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TREASURE VALLEY -;New bus service starts today at the western end of the Treasure Valley.

Folks in Malheur and Payette Counties will be able to catch a ride around Ontario, Fruitland and Payette with the establishment of Snake River Transit.

"We are delighted to bring about this new service," Jeff Williams, board chairman for Snake River Transit and a member of the Payette City Council, said in announcing the new route. "This service could not come at a better time given the high cost of fuel that is impacting so many people in our region these days."

Snake River Transit will provide bus service with two loops and 29 bus stops in and around Ontario, Payette, and Fruitland.

In addition to the stops, officials said, people can flag down the bus in safe locations to catch the new transportation service. The new service will be at the same location five days per week at the same time, which is intended to provide ease of scheduling and use for people throughout the region.

The transportation service is a partnership between the states of Oregon and Idaho, as well as nonprofit organizations Treasure Valley Transit and the Malheur Council on Aging.

"We have been looking for a better way to provide low-cost, safe transportation to people of the area," Ontario Police Chief Mike Kee, vice chairman for Snake River Transit, said. "People will be able to conduct their shopping, attend medical appointments, visit needed social services, and even get to work on the new bus."

Snake River Transit is the culmination of a planning effort that began in December 2006. A coordinated transit plan was approved by both Malheur and Payette counties in September 2007.

The planning process then formed the basis to implement the new bus service.


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