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DailyTidings.com
  • Free bus passes offered for Medford downtown workers

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  • The Heart of Medford Association and Rogue Valley Transportation District will put their money where their mouths are when it comes to encouraging downtown employees to ride the bus to work.
    The downtown organization and bus agency are giving away free 20-ride bus passes worth $40 to people working and volunteering in the downtown's core area.
    The Downtown Workforce Bus Pass Program will run through the end of the year or when the passes run out, said Richard Barney, Heart of Medford executive director.
    "The idea is to relieve traffic coming into downtown, save people some money because they don't have to buy their own pass and address the parking issue for downtown," Barney said.
    "Obviously, if you are taking the bus, you are not taking a parking spot. We don't have an unlimited number of passes, but we have plenty."
    The program's budget is relatively small — about $5,000, said Nathan Broom of RVTD.
    The money is funneled through the two organizations as part of a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement grant, portions of which also will go toward the purchase of bike racks and pedestrian signs.
    George Schroeder, owner of Schroeder's Quality Furniture & Collectibles, picked up a form last week and said he plans to turn it in this week.
    "I want to be greener," said Schroeder who rides a motorcycle to work. "I think everybody ought to use it if they can. I think there is a bus that stops fairly close to me by Rogue Valley (Medical Center)."
    Eligible participants will received a 20-ride punch card to ride anywhere RVTD buses operate. Businesses and organization may request passes once during each month, for as long as funding is available.
    Business managers and owners may request bus passes for themselves, their employees and volunteers.
    To qualify, recipients must:
    • Work or volunteer within the boundaries of the Heart of Medford Association — Bear Creek on the east, 10th Street on the south, Newtown Street to Fourth Street and Fir Street on the west and Jackson Street on the north. The place of business does not have to be an HMA member.
    • Be employees, business owners or regular volunteers
    • Be scheduled to work or volunteer downtown a minimum of two days per week
    Managers or their designated representatives can pick up passes for all participants in their organization at the Medford/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce at 101 E. Eighth St., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
    A Downtown Workforce Bus Pass Program request form is available to download on the HMA website www.heartofmedford.com or by contacting the HMA office at heartofmedford@gmail.com.
    Eight RVTD routes travel into downtown Medford. The first buses roll at 5 a.m. while the last buses leave downtown at 6:30 p.m.
    Reach Mail Tribune reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com.
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