A new daily commuter bus line will connect Ellensburg to Upper County communities starting July 1, as a result of a two-year partnership grant funded by Kittitas County cities, businesses and the Washington State Department of Transportation, according to a news release from HopeSource.

“The commuter line is designed to connect people to jobs, recreation opportunities, medical appointments and more. It’s truly a countywide effort to tie our communities together,“ said Mark Hollandsworth, HopeSource Director of Operations. HopeSource will provide the bus service for the grant.

Route details are still being determined, but the plan is for the bus to leave from the downtown Ellensburg stop at Ruby Street and East Fourth Avenue and make stops in Cle Elum at businesses and services. The buses, which will hold 11 passengers, will be wheelchair accessible and equipped with bike racks.

During the grant partnership, the fare-free service will run 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, with multiple trips linking Ellensburg and Cle Elum. Separate loops will travel from Cle Elum to Suncadia, Roslyn and Ronald. Reservations will not be required to use these routes.

The timing of the schedule will allow riders to travel between home and work, saving them a twice-daily 30-mile drive between Ellensburg and Cle Elum, Hollandsworth said.

The cities of Ellensburg, Cle Elum, South Cle Elum and Roslyn contributed funds to the commuter bus service. Local businesses, such as restaurants and retail stores, also provided funding. Rider donations will be accepted to help offset costs.

“HopeSource is proud to be a partner with cities and businesses to provide this service to the entire community. It’s a great example of a collaborative effort,” Hollandsworth said.

HopeSource is a nonprofit community action organization providing a wide range of human services to the people of Central Washington.

Route maps and schedules will be coming soon. For more information, call HopeSource at 925-1448.

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