Eugene residents ducked out of the rain momentarily on Sunday morning to hop on one of the city’s most frequented forms of public transportation. The Walnut Station, located on the intersection of Walnut Street & Franklin Boulevard, is a buzzing stop along the Emerald Express, or EmX, bus route. Equipped with cover from the rain and benches, patrons of all demographics utilize this stop on a daily basis to get to their particular destinations all over Eugene.
University of Oregon senior Annah Kennedy uses the bus daily Monday through Friday to get to the university campus for classes. Living at 15th and Walnut, Kennedy is only a short walk away from the Walnut Station. “The walk from my house to campus is really long,” Kennedy said. “The (EmX) bus drops off right in front of the Duck Store.” As a university student, Kennedy can ride the EmX at any stop at any time by presenting her UO identification card when boarding. Each university student’s tuition and fees fund this privilege. “It’s super convenient not having to buy a ticket each time”, Kennedy said. “You just flash your card and hop on.” Clutching a Dutch Bros coffee cup in hand, Kennedy boarded the EmX during its 9:36am stop to head to the university library.
Not all bus patrons can enjoy the luxury of free transit like the university students can. Lane Community College student Chris Demmel must pay for a ticket when he wants to go to campus to meet up with friends. “It’s kind of a pain but I don’t have a car and my bike was recent stolen so it works”, Demmel said. To obtain a ticket to ride the EmX, patrons must use an EmX Ticket Machine, located at all EmX stops, and purchase a ticket that is handed to the bus driver when boarding. Tickets are either single-ride or day passes. Admittance is also allowed with a valid LTD, Lane Transit District, pass. Because Demmel only rides the bus occasionally, he only purchases day passes when needed. “An unlimited pass would be easier but I don’t see the point in paying for that right now,” said Demmel. After taking down his rain jacket hood, Demmel boarded the 9:49am stop to meet friends for breakfast.
While university students may populate the majority of the university district, not all EmX riders are students. The EmX route, also known as the “Green Line”, reaches all the way from downtown Eugene, through the university district, and loops through and around Springfield. With almost two-dozen stops, the EmX offers transportation for all Eugene and Springfield citizens. Mary Wilhelm rides the EmX daily to get to her job at Sacred Heart Medical Center from her east Eugene home. “The ride is very short and quick,” Wilhem said. “I used to drive to work but this seems better for the environment.” A monthly bus pass for an adult is about $50 but 3-month passes are also available for about $130. Wilhem currently has a monthly pass but is considering driving to work again soon. “I don’t mind the ride so much but I do not like riding late at night,” Wilhem said. Staring up at the sky for rain before stepping out from under the overhang, Wilhem boarded the 10:09am stop headed westbound.
Information for the EmX and LTD bus services can be found at http://www.ltd.org.