Projected transit frequency during peak hours, 2040 (Everett Transit)

Everett Transit has released its Draft Long-Range Plan, which proposes a huge increase in frequent service by 2040 to feed into Link and Swift. Earlier network concepts were refined down to two ideas: coverage or frequency, and the latter won out in the minds of Everett’s planners. During peak hours, a handful of routes would have frequencies of up to 15-20 minutes, including corridors that have poor service today or don’t exist yet. Feedback is being accepted until March 30 via an online survey and a final plan is planned to be adopted in April.

Today, Everett Transit only has one route with service that can be described as frequent: Route 7, which runs down Evergreen Way and Broadway between Everett Mall and Everett Community College. Other routes have frequencies of 45 to 60 minutes, and a handful in South Everett run in one-way loops that limit their usefulness. Two routes leave Everett proper and continue on to Mukilteo, the all-day Route 18 on Mukilteo Boulevard and peak-only Route 70 from the Boeing plant.

The proposed network would require a 25 percent increase in annual service hours and an additional 6-8 buses over Everett’s current fleet of 42. The result would be a 20 percent increase in seated capacity during peak periods and a projected increase of 17,000 daily riders. Some short segments on existing routes would be left without bus service, including the Colby Avenue corridor in North Everett, the Lowell neighborhood, and most service on Mukilteo Boulevard, to simplify routes and focus service on “activity centers” where current and future growth would lead to higher ridership. Notably, a new route between the waterfront and naval base area to the new “Riverfront” neighborhood would be given frequent service, replacing a peak-only route to the naval base and a gap in service for the Riverfront. A decade ago, this corridor was floated as a potential streetcar corridor for the ST2 program and was expected to connect two dense developments, but both have been scaled back to single-family homes on small lots.

To pay for the service upgrade, Everett Transit is considering using up the remaining 0.3 percent of its sales tax authority or seeking private partnerships and alternative funding. The draft plan projects operating costs will exceed revenues as early as 2022, but a more recent look from the city government predicts a $1.6 million shortfall in 2020, blamed on the struggles of Everett’s retailers and the subsequent drop in sales tax revenue. The third option, a fare increase beyond the current base fare of $1.00, would mostly be used for technology upgrades related to the ORCA Next Generation project, so it can’t be counted on to save the agency. In the next few years, Everett Transit may have to cut and restructure its services, but it should manage to survive long enough to begin implementing the long-range plan’s frequent network.

23 Replies to “Everett Transit Wants Frequent Routes”

  1. I realize this is isn’t quite under Everett Transit’s jurisdiction, but once the Paine Field Link Station opens, there really needs to be a shuttle route connecting it to Mukilteo. It would be crazy to force people to wind through the neighborhoods for 30+ minutes to access the regional transit system when there’s a light rail station available just 2 miles away.

    1. Thank you asdf2, I concur. That shuttle route would also deal with the persistent issues around serving the Future of Flight along the way, mollifying some major public supporters of Community Transit.

    2. I think it is highly likely that Community Transit will run a bus from Mukilteo to that station. My guess is you run a bus like that, while modifying the 113. Instead of going to Mukilteo, the 113 would loop around to the station as well. So basically a new all day bus route like this: https://goo.gl/maps/98Qu8j5w96y, while the 113 would look like this: https://goo.gl/maps/Wv2494gJcHE2. Either (or both) could go out to SR 99 (or even the mall).

      1. I like your idea. Hopefully, the shorter of the two routes can run with reasonable frequency. Even just one bus would probably be enough for half hourly service.

        In the meantime, my phone is showing a Lime Bike somehow having made its way to Mukilteo, so you can use that to go between the bus stop and the flight museum.

  2. 13 days ago I submitted a letter to the editor of the Everett Herald about this process. Below is the gist of what I said:

    As a transit advocate and friend of Mukilteo, I believe strongly considering Everett Transit serves Mukilteo with Everett Transit Routes 70 and 18; the City Council and the Mayor of Mukilteo need to engage in the dialogue around Everett Transit’s future. Especially as I understand at the least Route 18 connecting the Mukilteo ferry terminal to Everett Station will be pared back to peak-only due to low ridership.

    Since Everett Transit annexing the City Limits of Mukilteo would be time-consuming and politically very challenging; perhaps Community Transit could instead be requested to replace most of the need and demand for Everett Transit Routes 18 and 70.

    This replacement would be running buses half-hourly from Seaway Transit Center, past the Future of Flight – where guests have had difficulty navigating a steep incline between the Future of Flight and the Community Transit bus stop; and to the Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal. Everett Transit could then simply be responsible for linking the Everett Station transit hub with Seaway Transit Center, a substantial savings by limiting Everett Transit services to Everett Transit’s service area.

    It’s really too late to resubmit the letter to the editor with this blog’s timely & relevant data so let me say, I also endorse, Everett Transit “using up the remaining 0.3 percent of its sales tax authority” and “seeking private partnerships and alternative funding” as “the city government predicts a $1.6 million shortfall in 2020, blamed on the struggles of Everett’s retailers and the subsequent drop in sales tax revenue”.

    I would also hope my friends at Everett Transit present City Council with an ultimatum: Either raise transit fares to Community Transit levels or leave the ORCA Next Generation project. Which quite frankly for Everett Transit may potentially not be that much of a loss if multiple years of farebox recovery are spent on that alone.

    Joe

  3. Any ideas about what Everett’s economy is going to be like in 22 years? Any guide from back to 1996?

    Mark Dublin

  4. Today, Everett Transit only has one route with service that can be described as frequent

    Yes, but Casino Road kinda sorta has frequent service, through the combination of the 3 and 12. It isn’t perfect — there are some gaps — but isn’t bad:
    .
    5:30 AM
    6:25
    6:49
    6:55
    7:15
    7:39
    8:00
    8:27
    8:55
    9:28
    9:55
    10:24
    10:50
    11:29
    11:45
    12:35 PM
    12:50
    1:25
    2:00
    2:26
    3:08
    3:21
    3:38
    4:03
    4:21
    4:38
    5:03
    5:15
    5:33
    5:50
    6:35
    7:20
    8:25

    But it isn’t a single route. Most riders have either waited a while for the bus that goes to where they want to go, or they need to transfer. The good news is that if they are headed to Everett, or along SR 99, they can take the 7 or Swift, both of which are quite frequent.

    It isn’t clear at all how this will be made “more frequent”. Based on the map, the 3 is gone. It looks like frequency on the 12 (the mall circulator) is improved, to run 15-20 minutes during peak. But what about the other time? If it drops to half hour during much of the day, it would be worse for those folks than it is now.

  5. It’s awesome that Everett Transit is planning to greatly improve frequency! I have a few concerns about the network though – I”m not intimately familiar with the area so please let me know if I’m misunderstanding something:

    -It seems like Seaway Transit Center is slated to become the hub for Paine Field-area transit. However, the proposed light rail does not stop there, which would make last-mile connections from light rail much more annoying. Can the bus hub be moved to the Paine Field light rail station?

    -The network in southern Everett does not seem to connect well to services to Seattle. Currently, the only stop in the area with direct service to Seattle (South Everett P&R) has only one local connecting route. Most other local routes serve Mall Station or Mariner P&R, which do not have direct service to Seattle, requiring a second inconvenient transfer.

    However, when light rail extends to Everett, Mariner P&R will have service to Seattle, while South Everett P&R and Mall Station will not. The plan does not have any frequent bus connections to Mariner P&R – can this be fixed?

    1. 1) If you look at the current Everett Transit map, Seaway is very a big hub right now. If anything, it will lose a little in importance. In other words, it is just the way that Everett rolls. Partly it is because …

      2) Sound Transit does a lot of the heavy lifting in the area. You really can’t look at them in isolation. Everett Transit does offer very low fares, but by no means is it trying to serve all of Everett. If you are trying to get to Seattle or Lynnwood from South Everett, then Community Transit is your best bet. But for serving the core of Everett, Everett Transit does more.

      Making matters even more interesting, is the very low fares (1$) of Everett Transit. This could explain why the two agencies overlap so much. Community Transit only serves one Corridor in the middle of Everett, and that is Broadway — the exact corridor served by the most frequent line in Everett (the 7). The 7 then goes on to serve SR 99 (Evergreen Way) — using the most frequent bus in the system. In other words, Community Transit and Everett Transit overlap to a ridiculous level, but doing so might be exactly what people want. For those who want to hop on a bus for a mile or two and not spend a bunch of money, the 7 is great. Those going farther have Swift.

      1. Thanks for the clarifications! For 2), my main issue is that most people in southern Everett aren’t within walking distance of a bus stop with Seattle-bound service (there’s only Sound Transit 510/512 at South Everett). Community Transit does provide southbound service at Mariner P&R (201, 202, 109) but there’s no direct service to Seattle outside peak hours, and only one Everett Transit circulator connects to it.

        Overall, Everett Transit does not connect well with other agencies if you look at its map (http://everetttransit.org/DocumentCenter/View/999). As an example, let’s say you’re at Evergreen Way & Casino Road and you want to go to Seattle. Here are there I options:

        1. Swift or Everett Transit 7 north to Everett Station, then 510/512 south to Seattle. This is a lot of backtracking, but might be fastest.
        2. Everett Transit 7 to Mall Station, Everett Transit 29 to South Everett, 510/512 to Seattle. Unfortunately the 29 is infrequent and I’m not aware of any schedule coordination for these transfers, so there could be long wait times.
        3. Swift to Aurora Village, E line to Seattle. At least this is frequent, but it’s slow since it uses local streets the whole way.

        (It appears that areas along lines 2 and 12 face a similar predicament)

      2. 4) Swift south to 148th, then the 119 to Ash Way. Then the 510/512 to Seattle. Still not that good though.

        It is difficult to get from most parts of Everett to Seattle. But I’m not sure if you can blame Everett Transit for that. If Everett Transit were simply part of Community Transit, I’m not sure if they would do a better job.

        For your example, CT doesn’t do much either, despite having lots of buses in the area. Even when the second Swift line is built, and you can get over to the freeway very quickly, you are stuck, because ST doesn’t serve it there. I’m not saying they should, either. There is a major conflict when it comes to long distance routes like the 512. If the bus stops at every park and ride, then it takes forever to get to downtown Everett, arguably the main destination.

        A big part of the problem is the available bus infrastructure. In general, ST serves stops that are relatively easy to serve along that route. South Everett park and ride, for example, is basically in the middle of nowhere, but the bus spends very little time getting on and off the freeway to get there. While the stop is easy to serve via the freeway, it is very difficult to walk to, and not on a major cross street. Community Transit doesn’t serve it, while Everett Transit serves it poorly. Not only is the 29 infrequent, but it connects to very little (mainly the mall). Keep in mind, though — Everett Transit has very little money. This is an agency tasked with serving a very sprawling, low density city. Focusing on other, key corridors (like those for Swift) is a reasonable trade-off, given the nothingness at the South Everett Park and Ride. It may be that they feel like there aren’t that many people headed to Seattle, and if they are headed to downtown Everett, there are better alternatives. They also believe (for whatever reason) that the mall is the best place for a transit center.

        That really is the big issue. The mall is extremely difficult to serve via I-5 (either direction) while there is very little at South Everett Freeway Station. Interestingly enough, from what I can tell, Everett Transit will change that, when it implements this plan. There appears to be frequent service to South Everett Station from both directions. As I said elsewhere, it still isn’t clear what the actual bus routes will be. But one possibility is to simply send the 7 farther south before cutting over. That means it would turn on 112th, and serve the park and ride before heading up again to serve the mall.

        Of course the big change will occur in a few years, when Link gets to Lynnwood. That will free up a lot of money that is spent slogging to downtown. Lynnwood becomes the main terminus point. At that point, I could easily see Community Transit and Sound Transit coming up with better routes to provide faster service to Seattle. I suggested something like this: https://seattletransitblog.com/2018/03/13/frequent-everett-bus-routes-serving-lynnwood-link/

        [Side note: the post was supposed to have an embedded image, but I somehow messed it up (Google shares images in a strange way) — but the link still works (just click on “map”).]

      3. Community Transit doesn’t serve a corridor. The 201/202 stop at Everett Station and one other stop. It’s express in Everett because Everett is not in CT’s service area, Swift’s Everett stops are paid for by ET as a partnership.

      4. @Mike — The 201/202 serves five stops in Everett (according to the stop listing):

        Broadway & 34th St
        Everett Station Bay A4
        Broadway & Pacific Ave
        Broadway & 13th St
        Broadway & Tower St

        You are right, though, that isn’t as much as the 7. Still, it would be trivial to ask CT to add a couple more stops (and have Everett subsidize them a bit more). I still contend that the issue is the fare (as I wrote below). Yes, stopping a couple more times would make the ride to Marysville slower, but the route is obviously doing double duty, otherwise it would just skip that part of Everett and get on the freeway.

        Likewise with Swift. Yes, Swift is a limited stop route, but the 7 is not operated as if it is trying to be a “local”, and pick up the folks who would otherwise have to walk a long ways. You don’t run the most frequent bus in your system as a local.

        I simply think that if you killed the 7, you would have a lot of complaints — not about the lack of stops, or more transfers (to get to the mall) — but over the added cost. Asking riders to pay $2.25 instead of a buck is a big jump.

      5. Ross B said;

        Everett Transit has very little money. This is an agency tasked with serving a very sprawling, low density city. Focusing on other, key corridors (like those for Swift) is a reasonable trade-off, given the nothingness at the South Everett Park and Ride.

        Well RossB, I share your assessment. I’d love it if the boosters of more housing density formed a club for Everett & Mukilteo. Ditto one for Skagit.

        Everett desperately needs a lot more condos and frankly to try out a condo tower or two. Because housing density will only help with managing transit demand.

  6. Why do they have two transit agencies up there?…this must cause huge inefficiencies for a moderately populated county. It would be like splitting Seattle out from KC Metro. That sounds crazy, considering how many trips start and end (and travel through) in multiple jurisdictions. Everett and Community Transit should pool their resources and then restructure, especially with Link’s landscape changing arrival on the horizon.

    1. The two agencies have different sales tax rates and different priorities. Everett voted against being part of the 1970s district that later became Community Transit, so it was excluded from the successful ballot measure in 1976. The state legislature looked at merging the two in the 1990s, but the cost savings were very small (something like $350K), since the route network didn’t overlap.

      Even today, the only real issues are raised in the unincorporated area between Everett and Lynnwood, which was ceded to Community Transit a while ago. CT 201/202 runs as an express service through Everett and adding more stops (to replace part of ET Route 7) would be detrimental for Marysville/Arlington/Stanwood/Tulalip.

      1. But that area represents huge issues getting between the South Everett Freeway Station, Everett Mall, and Mariner P&R. There’s no direct service to Everett Mall from the south, even though I’m sure a lot of people want to go there.

      2. Yeah, there does appear to be a lack of cooperation between agencies, but that is nothing new. ST and Metro don’t always match up perfectly.

        As Glenn pointed out earlier, when discussing the same issue (https://seattletransitblog.com/2018/03/13/frequent-everett-bus-routes-serving-lynnwood-link/#comment-795958) Everett Transit charges only a dollar per bus ride. That is a heavily subsidized ride, and probably leads to some of these issues. Everett Transit is geared towards serving businesses in Everett (downtown, the mall, Boeing). It may be that the mall is actually over-served, but Everett Transit (being part of Everett government) wants to prop up the mall.

        The difference in goals as well as fares could also explain other apparent weaknesses. There is a tremendous amount of redundancy with the 7. It is the only single Everett Transit route that has anything resembling frequent service. But Community Transit doesn’t have a lot of frequent service either. Yet CT serves almost all of the 7 with frequent service. Furthermore, the only part of north Everett served by CT is on the exact same street that the 7 serves. This is not an obscure part of Everett — it includes much of downtown. The only Swift line is also on the exact same street that the 7 serves. The only unique piece is the service over to the mall, which could easily be done via increasing service on the 12. It is as if neither agency recognizes the other.

        I think it is quite likely that the low fare has a lot to do with it. Otherwise, I think Everett would just rely on Community Transit, and at most add a few runs. If CT doesn’t run late enough (or often enough) then run a few buses to take up the slack (similar to how Metro runs the 312, to work with the 522). But it makes a big difference if the bus that is coming charges $1, or it charges $2.25. You are bound to get overlap, since a lot of people will only want to ride the former.

      3. One also needs to keep in mind that CT has an official policy framework of prioritizing coverage over frequency, whereas ET has the converse position.

      4. “CT has an official policy framework of prioritizing coverage over frequency, whereas ET has the converse position.”

        I think that’s not exactly correct. ET frequency isn’t that great versus most CT routes.

      5. The North Broadway corridor is actually an example of good coordination between CT and ET. CT 201/202 function as a limited-stop express, while ET 7 picks up local riders. There’s a common stop at 13th that is served by both sets of routes. It’s basically a precursor to the Swift line to Marysville (anticipated to come in the late 2020s).

    2. Keep in mind Seattle originally did have a separate transit authority, and it was merged (apparently somewhat messily) into what became KC Metro in the early 80s.

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