Snohomish County, Wash. – Community Transit today unveiled the names of its first two Bus Rapid Transit lines – the Swift Blue Line and the Swift Green Line.
The Swift Blue Line has been in operation since 2009 on Highway 99 between Everett and Shoreline. It is Community Transit’s highest ridership route, serving 1.6 million passengers in 2015. The Swift Green Line is proposed to open in early 2019, operating between the county’s largest job centers at Canyon Park in Bothell and Boeing/Paine Field in Everett.
Congressman Rick Larsen and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene formally unveiled the new route names today at the Snohomish County transit agency’s Everett operating base. The Swift Green Line will connect portions of Larsen’s 2nd Congressional District and DelBene’s 1st Congressional District.
“Bus Rapid Transit is one of the emerging innovations that are leading a new era of public transportation, and Swift is a great example of what BRT can do,” said Larsen.
“This second Swift line is going to give an economic boost to businesses up and down the Bothell-Everett Highway seven days a week, just as we’ve seen with the first Swift line,” said DelBene.
“From the day we began planning the first Swift line, we envisioned a network of Swift routes throughout Snohomish County,” said Community Transit CEO Emmett Heath. “Today, we’re giving the first two lines a fresh identity and moving toward making the Swift network a reality.”
Blue and Green Friday
The introduction of the Swift Blue and Green lines came amid a company-wide celebration of Blue Friday, the Friday before a Seattle Seahawks football game. Blue and green plastic footballs were handed out, each proclaiming the Swift Blue Line or Swift Green Line.
Heath noted that both Community Transit and the Seahawks are celebrating their 40th anniversaries this year.
“In August 1976, the Seahawks were playing their first ever game – Jim Zorn throwing passes to Steve Largent and Steve Raible in the Kingdome. And two months later, Community Transit put our first buses on the road.”
Cost and Timeline
Heath announced a couple of milestones in the Swift Green Line project. He said the project has reached 60 percent design, which is when the agency has a high degree of confidence in the proposed budget and schedule.
Heath said the project will cost about $73 million, with $17 million already committed by the state, $4 million in federal project development funds already received and about $50 million expected in a federal Small Starts grant that has been earmarked in President Obama’s 2017 budget.
Larsen announced that a separate $5 million federal Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality (CMAQ) grant will help pay for Swift Green Line operations in its first two years. That will allow Community Transit to invest its local funding into other bus service.
Heath also said that the Swift Green Line will begin service in early 2019. It will take that long to complete several component projects within the larger project. Construction on the 34 Swift stations and the Seaway Transit Center – the Swift Green Line’s northern terminal outside Boeing’s main gate – will start in summer 2017. New lane projects on the Bothell-Everett Highway and near the I-5 overpass at 128th Street will take place in 2017 and 2018. Fifteen new 60-foot BRT buses will arrive in late 2018. Those buses will be branded the same as existing Swift buses and will be used interchangeably on both Swift lines.
More information can be found at www.communitytransit.org/Swift.
Community Transit has provided transportation options for Snohomish County residents for 40 years, 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, follow us on Twitter at @MyCommTrans, visit our Facebook page or see us on YouTube.