Public transportation in and out of Sisters
Last updated 12/14/2023 at 8:15am
Most folks in Sisters Country know that there's public bus service to Bend and Redmond. They're often surprised to learn that it's free, until further notice. Even at no charge, ridership remains flat.
There are three buses a day, Monday through Friday, between Sisters and Redmond (Route 28) and three between Sisters and Bend (Route 29). Both routes are timed to coincide with common work schedules.
The two morning buses from Redmond, where many Sisters workers live, arrive in town at 6:40 a.m. and 7:52 a.m., in time for 7 and 8 a.m. shift starts. The return bus in the afternoon is at 3:09 p.m., which works well for those whose eight-hour shift is 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., but it's a problem for anybody whose shift ends at 4 p.m. or after, by far the most common.
Most bus users are workers; however, shoppers and recreational riders are to be found. All buses on the system run by Cascades East Transit (CET) have racks for two bikes and some can handle the bikes.
On most days the racks are full, especially when there is no snow on the ground. Workers will jump off the bus either at the East Main Avenue and Cedar Street stop, or the West Main Avenue and Oak Street stop, or at the terminus in front of Ray's Food Place across the street from McDonald's on North Arrowleaf Trail, and bike the last half mile or mile to their place of employment.
Rick Delano and Nate Bartram from Bend take the bus from Bend to Sisters with their mountain bikes about three or four times a year. Neither has a hitch on their car enabling a bike rack, so the bus allows them to come to Sisters to ride local trails.
If there was more room for bikes, "more bikers would come," said Delano.
"We've had to cancel at least twice this year when the racks were already taken and the inside space was full," Bartram said.
Bikes can be brought onto the bus and secured in the wheelchair bay. Wheeled chairs always have priority over bikes according to CET's policy. The buses are critical for those confined to wheeled chairs, especially those needing to get to medical appointments in Bend or Redmond.
Certified service dogs, those that fall under Section 37.3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, are welcome on CET buses. "Comfort" and "therapy" animals and pets must be in a carrier.
Free shopper rides
Cascades East Transit offers a no-cost Sisters to Bend Shopper Shuttle that connects residents living within the Sisters Dial-A-Ride service area to major shopping destinations in Bend on Thursdays. Those living in Tollgate, Crossroads, Sage Meadow, and more can access this service. The service stops at the Cascade Village Mall, Walmart, and Costco shopping areas. See details here: https://cascadeseasttransit.com/routes-schedules/all-cities/sisters/
Intercity buses from Sisters
Going to Eugene, Salem, or Portland and live in Sisters? Then hop on the bus, Gus. The Eugene bus leaves Sisters at 7:32 every morning and arrives at 9:55. The return departs at 11:10 a.m., and gets to Sisters at 1:13 p.m. The fare is $32 each way.
The daily bus for Portland departs Sisters in the morning at 7:45 a.m. and arrives in Salem at 9:57 a.m. If you're going onto Portland, the
next stop is Portland International, arriving at 11:10 a.m., or stay onboard for Portland Union Station getting in at 11:37 a.m.
The bus starts its return journey at 12:22 p.m. and gets to Sisters at 4:16 p.m. after stops at Portland and Salem. The fare, each way, is $35 to Salem, $55 to Portland or Union Station.
Only pets that fit in a pet carrier and can be stowed under the seat, at the feet of, or on the pet owner's lap are allowed. Service animals are allowed only if they are ADA defined service animals.
Passengers are allowed two pieces of stowed luggage, no more than 50 pounds each and 62 linear inches. Passengers are also allowed one carry-on item.
The buses have wi-fi and individual power outlets and plenty of window area to take in the sights. The Salem-Portland bus is a full- size coach with large, upholstered European-style seating that reclines. There is an onboard restroom.
The Eugene ride is aboard a mini touring coach similar in size to CET buses. For more information see https://us.megabus.com/route-guides/sisters-to-eugene-bus.
Employee Ride Share
Employers in Sisters still struggle to attract workers, the majority of whom come from Redmond. Metabolic Maintenance in Sisters, one of our largest employers, is just such a company.
They have hooked up with COMMUTE by Enterprise (car rental) and now provide workforce transportation to nine workers in Prineville and Redmond. The van is driven by one of the workers.
STARS offers free transportation for Sisters residents for non-emergency medical appointments. Visit https://starsride.org.
(Editor’s note: This story was edited to correct the nature of STARS services.