C-Tran (Washington)

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C-TRAN (Washington) logo.svg
C-TRAN 2277 EvergreenPR.jpg
Founded July 1, 1981 (1981-07-01)
Headquarters 2425 NE 65th Avenue, Vancouver, WA 98661
Locale Clark County, Washington
Service type Fixed route bus service
Routes 29
Hubs 3 Transit centers
3 park and rides[1]
Fleet 108 buses
52 paratransit vehicles
51 vanpool vehicles[2]
Annual ridership 5,856,838 transit bus
249,801 paratransit
68,880 vanpool[2]
Chief executive Jeff Hamm
Website c-tran.com
C-Tran bus 2227 with the new paint scheme at the Rose Quarter Transit Center in Portland
C-Tran express route bus at Parkrose-Sumner Transit Center in Portland (now decommissioned)

The C-Tran (stylized as C-TRAN), more formally the Clark County Public Transit Benefit Area Authority, is a public transit agency serving Clark County, Washington, United States, including the cities of Battle Ground, Camas, Vancouver and Washougal. Founded in 1981, C-Tran operates fixed route bus services within Clark County, as well as paratransit services for qualified persons with disabilities (C-Van) and a dial-a-ride service in Camas, Ridgefield, and La Center (The Connector). C-Tran also provides express commuter services between Clark County and various points in Portland, Oregon, including downtown, the Parkrose/Sumner and Delta Park MAX Light Rail stations (in northeast and north Portland), Lloyd District, and Oregon Health and Science University.[3]

C-Tran operates three transit centers: Vancouver Mall, Fisher's Landing in east county, and 99th Street at Stockford Village, as well as three park and rides: Salmon Creek, Evergreen, and Andresen.[1] 29 transit routes operate to serve the approximately 350,000 residents of Clark County, while C-Tran's 108 transit coaches and 52 paratransit coaches travel over 14,472 miles daily.[citation needed]


Service increases and reorganization in 2000[edit]

On July 1, 2000, C-Tran opened a transit center facility in Fisher's Landing, replacing the Evergreen Transit Center (now Evergreen Park & Ride) as its east county hub. Along with the opening of Fisher's Landing Transit Center, many lines serving east Clark County and the Vancouver Mall area were rerouted and had their frequency increased. Fisher's Landing Transit Center links eastern Vancouver with Camas, Washougal and Parkrose (in northeast Portland, Oregon). Around the same time, C-Tran changed its transfer design to conform with that of TriMet, allowing C-Tran riders to use its transfer to ride on any route in any direction (unlike previously, in which C-Tran transfers were marked with the route number to prevent riders from using it to make a round trip or a stop-over). The "Day Code" on a C-Tran transfer (and today, C-Tran Day Pass) is identical to that of TriMet, consisting of two letters out of the eight-letter pool: M, J, I, E, X, D, B and C.

Clark County Proposition 1 (2004)[edit]

In November 2004, a ballot initiative known as Proposition 1 was defeated by a simple majority of voters. While 46.33% of eligible voters, or 73,959 ballots, approved this measure to increase the Clark County sales tax by 0.3% (from the current 7.7%) to continue the funding of the public transportation, 53.67% (85,684 votes) rejected the proposition.

The Proposition 1 was intended to provide continued funding sources for C-Tran after the 1998 statewide repeal of Washington motor vehicle registration tax.

As a result of the lost revenue, effective September 25, 2005, C-Tran could have reduced its services by 46%, effectively eliminating about a half of currently existing bus and paratransit services. The planned service reduction would have eliminated all services to the north beyond Salmon Creek Park & Ride, including commuter services to Ridgefield; all services to the east beyond Fisher's Landing Transit Center, discontinuing all Camas and Washougal services including the Connector; end all Vancouver-Central Portland express bus services; and drastically reduced the frequency of surviving routes (except for the 165-Parkrose Express, whose services would be increased).

Vancouver–Central Portland commuter lines would have been replaced by 205 – Interstate 5 Shuttle, 234 – Salmon Creek Shuttle and 257 – BPA Shuttle, all of which would have terminated at TriMet's Delta Park/Vanport MAX Station.

In addition to major downsizing of services, C-Tran proposed closing two park and ride lots, reducing service center hours, ending service day at 8 pm weekdays and ending most weekend runs. As a result, C-Tran intended to also lay off a large number of employees.

To make up lost revenues, the C-Tran board of directors also considered a fare increase, elimination of free transfers and termination of reciprocal fare agreement with TriMet.

Most of these service reductions were avoided after C-Tran passed a special ballot measure in September 2005. C-Tran still operates all commuter lines to and from downtown Portland's Transit Mall.

New fare structure and 2005 service reductions[edit]

In May 2005, as the first phase of the two-part service reduction strategy, C-Tran introduced a new fare structure. Under this scheme, the previously All-Zone commuter services between Portland, Oregon and Clark County with the sole exception of the 165 – Parkrose Express were designated "Premium" routes (i.e., Routes 105, 114 that originate in Portland as "105–114", 134, 157, 164, 177 and 190 are all Premium services). No regular monthly or all-day passes from either TriMet or C-Tran were accepted on the Premium buses, unless a passenger purchased a $105 Premium pass (which is also valid as an All-Zone pass in C-Tran, Portland Streetcar and TriMet). A single-ride fare on a Premium bus became $3. Fares on Premium buses were collected as passengers board, and previously-allowed free rides within Portland's Fareless Square between Portland State University and the Pearl District were eliminated.

C-Tran issues and accepts All-Zone transfers upon request. Passengers who use a C-Zone fare must pay each time they board the bus or purchase a Day Pass, either a C-Zone day pass valid only on C-Tran Local and Limited routes or a GoAnywhere Express Day pass which is also valid on TriMet and the Portland Streetcar. Pursuant to the fare reciprocity agreement, C-Tran and TriMet continue to honor each other's All-Zone fare instruments.

C-Tran would have been forced to eliminate nearly half of all its transit services effective September 25, 2005 if additional funding had not been secured; however, a second ballot measure was passed that allowed for the preservation of current service levels (at that time), and additional service to be added to smaller cities such as Ridgefield and La Center. These changes helped return service to its pre-2000 levels.

C-Tran redistricting and new C-Tran benefit area ballot measure[edit]

On June 1, 2005, the boundaries of the Clark County Public Transit Benefit Area were reduced from the whole Clark County to the area including only the cities of Vancouver, Camas, Washougal, Ridgefield, La Center, Battle Ground and Yacolt, as well as the unincorporated areas surrounding Vancouver. This was done so that, unlike in the failed 2004 Proposition 1, only those who would benefit from C-Tran services will vote on any future ballot measure to secure new funding for the transit service.

C-Tran proposed a special election in September 2005 to decide on whether residents within the new C-Tran benefit area would pay an additional 0.2% (from 7.7% to 7.9% in Vancouver) sales tax to maintain the current C-Tran service level.

The measure passed by a wide majority. The agency continues to operate, and now with fresh funding, is expanding.


C-Tran continues to run seven days a week and on holidays. Holidays are operated with reduced local service similar to Sunday's service, trips to and from Portland are less frequent, some express and limited routes may not run. Local service starts at about 6:15 am and ends about midnight. Weekday express and limited service to Portland begins at 5:20 am with the last trip to Vancouver at 7 pm. On Saturdays, there is no service to Portland excluding the 65 (Parkrose Limited) to Parkrose/Sumner Transit Center and the 4 (Fourth Plain) to Delta Park/Vanport MAX Station and Jantzen Beach. Saturday service on route 65 starts at about 8:30 am with the last trip to Vancouver departing at about 6:40 pm. Saturday service on route 4 starts at about 6:30 am and the last trip from Delta Park/Vanport departs at midnight. On Sundays, the only service that crosses the Columbia River is route 4 to Jantzen Beach and Delta Park/Vanport MAX Station. The Connector runs from 5:30 am to 7:30 pm on weekdays, based on the "Dial A Ride" system.

C-Tran operates 17 local routes along with "C-Van" Paratransit and Connector "Dial A Ride" service. Most routes can be expected to run every 15 to 70 minutes. The most used routes are "37 Mill Plain/Highway 99" and "4 Fourth Plain".

C-Tran operates seven express "Premium" routes to downtown Portland's transit mall. A ride on all these buses require an express fare for travel outside Clark County, and transfers issued on these routes are valid for travel on all C-Tran and TriMet routes. In addition, C-Tran operates four "limited" routes; the 41, 44 and 47 serve TriMet's Delta Park/Vanport MAX Station, and the 65 connects to TriMet's Parkrose/Sumner MAX Station. Local "C" zone fare is required on these routes. An additional fare is required when transferring to TriMet services unless an "All-Zone" or Express fare is paid.

The Vine[edit]

The Vine is a bus rapid transit service along Fourth Plain Boulevard and Fort Vancouver Way between downtown Vancouver and Westfield Vancouver.[4] Ten new, low-floor articulated hybrid buses provide service every 10–15 minutes in mixed traffic to curbside stations. The Vine replaces routes 4 and 44, which collectively carried over 6,000 trips daily.[5] Transit signal priority and off-board fare collection will increase the speed of the bus by about ten minutes compared to existing service. Studies on the corridor began in 2008, and funding for the $53 million project was approved in July 2014, with 80% federal money, 6% state, and 14% local.[6] A full funding grant agreement for $38.5 million from the Federal Transit Administration was signed on September 10, 2015.[7]

Construction began with a groundbreaking ceremony held at the planned downtown terminus on August 24, 2015,[8]and finished in January 2017. A grand opening ceremony was held on January 7, 2017, and it officially opened on January 8, 2017.[9][10]

In November 2014, opponents of the projects filed a lawsuit challenging C-Tran's authority to use federal funds for bus rapid transit without voter approval.[11]


Effective September 1, 2016, C-Tran cash fares are as follows:[12]

Fixed route (Regular bus service) C-Van (paratransit)
C-Zone All-Zone Express C-Zone All-Zone
Adult & Reduced $1.80 $2.50 $3.85 $1.80 $2.50
Youth, Honored or
Medicare Cardholders
$0.90 w/ID $1.25 w/ID $3.85 $1.80 $2.50
Monthly Pass
$62 $100 $125 $56
Youth & Honored
Monthly Pass
$28 w/ID $28 w/ID $125 $59
Monthly Pass
$31 w/ID $100 $125 $59
Adult & Reduced Day Pass $4.25 $5.00* $7.70 $4.25 $7.70
Youth & Honored Day Pass - $2.50* $7.70 $4.25 $7.70
  • C-Zone fares are valid only within Clark County and are not eligible for transfers.
  • All-Zone fares are valid on all non-Express C-Tran & TriMet buses, MAX Light Rail, WES Commuter Rail and Portland Streetcar and are eligible for transfers upon request.
  • All-Zone and Express fares are required for cross-river travel to Parkrose, Jantzen Beach and Delta Park.
  • Express fares are valid on Express C-Tran routes, in addition to All-Zone benefits. Express fares are required for travel to/from Downtown Portland, Marquam Hill and the Lloyd District on express routes and are eligible for transfers upon request.
  • Express fare exception: Honored passengers (Seniors and those with disabilities), and Medicare card holders can save 50% off Express cash fares by riding the 105 from 9 am–3 pm, weekdays only. Must present ID at boarding.
  • All Zone Day Pass is only available for sale on board a C-Tran bus or through Tri-Met.

Fare agreement with TriMet[edit]

C-Tran began issuing transfers again on September 1, 2007. In order to make travel between C-Tran and TriMet's systems easier, certain C-Tran fares are valid on TriMet, and vice versa. The following are the easiest reciprocal fares to use...

C-Tran fares on TriMet

C-Tran issues transfers for its All-Zone and Express fares. All C-Tran All-Zone and Express regular or discounted fares and transfers are valid as All-Zone fares on any and all of TriMet's buses, MAX trains, WES and the Portland Streetcar. A C-Tran Express Day Pass is valid as a TriMet All-Day ticket. The Clark College Backpass is not valid on TriMet. The express fares are valid on the Portland Aerial Tram.

TriMet fares on C-Tran

TriMet fares are valid as All-Zone fares on C-Tran except for the Portland Public Schools Student Pass (it can be used as proof of age for youth fares) or TriMet Lift. A TriMet All-Day ticket is valid as a C-Tran day pass.

TriMet tickets and passes are accepted on C-Tran Local and Limited routes; TriMet fares are not accepted on C-Tran Express routes or C-Van; Unvalidated TriMet fares are same as cash, and upgrades are not available.

TriMet accepts C-Tran All-Zone and Express tickets and passes on all fixed route, WES, and MAX services; C-Tran fares are not valid on TriMet Lift (paratransit).

Only C-Tran express fares and passes are valid on C-Tran's express routes to downtown Portland.

Fares went up a few cents per ride starting May 1, 2008.

TriMet fares on C-Tran

For consistency reasons, C-Tran will only accept Tri-Met All-Zone passes and Tickets on their routes. C-Tran Express routes still require an express fare (except on the 105 and 190 within Clark County) of $3.25 one way with a 1-hour transfer, $6.50 for a Day pass, $13 for a 1-day All-zone pass or $110 for an Express monthly pass.

Unvalidated C-Tran/TriMet fares

Effective September 1, 2014, C-Tran and TriMet will no longer accept each other's unvalidated tickets or day passes. Passengers must start their trip on the system that issued their unvalidated fare.[13]

Express punch cards will be provided with an Express transfer that allows for continued travel on TriMet, through the date and time indicated. All-Zone and Express day passes may be used on TriMet, once they have been validated by a C-Tran operator.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Transit Centers, Park & Rides, and Customer Service Offices". C-Tran. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b C-TRAN 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (PDF) (Report). C-Tran. June 24, 2016. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  3. ^ "About C-TRAN". C-Tran. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "C-Tran unveils 'The Vine'". The Reflector. Battle Ground, WA. April 22, 2015. p. A3. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "Project Summary". The Vine. C-Tran. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "The Vine Fact Sheet" (PDF). The Vine. C-Tran. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  7. ^ Florip, Eric (September 10, 2015). "FTA head praises The Vine, makes it official". The Columbian. Retrieved September 16, 2015. 
  8. ^ Florip, Eric (August 24, 2015). "C-Tran head: The Vine milestone 'historic'". The Columbian. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  9. ^ Florip, Eric (April 7, 2015). "5 things to know about The Vine: Vancouver's bus rapid transit system". The Columbian. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  10. ^ Horn, Dean. "C-TRAN Launches The Vine With Street Fair And Fun". www.c-tran.com. Retrieved 2017-01-14. 
  11. ^ Florip, Eric (May 28, 2015). "C-Tran seeks dismissal of BRT lawsuit". The Columbian. Vancouver, WA. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  12. ^ C-Tran Fares Effective Sep 1, 2014
  13. ^ C-Tran/TriMet Unvalidated fares

External links[edit]