To plug a $11 million budget gap, Community Transit is proposing a 25-cent fare increase along with service cuts and suspensions.  The biggest blow to riders is a proposal that would effectively suspend Sunday and holiday service. For the past two years, the agency has been limiting budget cuts in non-service related areas with the exception of a 75-cent fare increase back during the summer of 2008 when fuel prices peaked.  If approved by the CT Board, the changes will go in effect in June.

Nearly all of Community Transit’s 64 local and commuter bus routes would be affected in an effort to eliminate service that is duplicated by other providers, streamline routes and make existing service more efficient. The agency is also proposing to suspend all service on Sundays and major holidays, including DART paratransit service and Swift bus rapid transit. By closing its base on these lower ridership days, the agency achieves 47 percent of the proposal’s savings with only 35 percent of total service hours cut and an impact to fewer customers.

The proposed fare increase would raise local bus and DART fares by 25 cents for all fare categories: youth, adult and reduced fare (senior/disabled/Medicare). Even with the proposed fare increase, Community Transit’s local bus fares would be comparable with other local transit fares in the region. The proposed fare increase would raise about $250,000 in the second half of 2010 and $500,000 in 2011.

Community Transit has a page up for exact route-to-route cuts and suspensions as well as more information on the fare changes.  The agency is also holding five public meetings over the course of January to keep its riders informed about the changes.

Jan. 12, 5:30-7 p.m.
Snohomish County South County PUD office, 21018 Highway 99, Edmonds

Jan. 14, 6:30-8 p.m.
Marysville Library, 6120 Grove St., Marysville

Jan. 19, 10 a.m.-noon
Everett Station Weyerhaeuser Room, 3201 Smith Ave., Everett, on the fourth floor
This meeting will focus on impacts to DART paratransit customers.

Jan. 20, 5:30-7 p.m.
Monroe School District Administration Building, 200 E. Fremont St., Monroe

Jan. 26, 6:30-8 p.m.
Mountlake Terrace Library, 23300 58th Ave. W., Mountlake Terrace

55 Replies to “Community Transit Proposing Fare Increases & Service Cuts”

  1. What’s odd is that with this service change, the 408 and 477 become effectively redundant, only differing in their Seattle routing.

    1. I think this is the problem of many CT routes in downtown Seattle. Why splitting riders on both 2nd and 4th when routes with similar destination should go the same direction to maximize ridership on each bus?

  2. The service cuts outlined here suck big time! The problem is that there isn’t much of an alternative to the cutbacks:(. Now I understand how KC residents felt as Metro debated their cutbacks. I wonder if ET will have to do changes or have they already done so in last November’s service changes?

    1. No, ET will not. In fact, they have actually increased service and the number of routes. For example, a couple of routes that didn’t have weekend service prior to November 2009 now have weekend service with 1-to-2-hour frequencies. Also, frequency along Evergreen Way and Broadway (local arterials) have increased to 15 minutes on weekdays.

      So I would say ET is not in danger of cuts, since it’s funded through the city of Everett.

  3. WOW! No service at all on sunday? That’s really bad news, I mean transit is a lifeline for some people… and they had a “75-cent fare increase”?

    Glad I’m not in snohomish I guess.

  4. This is HORRIBLE. My daughter and I love to go into Seattle from Everett and Sunday is our day to go. What a horrible idea. They should be adding more late night routes, not cutting Sundays and holidays. Here I was, asking them to add late nights on holidays so we could take the trip in to Seattle for New Years Eves and 4th of Julys and they want to cut the whole day out? I don’t want to be stuck in Everett.

    1. Actually, Everett (depending on where, I guess) to Seatown (Seattle) can still be done by taking the Everett system to Everett Station then grabbing a Sound Transit to Seattle. Aiming that idea strictly on the Sunday comment by Juliet.

      On the flip side, did we all think that somehow the transit agencies would completely survive the economy without any adjustments and/or cuts? I have never, ever, skipped paying my fare, but I am pretty sure that my $1.50 doesn’t actually pay for my ride.

      Sucks? Yes.
      End of the world suckage? Probably not.
      Bound to improve as the economy does? Call me an optimist but….yes.

      1. Yeah it might be necessary but cutting off a whole day is such an extreme move. I agree with Juliet, theres been countless times when I’ve been stuck in say seattle and had to call for a ride, it’s a downer. But then again this was at midnight… so kinda expected :P

    2. Your service from Everett to Seattle won’t change.
      You most likely ride the 510 or 511 Sound Transit express but.
      That bus operates and will operate with the same frequency.
      That route operates late into the evening. Don’t lean on the panic button just yet.

  5. Huh. This actually looks like it will improve the closest service to my house. The new 105 through Bothell to Canyon Park is a more direct route than the old 120/121. And the loss of the North Creek service is no big deal because it required routing through Canyon Park anyway and so was impractical.

    1. The new 120 service is closer than the old 120/121 to where I live, too, making travel to Lynnwood or Canyon Park P&R easier. The new 105 is also more convenient than the old 120/121, since it doesn’t wind around and instead takes SR-527.

  6. is whats intresting about there system is that there seems to be a lot of redundancy and duplication in their service. For example, lets take SWIFT and the 101. SWFIT runs every ten minutes for the day and evening, the 101 runs every twenty minutes for most of the same span of service. Even though i dont live in the area, nor have ridden SWIFT (although i did ride the 101 many years ago) i’m finding the fact there are 8 buses an hour from one operator along the corridor hard to buy off on, even if 3 of them are local service and turning short of everett. This tells me that SWIFT isnt as effective in generating traffic as the local service still is. Of course depending on how swift was built (capability for full ramps or the short gap fillers) you could selectivly add more stops to fill in gaps and than eliminate or further reudce the 101. One problem i see with BRT is that everyone builds them so specialized its difficult to substitute equipment or change stops later on.

    A number of their other routes also seem a bit duplicative, although it may have more to do with their practice of using diffrent route numbers instead of suffix’s or simply destinations to indicate varioations in routing. One thing that i have noticed especally with the introduction of electronic signs, is that you do not see as many short turns and alternative destinations. It used to be many transit systems employed a two piece destination sign, with one panel indicating destatinion, and short turns were commonplace. Anymore short turns are the exception rather than the norm. 15% seems like a drastic cut in service, however even during good times i think such exercises should be ran, to help keep things in “check” and the service as lean and effective as possible.

  7. What is the plan for Sunday ST Express service operated by CT? It would seem CT would have to keep its bases open to operate ST service.

    How does Everett Transit feel about Swift service being shutdown on Sunday’s? Aren’t they a service partner in Swift?

    1. the ST service, and much of the seattle commuter service is contracted out to First Transit and operate out of a different base than local service. CT drivers actually drive all local and university routes and only the 412,435,424 routes to seattle.

  8. How much better would CT’s budget be if they weren’t paying for a bunch of new doubledecker buses this year?

    1. CT got an $8 million federal grant for the $18 million total cost of the double deck buses, which are replacing their older articulated buses. CT is not going to sacrifice their entire capital budget to preserve service but they are delaying it as long as they can.

    2. Bus companies have to replace their oldest buses because it costs a lot of money to maintain a 15-year-old bus. They’ll also carry a lot more people for the same cost, or in other words, they’ll save CT money. And double deckers work great in the snow, those 60-foot buses they’ll replace can’t be used in the snow.

      1. Thats the systemic flaw in the FTA’s funding of coach replacements. Older equipment such as GM’s fishbowls, were built to serve 25 plus years in daily service. A lot of this newer equipmetn can barly handle twelve before needing a complete refurbishment, at which point its cheper to buy new.

  9. I just moved back to Sno County a few months ago, and one of the main reasons was the great transit options I have here (within just a few feet of LTC). This comes as a major blow as transit is my lifeline. Luckily, the only bus I use right now on Sundays is the 511, but I feel a lot less secure knowing I won’t have any other transit option from here. When looking for ajob, it’s going ot be pretty hard to say “sorry I can’t work Sundays because I’ll have no way to get here.” I know there really isn’t a way around this right now, but it’s still incredible painful to see this happen.

    1. Just lie and say you can’t work for religious reasons. *shrug* Can’t discriminate against them for that.

  10. I’d rather see them cut back on redundant service like the Lynnwood to Seattle commuter busses since these are duplicated by Sound Transit.

    1. When you see the 401, 402, 413, 415, and 511 packed during commuter hours, you’d change your tone there. ST just doesn’t provide enough service to carry all the passengers without a frequency increase.

      1. While I do normally ride the 414 one day each week to Mountlake Terrace, I do agree with eliminating it. It usually carries fewer than ten people on the run I take, and seems wasteful.

        When that new freeway station is opened, then the 511 and the 510 will be viable options for my commute again.

  11. History repeats itself. I remember Sunday service was eliminated a few years ago, then reinstated a few years later when finances improved.
    SWIFT is nice, but not if it is becoming a financial drain on the CT system.

    1. SWIFT isn’t really a drain on CT’s finances. Much of the initial operating expenses will come from state grants and fares. According to the Seattle Times:

      Operating costs of $5 million a year break down like this for the next three years:
      • State transit funds: $2 million
      • Local taxes: $1.5 million from Everett Transit, $450,000 from Community Transit
      • Rider fares: $1 million
      • Federal: $50,000

  12. SWIFT gets people to the all-important destination of Aurora Village. Now, it won’t do that on one of the two days that people might actually want to go to Aurora Village for the sake of going to Aurora Village.

    I don’t know who didn’t talk to whom, but I would have assumed Metro or Sound Transit would have had a plan to get SWIFT passengers to downtown Seattle with express service, and the ball got dropped somewhere.

    What strikes me as odd, in a larger picture, is that Sound Transit provides several high-frequency buses to get people between downtown Tacoma and downtown Seattle, while Pierce Transit doens’t have any buses go that far across the MLK County line. But Community Transit has a whole book of downtown-Seattle-to-various-places and UW-to-various-places commuter specialty routes, plus a parking base for their commuter buses in the SODO.

    I would think some of these one-seat ride specialty routes would get cut before Sunday service.

    I’m also wondering when Sound Transit will create a non-stop route between Tacoma Dome Station and Seatac/Airport Station. Approximately two runs to SAStation can be created for every run between downtowns Tacoma and Seattle that gets scavenged. While 574 serves South Tacoma and Lakewood Stations, a 570 route could serve Commerce Street, providing downtown Tacoma a 1-seat non-stop ride (after the Dome) to Central Link and the airport, vastly increasing the destinations Tacomans can get to in MLK County without backtracking, and reducing headway from 30 minutes to 15 minutes during midday, evenings, and weekends. I assume others have thought up the same idea, and numbers have already been crunched.

    But getting back to CT, have the numbers been crunched on the fullness of the specialty routes, with consideration given to having some of them serve more destinations in order to eliminate empty seats? Especially in the evening, when time isn’t so much of the essence?

    For many, Sunday service is not a luxury. It is a necessity. People work on weekends. Some of them will now be forced to buy cars. Don’t do it, CT.

    1. Community Transit has a whole book of downtown-Seattle-to-various-places and UW-to-various-places commuter specialty routes, plus a parking base for their commuter buses in the SODO.

      I would think some of these one-seat ride specialty routes would get cut before Sunday service.

      This other commenter would not approve.

      [Has there been] consideration given to having some of them serve more destinations in order to eliminate empty seats? Especially in the evening, when time isn’t so much of the essence?

      CT’s proposal includes some such changes – for example, all 812 trips will be folded into the 860, and will thus serve Mariner P&R along with its near neighbor McCollum P&R.

      And in fact CT has already been doing this for years – see the 414 and 810, which provide exactly the sort of slow, non-direct late-night service you advocate.

    2. Brent said:
      I don’t know who didn’t talk to whom, but I would have assumed Metro or Sound Transit would have had a plan to get SWIFT passengers to downtown Seattle with express service, and the ball got dropped somewhere.

      Eventually KC Metro will replace Route 358 service with a Rapid Rice service. I think probably not until 2011-12.

    3. Pierce Transit did run the 59x series to Seattle, but they turned them over to Sound Transit when Sound Transit was created. Community Transit did not; it continues to run the peak-hour and UW buses to Seattle that it always has. (Although Metro ran the 4xx earlier for a while.) The Sound Transit routes in Snohomish County are all new. There was no direct bus between Seattle and Everett during non-peak hours until Sound Transit started one.

    4. The worst one that might be cut to me would be the 870. It is the *only* bus from downtown Edmonds to the U District, where my SO goes. The only other buses between Edmonds and UW are from the Edmonds P&R, way East near the 99. So then the only option will be the 131 to Aurora Village to the very slow 373, or staying on it (as the 130) until Mountlake Terrace and taking one of the CT Express buses from there, which is actually decent on the way there, but on the way back barely misses the 130 by a few minutes. And either way, a transfer always takes more time than a direct bus. So unless they better sync up that service, the loss of the 870 is a pretty big blow, much worse than the Sunday service that we don’t use anyway (the car works much better for short, intra-suburban trips I hate to say, especially with the fare increases and service cutbacks).

      1. Too bad University Link isn’t running yet, otherwise Sounder to Link would be a viable way to get to the U District, and would only take about 45-50 minutes. Sounder to 71/72/73 express would work now, but would probably be slower than your other options.

      2. In this case, other options exist. Something tells me there are multiple two-seat rides to get your SO to the U-District.

        For people who don’t have cars, losing Sunday service means not just losing a 1-seat ride, but also all 2-seat, 3-seat, 4-seat, 5-seat, rides, etc.

        Transit’s first piority, as far as I am concerned, is to those who have no other transportation option.

      3. take the 110 to edmonds p&r,,or 116 to LTC which will have more uw routes stopping there. or just drive to edmonds p&r
        Maybe you don’t use sunday bus, but there are lots of people that do not have cars and are transit dependent. Those are the big losers here, not someone who still has many options.

  13. Eliminating DART on Sundays could be deadly. Many of the passengers are going to dialysis. Kidney centers have become a 24/7 operation, and are booked to capacity. For those who need dialysis, DART is not a luxury, but a life-support system.

    1. If DART is a life support system then health insurance should be picking up the full cost. I suppose people without insurance could be provided a one-way bus ride to Canada. It’s fairly close, eh?
      Why do people think everyone will be stranded. We know sunday is by far the lowest ridership day. We know people have more options for rides from friends and family on sundays. We know that if it’s an absolute necessity that you get to work, you can call a taxi! – and fair warning now – you better budget for that.
      Shutting down the entire operation saves more than the on-the-road hours. It’s supervisors, dispatchers, maintenance hours, admin, electric lights and HVAC costs in buildings, transit police … everything. If you want the same savings spread out across the week, it will all come from service, not the accessory functions, and EVERYONE would suffer reduced headways, which means crappy transfers, missed connections, scrambling through schedule books to find the next trip, standing on packed buses, and generally a lot more unpleasantness. I think the single day shutdown works way better, even for dependent populations who keep better service all week and who, face it, are used to figuring out how to go about thier day depending on transit to get them places and can arrange thier week to live without one day of service. It happened before. People didn’t die. It sucks to have such a big cut, no doubt, no matter how you do it.

      1. spoken like a true commuter bus rider, with a car and good paying job. If they could get rides they would be doing it now, the bus IS their only option.

        Budget for a taxi? get real, how can a minimum wage earner possibly budget for a taxi? Please show us how they can pay for taxi, what should the cut instead? i guess if they cut breakfast and lunch it might pay for part of taxi ride. public transit was not started for commuters. ct should serve within snohomish county first.

      2. Not to mention that those on fixed incomes can hardly go splurge on a taxi when they need to get somewhere on a Sunday. I realize CT’s budget situation is dire, but basic lifeline transit service should be the last thing to be cut.

      3. 5 million this year, 11 million projected 2011, large, but not that big in transit world.

      4. Do you find that personal attacks strengthen your argument? Do you think that engaging in we vs. you tactics are often successful? I ride two local buses. I share a car with a family member who needs to use it daily. That makes me transit dependent during the work week. On the weekend we carefully plan how to accomplish errands and social activities, sometimes in the car, sometimes on the bus, sometimes walking, sometimes biking…
        If the alternative to cutting Sunday is a more drastic reduction of service hours during the rest of the week, that means reducing headways. Taking away frequency will screw up transfer connections for everyone. Poor people working 2 jobs during the week could miss a connection because of reduced weekday headways and lose thier job too. It is almost impossible to “time” transfers in a polycentric area. You can do it at a transfer center, but that wastes a lot of time. Frequency is the best way to make more of them work out better. A bigger reduction in service hours would result in higher economic cost to the county in lost productivity and to CT in lost ridership. The cuts would fall more heavily on drivers, who will get laid off, whereas a sunday cut will result in lost shifts for supervisors, dispatch, etc… not as many lost jobs.
        I am all for providing basic transportation alternatives to people, but you need to acknowledge that government can’t just shake the money tree and make all the problems in your life go away. Whatever happened to the american ethic of personal responsibility, or the ethic of community. Are you telling me the only friend you have that can drive you to work is uncle sam – that’s sad. Perhaps you need to go to church, or synagogue, mosque, community center. I know some mormons who are really eager for new members – they’ll give you a ride. You can’t just yell at the government to demand they give you everything you need. You have to figure out how to live like an adult in a free society that has given you many blessings, and a few hard challenges – as is the nature of life on earth, in America.
        Public agencies have limited resources. If CT provides good service 6 days a week that is way better than a lot of communities across this country and the world. You can complain about it and sound like a rich whiny american, even if you make minimum wage. People have choices. Even those who are “dependent” can seek assistance, can ask for help, to get to work and medical appointments, can make social visits on the 6 other days or ask people to come to them on sunday, can move to a location closer to thier work. Is that easy, probably not, is it impossible, I think to say so is overstating your case. The cut of a full day hurts the least people – in simple numbers – treating everyone equally, not judging whether they are more or less deserving of service. You can register your complaints as is your right. I agree with the CT proposal to preserve the core service. What we should agree to do together is lobby to increase the revenue available to transit by asking the state to raise the tax cap to a full penny instead of 9/10. and ask the feds for additional assistance too.

      5. Sunday cuts will result in loss of about 50 full time drivers, they have already been told. the core service is/should be the local routes, but ct cares more about the commuter routes.

      6. Weekday cuts instead of Sunday would result in losing more drivers, because the cut would fall more on them with additional service hours needing to be cut. If CT has the base open more hours they are not getting any savings from supervisor, dispatch, maintenance shifts.

        I don’t think you understand the proposal, because you keep implying that it hurts local service to keep commuter service, but from what I see here, the cut looks bigger to commuter service with loss of routes in neighborhoods forcing people to park and rides. Boeing also seems to get a bigger whack than local. Maybe they can talk to microsoft about setting up thier own subscription service for employees? I did notice that Everett Transit increased some service around the plant and took over the CT route from the ferry.

        The local routes are largely intact, except sunday and some early or late runs (which as I previously agreed, sucks). There is the same frequency as now. If you go somewhere now from morning peak to early evening it seems like you won’t even see a difference. Of course there are the “strategic” cuts that seem to offer some good route changes, perhaps speedier trips – if you aren’t in one of a few places cut out… but what’s your alternative? You want to gut weekday service frequency (which is the best thing for generating ridership) in order to preserve the most expensive, least used service they have. It is sad that the union is defending inefficiency and favoring one group of customers over the majority of the core ridership. I tend to favor organizing for better pay and working conditions, but I want you to support a wise use of my tax dollars.

        Look, I am a big supporter of DART, of improved access on fixed routes like the Swift bus, although it is not level-boarding :( I would love to see DART provided all the time, everywhere, but that is a different thing than “Mass Transit” and it needs totally different funding. Right now, the ADA and common sense do not require any government to provide transportation when you want to go wherever you want to go. They require reasonable accommodation so that people with different needs can use the service provided in as similar a manner to everyone else as possible – that is equality, not special privilege. I support it whole-heartedly. Everyone needs equal opportunity. If no one gets service on Sunday, then everyone has to figure out how to live without it. Don’t tell me all commuters work in a glass tower making zillions, that’s bunk. Sometimes they work odd hours and wait to transfer buses in the rain too. Don’t complain someone else can walk or has a car or bike they can use – or they got 11 dollar bills when you only got one. boo hoo.

        At least with the current proposal everyone will still have realistic options the rest of the week instead of crappy 1 hour service like it used to be.

      7. Boeing is classified as local service at ct, it is service within sno. county. ct gave et the 177 route as part of the deal for letting them run swift thru everett. Most of the commuter busses pick up very few people before they get to p&r by the way.

    2. Medicare/Medicaid will usually pay for those trips, operated by any number of subcontractors (In pierce County we see LocalMotion who runs ex PT and Metro cutaway vans, Transpro (A mix of new and ex PT vans), MJB Transportation dba Around the Sound (ex CT vans)) Usually these companys primarly do medicare/medicaid/public transportation contract work, but sometimes will do charters as well.

      1. Don’t know about DART but I’ve seen Access serving Sears and the Safeway on 140th NE in Bellevue on Sundays. I’ve also seen it running to gated estates in Bridle Trails on weekend evenings. I’m sure these expenses are a tiny fraction of the cost overruns but still… is there really a compelling need to shop on Sunday evening? Is King County really compelled to provide these services?

  14. It is important that anyone concerned with Community Transit’s recent proposed service cuts view these pages and videos first. It will take some time to view it all, but it is worth the trip.

    Community Transit Home Page

    Community Transit Proposed June 2010 Service & Fare Changes (Part 1 of 2)

    Community Transit Proposed June 2010 Service & Fare Changes (Part 2 of 2)

    Be sure to view the videos in their entirety, as it is all very important information for anyone affected by these proposed changes.

    Everyone I know at Community Transit, operators, planners, managers and executives, are all concerned and troubled by the necessity of these proposed cutbacks. We all look forward, with you, to better times.

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