Community Transit’s service expansion started last year with the return of Sunday service after a five-year suspension during the recession. The agency will also be adding a modest amount of new service later this month.
More bus service will be proposed in 2017 and the county’s second bus rapid transit line, Swift II, is expected to debut in fall 2018. Swift II will operate between Canyon Park and Boeing/Paine Field, bringing 10-minute, high capacity transit to these major job centers in less than three years.
“Snohomish County is the state’s largest manufacturing center and one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation,” said Community Transit CEO Emmett Heath. “As the county grows, we want people to know they can rely on transit to get them to their jobs, school, appointments and social activity. That will help protect our community’s outstanding quality of life.”
The Draft 2016-21 TDP looks ahead six years to forecast sales tax revenue, and to match proposed future service expansions with the labor and fleet needed to provide that service.
By 2021, Community Transit will need 167 new buses to replace aging vehicles and expand its fleet by more than 60 buses. The agency operated 235 buses in 2015. In addition, the agency will need to hire about 200 new employees over the next six years, mostly bus drivers and mechanics. There are currently 605 people who work for the agency.
2016-17 expansion and beyond
This week, Community Transit announced a service expansion proposal that would add about 38,000 hours of service, or a 14 percent increase over 2015 service levels. That expansion would add two new routes in September and more bus trips throughout the system in both September and March 2017.
In fall 2017, the TDP outlines the desire to add more new trips on existing routes with a focus on commuter routes to Seattle. Many of those buses are standing room only, but more buses need to be purchased and delivered in order to expand peak-time operations.
In 2018, a major service expansion would include the launch of Swift II between Canyon Park and Boeing/Paine Field. The service proposals beyond this year are concepts and will need to be vetted by the Board of Directors each year.
Within the six-year timeframe, a third Swift route will be studied with the intent to launch as part of a south county service restructure to meet up with light rail when it reaches Lynnwood in 2023. Eventually, a network of Swift lines will criss-cross the county to provide fast, frequent transit connections throughout Snohomish County.
The Draft 2016-21 TDP can be found online at www.communitytransit.org/futureplan. Public comment will be accepted on this plan through April 8. People can comment by email, phone or letter:
· (425) 353-7433 (RIDE)
· Community Transit, 7100 Hardeson Road, Everett, WA 98203
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) 353-7433 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 www.communitytransit.blogspot.com, visit our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter at @MyCommTrans or watch our videos on YouTube.