- Written by Ben Jacklet
- Category: Transportation
- Published: November 14, 2013
- Last Updated: November 14, 2013
Carless? Need to get up to Mount Hood? The Mountain Express is running seven days a week from Sandy to Timberline Lodge for $2 one-way or 30 trips for $20. Here is the full winter schedule. Zoom into the image above for details.
Sorry if the image above is too blurry. I did my best, but there wasn't much to work with. If you have trouble reading it, try linking to the Clackamas County pdf here. The county is working on a website specifically for the Mountain Express, but that site is not yet live. I will add a link once that site is live, and hopefully they'll have some form of schedule that works on the web.
Buses will travel from Sandy Transit Center through Hoodland and up to Mount Hood, with stops in The Resort at the Mountain, Skibowl, Govy and Timberline.There will be service every day in winter except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Skibowl and Timberline contributed $45,000 a year for the bus service, which is run by Clackamas County. The Resort at the Mountain put in $10,000.
Those investments and a $476,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation and Clackamas County saved the Mountain Express, which was on the verge of ending service in June due to lack of cash.
So far riders have reported that the bus has been solid and on time. But the original schedule angered locals because it eliminated the Rhododendron stop and pushed back the time of the first westbound train to Sandy. Clackamas County has fixed both those problems in this latest version of the winter schedule.
Organizers have ordered two custom-made four-wheel-drive winter buses tricked out with ski and snowboard racks and bike trailers for 2014-15. But for this season they are relying on big old buses formerly used in the Rogue Valley. We'll see how they handle the ride up come January.
Still, anything that reduces cars on the road and in the parking lot is worth a try, right?
Riding the bus could save on the stress of driving on ice and looking for a parking space at Skibowl or Timberline. It is definitely a good option for the hundreds of people who live in Hoodland and work on the mountain. Unfortunately, it is a lot slower than driving. With seven stops between the Sandy Transit Center and Timberline Lodge, the estimated transit time from Sandy to the lodge is 65 minutes. That's without the chain-up time expected on snow days.
There are tons of potential projects being considered to improve safety, congestion and parking on Mount Hood, ranging from bike lanes to an aerial tram, but expanding the Mountain Express was immediate and doable, and it is taking cars off of Highway 26.
What do you think? Have you ridden the Mountain Express? Will you? How’s it working out for you?