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Don Chartock
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Intercity and Rural-to-Urban News

Posted Nov. 18, 2011

Grape Line celebrates 4 years of transit service

WALLA WALLA – Some things just get better with age. Take the Grape Line – a reliable way to travel the so-called Napa Valley of Washington.

On Friday, Nov. 18, the Grape Line marks its fourth anniversary as a popular choice that goes well with anything from Walla Walla to Pasco. Ridership continues to grow, from 448 passengers in 2007 to more than 8,800 passengers in 2010. To date, the Grape Line has served more than 27,700 passengers.

The Grape Line is the premier intercity bus line of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Travel Washington program. Since launching in November 2007, the Grape Line has provided south central Washington with an affordable and accessible travel option.

Each of the line’s 20-passenger buses, operated under contract by the Central Washington Airporter, is equipped with high-back reclining passenger seats, a wheelchair lift, two wheelchair stations, a bike rack for two bicycles and luggage storage areas. Grape Line buses make three round trips daily between Walla Walla and Pasco with connections to Greyhound, Amtrak, Ben Franklin Transit, Valley Transit and Pasco Airport.

Since the Grape Line began service, Travel Washington has grown to include four intercity bus lines across the state, each named for a defining local resource – the Apple Line running Omak-Ellensburg; the Gold Line on the Kettle Falls-Spokane run; and the Dungeness Line traveling the Port Angeles-Seattle route.



Sept. 18, 2010

Northeast Washington strikes gold with new bus service

Gold Line transit serves riders between Spokane, Kettle Falls and beyond

Folks from Spokane to Deer Park, Chewelah and Colville came out to celebrate a new travel option and welcome a brand new Gold Line bus after its an inaugural trek through Northeast Washington to Kettle Falls.

“This is something that Kettle Falls and many other towns and communities in this part of the state have needed for a long time,” said Kettle Falls Mayor Dorothy Slagle at the ribbon cutting in her town. “We haven’t had regular bus service here since the 1980s. If you didn’t have a car, you had to find a ride.”

Slagle joined WSDOT Public Transportation Division Administrator Katy Taylor in a ribbon-cutting ceremony that celebrated the Gold Line as a long-awaited option both for residents who needed a better transportation option and travelers eager to experience Northeast Washington’s natural landscape.

“We’re standing in a part of the state that is rich in natural resources, such as timber and gold, and known for pristine landscapes and its wealth of culture and heritage,” Taylor said. “Today we celebrate a new way for people to experience this wonderful part of our state.”

Travel Washington began Gold Line service on Sept. 8. It is Travel Washington's fourth bus line, and it exemplifies the program's commitment to providing convenient and accessible travel options to rural communities and people with special needs.




Jan. 26, 2010

New Grape Line buses upgrade southeastern travel link

See the new coaches at ‘Open Bus’ events in Walla Walla and Pasco

 Photo of new Grape Line bus
   A brand new 20-passenger Grape Line bus 

Travel between Walla Walla and Pasco – and on to virtually anywhere else – just got upgraded with three brand new buses for the Travel Washington Grape Line intercity bus service.

Central Washington Airporter, the contracted Grape Line service provider, is hosting two “Open Bus” events to show off the new, fully equipped buses. Open Bus events will be held:

  • Noon-4 p.m., Friday, Jan 29, 2010, at the Walla Walla Transit Center, 108 W. Main St. In Walla Walla
  • Noon-4 p.m., Saturday, Jan 30, 2010, at the Pasco Intermodal Station, 1120 N. 22nd Ave. in Pasco.

The new Grape Line buses are the latest fruits from $1.9 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants for the Travel Washington Intercity Bus Program.

Indiana-based bus maker Turtle Top Inc. manufactured the vehicles. Each bus is equipped with high-back reclining passenger seats, a wheelchair lift, two wheelchair stations, a bike rack for two bicycles and luggage storage areas. 

A fourth bus is scheduled to arrive in February for Travel Washington’s Apple Line service between Omak and Ellensburg. Five more new ARRA-funded buses will join the Travel Washington fleet by springtime for a new, yet-to-be named bus line between Spokane and Kettle Falls.

For more information on the Travel Washington Grape Line service and to learn more about Washington State’s Intercity Bus Plan visit WSDOT’s Web site.




Oct. 28, 2008

Travel Washington Apple Line ribbon-cutting ceremony

 Mayor of Omak cuts the ribbon at the Travel Washington Apple Line ribbon cutting
Omak Mayor Cindy Gange cuts the ribbon at the Travel Washington Apple Line ribbon cutting. See more photos...
A formal ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the 160-mile “Apple Line” bus route from Omak through Wenatchee to Ellensburg Tuesday, October 28. A beautiful fall day, a crisp 40 degree temperature, clear skies and sunshine kept no one away from the event at Omak’s Civic League Park. The Apple Line joined the Grape Line in Walla Walla and the Dungeness Line on the Olympic Peninsula to round out the state’s Travel Washington network of intercity bus service. Travel Washington connects communities by linking rural towns and cities with urban areas, connecting them to national intercity bus, rail and air service.

The Travel Washington Apple Line is part of the only Intercity Statewide Network in the nation to be funded through a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) pilot program that matches private sector investments with federal grant funds. Greyhound Bus Lines provided the local match and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) awarded a grant to Northwestern Trailways to provide the Apple Line service. For information on the schedule and rates visit the Travel Washington Apple Line Web site.See more photos from the Travel Washington Apple Line ribbon cutting





Sept. 17, 2008

Travel Washington Dungeness Line ribbon-cutting ceremony

 Photo of Dave Turissini, Jefferson Transit General Manager; Katy Taylor, Director of WSDOT Public Transportation Division; Gary Braun, Port Angeles Mayor; Port Angeles Chamber Red Coat Ambassadors cutting the ribbon at the Travel Washington Dungeness Line ribbon-cutting ceremony
Port Angeles Mayor Gary Braun cuts the ribbon at the Travel Washington Dungeness Line ribbon cutting. See more photos...
The ribbon cutting for the Travel Washington Dungeness Line was held September 17, 2008 in Port Angeles. The new intercity bus service “Travel Washington Dungeness Line” will provide connections from Port Angeles to SeaTac and beyond.

Travel Washington Dungeness Line is the next step in the Washington Intercity Rural Bus Program. This route will be the first Travel Washington intercity bus route to provide international connections for rural residents of Washington State. The Dungeness Line will serve the Olympic Peninsula connecting the cities of Port Angeles, Seattle and SeaTac International airport.

For information on the schedule and rates visit the Travel Washington Dungeness Line Web site. The route will provide improved upon service with vital links to Greyhound, Amtrak, Washington State Ferries and ferry service to Victoria, British Columbia. Learn more...




Dec. 10, 2007

Travel Washington Grape Line ribbon-cutting ceremony

 
Ribbon Cutting in Walla Walla Washington for the Travel Washington Grape Line
WSDOT held a ribbon-cutting on Dec. 10 to celebrate the Travel Washington Grape Line bus service from Walla Walla to Pasco. Travel Washington Grape Line is the initial step in establishing the Washington Intercity Rural Bus Program. The Grape Line service will operate daily and offer three scheduled round trips between Walla Walla and Pasco.

“The community of Walla Walla asked for help to restore intercity service, it was the largest city in the state without any intercity connections,” said Don Chartock, Project Development Coordinator, “We saw it as a critical need to help Walla Walla. The Travel Washington Grape Line will allow students from college to go home for the holidays, veterans and seniors to access health services in the Tri-Cities area, and will provide connections to other public transportation services.”

The Travel Washington Grape Line will be the first route in the nation to be funded through a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) pilot program that matches private sector investments with grant money. WSDOT awarded the grant to the Central Washington Airporter (CWA) to provide the service.

Intercity bus service is public transportation to a city with the intent of making timed connections to additional cities from rural to urban areas. Intercity transportation is not only about getting from Walla Walla to Pasco; it is about getting from Walla Walla to any place in the country. All of the Travel Washington routes will make connections with other intercity carriers. This coordination means that people will have reliable transportation to wherever they want to go.

For more information on the Travel Washington Grape Line service and to learn more about Washington State’s Intercity Bus Plan visit WSDOT’s Web site.