I just completed my first year as CEO here and it was a year like no other. I feel immense pride in the employees of this agency, for their dedication to service and their perseverance in the face of incredible challenges.
The continued evolution of COVID-19 has tested the community’s ability to adapt as we navigate the challenges of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Community Transit’s focus has always been, and will continue to be, maintaining a safe environment for employees and riders by closely adhering to public health guidance. We are responding quickly to changing conditions to ensure safe and secure travel; riders can be confident in using our services.
Helping people get from where they are to where they want to be is our mission, and Community Transit employees remained committed to making this happen every day. Despite the pandemic, we never missed a day of service. We also provided Snohomish County riders the first-ever connection to light rail as the Northgate Link light rail station began operations, collaborating closely with partner transit agencies for an easy new connection. And our overall ridership is slowly but steadily increasing, thanks to strong local and regional economies. We are always ready to welcome more riders back.
I’m looking forward to turning the page and beginning a new year with optimism. There is so much to look forward to: We are making strategic, new investments like the Swift Orange Line, so we can grow along with the communities we serve. With your input, we will re-shape the bus transit network in 2024, taking advantage of light rail coming to Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood to improve local service within Snohomish County. And we’ll further engage the public in visioning the future of transit in 2050 as we update our Long Range Plan. We have begun a comprehensive study of zero emission vehicles and how to transition our fleet in response to climate change. And we are innovating with new service concepts, like microtransit to make transit easier than ever for riders to choose. We are doing all these things while expanding our operating facilities to ensure we can deliver expanded service as the agency and the demand for transit continues to grow. We will do these things while staying committed to providing a safe and positive experience for customers and employees alike.
I’m grateful to all our employees, riders, regional partners, community leaders and our Board of Directors whose guidance and support has provided consistent stewardship and operational excellence. I look forward to collaborating and partnering in 2022 to continue to provide transit service that supports our mission and serves the people of our region. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a peaceful and healthy new year!