This month saw the successful launch of Community Transit’s fall service change, and the agency’s first direct connection to light rail at Northgate. It’s a tremendous accomplishment for our agency, but more importantly, it’s a major step toward greater mobility for people in Snohomish County and indeed the entire region!
Success was no accident: there was a great deal of preparation that made the transition possible. We coordinated our plans with Sound Transit and King County Metro, trained hard for the new operation, prepared for contingencies, updated our technology, and engaged customers on how to navigate changes. On the first few days of the service change, I joined Community Transit Service Ambassadors at Northgate station to greet customers, observe the transfer activity and check in on how things were working during the morning and afternoon peaks. It was so rewarding to watch all that hard work and preparation pay off in the field with a smooth operation.
It was especially great to see so many of our customers savvy to the changes and excited about the new options. All the prep work to make sure customers were aware of the change in advance – webinars, face-to-face interactions at transit centers, printed and web materials – meant riders largely knew what to do when arriving at Northgate Station in the morning and afternoon. And for those who didn’t, we had plenty of people on-hand to help them make their connections.
Launching this regional connection was very exciting -- and a taste of what is coming. Less than three years from now, Lynnwood Link, the first light rail operation in Snohomish County will open, and Community Transit will be serving three new stations. I look forward to working learning lessons from this first experience at Northgate, to help us prepare to roll out even more exciting options for helping get from where they are to where they want to go. In fact, our 2024 transit network planning is already up and running so we have plenty of time to get ready. We’ll be looking to you – our customers and riders – to tell us what’s important to you. Please be ready to engage with our outreach efforts that begin this fall.