Photo by Atomic Taco

[UPDATE: TCC has a political action page to preserve service on Routes 1, 2, and 3 at the expense of other service.]

Commenter Tcmetro has the scoop:

Pierce Transit has announced the details of their service cuts. The booklet of proposed changes is available here:

In summary:
– Fairly similar to what is described in PT Tomorrow.
20% cuts to take place on June 12th, with another 15% cut on October 2nd.
– Reduced emergency service will continue until June 11th.
– Most routes will operate every 30 minutes during rush hours and every 60 minutes at other times.
– Hours of operation significantly reduced. (~5 am-8 pm on the weekdays and 10am-6pm on the weekends).
– The main lines (1,2,3) will operate with more hours and frequency than the other lines.

The CNG explosion has, predictably aggravated PT’s budget situation. The booklet runs through all the changes route-by-route.

Public meetings start Monday.

40 Replies to “Pierce Transit Service Reduction Details”

  1. I can’t figure out why PT seems to think it’s appropriate to cut the Tacoma Dome Station stops from Route 1 for both the current emergency schedule and the reduction schedule. Route 1 is the most traveled route in the system and Tacoma Dome Station provides important connections to Sounder and frequent 59x service. Curious what the thinking is since the detour during commute hours shouldn’t add that much time to the route.

      1. People could transfer to the streetcar or any number of different buses that travel between downtown and Tacoma Dome, but more transfers equals less riders as the time wasted waiting around and frustration with missed connections goes up. Without the TDS connection on Route 1, I completely stop using PT as part of my commute in favor of driving or biking to the Sounder and PT loses their slice of the farebox pie from this transit-supporting Tacoman.

    1. The jog over to TDS adds 6 turns to the trip and several minutes. On 20 minute service that could be the difference of one bus in the blocking.

      1. I routinely see probably 1/4 to 1/3 of the passengers on the southbound Route 1 get off at Tacoma Dome Station on the 7:15ish arrival. I would contend that serving the needs of more commuters outweighs getting to Spanaway faster.

    2. It isn’t entirely a poor argument to contend that, in terms of connections to bus routes for the bulk of tacoma, the tacoma dome bus station isn’t exactly ideally-located for through-routes such as the 1. (Counter-argument: cut off the 1 at TD; create a separate pacific avenue south route, say, the “1A”?)

      By the same token, I have trouble understanding the need to route the 590-series through to 10th/commerce. Why not just have them stop at the dome then get back on I-5 via pacific instead of sending them through downtown to 705?

    3. Why do the 59x’s serve Tacoma Dome Station during non-Sounder hours? It would make more sense, IMHO, to serve Commerce St only off-peak.

      That might be the first step toward interlining weekend 594 and 577 service to provide better all-day frequency and connectivity.

      1. Because its a major P&R that probally generates more traffic than commerce does? Commerce may put five or ten on constently, but TDS always seems to put ten or twenty on no matter the time of day. Atleast when i’ve been there…

        Actually, i think its time for an incremental BRT along I5 from Tacoma to Seattle. Start out eliminating the 577 578 and 594, and starting a BRT line, and as resources permit, add in lane stops at Fife (partnership with EQC), Star Lake, K-D Road, and Southcenter Blvd (For transferring to the 140, which should be a Rapid Ride IMO). every other bus could continue onto Lakewood, and the opposite of that carrys onto TCC or simply terminates. HOV direct ramps could be installed along G? street, from the north, and on McKinley from the South to allow coaches easy access to/from HOV lanes on the freeway if the every get built. But thats just a dream a grandiose one at that!

      2. By eliminating the 578, do you mean cutting off that service to Auburn, Sumner, and Puyallup? Or do you mean cutting that line off at Federal Way?

      3. hey, i wish everything worked like that! I dident realise they had the “F” line planned. About my only comment on that is that it dosent loop through the airport proper for a one seat ride for Amtrak riders, however Amtrak should be providing its own service anyway. As for the 578 I mean eliminating it entirely, and replacing it with a through I-5 service making selected stops. Ideally, Puyallup to Auburn should be park of a trunk line going up 167 to Seattle via Kent sorta replacing the old 150 service except a lot more direct and better for the sounder riders.

      4. It would make sense if, after the F line goes starts, Link was free to ride between Airport and Tukwila stations. It wouldn’t quite be a one-seat ride, but would still be fairly convenient and would mean that the F line wouldn’t have to spend 5-10 minutes looping around the airport. Minneapolis does something similar, where its light rail line is never fare-checked between its two airport terminal stations.

  2. It’s a shame that PT will no longer have 15 minute service on any of it’s routes. Routes 1/2/3, with impressive 3-8k daily ridership on each, will be cut to 20 or 30 minute headways while skeletal service is preserved in places like Bonney Lake. Boo.

  3. And gee – so far absent from this discussion are all those who will be unemployed due to these cuts.

    1. Not just directly unemployed, but the general riding populace too: those who will no longer have access to their jobs, or those whose access will be made significantly more difficult; those whose businesses depend on stable transit ridership; transit-service contractors; and so on.

      1. I always thought that in the Tacoma area, employers wouldn’t hire you if they found you were dependent on transit?

      2. In response to Kintaro Rei’s post, IMO that’s just wrong. There should be laws in place that employers can ask “do you have transportation to and from the job,” but not “do you plan to ride public transit to/from your job,” and prohibiting them from observing an employee/applicant using public transit as a basis for firing/not hiring. I realize some places claim they have to be able to pull the driving record even if a position does not require driving because they want the individual to be “responsible,” however there are many other ways to determine responsibility, such as someone with an undiagnosed/undiagnosable condition that impairs driving ability but does not affect their ability to perform job duties.

        I’m looking through the service reductions, which shows the sorry state of affairs. Spokane Transit will have more service than Pierce Transit.

        Also just realized that the service that allows for connections with CAP in Tumwater are being eliminated (unless one wants to wait until PM rush hour in Olympia), which will break the seamless local transit service on the I-5 corridor.

      3. @Jason I’ve had employers deny me employment because of my transit use, both in Tacoma and elsewhere. One HR director for a company in Denver I was seeking employment with gave me the third degree about how I use transit to get around, as if I was some kind of low-class plebe. Another company in Seattle didn’t like the idea of me using transit because I would be so low on the totem pole that getting a shift where I could arrive and leave during transit operational hours would be impossible. I’ve even dealt with companies that specifically ask for a driver’s license as a form of identification, even if no driving was involved in the job description, because it’s implied that if you don’t have a license you are transit-dependent and thus unemployable.

      4. Not just in the Tacoma area. I work in SoDo, and my company requires you to have a drivers licence and a vehicle for any salaried position. They also require a driving record for screening reasons. This is fairly common in retail and restaurants; if you want to get above the minimum-wage level, you’re required to drive, or at least have everything you need TO drive. And once you’re paying insurance on a car, it’s no longer cheaper to take the bus.

        My solution to this is a $700 Chinese moped. No insurance required.

  4. I am disappointed to see that the 444 Spanaway Bus PLUS is being axed. It was very handy when I lived with my mom (and in subsequent visits since moving out) because the stop was right in front of the house and it kept me from having to walk or bike the one and a half to two miles to the nearest Route 1 stop. Then again, I felt like I was one of the only handful of people riding it; none of the trips I’ve been on have exactly been crush capacity. Plus I wasn’t a huge fan of the two-hour headways, lack of weekend service, and the limited hours in which to phone in a white stop pick-up reservation.

    But hey, whatever PT feels is right. I haven’t seen cuts this bad since Initiative 776 all but killed public transportation in the state so yuppies can pay less to license their Navigators and Volvos.

      1. Either way, Tim Eyman still needs a swift kick to the balls for what he did to transit.

  5. I disappointed to see route 1 schedules dropped to 1/2 hr. and hourly service etc.
    This is a MAJOR route through Tacoma with high number of Riders.
    I am a person with arthritis and cannot drive, myself and others like me,
    will be hurt really bad by these service cuts!
    This is the only form of transportation we have available to us.

    1. This is insane. 1&2 are packed, standing room only near the college as-is. UW-Tacoma has no on-campus housing, and most of their car-less students are locked into leases on apartments along those bus lines, so it’s not like they can stop riding.

  6. Why is nobody even trying to put together a ballot item for Tacoma to subsidize intra-city routes, like Seattle and Bellingham do?

    1. What inner city routes does Seattle subsidize and where do the funds come from? The biggest subside for Seattle (West area) comes from the eastside.

      1. “The biggest subside for Seattle (West area) comes from the eastside.”

        Last time I checked they were both in King County. How far should the Balkanization go and what good does it do? Maybe we should fill in the lake and then people would stop acting like retarded gang bangers fighting over turf in the ghetto.

      2. BTG agreements. Seattle pays a portion for additional service in the city, as well as investing city dollars in transit-priority improvements on city streets.

        Suburban cities in Metro’s service area could do the same things to improve service in their cities, but they really just don’t care.

    2. AFAIK, Pierce Transit doesn’t have a partnership program similar to Metro’s “Transit Now” partnerships, which is what Seattle uses to beef up it’s local routes.

      Now might be a good time for PT to implement a similar program, though.

      Metro’s program, however, involves Metro contributing matching funds, and eventually taking over the full cost of the added service if ridership is high. PT probably doesn’t have the cash to do that.

      1. The route 497 has some form of agreement in place intbetween PT, Metro, ST, and the City of Auburn. The 2010 TDP has a paragraph or two about that on their website.

  7. I’m sure Metro will be looking at the numbers as the cuts start to effect ridership numbers on routes and pairings.
    Their next for big cuts, short of a miracle bailout.

  8. It all makes sense. It would have been silly to reestablish full service for a few weeks only to have to cut deeper later. What I’d like to know is how many more total service hours could be provided with a complete shutdown on Sundays. Other agencies have found the biggest savings comes from a complete shutdown. The skeleton service on Sundays are the most expensive service hours to fund and are the lowest ridership (i.e. make decisions like a private business would).

    1. As much as I initially loathed the idea of Sunday shutdowns, I find myself liking them even more if it saves more of the base weekday service. I’d be interested to find out how CT blocks their work and if their drivers get 2 consecutive days off.

      1. Yeah, it’s not so much as “liking it” as hating it less. If transit agencies make the decision to cut Sunday service and move the hours to weekday commuter hours I think there would then be more public support to increase revenue (i.e. approve a tax increase).

  9. Am I really reading all this support for elimination of Sunday bus service? Obviously you are not transit dependent if you are in support of that, unless you want to look forward to spending an entire day trapped in your home. In times of low revenue it must be the people who are too poor to afford a car or for physical or mental reasons cannot drive who are looked after first. How many car less people lost their job when Community Transit decided to shut them out of the community on Sundays? It really is unconscionable that you would prefer subsidizing car owners who have alternatives over those who have no alternative. Even the CEO of Community Transit thinks its more important to get people out of their cars than to allow people to actually leave their homes at all to go somewhere. Fares on Community Transit express buses to Seattle should be set high enough to achieve a 100% farebox recovery rate to allow some basic service to be operated on Sunday.

    Unless your transit system has a union that has managed to get inserted into their contract a clause stating that they will get paid more on Sunday there is no inherent reason why Sunday service should cost more. Certainly the one I write schedules for in southern California has the same costs for all three days.

    I’d like to see more creativity out of Sound Transit, which seems to have the most money available of any area transit system. Routes such as 510 and 594 certainly could provide local service in the Community Transit and Pierce Transit service areas nights and weekends when the local bus system is not operating.

    1. The one thing people seem to forget is the ADA paratransit service. If you cut a day out of fixed route, than you dont have to provide a day of ADA paratransit service. If you looked at a budget for a typical transit operation, you’d note that providing the paratransit service costs just about as much as the fixed route. Its right about a 50/50 split of overall cost. I once was transit dependant, but if we all have to make sacrifices, and it will keep better service on the remaining days…. Of course the only downfall to that is there will be more demand on ST to backfill for some of the lost service where possible. Although in a severe reduction scenario like whats being faced in pierce county that demand will be there anyway.

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