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Salem’s Transit System Temporarily Ends Scheduled Service

Chris Lehman

The transit system serving Oregon’s capital city has suspended all scheduled services as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Cherriots announced Monday evening that seven of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19, and that all bus service would be canceled until further notice.

Like many transit agencies, Cherriots had been operating on a reduced schedule and had not been charging fares. Demand for public transit has plummeted as many commuters are working from home or have been laid off.

Normally, Cherriots operates 27 bus routes that serve local commuters in Salem and Keizer and intercity service to outlying towns in Marion and Polk Couunties. After years of offering weekday service only, Cherriots expanded to offer Saturday service last September. The buses were going to start operating on Sundays and holidays starting in May, but Cherriots announced recently that the Sunday expansion would be on hold indefinitely.

Cherriots says its "LIFT" paratransit service will continue for "life-sustaining" trips only.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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