Kids Ride Free

The announcement of completely online schooling has hit many local families hard. While necessary, the new school environment will be especially difficult for parents who work full time. To help alleviate some of the burden, Twin Transit is offering free transportation to all children. This includes kids under the age of six, those in grade school and high school students.

Kids age 10 and up can ride Twin Transit buses on their own. Children nine and under must ride with someone who is at least 16 or over, so older teens can take a younger sibling on the bus with them. Twin Transit advises each family to determine what is best for their children.

“Kids of all ages ride the bus frequently,” said Twin Transit Community Relations Director Andrea Culletto. “Our drivers keep an eye on them and always help them get where they need to go.”

Kids can use the transit system to get to a family member or friend’s house. Or, they can ride it to access a tutor or kids’ club/childcare location. This will alleviate some of the stress working parents face as they navigate this new aspect of post-COVID life.  And parents can rest assured that Twin Transit continues to use strong health and safety measures including bus sanitization, face coverings, Plexiglas shields, and social distancing. Each bus is also limited to 10 passengers to facilitate social distancing and help slow the spread – but don’t worry, if the bus is already full, there’s another one just ten minutes behind it.

Parents are encouraged to visit TwinTransit.org for up-to-date route and schedule information. Be sure to check out these Tips for Riding the Bus

Twin Transit Goes Green

Twin Transit has placed the official order for two grant-funded electric buses. Expected to arrive in December 2020, these vehicles will power environmentally friendly public transit between Centralia and Chehalis, starting in early 2021.

The new buses will decrease emissions and make public transit more affordable. In addition, each bus is “recycled” from a current diesel bus, following grant requirements. This ensures that carbon and other hazardous emissions are reduced, while maximizing on pre-existing resources – a win on all fronts.

The electric buses are only the first step in a new wave of green technology integration. Twin Transit will soon begin construction on two electric transit stations, each outfitted with wave induction charging to power the electric buses in-route.

The new Mellen Street e-Transit Station will begin construction in September and the National Avenue e-Transit Station will commence construction in early 2021. Each e-transit station will also include electric vehicle charging stations, bicycle and pedestrian access, and visual enhancements. These projects will be the first of their kind in Lewis County and will provide significant economic stimulus.

“It’s an exciting time,” said Community Relations Director Andrea Culletto. “Twin Transit has worked toward integrating green technologies for a long time. To see that dream becoming reality is truly fantastic.”

This is just the beginning. As we embrace these new technologies, we are laying the foundation for widespread adoption; a more environmentally friendly and fiscally responsible future; and large-scale economic invigoration.

There are remarkable things on the horizon.

Twin Transit Introduces Back-to-Back Busing

Due to state-wide COVID-19 restrictions, Twin Transit buses have limited capacity. As ridership increases in response to county-wide reopening, a new model is needed to ensure safe social distancing. Twin Transit has developed an innovative solution, in order to continue serving everyone who relies on public transit to access work, education, and essential amenities.

Starting Monday, July 6, each Twin Transit route will be supplemented by two back-to-back buses, traveling approximately 5 – 10 minutes apart. If the first bus reaches capacity, it will display an “out of service” sign and bypass regular bus stops. These stops will be serviced by the second bus soon thereafter.

This model will ensure compliance with capacity restrictions, allow for safe social distancing, and reduce risk, while continuing the service Twin Transit clients depend upon.

Passengers are encouraged to limit trips to reserve space for essential travel; specifically, those traveling to work, school, medical appointments, or grocery shopping. For more information, to find your route, or view your bus’s current location, please visit TwinTransit.org.

Walk, Run, Bike and Get Outside!

After several months of staying home to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Lewis County is finally reopening. Many of us find ourselves not quite as healthy post-stay-home-order as we were in the beginning. According to recent Census Bureau data, nearly 35% of Washington residents are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression.

There are many ways to treat these conditions, including eating healthy, connecting with friends and family, medical intervention, and talk therapy. Another well-established treatment option is physical exercise. This latter option is especially appealing now that the rain has retreated and summer has finally arrived!

Twin Transit is encouraging everyone to walk, run, bike and get outside. This more physically engaged lifestyle can improve health and increase social connections – while physically distancing.

Some of the healthiest communities in the world are known for their more active lifestyle. Counter to popular belief, this isn’t about intense exercise and punishing workouts. It’s actually about moving continuously throughout the day.

In a nutshell, the more you move, the healthier you’ll be.

Lewis County is an exceptionally beautiful place. Why not get outside, breathe the fresh air, take in some sun and savor it? You can enjoy a plethora of local parks and trails, like the Willapa.

Many local residents live within a few miles of a grocery store, which means your weekly errands can be done while getting out and getting healthy.

For those who live outside this range? “Twin Transit buses are outfitted with bike racks,” said Community Relations Director Andrea Culletto. “You can easily combine bike riding, walking or running with using public transit if you’re going further than you’re comfortable traveling on your own.”

 To really make the most of your time, combine walking, running or bike riding with friends and family members. “These are all great activities that we can do outside, while socially distancing,” Culletto said.

Twin Transit is encouraging healthy outdoor activity with a team-wide step challenge. “We divided our staff into two random teams,” explained Operations Director Melissa Shoemaker. “Whichever team gets in the most steps, wins. We’re having a healthy-food potluck at the end to announce the winner.”

“This is a fun way we can all get a little healthier together,” said Culletto. “COVID-19 was hard on everyone. But we have to take care of ourselves and each other. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s walk, run or bike there together.”

Tips for Coping with the COVID-19 Shutdown

The stay home, stay safe order is an important aspect of Washington State’s defense against the COVID-19 virus. But prolonged isolation can be difficult to weather. Here are a few tips and tricks from the team at Cascade Community Healthcare to help you make it through:

1. Focus on what you can do in the moment

This may be a project, coloring, watching something funny online, and so on.

2. Don’t look too far forward or too far back

Stay focused on one day at a time.

3. Spend time outside

4. Follow a normal daily routine, just like you would if you weren’t staying home

5. Reach out to a friend

6. Volunteer for a good cause

You’ll find many opportunities to help at VolunteerLewis.org.

7. Exercise

It can be as simple as going for a walk.

8. Take the news in small doses

It’s important to stay up to date but constantly monitoring the news can be overwhelming and disheartening. Checking the news once per day – or even every few days – is enough to keep you in the loop without being negatively impacted.

9. Get your news from reliable sources

There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and false, misleading or biased stories cause unnecessary stress. Make sure your news sources are unbiased and reputable. Check out this link for some good assessment tools.

And click here for tips on how to spot fake newsProcess your experiences and emotions on a daily basis, using this helpful guideline

10. Ask yourself, “What am I feeling?”

If depressed/sad, ask:

  • Why am I feeling what I’m feeling?
  • Acknowledge that feeling depressed or sad is okay.
  • It is only a feeling and it doesn’t have to define my mood for the rest of the day.
  • Ask, “What can I do to feel better?” Then take action steps to do it.

If happy:

  • What are the things I’m valuing in my life?
  • How can I show appreciation for, or absorb, those feelings to remind myself of the positives when I might be feeling down?

If anxious:

  • Focus on today and let go of the past and the future.

11. Don’t get trapped by electronics

Find fun and engaging things to do that don’t involve a screen. If you need that mental distraction, try listening to podcasts or audiobooks while you do other things.

12. Take regular breaks throughout the day

13. Focus on the positive

Think about the positive things that have come about because of the current situation, like:

  • More time with family
  • Getting yard work done
  • Time to reevaluate life
  • Space to organize and plan
  • Reading the books you’ve always wanted to
  • Time to create something
  • Finally getting those home improvements done

14. Reach out to others

  • Stay in touch with friends and family. If you just need to talk, call the Cascade Community Healthcare Emotional Support Line at 1-800-803-8833.

This is a difficult time with especially unique challenges. By developing healthy skills, you can survive, thrive and emerge stronger than ever. You might even find unexpected joy in the silver linings of this unusual situation.

Give the Gift of Reading

Recently United Way of Lewis County and the Lewis County Rotary Foundation launched Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Each month, a new, carefully selected book will be mailed in the child’s name to their home, up to the age of 5.

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Now more than ever this program is critical for both academic reasons and for the happy reasons of children receiving books directly to their homes during this time of stress and turmoil.

We need you to help us keep this program going for the kids.

$25 will sponsor one child for one year.

$125 will sponsor one child for five years.

Click here to donate today. You can make a difference!

Volunteers Deliver Meals To Those 60 and Over During COVID-19 Outbreak

Local volunteers are pulling out all the stops to deliver meals to those 60 and over who are following County guidance to stay home amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The program is a collaboration between several key organizations.

United Way of Lewis County is handling financials and volunteer recruitment. Lewis County Seniors is taking care of meal preparation. And Twin Transit is delivering meals. Other key organizations like Catholic Community Services and local school districts are pitching in as well to make the program a success.

It has been a flurry of activity since the program started – including one day where over 800 meals were prepared!

Volunteers are needed to fill important roles. Please visit VolunteerLewis.org and click on United Way of Lewis County to sign up for this project. If you have questions or need meal deliveries, please contact 1-855-581-9495 Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Lewis County Seniors, United Way and Twin Transit Unite to Feed Seniors During COVID-19 Shutdown

Lewis County Public Health & Social Services highly encourage individuals age 60 and over to remain in their homes at this time. This precautionary measure is critical to protecting Lewis County’s vulnerable populations against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

While necessary, this step will be difficult for many, particularly those who depend on local senior centers for food, socialization and other services.

United Way of Lewis County, Lewis County Seniors and Twin Transit are partnering to help our senior citizens during this difficult time. These organizations are joining forces as the Lewis County Community Services Team to deliver food to those age 60 and over who are following county guidance to self-quarantine at home.

“This partnership ensures that our seniors can stay home and protected, without having to worry about where their next meal will come from,” said Lewis County Seniors Executive Director Glenda Forga. “Safety is everyone’s top priority right now. Through this partnership, we can keep our seniors safe – and well cared for.”

The group is also devising an action plan to mobilize additional resources to support this vulnerable population, in coordination with key community organizations like Catholic Community Services and local school districts.

Volunteers are needed to fill important roles. Please visit VolunteerLewis.org and click on United Way of Lewis County to sign up for this project. If you have questions or need meal deliveries, please contact 1-855-581-9495 Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Twin Transit Launches East Lewis County Route in Response to COVID-19

Twin Transit is extending routes into East Lewis County during Mountain Highway’s temporary closure. This extension of services is designed to ensure rural residents can access important amenities and services during the COVID-19 shutdown. The new East County Route will begin on March 20, 2020 and operate four trips per day, Monday through Friday, until Mountain Highway service resumes. Click here for a full route map and timetables.

Routes will depart from Walmart North Side Bus Stop and loop between Chehalis and Packwood Senior Center via I-5 and Highway 12 from:

  • 6:30 am to 9:58 a.m.
  • 10:30 a.m. to 1:58 p.m.
  • 12:30 p.m. to 3:58 p.m.
  • 4:30 p.m. to 7:58 p.m.

*For current departure times, visit TwinTransit.org and click “Find Your Bus.”

The East Lewis County Route will stop at:

  • Salkum Timberland Library
  • Mayfield Texaco
  • Mossyrock Community Center
  • Chevron and Subway in Morton
  • Glenoma Grocery
  • Gene and Barb’s Grocery
  • J & L in Randle
  • Randle One Stop
  • Packwood Senior Center
  • Chehalis Walmart

*This route will not service the Onalaska area. If you live in the Onalaska area and need service, please call the number below.

For current departure times, visit TwinTransit.org and click “Find Your Bus.”

Please check TwinTransit.org frequently for route updates and other information. Call 360-330-2072 with any questions.

Twin Transit Enacts Coronavirus Preventative Measures

Twin Transit is taking the following preventative measures in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

  • Each Twin Transit bus is fully cleaned and sterilized following CDC guidelines nightly
  • Twin Transit offices are also cleaned and sterilized nightly
  • The March 17 board meeting is cancelled
  • All non-operational personnel are working remotely
  • We are following official federal, state and local public health guidance, while continually monitoring the situation for changes or updates

From March 18 through April 27, Twin Transit’s service hours will be reduced to 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. During this time, Twin Transit will only operate three hourly routes, with the focus of helping riders access work, medical appointments, grocery stores and other essentials. All three routes will originate from Walmart.

Route maps can be downloaded here:

These steps are regrettable but necessary to protect our passengers, our employees and our community.

Twin Transit will continue to provide paratransit service to help those living with a disability access:

  • Necessary medical appointments
  • Grocery and drugstore visits
  • Other essential services

Our priority is to keep our community, staff and clients safe. With this in mind, we ask all riders to stay home when sick and practice the following CDC safety precautions:

  • Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds at a time, using soap and water. Wash them every time you leave a public place, blow your nose, cough, or sneeze.
  • When water and soap aren’t available, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Cover all areas of your hands and rub them together until the sanitizer is dry.
  • Don’t touch your face with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue whenever you cough or sneeze – or cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow. Then immediately wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, counter tops, handles, desks, phones, toilets and faucets daily.

Contact the Washington State Coronavirus hotline at 1-800-525-0127 with any questions or concerns.

For more information, visit: