Three proposals available for public review and comment
Snohomish County, Wash. – Faced with a fourth consecutive year of reduced sales tax revenues, Community Transit recently announced it will cut about 20 percent of its service in February 2012. Beginning today, the public will have an opportunity to learn about and comment on three alternatives that outline how those cuts could be made.
The 2012 system change alternatives are available on the agency’s website, www.communitytransit.org/2012changes. The public is invited to review the proposals and comment via links provided at the website.
Throughout the month of June, Community Transit will host five public open house meetings around Snohomish County. A public hearing before the Board of Directors will take place from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 7, at the Rosehill Community Center in Mukilteo.
In addition, Community Transit staff will be at park & ride lots, transit centers and onboard buses around the county to let riders know about the pending service cuts and how to learn more about the three alternatives.
“We don’t want to cut service, but we need to if we are going to keep Snohomish County’s transit system viable in the long run,” CEO Joyce Eleanor said. “These cuts will help transform our agency to a size that can be sustained on current revenues well into the future.”
Each of the three alternatives will eliminate about 80,000 hours of service, or about 20 percent of the total service Community Transit operates. Two of the alternatives would maintain most of the current network of routes. One of these would restore minimal Sunday service, which was cut last year. The third alternative would restructure much of the system, focusing most service on primary corridors.
Some key points that are common to all the proposals include:
· Reducing about 80,000 annual service hours – about 20 percent of service
· Preserving higher ridership corridors and cost-effective service
· Reducing the service day by two hours each evening
· Maintaining current geographic coverage
· Reducing Swift frequency from 10 minutes to 12 minutes on weekdays
· Impacting all routes regardless of the alternative selected
· Some of the proposed changes would affect DART paratransit service
Alternative I would provide service Monday through Saturday and maintain a route structure similar to the current one. Bus frequencies would be reduced throughout the day but even moreso in the midday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and on lower ridership routes.
Alternative II would provide service, including DART paratransit, seven days a week. Minimal Sunday service would be restored at about 30 percent of the level operated prior to June 2010. This option has a route structure and weekday frequencies like Alternative I, but the midday frequency reduction would stretch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Alternative II also would further reduce service levels and routes on Saturdays to help pay for Sunday service.
Alternative III would provide Monday through Saturday service. It would restructure much of the system, focusing service on primary corridors where frequencies would be higher than in the other alternatives. Some routes would be changed and some new routing would be added. It also would reshape commuter service to Seattle, with more transfers involved but creating more options for local riders.
Full descriptions of the alternatives, including maps, are available online at www.communitytransit.org/2012changes. On this web page, riders can enter their route number and see how that route would be impacted under each of the alternatives. They can also send their comments through an online form. Everyone is invited to join the conversation about the service alternatives on Community Transit’s blog and Facebook page, which are linked from the website.
After the public comment period ends, the agency’s Board of Directors will review the public input and staff recommendations and make a decision on a final plan in August or September. The cuts will not take effect until February 2012.
Community Transit is responsible for providing transportation options for Snohomish County residents, including bus and paratransit service, vanpool and ridesharing options. Call Community Transit at (425) 353-RIDE or (800) 562-1375 for bus information, or (888) 814-1300 for carpool or vanpool information, or go to www.communitytransit.org. You can also read our blog at communitytransit.blogspot.com, visit our Facebook page or see us on YouTube. Support local businesses and Community Transit when you Buy Local for Transit; read more at www.communitytransit.org/buylocal.