Opportunities in education
Forrest Allen does not take offense if you call him a transit nerd. He is an avid follower of Cherriots on social media and makes a hobby of studying schedules, understanding emerging transit technology, and celebrating the release of new buses.
But he said the most life-changing development was the summer of 2017 when the Oregon Legislature passed a comprehensive transportation package that included a funding source devoted to transit development.
“It’s been exciting to see the enhancements,” Allen said. “Cherriots covers a lot of areas. I just map out the places I want to go, and the bus gets me there.”
He enjoys shopping at various places in the city and he can now go up to Woodburn on the weekend to visit friends. On a recent Saturday, he and his mom took a bus to West Salem to have lunch at one of her favorite restaurants. Up until the startup of Saturday service in September, his mother’s bus rides were primarily to weekday medical appointments. “She’s happy about the new changes,” Allen said.
Allen is pursuing a degree in information systems at Western Oregon University in Monmouth and he is interested in cybersecurity. If it were not for public transportation, this career opportunity would be unattainable.
"I want to thank Cherriots for being really great and I really would be limited without you guys, especially when it comes to being able to go to Western for a higher education degree,” he said. “I do not have access to a car and an Uber would be way too expensive.”
As a rider, Allen appreciates the overall customer experience, including the clean buses and transit centers, the engagement on social media, and the customer service.
“I think one of the key things that Cherriots has is really good customer service and friendly bus staff,” he said. “I'm always engaging in conversations with the bus drivers and am always greeted when entering and exiting the bus. It feels really welcoming. Some bus drivers don't even need to see my bus pass because they know I'm a regular. That's kind of nice.”