Photo by Atomic Taco

On the heels of the 20% June service cut, October’s now all set:

On Monday, June 13, 2011, the Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners approved a plan with some modifications for the final 15% service reduction scheduled for October.  These modifications include preserving the route 496 (Bonney Lake Park & Ride to Sumner Sounder Station) through February 2012, and keeping some transit connection to Northeast Tacoma…  Service to special events, including the Puyallup Fair and Tacoma’s Fourth of July Freedom Fair, were also eliminated.

The October reduction plan focuses on maintaining ridership, improving cost efficiency, and serving the largest number of people.  Most of the retained routes are located in higher population density areas where transit service has been historically successful.  Projections indicate this plan, when compared to a previous reduction proposal, will generate higher overall annual passenger trips, an increase in average passengers per service hour, and a reduction in the average cost per passenger trip by approximately 44%.

14 routes are being completely eliminated: the 26, 59, 113, 220, 406, 407, 408, 409, 413, 446, 490, 601, 602, and the Orting Loop, along with associated paratransit service. The full description of the cuts is in a handy .pdf, not reflecting the last-minute amendments.

The new, productivity-based plan is the result of some lobbying by transit advocates that drove a board decision to re-evaluate last month.

14 Replies to “PT Locks in 15% October Service Cut”

  1. a reduction in the average cost per passenger trip by approximately 44%.

    Wow. If PT farebox recovery ratio now is in the neighborhood of 20% (I don’t know what it actually is) this productivity based service plan should net better than 35% farebox recovery.

      1. At $9/boarding no wonder they’re in deep doo doo. That’s more expensive than ST express. Fares are $2 but of course not everyone pays full fare and then there are transfers so your estimate of $1.25 is probably in the ballpark. At least this reality check gets them to 25% recovery and $5/boarding which isn’t too bad considering the low density area served. I think Metro has exceeded their goal of increasing farebox recovery from less than 20% to 25%. Voters are more likely to fund something if they know the money isn’t just going down a rat hole.

      2. Mmm, I pulled up the 2010 final budget from the PT website. They claim (page 94 of 293) an actual farebox recovery of 18.5% for PT fixed route service (Shuttle is 2.3% and Vanpool 56.2%) in 2009. But when I looked at operating expenses vs fare revenue I come up with only 12.6%. Wikipedia reports 13% for PT in 2009. In November of 2010 there was a fare increase from $1.75 to $2.00. I’m goin’ with Bruce’s number of 15% :-)

  2. The wholesale reorganization of routes within Tacoma was long overdue. Some of the changes should have been made ages ago, making a number of labyrinthine routes a little more efficient in serving key locations.

    The interesting note is the de-emphasis of connections to Tacoma Dome due to the Pacific Ave construction; perhaps use of T-Link will rise accordingly, and just maybe, support for extending the line up towards Division and 6th will grow.

  3. We hope every I-695 voter and Tea Party member is greatly affected.

    1. The problem is that it isn’t only the 695 voters and tea partiers who are affected.

  4. All I can say is that it’s a good thing Tacoma rolls up the sidewalks at 7PM. With the new time schedules, service stops running after that for alot of routes. If I can’t get home on the bus, then taking the bus in to work stops being practical all of a sudden.

  5. Your article is slightly incorrect, part of the 409 is staying only inbetween 72nd and Portland and Puyallup Station. Puyallup actually wins in this plan, since the 400 line returns after a ten year hiatus from South Hill to Puyallup to Downtown Tacoma. While no plan is perfect i would like to see more routes combined, even if headways are not improved, creating more through trips. 52/55, 57/300, 202/409, 204/410, etc. Theres still too many short segment routes in my opinion. Plus if funds ever allow i’d like to see the 400 continued onto south hill to 176th or so.

    1. Why would you combine routes if it doesn’t allow for more frequent service or reduce the cost of providing service? Perhaps some routes are separated for a reason. For instance, Route 202 serves Tacoma where you might need a larger bus. Route 409, going between southeast Tacoma and Puyallup may only need a 30-foot bus and therefore provide at least a little savings in operation. By combining the routes you would lose what little savings there might be by running a larger bus on Route 409, or you continue to run the smaller bus and risk overloads on the portion of the route between Tacoma and Lakewood.

      1. Part of the problem with the system, is that theres too much fragmentation of routes. Its nearly impossible to get somewhere on only two transfers, usually it seems like you have to make 3. By combining some routes, yet keeping the structure in place it does allow for some through trips without having to make a cross platform transfer. Also, from the public perception saying you cut 9 routes instead of 3 since you combined 6 routes into 3, and cut 3 sounds better. Finally, as for the 409, origonally when the service started around 1996 or 97, the 202 ran out to sumner with 40ft coaches. It was split apart sometime in 2005 into the 202 and 409, as sumner repordily wanted the 30ft buses. Now that the route no longer serves sumner, you can recombine them have a through service to lakewood from the valley. Plus, you will save money and coaches in the process as you wont have to maintain a seperate fleet of 30ft coaches, plus spares. The actual number of coaches required for the service wont change, but you wont have to maintain that seperate fleet plus spares, the spare ratio you can fold into your 40 foot fleet which is far more versitile. (theres no diffrence inbetween a 30ft and 40ft newflyer, save for ten feet of seats and steel frame. The drivetrain is the same, the electrical, axles, etc.)

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