Photo by Bruce Englehardt

It shouldn’t come as a shock that STB would endorse a ballot measure that would add more bus service, including longer hours, more frequency, more and faster connections, and more right-of-way priority treatments, in an urban region that makes good use of it. Bruce Englehardt described in full what the measure would likely fund. It is both a response to lower federal funding, and an opportunity to match Olympia’s growth and extend service hours.

Thankfully, an organized campaign is getting the word out on the value that IT provides to its community. Not just a lifeline for the carless, the agency provides long-haul services to Tacoma, and thus to the core Puget Sound network. Today, it is the most fragile link in continuous transit service for the urban agglomeration from Everett to Olympia.

New Thurston County voters may still register to vote in person through Monday, October 29, at the Thurston County Courthouse, Building 1, during regular business hours. The Courthouse campus is a medium hike southwest from the Capitol campus, and served by Intercity Transit bus routes 12 and 42.

You can read the rest of our endorsements here.

10 Replies to “Yes on Thurston County Intercity Transit Proposition 1”

  1. I seem to remember that IT was with the ORCA system awhile back, but pulled out. Is that right? Would appreciate fixing that, because it’s a pest to have to carry 50 cents change in my pocket for a ride to Tacoma to transfer to get a coffee at the Anthem in the State History Museum before I take the streetecar to Freighthouse Square for the Sounder or the 574.

    Or used to ’til I-5 packed so solid at 5AM that I went rogue and became an evil legend among the Steilacoom peoples. My hidden routes are carefully planned to lower greenhouse gases by never seeing another car in windshield or mirrors. But hours left in my life are getting more depletable by the minute.

    Really is time to put IT into ST. Only positive effect of the Million Megaton Market that gave Olympia a lot more culture threatening refugees than me. Who are also spreading into surrounding counties, like Mason, an effort to build tourist attracting underground sewers.”Ristretto” is no longer another Spaghetti Eastern Opera. With at least three other transit systems of their own.

    If Senator Steve O-ban was related to Prime Minister Viktor Orban, every trip to Tacoma I’d have savage racist Hungarian border guards yelling a me over the barbed wire to go back to either Syria or the Ottoman Empire. And also put up cameras. Well, the man can dream, can’ he?

    So what I’m saying is that if we don’t have the votes now, we’d better have our operations ready when the Nisqually is no longer a Bridge Too Far just because it’s so packed with traffic that car roofs will be new form of sub-paving. Another little ray of sunshine through the skyscrapers covering up the clock at King Street Station. Like it or not…well, we can design parking lots that convertable to TOD condos.

    And also immediately arrange with IT to let the 574 terminate at Olympia Transit Center, with the State legislative office building by the Domebeing only stop ’til Lakewood, followed by Tacoma followed by Sea-Tac, once it gets a human operated elevator. I see twp generations of positive votes. Worth the bumper stickers and yard signs to try.

    Mark Dublin

    1. I don’t remember exactly, but IT might have accepted ORCA on the Lakewood/Tacoma expresses using handheld readers for a time, and of course the short-lived ST 592-Olympia would have used ORCA. I don’t think IT ever had ORCA systemwide but I don’t recall for sure.

      1. Sounds right. But no secret I want to make a formal united entity out of the Greater Puget Sound Region. Once sentence: This is how we put an end of the “Zero Sum Game” (whatever you win, I lose) that wastes so much opportunity. Can’t afford a home in Seattle? Fine. Olympia’s half an hour away by train.

        Don’t like the new Seattle? Favorite coffee house a five minute LINK ride to King Street. One stop in a neighborhood I don’t like, but will never be stuck in. To get freer and healthier, we need to get bigger faster. There it is. Now.

        Wish somebody here had caught that miserable joke about somebody else’s border officials. Whatever I think about somebody else’s motives and means….Since the British burned our capital in 1812, we’ve never looked at existential enemy, except the ones whose memorials are bad statues and horrible lingering racism still pollute the place.

        Two giant oceans and two harmless neighbors, we’re invasion-proof. Literally, the whole planet can walk into Hungary and the rest of Europe. The country upon whom Hell’s own shame should obliterate cuts is refugee intake to virtually none.

        For what our Customs and Immigration Enforcement does to helpless children and their parents who can do us only good by being here and not getting murdered in their “countries of origin…” Sack cloth and ashes, fire and brimstone, I’d going to save this publication from it.

        Budapest has one of the world’s best streetcar systems, and Trieste was in the Austro-Hungarian Empire when the Opicina cable streetcar line was invented. Aside from a posting about that, accept nothing more from me. For the sake of this blog and all you stand for, I’m gone.

        Mark Dublin

    2. I think it was for if you had a monthly pass on your ORCA equal or greater than the Olympia express fare, then you show the driver your ORCA card and you ride for free. Otherwise, you pay the cash fare.

      This is exactly what it sounds like it is, which isn’t even close to actually accepting ORCA. No IT bus has an ORCA reader, and the way they “accepted” the pass was showing your card to the driver and mostly by the honor system (I say mostly because IT said drivers may ask for your ORCA receipt to “prove” that you have a pass for that month).

      I’m sure fare evasion was rampant, because you could try to get on with an empty ORCA card, and if the driver asked for the receipt, you could say you lost it (who hasn’t?) and just pay the fare. If not, free $3 ride for you! I’m sure it was really nice for some seattle commuters who didn’t have to pay two fares, but it just doesn’t really work unless IT goes all in with ORCA.

    3. And on that note, one of the specific things they could have promised should prop 1 pass is ORCA integration (and even that is, welcome to 2010). It doesn’t really look much like they’re trying here, and basically amounts to “if we get more money, we’ll run more buses, some of which will be in new places and at night.”

      They gotta do better than that. Pierce Transit’s first effort had detailed analyses for both outcomes, with major ramifications for the system (such as a route 215 to DuPont from Lakewood if it passed, and a two-hourly route 408 that consolidated routes 406 and 407 under both outcomes, back before far east Pierce withdrew). It failed. King County Metro’s 2014 county vote had dramatic cuts threatened if funding was not approved (most of which ultimately did not come to pass, but the first round did, taking some routes such as 7X, 48X, 909, 919, 173, and more), and modest improvements if approved. It failed.

      If they got this far, they should do some analysis and put up a web page that details what we can see if it passes. Show us the routes, the travel times, the frequencies, and the spans of these new routes. Otherwise you aren’t even trying.

      1. ORCA integration makes sense for people coming from everywhere else to Olympia, but doesn’t necessarily mean it is a popular position with the majority of people in Thurston County.

        Also keep in mind the current system will be replaced completely in a few years, and it is difficult to get the equipment today.

      2. ORCA integration would cost a lot of money for a reader on every bus and losses due to revenue-sharing when passholders use multiple agencies. If the service is so skeletal that the masses aren’t using it then I’d rather it spent the money first on bus service. Metro is so big that ORCA expenses are a small fraction of the total, but that’s not necessarily the case for a small agency. The 0.4% tax increase is only so much, and since the state is already giving IT an exception to raise it, so I doubt they’ll give it another exception for ORCA anytime soon. t’s too late to include ORCA in the proposed plan because it’s already on the ballot and makes other promises. And as Glenn said, the current ORCA technology is about to be retired, and the next generation doesn’t exist yet and we’ve only been given a vague outline of what it’s capabilities and nature will be

    4. I used my RRFP ORCA on IT buses before way back when, as follows:
      * Local buses accepted it as an RRFP ID to pay $1 in cash (NOT epurse) for a Daily Pass
      * Express buses to Tacoma accepted it “on the honor system” that I had a monthly pass, I was not asked for proof even though I carried a receipt just in case

  2. I really wouldn’t sweat this one. If it has to wait ’til Thurston, or even just Olympia comes into Sound Transit, nothing lost. I hate nuisances like giving the driver an additional fifty cents so I can use my senior card with a monthly pass tag stuck to it.

    Aternatve? I could buy a regular non-senior pass for $35. Probably should. Two dollars for senior day pass. Like the parking meters in Olympia, practically free. But I wonder how much we’d either save or lose if our new system just lets a pass be complete proof of payment systemwide.

    And let the ORCA Committee figure out a way to divide up fare money within a system that doesn’t let payment by distance or agency get in its way. A pass should be your entry to the whole system. Transit’s got your money? If you don’t get any money back for rides you don’t take, then it’s the system’s job to apportion it.

    Like I’ve said, though. When Olympia or Thurston finally gets into ST, same thinking and population that brings them in will be ready to work the newcomers in.


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