Photo courtesy of TranGo TranGO buses will become a familiar sight in the Methow Valley starting this summer.

Photo courtesy of TranGo

TranGO buses will become a familiar sight in the Methow Valley starting this summer.

Will connect Twisp, Winthrop with Pateros, Okanogan

By Ann McCreary

Hourly bus service by TranGO connecting Twisp and Winthrop will begin July 1, providing nine trips a day between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.

TranGO (Transit for Greater Okanogan) will also offer four trips a day between the Methow Valley and Okanogan and Pateros, said Kelly Scalf, chief executive officer for the transit system.

New 20-seat buses will carry passengers up and down the valley with several stops along the way, Scalf said.

Stops include Hank’s Harvest Foods, the intersection of Methow Street and Second Avenue, and Blue Star Coffee Roasters in Twisp; and the Evergreen IGA, the intersection of Corral Street and Lufkin Lane, and the Winthrop Barn in Winthrop

Service between Twisp and Pateros and Twisp and Okanogan will begin at 8 a.m. with trips every two to three hours. From Okanogan, riders can make connections to other Okanogan Valley communities.

Scalf and TranGO staff will come to the Methow Valley Community Center on May 19, 1-5 p.m., to discuss the transit system and share information about schedules and connections.

Fares will be $1 per boarding. TranGO will also offer monthly passes or $10 denomination passes.

Scalf said three buses will operate daily in the Methow Valley, and four buses will be stationed in the valley.

“We wanted them remotely located so they’d be available if needed for evacuations,” Scalf said.

To identify the transportation needs of county residents, transit officials conducted surveys. Scalf said those surveys “showed that people tend to work and do all their business within the valley they live in.”

TranGO was formed in November 2014 when Okanogan County voters approved a sales tax increase to fund a public transit authority. Service began last year with the Okanogan-Omak shuttle, which provides 2,100 trips per month, Scalf said.

“That’s about double what I thought we’d have,” she said.

TranGO coordinates service with Okanogan County Transportation and Nutrition (OCTN), which provides service for some routes, and will continue providing transportation for senior meals in the Methow Valley.

In addition to fixed routes, TranGO also provides service for para-transit riders, providing pick-ups within three-fourths of a mile of fixed routes.

Scalf said TranGO is in the process of determining where bus stops and shelters will be located in the Methow Valley.