 7:30pm, its based on the "Dial a ride" system.

C-Tran operates 17 local routes along with "C-Van" Paratransit and Connector "Dial A Ride" service. Most routes can be expected to run every 15-70 minutes. The most used routes are "37 Mill Plain" and "4 Fourth Plain."

C-Tran operates 7 express routes to the downtown Portland transit mall. A ride on all these buses require an express fare for travel outside Clark County, and transfers issued on these routes are valid for travel on all C-Tran and TriMet routes.In addition, C-Tran operates 4 "limited" routes. These are the #41, #44 and #47 that provide service to TriMet's Delta Park/Vanport Max Station, and the #65 that provides service to TriMet's Parkrose/Sumner MAX Station. These an All-Zone fare for travel outside Clark County.

C-Tran fares, as well as the fare agreement between C-Tran and TriMet, are explained in more detail below.

C-Tran Fares as of 2008

As of May,2008, C-Trans fares are as follows. A "C-Zone" fare costs $1.30 for adults and $.65 for youth/seniors, and these are valid for one ride on any C-Tran bus within Clark County, including limited routes. A monthly pass costs $45 for adults No transfers are issued for C-Zone fares. An "All-Zone" fare costs $2.35 for adults and $1.20 for youth/seniors. These are valid on all C-Tran routes within Clark County as well as local and limited service to Delta Park and Parkrose in Portland. Transfers are issued. A C-Tran All-Zone monthly pass costs $82 for adults and $20 for youth/seniors. C-Tran's express routes to downtown Portland only accept premium express fares, and these cost a flat $3, $6 day pass or $105 for a monthly pass. Transfers are issued. A day pass for a "C-Zone" only is $3 and a Go Anyware Express Day is $6 and is good for all routes, including express routes.

Certain C-Tran fares are valid on Portland's TriMet, and vice-versa, as described below.

Fare agreement between TriMet and C-Tran

C-Tran began issuing transfers again on September 1,2007. In order to make travel between C-Tran and TriMet's systems easier, certain C-Tran fares are valid on TriMet, and vise-versa. The following are the easiest reciprocal fares to use...

C-Tran fares on TriMet...

C-Tran issues transfers for its All-Zone and Express fares. All C-Tran All-Zone and Express regular or discounted fares and transfers are valid as All-Zone fares on any and all of TriMet's buses, MAX trains and the Portland Streetcar. A C-Tran Express Day Pass is valid as a TriMet All-Day ticket. Please note, the Clark College C-Pass is not valid on TriMet. The express fares are valid on the Portland Aerial Tram

TriMet fares on C-Tran...

TriMet All-Zone fares, including Honored Citizen and Youth/Student, are valid as All-Zone fares on C-Tran. A TriMet All-Day ticket is valid as a C-Tran day pass.

Please note that only C-Tran express fares and passes are valid on C-Tran's express routes to downtown Portland. C-Tran does not accept TriMet 1-Zone tickets except on route #4 between Delta Park and Jantzen Beach only.

Fares will be going up a few cents per ride starting May 1st, 2008.

'Tri-Met Fares on C-Tran as of September, 2008

For consistancy reasons, C-Tran will only accept Tri-Met All-Zone passes and Tickets on their routes. C-Tran Express routes still require an express fare of $3 one way with a 1-hour transfer, $6 for a Day pass (doubles as a All-Zone pass) or $105 for a Express monthly pass.

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