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An Inexpensive Winter Precaution

November 27th, 2019 by dk

There’s nothing like three days of snappy morning weather to remind you that winter is coming. It’s time to pull the bucket of traction gravel out of the garage and stick it in the trunk. Bi-Mart might run out of windshield scrapers, if you don’t hurry up and find where you stored yours last spring. The lines at Les Schwab are longer than usual, prepping for slippery roads ahead.

There’s a new winter precaution you should add to your list. It’ll cost about as much as a nice windshield scraper, and it’ll give you peace of mind. Unlike that scraper, you won’t wonder a year from now where you put it.

Use your smart phone and search for the Touchpass Transit app, or go to and look for the blue button labeled “TouchPass.” TouchPass will allow you to set up an account. Load $7 of Lane Transit District bus fare onto your phone, and leave it there for safe keeping.

Those seven dollars will lighten your load of concerns as winter approaches. It will sit quietly in your phone until you need it. You may not use it this winter, but that doesn’t lessen its value. Most people buy tire chains from Les Schwab hoping they won’t use them, but they are ready if they do.

Nobody buys insurance hoping to need it, and that’s what this small purchase represents — insurance. For the price of an inexpensive food truck lunch, you’ll know you have two bus trips already paid for if you need them. You never know when that might happen, and who carries around small bills and coins anymore?

Now you’ll be able to wave your phone at the TouchPass terminal on any LTD vehicle or kiosk, so you can get to where you were going a different way. When something goes awry, it’s good to have a backup plan in place.

Did your car not start after work because you left your lights on? Did your carpool partner have to rush home to pick up a sick child? Did the weather take a wintry turn, suddenly making your bike commute too hazardous? Did the mid-afternoon sunshine leave you underdressed for a frigid walk home in the dark?

In these circumstances and dozens more like them, you’ll be prepared to get home with only your phone and a little patience. Simply enter your home address on your favorite digital map, which is probably linked to LTD’s routes and schedules. You’ll know very quickly how to get home and how long it will take. Seven dollars buys an inexpensive Plan B.

LTD’s adult fare is $1.75, but $3.50 will get you unlimited transfers for the day. Since you might have to get back the next day to where you started, seven dollars should cover most emergencies, assuming you live and work near a bus route.

LTD and TouchPass don’t charge anything for the convenience or the storage, so it’ll be there when you need it. The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder. It’s good to have one less thing to worry about.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at

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