City News

YOUR GOVERNMENT: Cherriots rates high in satisfaction survey shows

The Salem Area Mass Transit District’s Board is scheduled to vote to approve vehicle spending and hear community satisfaction rates during its meeting on Thursday, Feb. 23.

The board will be hearing a presentation about the Customer and Community Value Surveys conducted in late 2022.

It will also appoint a new member to the Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund Advisory Committee, and will vote on whether to authorize a contract with Creative Bus Sales to buy four buses.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. and will be in person at the Senator Hearing Room at Courthouse Square, 555 Court St. N.E. It will also be accessible by Zoom, and live streamed by Capital Community Media.

Public comments are due at 5 p.m. Thursday, and written comments can be emailed to [email protected].


For its customer satisfaction survey, Cherriots interviewed 419 fixed-route customers in November and 335 paratransit customers in December, according to a memo included in the agenda.

The Community Value Survey, conducted by a third-party call center in December, surveyed 291 people in Salem and Keizer.

Both surveys will help establish a baseline as the agency continues with its long-term strategic plan, the memo said. Additional surveys will be conducted later this year.

The customer experience survey found that 95% of customers were satisfied with bus service, and were most satisfied with timeliness, safety and operation days.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they were unsatisfied with bus cleanliness, and around 20% said they didn’t feel safe waiting for the bus.

The majority of customers say the service has improved or stayed the same over the past year, with 2% saying it got worse, according to the survey.

The paratransit survey reported that 95% of customers were satisfied with the service, with high satisfaction in the safety category.

Seven percent of paratransit customers said they were unsatisfied with fare prices, the lowest category. Cherriots recently voted to lower its fare prices starting in March.

The community value survey conducted by TransPro Consulting found that 8 out of 10 citizens feel that Cherriots is valuable. The majority of respondents, 68%, had never used Cherriots and 15% use it at least once a month.

The community survey reported the highest satisfaction in job access and options for people with special mobility needs. Only 31% said they believe the agency is managing its financial resources well.

The board will also vote on whether to appoint Fred Evander to serve on the Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund Advisory Committee. If approved, his term would last from Feb. 23 through Dec. 31, 2024.

Evander is the planning manager in Independence, and recently led a feasibility study for the Monmouth-Independence Trolley project, according to his application. He also has served on Cherriots’ Long-Range Transit Plan Technical Advisory Committee.

The board will also vote on whether to finalize a contract with Creative Bus Sales to buy four buses for $729,464.

Last February, the board approved a $662,352 contract for the buses, but Creative Bus Sales informed the district of a price increase in November due to supply chain issues, according to a memo.

Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-704-0355.

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Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.