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Swift BRT Stations Rising Along Highway 99

July 15, 2009

A Swift Bus rapid transit station has emerged near the Home Depot at Highway 99 and Airport Road

Summer construction in high gear for Nov. 30 start

Snohomish County, Wash. - Light rail is not the only new transportation mode starting up in the Puget Sound region this year. Community Transit’s Swift bus rapid transit line is on track to open Nov. 30 and Swift stations are rising up all along the Highway 99 corridor in Snohomish County.

Community Transit, along with its partner Everett Transit, is constructing 24 Swift stations and two terminals along a 17-mile route primarily on Highway 99 between Everett Station and the Aurora Village Transit Center in Shoreline.

Swift will run every 10 minutes on weekdays between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. and every 20 minutes at night and weekends. With only 12 stops in each direction, Swift will fly down the corridor much faster than local bus service which has about 50-60 stops in each direction.

With stations rather than bus stops and stylized hybrid buses, Swift will provide a fast, frequent and reliable new transit experience for the region. Swift will be the first bus rapid transit line in Washington state.

“Bus rapid transit is gaining popularity across the country for its flexibility and low cost,” said Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor. “In these economic times we need to provide the most efficient public transportation service to those who need to get around for work, school, shopping or whatever destinations they choose.”

The transit agency began work on Swift station platforms last December by digging ground, placing utilities and pouring concrete pads. Within the past month, four actual stations have gone up along Highway 99 at the Aurora Village Transit Center in Shoreline, at 196th Street in Lynnwood, and at Airport Road and 4th Avenue West in Everett.

Stations will continue rising about one per week through October.

Swift stations are equipped with two ticket vending machines and two ORCA smart card readers for offboard fare payment. Passengers will pay their fares at the stations rather than on board so the buses can depart quickly.

Stations also will have markings on the curb to indicate where passengers in wheelchairs or other mobility devices, and passengers with bikes should board. When a Swift bus pulls up, all three doors will open simultaneously so people can board or get off the bus quickly. Swift buses are equipped with three onboard bike racks to eliminate the delay of loading bikes on the front of the bus.

“As the name implies, Swift is about moving people quickly,” said Eleanor. “Everything from the station design to the bus layout and new technology at intersections are geared toward moving the bus swiftly down the corridor.”

Transit signal priority at intersections allows signals to extend a green light a few seconds when a Swift bus approaches, saving minutes each trip along the corridor. Also, Swift will run on seven miles of transit-access lanes in south Snohomish County, freeing the buses from general purpose traffic.

Swift buses are now driving the corridor, as drivers test the new hybrid engines. Swift buses are painted in Community Transit’s standard white, blue and green colors, but with a large blue swift bird logo on the side and a more train-like appearance.

The entire Swift project will cost about $30 million for the purchase of 15 hybrid buses and construction of 24 stations and two terminals. The project is fully funded by federal and state grants, partnerships and local revenues.

For more information about Swift and station construction, visit www.communitytransit.org/swift.

Community Transit strives to help Puget Sound commuters think transit first. With an electronic alert system for instant rider information and one of the nation’s first double decker transit buses, the agency is a leader in finding new ways to make alternative transportation an attractive option. 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.

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