Tomorrow (Thursday) at 3pm, the Community Transit Board meets in Everett. The February 2012 service change is on the agenda, although they might delay till September 1st.

The February change may be a very big one. CT is looking at three service alternatives, one of which completely reorganizes the bus system. In any case, they’ll cut about 20% from the system.

12 Replies to “CT Board to Meet Tomorrow”

  1. I’m surprised — slightly sad — that the restructure alternative (III) was so thoroughly thrashed in the public comments. Either I was missing something about it, or people just looooove their one-seat-rides and won’t transfer to save mobility and improve cost effectiveness. Oh well.

    1. I guess I’m not that surprised. They’re polling people that already ride the bus, and for them, service is at least good enough that they can use it. Many people that would benefit from the changes in Alternative III aren’t currently using CT at all, while many current riders suffer from losing the “humps” they currently use.

      It might be that Snohomish County as a whole is better served by slow routes that wind around a lot, when its transit network is so sparse and low-frequency.

      1. And a lot of us have created our lives around the current routes meaning we will go to store A instead of store B because the current routes serve us better. Maybe revamping everything would be better in the end but we’d have a larger disruption in our lives.

        I’ve lived without a car (by choice) for two years in Snohomish country and I can say it’s been interesting. With ANY of the three proposals I’ll buy a car. That’s just the way it is. Currently I can fly home from work as late as 7pm and get all the way home on transit. After the change my last flight out of CA that will get me home is 3 pm which doesn’t give me much of a work day if I have to leave work at 2 to make that flight. I have no other choice, I either move or drive.

      2. I work in Canyon Park, and from what I’ve seen of Snohomish County, living without a car there looks pretty tough (except for Everett, probably). I’d develop some real cycling chops if I tried to do that!

      3. I don’t fly to work every day but it’s often enough to be an issue. Taking a taxi from the airport costs $70. The Shuttle Express is cheaper ($20ish I think) but takes forever (about the same as transit but I’m crammed into a van). Considering I’d be doing these both ways it’s the price of a bus pass for a month. My other choice would be to rent a car from Enterprise, driving it to offsite parking and returning it later but I pay for two days since I fly out so early. Even renting a car is cheaper than a taxi.

        I’ll have to look into the Flex cars and such which I haven’t used. I don’t want to buy a car but if you add up a couple of flights a month, the cost of the bus pass etc. you start getting close to monthly costs on owning a car and all the convenience inherited. I don’t need frequent late night bus service, I just need service.

    2. It just shows that Snohomish County is not King County. Snoho does not have a large, old, transit-loving city. The largest pre-automobile city is Everett, and its pre-automobile core is pretty small and has been overrun with parking lots, and the city itself is not a major jobs or commerce center. (Except for Boeing and the Navy, but they’re big self-contained campuses that are only technically part of Everett — there’s little “Everett pride” among their workers, and a lot of them live outside Everett.) Tacoma is the same: an old city pretty much overrun with suburbanization (=automobilization). But in Seattle there are large districts like the U-district and Capitol Hill where many people live in dense housing and don’t have a car, and are constantly filling the sidewalks with their foot traffic.

      When I attended the Link North Corridor workshop in Lynnwood, the overwhelming thing people wanted Link to be is an express to Seattle. That’s what they want transit for: for their Seattle trips. They have so given up on local transit that they can’t even imagine it being useful for going to the store/library/church, etc. That’s partly because CT’s local service is so skeletal, and partly because it’s so far to Fred Meyer, and the bike shop is another 30-60 minute bus trip in the other direction. The enlightened ones do recognize the value of TOD nodes at Swift stations, and they think Swift is wonderful, and adequate just the way it is; they don’t think it needs to be replaced by Link on 99.

      The responses in Snohomish to the current alternatives sound like the attitudes on the Eastside 10-20 years ago. There is still some opposition in east King and south King to eliminating peak expresses, but it’s much less than it used to be. That’s because of Metro’s success in reorganizing routes there. The 230, 271, and 253 were all reorganizations that improved Eastside circulation, replacing arbitrary long-distance routes to Seattle. (The old routes were demoted to peak-only expresses (272 and 253E), or replaced by the 550.) The 249, 262?, and all the north Kirkland routes except 230 and 255 — I can’t keep track of them all and Metro’s website is down — were newly added to improve local Eastside circulation. All this has made it obvious to people that a peak-only express to downtown Seattle benefits only a small number of people who live on that street and work downtown, while the local routes are a larger benefit overall.

      Snoho’s local routes are as bad as King’s were 10-20 years ago. Worse, because CT’s local routes often zigzag slowly. I remember a woman in Mountlake Terrace saying, “I can walk my dog to Edmonds Community College in the time it takes to ride CT to it.” So it’s not surprising that Snoho’s residents still think of transit in terms of commuting and one-seat rides. But it also shows that Snoho’s residents’ attitudes might improve after CT adds more local circulation. It doesn’t have to be as ambitious as doing all of Alternative III now, and it may take 10-20 years for attitudes to change, but it’s possible. Whenever CT can afford to add another Swift line or two, that’ll have the biggest impact.

      And of course, after CT reorganizes its local routes to meet Link stations, that’ll have an exponential impact on transit use and demand. And the current teenagers, who are less eager to drive than their parents were, will be adults by then. And there will be more seniors too.

  2. It’s too bad CT isn’t looking at other revenue sources or efficiencies from big (Cities of Edmonds and Lynnwood subsidizing bus service from local property tax) to small (charge for parking at CT-owned lots, 25-cent premium on cash fare payment, require reduced-fare passholders to use loaded ORCA product or pay full fare, withdraw from the Ride Free Area). Sorry to be repetitive, but to simply cut without looking at other options is terrible.

      1. You’ve got a point, Grant. Metro uses fare coordination as its excuse to raise fares (or lower them 25 cents, in the case of the RRFPs that had been scheduled to go up to $1). CT can do the same.

        But still, do the other things so that you aren’t subsidizing the cash fumblers, which does add expense to providing the service.

        At the very least, the pampered commuters can pay with ORCA or pay a 25-cent lazy charge, since getting an ORCA is really easy for downtown commuters and nearly all the U commuters will have the U-Pass-embedded Husky Card.

        And, don’t you want to discourage the downtown short-trippers from hopping on and off your commuter bus for a free ride, when CT is getting nothing from the City of Seattle to cover the cost of the inconvenience to Snohomish riders/taxpayers? Can anyone explain why CT goes along with the RFA?

        Also, are there no flex-car-type programs for people like Grant to get to the 512 stops on weekends?

  3. Most of the people against plan 111 were the commuters, the board is now considering a 4th alternative which keeps most of the current commuter routes, but has the local service changes in plan 111.

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