Proposed Sunday Network map, courtesy of Community Transit

Community Transit has proposed a 25-cent increase for adult and DART fares to help fund 27,000 hours of restored service, including 18,000 hours of Sunday and holiday service on 16 local bus routes beginning as early as June 7, 2015.

Swift would get 20 minute frequencies on Sunday, last seen before the June 2010 service cuts, while major routes in Southwest Snohomish County, Marysville and Arlington would get hourly service. “Rural lifeline routes” serving far-flung cities such as Stanwood and Gold Bar would see buses every two hours on Sundays. CT hopes to fully restore Sunday and holiday service that was cut in 2010, with the 2015 proposal funding 65 percent of the lost hours but covering the same area. The ultimate goal for the agency is to operate the same amount of service on Saturdays and Sundays as a single weekend schedule.

Full list of routes after the jump.

  • 20-minute frequency: Swift
  • 60-minute frequency: 101, 105, 112, 113, 116, 119, 120, 130, 196, 202, 220
  • 120-minute frequency: 222, 240, 271, 280

Furthermore, CT is proposing a restructure of weekday service to Monroe and Sultan on U.S. Route 2, as well as extending Route 222 to the new Marysville Walmart and four daily trips of Route 280 to the Boeing Everett plant. Commuter routes 412, 413 and 860, serving North Lynnwood and Mill Creek, would also get additional peak trips.

CT states that the proposal has been carefully crafted to use existing buses, but requires 34 new drivers to be hired and trained for the extra weekday and Sunday service. Their press release also states that CT would operate on six major holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The 2014-2019 Transit Development Plan published by Community Transit forecasts 60,500 new hours of bus service over the next six years, with the June 2015 and September 2015 service changes combining to be the largest addition.

Public meetings will be held in Marysville, Mountlake Terrace, Everett and Monroe from November 19 to December 10. Community Transit is also taking public comments on the proposals until January 9th, following a public hearing held by the Community Transit Board of Directors on Tuesday, January 8th at their headquarters in Everett.

48 Replies to “Community Transit Proposes Restored Sunday Service”

  1. Can anyone give us a quick rundown on the economy of Snohomish County? When I worked up there in 2008, Lynnwood and Everett hardly seemed like depressed areas.

    Granted many differences, but Thurston county appears to be a much less affluent place. Yet Intercity Transit here has managed to keep Sunday service.

    Is the fact really that outside of the Lynnwood, Edmonds, and maybe Everett, the county is really Appalachia?

    Is it the truth that what prosperity they had was as overblown and superficial as the whole national economy before 2008? Or is the fact that the areas with any prosperity left at all are the ones that are really part of Metropolitan Seattle?

    Completely different magnitudes, but shades, or rather scent, of the same condition: Snohomish County, Detroit…this country is getting into the habit of letting pieces fall off of itself as if this is either normal or irreparable.

    Or has the decision been taken at levels where it sticks that in the richest and safest land in the world- including one of this country’s best-off areas- whatever isn’t gated is wasted?

    Mark Dublin

    Mark Dublin

    1. From what I understand Snohomish county is reasonably economically healthy. There are parts that are poor or depressed but by and large it does well.

      When the Great Recession hit Intercity Transit had unused tax authority while Community Transit did not. I believe Intercity Transit was able to pass a tax increase to sustain service. I can’t speak to the differences in reserves between the agencies but I wouldn’t be shocked if Intercity Transit was in a better position there as well.

      I have a bit of a soft spot for Thurston County and particularly Olympia having grown up there. The area has so much unrealized potential. But yes it is not as affluent as King or Snohomish county.

    2. A large percent of Community Transit’s service is Seattle expresses. CT proposed to shift some hours to the local network during the 2008 cuts but residents overwhelmingly said no, they wanted to keep the express runs instead. That’s just how Snohomish County is: it’s the kind of transit they think is worth paying for and that they might use. Intercity Transit had much less express service I think, just one or two routes to Tacoma, and one of those alternated with a Pierce Transit route so IT was paying only half the cost.

      1. Intercity Transit is now picking up the full cost. Another reason to bring ST into Thurston county to return those hours to IT and upgrade the service.

    3. The economy of Snohomish county as I know it:
      Everett is not doing especially well, especially near the mall area.

      The major employers in downtown Everett are:
      – The Everett Clinic/Providence
      – Everett Community college
      – Snohomish County Government
      (The hospital and the college seem to be competing for who can own more of northern Everett)

      Lynnwood and the area around the Alderwood mall is very active though, especially commercially. I have heard from people who are on top of these kinds of things that office space in the south end of the county has a roughly 15% vacancy rate.

      Last time I was in Marysville it appeared to me that the downtown area was largely being ignored for the new sprawling growth to the north (Arlington/Smokey Point for example). I do not know if there are currently redevelopment plans for downtown Marysville, but it seems like this would be a better idea than continued sprawl northward.

      There are still a lot of people who live in southern Snohomish county and work in King county, and this is in addition to all of the folks who still work at the Boeing plant in Everett. The traffic problems we see most mornings though are likely driven by a much stronger draw in Seattle than to Boeing.

      Anyone who is actually living up there (I just have relatives and friends up there) feel free to correct my impressions of the area.

    4. Marysville has a good city center plan. I came across it when I was looking at CT’s long-term goals. But like similar plans in Lynnwood and other burbs it was written too late to take advantage of the 00’s real-estate boom, and now it’s waiting for developer interest to built it out.

      When I visited Arlington a year ago it was still a small town. Too much sprawl at the edges but the town definitely ends, with five miles of farms west to I-5, and thin exurbia south on Highway 9. The latter being a little growth on large lots, but not enough to call it a suburb. Smokey Point is getting a lot of exurban development, although the biggest thing when I took the 202 up a couple years ago was a Safeway plaza. So just barely a suburb maybe. From the map it looks like a lot of Smokey Point is actually part of Marysville, so it should be able to channel that development if it’s serious about its city center.

    5. Actually outside of Lynnwood and Everett the people are much wealthier. The average income of Mill Creek and Mukilteo is nearly the same as Bellevue. Everett and Lynnwood are at the bottom of the barrel. However, well off people don’t care about transit.

      A massive number of people work in Seattle/Bellevue and traffic is horrific. If I head into the city at 6am I average 50-60 mph. If I leave an hour later traffic is backed up to Lynnwood and sometimes to Ash Way. Average speed is about 15 mph. Taking the bus 1 hour earlier pays off and driving at 7 am is not worth the effort at all.

      Buses in Snohomish county outside of commuters are largely used by people who don’t have a car or aren’t allowed to drive. CT attempted to reward people who used transit for work by giving them $50 a month if they used certain routes. I attempted it but the reliability was so horrible that I had to stop using the 113. Sometimes it was as much as 20 minutes late 20 minutes into it’s run. It’s much better now after they’ve revised schedules 2 or 3 times.

  2. I decided since I have made my biases and time constraints not to do the professional write-up you see here. I do though have deep concerns Community Transit is not adjusting its business model to serve the maximum number of potential users.

    More to come

    1. I’m really curious to hear what your concerns are. I’ve never lived in Snohomish County or dug deep into their performance reports, but the public face of CT’s planning efforts has always seemed pretty thoughtful and responsive to me. Their current Seattle-commuter-heavy offerings reflect public demand and capacity/routing limitations of forward-peak ST routes.

      1. All great points Al. Great points.

        Okay, so I want to see some real, genuine efforts to expand the transit network around Paine Field tenants. Period.

        Then I’ll stand up and cheer. Until then, I’m going to be grumpy.

        Minimal new service for the largest job creator of Snohomish County with tourism, manufacturing and maintenance jobs in one nice Paine Field cluster is not going to ever get 12th man levels of cheering out of me. More like a slow clap.

        The goal should be to provide congestion relief and serve the community. That means civic participation venues like public meetings, museums and the like.

        Sorry but I don’t see the value of Sunday transit service except in Seattle. Willing to have a change of heart…

      2. Well, Swift II might get you closer than anything else that’s been proposed, with a couple big caveats. First, that the particular route detailed there may have been a political pander move, publicized only to get CT a nose in at the last Boeing subsidy slop-trough negotiations. Second, that the particular route detailed there is conspicuously terrible at connecting to regional transit (that’s true for a lot of the existing Boeing commuter service, but somewhat justified by the fact that those routes run before the rest of the transit network is out of bed).

      3. Well put Al. You are one of the Top 10 best commentors here to me.

        What I want is a plan to serve the Paine Field museums and nearby manufacturing & airplane repair & flight instruction tenants on Fridays & Saturdays for starters. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

        Swift II is a good way of taking a stride towards making that happen.

    2. I’m curious too. You’ve always come across as someone who is inclined to prioritize serving the truly transit-dependent. While I don’t always agree with the tradeoffs associated with that focus, I do think it’s an important part of the mission of a good transit agency, and providing some semblence of an all-day network 7 days a week is an important part of that. So this seems like a no-brainer, and the sort of no-brainer you’d generally be inclined to support.

      1. Gents, I think six-day transit service is vital.

        I don’t think snubbing the one of the top five tourist attractions in the State of Washington with over 270,000 annual visitors means I’m going to give a ringing endorsement.

        Ditto minimal new service for the largest job creator with tourism, manufacturing and maintenance jobs in one nice Paine Field cluster is going to get 12th man levels of cheering.

        Sorry but I am not impressed. I was busy working at a Paine Field client and frankly only had an iPod touch to work with so I’ve kept my commentary acute.

      2. I think six-day transit service is vital.

        I couldn’t disagree with this more strongly. Telling transit-dependent people they’re trapped at home for 50% of their weekend and they can’t take a job that might require Sunday shifts is not reasonable, just or fair. Even if the case for expanding transit around Paine field is strong (I’m not suggesting it’s not; i just don’t know) fixing such a massive hole in their current service patterns is simply a much more important priority than an expansion of the network.

      3. To provide a true alternative to driving you have to provide 7 day service. I’d say that is much more important than service to the Paine Field area.

        If CT was all about maximizing ridership they would run only commuter routes and SWIFT/101 and nothing else.

      4. But that’s a terrible way to think about service priorities, ins’t it? If transit advocates only supported the service they used, we’d never accomplish anything. I’ve used the county connectors maybe 5-6 times ever, but that never effected my support for them or recognition of their importance.

  3. Honest question here from someone who doesn’t know transit service in Snohomish County well…

    Route 101 mostly parallels Swift along Highway 99… so why use precious service hours to provide weekend service on the 101?

    I understand that 101 provides local service along Highway 99, but it doesn’t travel the length of the corridor (only the southern half). So why provide a parallel service for only some areas?

    I also understand that route 101 serves 3 stops along Airport Rd and 128th St SW and the Mariner P&R. Are those stops really that busy and couldn’t those be served just as frequently with an extension of another route (maybe 105) to Highway 99?

    I think this would cheapen the brand… but would it be possible to setup a situation where the Swift buses could make a special stop anywhere along the route on weekends only? It would be similar to King County Metro’s Night Stop program. Maybe encourage that it’s only for those who are unable to walk long distances.

    Either way it would seem prudent to find a way to make the 101 a weekday only route or eliminate it all together to free up service hours for other routes.

    1. I think you admitted the problem with altering the Swift route:

      “I think this would cheapen the brand…”

      Let’s not turn Swift into Rapid Ride, thanks.

      From what I see, most important areas of Snohomish county will be served in some way by this extension of Sunday service, I don’t see an advantage to cutting out 101 service to distribute it elsewhere just on Sunday.

      Routes that resemble the weekday routes as much as possible are far less confusing to the majority of transit users that don’t spend much time studying bus schedules.

      1. I remember that not too many years back CT discontinued Sunday service, then restored it again. Can’t remember specifics-anyone else who does?

      2. @Elbar: CT cut Sunday service after I-695 passed, but managed to get a 0.3 percent sales tax increase to bring it back two years later.

    2. Actually, it seems that it would be more useful to not run Swift on Sundays, just the 101. Then use those hours to run the 115 or some other busy core route. Passengers withing to go up further north on 99 could transfer to the Everett transit bus at Airport Rd. which does provide parallel service north. The 202 will still go to Everett station also. CT would also save by not having the swift fare checker having to work.
      Swift stops are a mile or more apart, that is why the 101 has to run on sunday.

    3. Both Swift and the 101 are the highest-ridership local routes. The 101’s predecessor went all the way to downtown Everett, but it was truncated at some point and ET 7 covers the northern part. But there’s a gap between 103rd Street and 119th Street that only ET 8 covers. The 101 was probably truncated both to minimize service hours in Everett and because nobody would take it from south Snoho to Everett when Swift is available.

      1. It had a high number, 600-something or 700-something, and then it changed multiple times. I didn’t follow all the changes.

      2. Previously, ET 7 & ET 9 were the local shadows in Everett, with the 7 turning east at Everett Mall Way to go to Everett Mall, and the 9 going south to Airport Road to connect with CT 101.

        Due to low funds the 9 was cut, creating the current gap. ET 8 serves the gap and a section to the north, but is arguably not a shadow.

        The 100 was a peak-only route from Aurora Village to Everett Station which went north in the AM and south in the PM. It was cut when Swift started.

  4. The proposal to change the 222 by eliminating the route on 4th st., and starting at walmart instead is bad. That part of the 222 is pretty busy actually, i have been on it many times and most of the transfers from the 201/202 are getting off that rd. going east and before the golf course. Just extend the 222 up to the walmart and do a loop back. Better than cutting another east/west marysville route. Grove st. by the library was eliminated last cut.

    1. Given that they’re currently spending $10.50/day, I’d be surprised if they’d strenuously object.

    2. These are people with 60-mile (or more!) round-trip commutes. Their alternative is spending $6-$10 per day on gas and then another $10-$20 on parking before even getting into the portion of depreciation and liability risk that’s mileage-based. And if that $11/day bus commute saves a downtown worker’s family from having to buy another car (which it very well can!), it’s worth even more.

      These services are expensive to operate and provide a lot of value to their riders. There’s nothing wrong with charging a fare that reflects that.

      1. In that sense, Sound Transit should have a three-county fare for it’s 592 trips that go to Olympia. Their fare should be high, but I think there’s a limit. Transit receives public funding so that it doesn’t have to be a taxi-cab company.

    3. There is a cheaper, but more time-consuming alternative: take a local CT route to Everett Station and transfer to STEX. Stanwood riders of the 422 would have to transfer twice (240 > 201/202 > 510/512) in their 3-hour journey, though.

    4. Using AAA or the IRS numbers for driving it will cost you $24 to drive it round trip not including parking. $11 is a steal and you don’t have to stare out the window to keep your life from ending in a firey death.

      And wouldn’t it be $9/day if you took the sounder, $7/day if you took the 512 and only $11 if you took the couple of CT commuter buses in?

      Oh, if you go to school at EdCC and pay the extra $5/month for the Orca pass you can ride CT commuters for free (but not Sound Transit).

  5. The restoration of Sunday service has been long overdue, although I have to admit, until I heard the announcement, I was somewhat pessimistic that it was ever going to happen (I assumed that when the recession ended, CT would just pour the money into additional commuter runs and leave Sunday service dead permanently).

    If Sunday service was going to be restored, I was expecting something extremely bare-bones, perhaps Swift, 101, 196, 202, and nothing else. Instead, it looks as if far more areas than this are going to be served.

    That said:
    – Route 271 appears to spread its service-hours a bit too thin. If it were truncated to serve just Snohomish and Monroe, could service be bumped up to hourly?
    – Route 202 travels a good deal of miles duplicating the 512 except for one stop at I-5/128th St. Would it make more sense to eliminate the portion of the route south of Everett to run its unique segment more frequently?

    1. 202 goes thru Mariner p/r, always a busy stop, with connections to 101, ET #2, and 105 (no 115 on sunday) the 512 does not stop there, plus it costs more. and the 6 stops along ash way would be missed..

  6. I liked the ideas I saw here, and we should all submit our feedback now, during the public comment process! Hopefully, there’s room for some tweaks.

    @djw Paine Field is “trapped” as well…in-between the cities of Everett, where Everett Transit is the provider, and Mukilteo, whose sales taxes contribute to Community Transit. Both could be lobbied.
    @Ricky The 101 has about 30 stops on its route, including ones next to/nearby all Swift stops, all of those in Snohomish County are within their transit benefit area (= where a portion of sales taxes paid there go into their coffers). In contrast, the Swift only has 7 there, with the other 9 in the City of Everett, where a portion of sales taxes paid there goes to that city instead, and where Everett Transit routes #7 and 8 serve their stops typically next to the Swift stops plus their own intervening stops. Further, weekend riders tend to be transit-dependent: either they don’t own a car or they only have one car, but two or more people need to use it at the same time, hence they need transit. They have specific destinations, and Swift doesn’t serve as many of those. For instance, if one wants to go to Costco-Lynnwood, the nearest Swift stop is 9 blocks south. It’s a similar circumstance for those who want to go to Ranch 99 or to Petsmart. For James Village (Albertson’s and Trader Joe’s), one can walk across the street to take a southbound Swift, but to go northbound, it’s two street crossings plus a – in this weather cold – four block hike.
    @ jims I agree, but I suspect that the City of Everett, who contributes to the funding of Swift, played a factor. Still, a shorter span for the Swift would have freed up more hours for more 101s, which with this proposal remain sparse and not very practical at once an hour on Saturdays, either, when more travel vs. Sunday. They also could have not brought back major holiday service, when the fewest number of riders partake.
    @asdf Good idea to truncate routes like the 271 and, due to duplication, the northern end of the 202 (that is another rationale for not having Swift on Sundays as well, duplication)! Hopefully, there will be consideration to these types of changes throughout in order to enhance the most heavily-traveled routes, starting with Saturdays, which doesn’t seem to be getting much from this proposal.

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