Basin Transit Service implements reduced bus schedule

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Basin Transit Service began operating with a reduced schedule Monday, shortening its weekday service hours to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and eliminating weekend service. 

Basin Transit Service General Manager Adrian Mateos said the series of events that led to this change began in 2019. That year, BTS found that it would have a budget shortfall of $538,000 by fiscal year 2026 (which begins in September 2025). Mateos said BTS received emergency funding during the COVID-19 pandemic that gave it time to strategize without having to implement any service reductions. 

In 2023, BTS pursued a five-year levy that would have raised property taxes $0.29 per $1,000 to fund public transportation.

“Local property taxes account for about 30% of our funding, and that amount hasn’t changed in 30 years,” Mateos said.

BTS estimated that the levy, Measure 18-130, would have raised $4,403,647 over the five-year period, but 67.57% of voters opposed it. 

“We are now having to adjust service levels based on what we see as guidance from the public on what service levels they desire for the community,” Mateos said. 

Mateos said BTS conducted a study last year that found it had the fewest riders between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., so it decided to eliminate those hours. When it became necessary to cut costs even further, BTS conducted another study and found that 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. was another time frame with very low ridership. 

Mateos said BTS recognizes that eliminating early-morning bus service will negatively impact those who previously relied on it to get to work and school, but its data indicated that that cut would affect the smallest number of riders. 

“We fully understand that there’s individuals that…are contributors to the economy and to our society that need public transportation earlier than [8 a.m.] to get to work and to pursue higher education,” Mateos said.

Mateos said the schedule reduction also helps alleviate a serious staffing shortage; BTS had about 65% of the personnel it needed to adequately maintain the previous schedule.

“Our drivers were working dangerous amounts of overtime that were putting both service and people at risk,” Mateos said.

Mateos said both the funding and staffing deficits will need to be resolved for BTS to return to its previous schedule. The new schedule for each transit route can be found here.

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