HERMISTON - In a cost-cutting move, Greyhound will eliminate bus service to 267 communities nationwide, including Hermiston, Boardman, Arlington and Biggs. The cuts leave some area riders, many of whom say they have no other form of transportation, scrambling for a way to get from town to town.
"This is the only way I can travel, the only way I can afford," Estacada resident Tracey Amend said. "It's going to be a big hassle."
The cuts eliminate for many communities a little-noticed lifeblood of transportation that has quietly ferried passengers for decades. Oregon will lose 35 stops, the most of any state.
In Hermiston, Greyhound will stop serving the station in the Cashco building along Highway 395 and move service to the Pilot gas station near Interstate 84, south of Stanfield.
The cuts, which go into effect Aug. 18, will hit Boardman riders even harder. The nearest stop will be 26 miles away at the Pilot gas station.
"It's going to be a huge inconvenience to those passengers who do use it," Boardman City Manager Rex Mather said.
A Hermiston resident who waited Wednesday to pick up her daughter wondered how her daughter - who doesn't drive - would visit a relative in Portland after the cuts.
"She's pretty well stuck," Ilene Tompkins said. "I guess I'll have to go pick her up, but I can't go very far because I still work."
Five to 10 people leave from the Hermiston bus stop a day, manager Brandi Olson said. She said the cuts had confused customers of Cashco, which uses the same building as Greyhound. Olson wanted to assure her customers that Cashco will remain open. She also lamented the cuts.
"It's hard enough for people to get here, let alone Stanfield," Olson said.
Greyhound Lines Inc., a subsidiary of Laidlaw International Inc., said Greyhound had not turned a sufficient profit for two decades. The company said that eliminating the unprofitable routes would ensure the company's long-term financially viability.
For some riders, however, that explanation brought little comfort.
"It's a really bad deal for the public," said Hermiston visitor Lori Moore of Vancouver, Wash.