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News / Clark County News

C-Tran: C’mon and take a free ride

Transit agency hopes to boost ridership for free fair shuttles

By Eric Florip, Columbian Transportation & Environment Reporter
Published: August 12, 2015, 5:00pm

• What: Clark County Fair.

• Hours today: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

• Where: 17402 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield.

• Admission: Adults, $11.25; seniors 62 and older, $9.25; kids 7-12, $8.25 (includes processing fees); kids 6 and younger, free. Parking, $6. C-Tran shuttle, free from area Park & Ride lots.

• Carnival: Opens at noon.

• Highlights: Moto X, at 2 and 7 p.m., in the grandstands.

• Other: 4-H dairy judging contest at noon; Cowgirl Tricks at 1 and 4 p.m.

• Pets: Not permitted, except for personal service animals or those on exhibition or in competition.

• Information: www.clarkcofair.com or 360-397-6180.

RIDGEFIELD — Shortly after stepping off a C-Tran bus Wednesday at the Clark County Fair, Vancouver resident Dennis Hall had no trouble listing reasons why he and Sylvia Hall ditched the car to travel to the event.

“It’s more convenient. It’s less expensive than driving your car,” Dennis Hall said. “And it drops you off right at the entrance.”

&#8226; What: Clark County Fair.

&#8226; Hours today: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

&#8226; Where: 17402 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield.

&#8226; Admission: Adults, $11.25; seniors 62 and older, $9.25; kids 7-12, $8.25 (includes processing fees); kids 6 and younger, free. Parking, $6. C-Tran shuttle, free from area Park & Ride lots.

&#8226; Carnival: Opens at noon.

&#8226; Highlights: Moto X, at 2 and 7 p.m., in the grandstands.

&#8226; Other: 4-H dairy judging contest at noon; Cowgirl Tricks at 1 and 4 p.m.

&#8226; Pets: Not permitted, except for personal service animals or those on exhibition or in competition.

&#8226; Information: <a href="http://www.clarkcofair.com">www.clarkcofair.com</a> or 360-397-6180.

The Halls were among thousands of people who will use C-Tran shuttles to get to and from the fair this week. The transit agency is offering free fair shuttle service this year in an effort to boost falling transit ridership at the event.

Is it working? That remains to be seen. But the agency has seen at least some good indications so far.

On the first day of the fair Aug. 7, C-Tran’s shuttle service in the morning — including the annual pancake breakfast — saw a 30 percent increase in ridership from the previous year, according to the agency. But definitive numbers for the entire event won’t be known until the fair is over, said Scott Patterson, C-Tran’s director of planning, development and public affairs.

Some C-Tran staff have indicated they believe ridership is “up, and up notably” at the fair, Patterson said. But he cautioned that early impressions may not reflect the overall trend for the event.

The C-Tran Board of Directors in July approved the plan to eliminate the $2-per-person fare C-Tran had been charging for its shuttle service to the fair. Officials hoped the move would attract more riders to a service that had seen its numbers drop sharply in the last decade.

In 2005, C-Tran’s shuttle service to the fair boasted a total ridership of more than 44,000 trips. C-Tran increased the fare in 2008, and by 2012 ridership had fallen to slightly more than 15,000 — a decrease of more than 60 percent. In 2014, C-Tran shuttles carried 17,701 trips to and from the Clark County Fair.

On Wednesday, the first C-Tran buses rolling up to the fair entrance after noon appeared full. Several passengers said they were more than pleased with the service — and the price.

“I hope they keep it up,” said Ridgefield resident Lisa Morgan.

Others said they were happy to avoid the hassle of parking and making their way into the fairgrounds.

“It’s always an unknown,” Sylvia Hall said.

C-Tran shuttles arrive at the event from one of five locations: Westfield Vancouver mall, 99th Street Transit Center, Fisher’s Landing Transit Center, the La Center Park & Ride and the Battle Ground Community Center. The service begins at noon each day, and the last buses leave the fairgrounds at 11 p.m. each night.

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Columbian Transportation & Environment Reporter