The Ride the River shuttle service for summer river users will begin on Friday, June 22. The shuttle service provides an affordable alternative for those who float the river downstream and then want to ride the shuttle back upstream. The service provides rafters and other river users with a convenient way for them to get from the last take-out back to the Bend Metro Parks and Recreation District parking lot on Columbia, west of the Old Mill District. The program is scheduled to continue until Labor Day on September 3.
This is Bend Area Transit’s (BAT) second year operating the Ride the River shuttle. The service was implemented last year to provide river users with parking alternatives. As recreational use of the Deschutes River becomes more popular each summer, parking has become scarce. River users are reminded to park only in designated areas and to comply with the “No Parking” signs posted near sidewalks and medians.
Users pay a three dollar fee for all-day service and place their floats and rafts in the Ride the River trailer towed behind the shuttle. One-time users pay a one dollar fee. Drivers will only accept exact change. Service is available Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 11 a.m. until 6:20 p.m.
The all-day users are provided with a wristband for identification, which can also be used that day on the BAT regular service routes. However, BAT requests that the rafts and floats are deflated before riding the regular BAT service routes.
The shuttle runs every half hour and will make stops at the following locations:
- Franklin Avenue next to Mirror Pond parking lot
- Riverside Avenue just before the turn on to Tumalo/Galveston bridge
- McKay Park on Shevlin Hixon Drive
- River Access parking lot on Columbia east of Shevlin-Hixon Drive
The popular route to float the Deschutes River is from Farewell Bend Park to Drake Park. Rafters must get out of the river before the Colorado Street Dam, walk along the portage path and then re-enter the river at McKay Park. River users are reminded that the Deschutes River has many dangerous rapids and fast currents and are encouraged to use caution when on the river. Alcohol is illegal on the river.