Federally Funded BRT Expansion Meets Local Resistance in Suburban Oregon

Despite steady increases in ridership since opening in 2007, a proposed expansion of the Lane Transit District’s EmX bus rapid transit system between Eugene and Springfield is meeting local resistance.

Since its launch in 2007, the ridership for the EmX bus rapid transit system connecting Springfield and Eugene in Oregon has seen consistent growth. According to reporter Edward Russo, “Since [2007], total EmX ridership has increased from 1.4 million annually to more than 2 million.” EmX boarding rates perform better than the entire LTD system, which, in total, "ranks 20th out of 631 reporting transit districts."

The line’s recipe for success, according to sources quoted in the story, relies on efficient service, well-designed stations, and a steady stream of added capacity:

  • “Ridership got a sizeable boost after the second segment, from downtown Springfield to the Gateway area of Springfield, was added in 2011.”
  • “[Dorothy Kepler] praised the EmX rapid transit service, mainly because the sleek, trainlike buses arrive at stops every 10 minutes on weekdays.”
  • “The new station ‘spurred business growth on South A,’ Egan said. ‘That station is very busy.’”

But the third leg, a proposed west Eugene route, has provoked resistance, including a lawsuit, over high costs: “…the group Our Money Our Transit sued the Federal Transit Administration, contending the federal agency erred by approving $75 million in federal funding for the project based on flawed environmental studies and without carefully considering other alternatives.”

Full Story: EmX is up to speed, but are bumps near?

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