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Going for that black & white look of an Island Transit 411W at March's Point, Anacortes, WA

My Photo, “Going for that black & white look of an Island Transit 411W at March’s Point, Anacortes, WA

Two separate transit agencies are on two very interesting paths – namely Island Transit & Community Transit.

For Island Transit, tomorrow the 9th of March, the Island Transit Board will gather to discuss on the agenda, among other things:

  • Discussion of Financial Stabilization Plan and Correspondence from the Board of Directors (“Island Transit’s Recovery Story” letter)
  • Surplus Vehicles
  • New Revenue Sources [Advertising, Fares]
  • Service Issues [such as the Tri-County Connectors & service to Ault Field – the main NAS Whidbey Island campus to the north of Oak Harbor.].
  • Status of Audit Findings and Resolutions

The special meeting is planned to run from 9:30 AM until 11:30 AM, but a majority of the board can extend the meeting time to address agenda items, which seems likely to this keen observer.  I have a photoshoot scheduled tentatively at 1 PM in Mukilteo so can’t be there.

For those STB readers who may be unaware, Island Transit has an interim CEO in Ken Graska and it’s been decided to wait to seek a permanent replacement while Island Transit seeks alternative revenue streams and conducts route restructures.   Also Coupeville City Council decided to replace the controversial rep Bob Clay with Island County Human Services Director & Town of Coupeville Councilwoman Jackie Henderson.

The Everett Station Swift Terminal in a Damp Dawn
My black & white iPod photo snap of Community Transit Swift BRT at Everett Station

For Community Transit, the story’s a bit different.  First, for those few who may not have heard, the Snohomish County Council approved a lease option contingent on an Environmental Assessment for Paine Field commercial service a week ago.   But as two dueling press releases by proponents Propeller Airports and in opposition Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson posted at indicate, both pro & con can only agree the County Council vote is a step not a finale.  Major issues remain, such as addressing traffic & transit access & how many passengers will actually use the terminal on the east side of Paine Field – which could factor in any discussion about ST3 having light rail service Paine Field.

New CEO Emmett Heath arguably put it right when he wrote in Community Transit’s press release announcing his hiring, “We’re back in growth mode. Today, we have every driver and every bus out on the road, yet we know there are still unmet needs in our community,” said Heath.  The plan is to get state legislative authorization to seek voter approval to raise taxes three-tenths of one percent to fund Community Transit expansion.  Other items of a growth-focused tenure are in the works such as working well with other transit agencies and a few transit projects.

8 Replies to “North by Northwest 50: Following Up…”

    1. clif;
      The State Patrol detective got pulled away so it’ll be a few weeks to a month before some answers. I think we all want this issue either before the courts or concluded.

  1. As a non-Island County rider of Island Transit between Stanwood and Mount Vernon I travel from Smokey Point (Arlington) to Mount Vernon and sometimes Bellingham I would love to pay something for my rides. I realize Island Transit doesn’t want the cost of managing cash fares and what it entails, principally that it doesn’t pencil out. However, I would like to pay Island Transit via my ORCA card, as I think might many others – both Island County residents and non-residents would be willing to do.

    Now, I guess the problem would be integration between other ORCA transit agencies – would that be achievable? Could Island become an ORCA transit entity? For me, it would seem a means to conveniently pay what I think is fair. I’m guessing the transit readers could be affordable, since capital funding from the federal government would pay for the machines.

    As for fare apportionment, I’d guess something is better than nothing. Please consider querying these transit entities about this. Thank you.

    1. Craigriver, as I type, I’m listening to an Island Transit board study session that discussed ORCA and a Boardmember who wants fares by the end of the year. So too do most legislators.

  2. Have transit entities establish a uniform new bus stop request procedure that is available for riders.

    If anyone has ever proposed a new bus stop along an existing route, it is well nigh impossible. Transit customers ought to be afforded a process which ensures the transit agency gives serious consideration for a proposed new bus-stop. I’ve made requests to Community Transit and have been told that a new stop must be ADA approved for wheelchair access. That is as far as it goes.

    Narrow county roads are hazardous in terms of pedestrians seeking to access a bus route. Where I live there is a county sign in memory of a person hit by a vehicle. I have video of the narrow, hazardous route that one must walk in order to catch a bus. I would like to submit it in my request. Surely there has to be a means for transit entities to log and consider requests for new stops? Why is there no accountability for these requests?

    1. I’ll agree with this. I have four other bus stops that I want to propose (one for Metro and three for Sound Transit), if I knew how.

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