During the strange COVID-19 health crisis times. One thing remains the same, you can still count on the CAT bus and drivers to be there for Hood River County residents. Services look a little different these days as the fixed-route services have been suspended, but satisfied riders are a priority and safety is of the utmost importance to our staff.
Due to Executive Order 20-12 issued by Governor Brown on March 23rd to stay at home except for essential trips, CAT reduced services to Dial-A-Ride only within Hood River County and between Hood River and The Dalles. Dial-A-Ride essential trips include going to work, seeking medical services, and getting food. To schedule a Dial-A-Ride, community members need to call 541-386-4202 24 hours in advance.
In order to support the local community and meet essential needs, the dependable CAT Bus drivers dawn their protective gear, sanitize buses and get riders to their destination on time. Gwen Richards, a local Hood River resident, has been using the CAT Bus to go to the Hood River Valley Adult Center, where she can utilize their drive-thru meal service to pick up her to go order and grab a puzzle or game to take home. Recently she started using the CAT bus to go to the F.I.S.H. Food Bank to pick up groceries. The organization offers food to anyone who lives in Hood River County or Mosier in need of food assistance. When Gwen arrives at F.I.S.H. she answers a couple questions from the helpful volunteers, but is not required to show ID. She lets the team know she used the CAT bus to get there and they help load her groceries into her favorite purple bus.
Gwen loves how the CAT bus allows her to save money and have safe interactions with drivers and volunteers at the Senior Center and F.I.S.H. Food Bank. Amid this time of uncertainty life can be very isolating. The CAT bus allows her to have “a nice break and ability to connect with the outside”. CAT is her bridge to a social connection in this time of social distancing. She greatly appreciates the service, and the friendly and timely drivers. Additionally, she was very impressed by the GOrge Pass and refers to it as the “best thing ever”. Gwen cannot wait to make day trips to Portland with a friend and do some window shopping when the Columbia Gorge Express service resumes.