Community Transit representatives will be available to answer questions on its proposals to bring back Sunday and holiday service and to increase fares at a community meeting from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 10 at the Mountlake Terrace Library, 23300 58th Ave. W., Mountlake Terrace.
Community Transit is proposing to bring back Sunday and holiday service in June 2015 – five years after the service was suspended due to recessionary budget cuts.
The agency’s proposed service expansion would also increase trips on weekdays and Saturdays to fill gaps and expand service hours on those days. Several routes would see some slight modifications, including a return of one-seat service to Boeing from Granite Falls and Lake Stevens.
Community Transit is also proposing a 25-cent fare increase on all adult bus fares, and a 25-cent increase in DART paratransit fares to help keep pace with inflation. Youth and reduced fare categories would remain unchanged. The fare increase would go into effect on July 1, 2015.
Full details on the proposed service and fare increase are available at www.communitytransit.org/2015changes.
In June 2010, Community Transit suspended all Sunday and holiday service as the agency responded to the recession’s toll on its sales tax revenue. Through two rounds of service cuts, the agency eliminated 37 percent of its bus service and a third of its workforce.
As the Snohomish County economy has improved, sales tax revenues have increased and Community Transit is investing those funds in added service. The agency added 7,500 hours of new bus service in September, and plans to add 27,000 hours of service in June 2015 (18,000 hours for Sunday/holiday service and 9,000 hours the rest of the week). Altogether, the 2014-15 increases represent only a fraction of the 160,000 hours cut during the recession.
“The good news is we’re adding service, and we’re keeping our promise to bring Sunday service back,” said Community Transit CEO Emmett Heath. “If there is any bad news to this scenario it is that we are only able to add a portion of the service we cut, but we are headed in the right direction.”
Community Transit proposes to return to a 7-day-a-week, 365-day-a-year transit schedule effective June 7, 2015. The proposal allocates 18,000 hours to Sunday/holiday service, which is less than the 28,000 hours of Sunday holiday service the agency operated in 2009. Routes may be more streamlined and buses would not run as often as previously.
The proposal calls for 16 bus routes on Sundays and holidays, which is the same as Saturday service except for Routes 115 and 201. Buses would operate every hour, or every two hours, based on the route. Swift bus rapid transit would operate every 20 minutes. The service day would be approximately 6:45 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., depending on the route.
DART paratransit service would be available on Sundays and holidays during the same hours as regular bus service.
On six major holidays, Community Transit buses would operate a Sunday schedule. Those holidays include: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Community Transit proposes to use 7,000 service hours to add trips to local and commuter routes on weekdays. The trips would be added in the mid-day, late night and at the beginning or end of the peak periods so as not to require extra buses. Exact trip times have not been scheduled yet, as this is a proposal. Affected routes include: Routes 105, 112, 113, 115, 116, 119, 120, 196, 412, 413 and 860.
Community Transit also proposes to use 2,000 service hours to add trips on Saturday mornings and evenings to expand hours of service. Exact trip times have not been scheduled yet, as this is a proposal. Affected routes include: Routes 105, 113, 115, 116, 130, 201, 202, 222, 271 and 280.
Public comment on both the service expansion and fare increase proposals will be taken through Friday, January 9, 2015.
Comments may be sent via:
· Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Mail: Community Transit, 7100 Hardeson Road, Everett, WA 98203
· Phone: 425-353-RIDE (7433)
The Community Transit Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on both proposals at 3 p.m. Thursday, January 8, 2015, at Community Transit headquarters, 7100 Hardeson Road in Everett (accessible on Everett Transit Route 8).
The service expansion proposal has been crafted to not require more buses, which would require a larger financial investment. However, more drivers will be needed to drive the extra weekday and Sunday trips. To date, Community Transit has hired 32 new drivers this year and expects another 17 trainees to graduate before the end of the year. The 2015 budget calls for another 34 drivers to be hired next year to support the service increase and backfill losses due to attrition.
Information about how to apply to be a Community Transit driver is available at www.communitytransit.org/drive4us.