A new bus system linking Klamath Falls to the Southern Oregon coast via Medford and Grants Pass begins rolling Monday.

A new bus system linking Klamath Falls to the Southern Oregon coast via Medford and Grants Pass begins rolling Monday.

Dubbed the Southwest POINT, short for Public Oregon Intercity Transit, the system is being organized by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

"Our research showed there is a large group of people who don't have access from Klamath Falls to Medford," explained ODOT spokeswoman Shelley Snow. "A lot of them were people coming in on Amtrak who needed to get over to the valley. There is a regular set of people who make the Klamath Falls to Medford trip."

There also are many folks along the south coast, as well as small towns in between, who need transportation to Medford, Grants Pass and Klamath Falls, she added.

Operating seven days a week, the POINT will make a dozen stops in and near Brookings, Crescent City, Smith River, Cave Junction, Grants Pass, Gold Hill, Medford, White City and Klamath Falls. The system provides same-day service between Klamath Falls and Brookings as well as same-day round-trip service from Klamath Falls to Medford and from Brookings to Medford, Snow said.

Rates range from $13 to $50 for a one-way ticket for adults. The 16-passenger buses are wheelchair accessible and equipped with bicycle racks.

"This is a great way to improve transportation connections for people in Southern Oregon," said Michael Ward, ODOT's public transit division administrator, in a prepared statement. "Being able to broaden the alternatives people have for getting from Point A to Point B couldn't come at a better time."

The new bus system will replace the Klamath Shuttle, which linked Klamath Falls with Medford, Snow said. However, there was no bus link to the coast since Greyhound, which provides a north-south link along Interstate 5, stopped providing service to the state's southern coastal corner several years ago.

With the new system, passengers can connect to both Amtrak and Greyhound as well as other regional transit systems, Snow said. That includes the Rogue Valley Transportation District, Basin Transit serving the Klamath Falls area, Josephine County Transit, Redwood Coast Transit serving Arcata to Crescent City and Curry Public Transit serving the Southern Oregon coast.

The POINT is being funded by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration with matching funds from Greyhound and passenger fees, Snow said. The amount of the grant was not immediately available.

"There are no state funds involved," she said. "The plan is it will pay for itself. The fares start out pretty reasonable. We're anticipating that once the word gets out there will be a big demand."

Later, if use demands, the system could be expanded, she said.

"This is the initial one," she said. "It was clear there was a need. We will be monitoring usage."

Tickets for the POINT are available from POINT drivers and wherever Greyhound bus tickets are sold. For service, schedule or ticketing information, call (888) 900-2609.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail him at pfattig@mailtribune.com.