Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor made this video to explain directly to riders what the service cuts and fare increases are going to be. She focuses specifically on the reasoning behind “suspending” all Sunday and holiday service rather than spreading it over all days. Unsurprisingly, Sunday is the weakest ridership day, and by eliminating almost all overhead on Sunday the system loses significantly fewer aggregate service hours than the alternatives.
The annual shortfall is about $11m. $500,000 will be made up by the 25 cent DART and local service fare increase. CT spokesman Tom Pearce says a rise to the commuter fare (already $3.50-$4.50 for adults) was not seriously considered because
Our commuter fares [are] among the highest in the region. Many riders choose to use Sound Transit service instead of ours because it is cheaper*. We decided that raising commuter fares again could price us out of the market and reduce ridership further.
The remainder of the shortfall is equivalent to 100,000 service hours out of CT’s total of 610,000 (including vanpools and paratransit). This would amount to a cut in bus service of well over 17%. However, the equivalent of 20,000 hours will be saved by shutting down all support operations on Sunday. Therfore, 80,000 hours of actual bus service is going away, of which 28,000 hours are Sunday and Holiday “suspensions.” Those suspensions will be restored as soon as the revenue situation allows, although Pearce declined to speculate on when that might occur. The other 52,000 hours are deep weekday and Saturday cuts that are unlikely to be restored for the forseeable future.
Community Transit essentially has no additional revenue options, although they continue to scrounge for grants. They levy the maximum 0.9% sales tax, and the property tax authority that King County recently exploited derives from a statute that specifically applies only to King County.
It’s worth pointing out that CT’s actual cuts are proportional to the 20% armageddon that threatened King County last year before Kurt Triplett cobbled together a plan to minimize them.
Part 1 of this video, which sets up the general revenue situation and will be familiar to readers of this blog, is below the jump.
H/T: “Community Transit Operator”
*All Sound Transit bus trips leaving Snohomish County cost $2.50 for adults.