Pierce Transit Looks for Smarter Cuts

Photo by Atomic Taco

Last month Pierce Transit announced the contours of the looming 35% service cut — 20% cuts on June 12th, and a further 15% on October 2nd. Disappointing for those in favor of a focus on good service in a few places over bad service everywhere, the plan incorporated the deepest cuts to core routes 1, 2, and 3, which according to T4W carry 60% of all system ridership.

It’s not immediately clear how that would be split between June and October, but the Pierce Transit Board is looking at ways to redirect the October cuts using productivity metrics:

Additionally, the Commissioners are exploring an alternative plan to implement the final 15% reductions, which will be implemented as close as possible to the originally scheduled October 2nd, 2011 service change. They asked staff to develop a plan that uses ridership and cost information to determine which routes and trips would help the most riders. A public hearing will be held on this new proposal at the June 13, 2011 board meeting, with possible adoption at the July 11, 2011 board meeting.  Staff reductions are expected to occur no later than the end of this year.

When a system withers enough, it’s appropriate to give up on winning choice riders and focus on providing skeletal service to the transit-dependent. It’s not clear that PT is at that point, and it’s reassuring that the board doesn’t think so.