What is the Student Free Fare Program?
The Keep Oregon Moving Act (House Bill 2017) provides statewide funding for public transportation service from a payroll tax of one-tenth of one percent on wages paid to employees. Proceeds from the payroll tax are deposited into the Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund (STIF). The STIF Formula Fund is intended to expand and improve public transportation services for current and future transit users. 1% of all funds allocated to transit agencies is to be spent on addressing the needs of young people.
In January 2020 CAT introduced the Student Free Fare Program which provides free fixed-route GOrge Annual Transit Passes to Hood River County School District Middle School and High School Students.
In addition to free Student GOrge Passes, 5 new student transit stops were added to specifically serve students:
- WyEast Middle School*
- The “old” Mt. Hood Store (Parkdale)*
- Rockford Grange (Barret & Markham)*
- Near the Pine Gove Volunteer Fire Station (Pine Grove)*
- Hood River High School*
*Call the office at (541) 386-4202 to see when CAT stops at these stops.
Who is eligible?
All Hood River County School District Middle School or High School students are eligible for a free Student GOrge Pass. Specifically, this includes middle and high students who attend Wy’East Middle School, Hood River Valley Middle School, Hood River Valley High School, and Hood River Options Academy.
How do I get my student a GOrge Pass?
For school year 2022-2023 students will be receiving their passes at school at the beginning of the school year. Signed waiver forms are no longer required to receive a pass. These passes will be good through December 31, 2023. If you do not wish your student to have a Student GOrge Pass, please reject the Student GOrge Pass by completing an opt out form through your school or returning the pass to the CAT office (224 Wasco Loop) or your schools’ receptionist.
Which services can my student use with the Student GOrge Pass?
CAT’s fixed route services include the Hood River City Route, Upper Valley, Weekend Trolley, Gorge-To-Mountain Express, Cascade Locks, Columbia Gorge Express, and The Dalles. Check out the schedules and routes by clicking on Ride Cat at the top of the webpage. These routes offer a wide variety of options to get students where they may need to go within Hood River County. Additionally, this pass is now accepted by 3 other transit services (The Link, Skamania County Transit, and Mt. Adam’s Transportation Service). To learn more about the places that your student can access with the GOrge Pass and the different transit providers that accept the pass please visit www.gorgepass.com. If your student needs help learning how to use the fixed route system, please reach out to CAT staff at (541)386-4202 for travel training assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
Q: Are the student GOrge passes an accepted fare for deviated stops or Dial-A-Rides?
A: No, if your student would like to use these services, they will need to show the pass and pay $1 to the driver when they board the bus.
Q: Can students schedule a deviated stop or the Dial-A-Ride service for going to from school?
A: No, due to high demand during peak hours. However, students can schedule at least a day in advance to be picked up or dropped off at one of the special student stops listed above or they can get on and off at one of the regular CAT bus stops without calling to make a reservation.
Q: Can students create subscriptions to schedule pick-ups or drop offs at one of the special student stops?
A: Yes, but only one week can be scheduled at a time. Student or parent will need to call the CAT office at (541) 386-4202 to schedule the rides each week.
Q: Can my student schedule a deviated stop or Dial-A-Ride service when they are not going to or from school?
A: Yes, but they will need to pay an extra $1 with their pass and schedule at least a day in advance by calling (541)386-4202.
Q: My student needs to go to the Options Academy; how can they get there?
A: Your student can take the Hood River City Route. When they get on the bus, they will need to let the driver know. The driver will stop at the stop sign at Eugene Street and Park Street and let your student off the bus. Your student will then need to walk the short way to the Options Academy.
|Hood River Valley High School||(541) 386-5657|
|Hood River Options Academy||(541) 387-5100|
|Hood River Middle School||(541) 387-5042|
|WyEast Middle School||(541) 354-1548|
Safety is CAT’s number 1 priority. Staff understands that students and parents may have concerns about riding public transit due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Learn what CAT is doing to keep riders safe through our COVID -19 (Coronavirus) Updates page.