U.S. Representative Rick Larsen visited Community Transit on Feb. 19 and took a ride on the agency’s new bus rapid transit line, Swift.
Larsen, who represents Washington’s 2nd Congressional District (most of Snohomish County north to the Canadian border), is a former Community Transit board member and has been a key transit supporter in Congress. He helped secure some of the federal funding that purchased Swift hybrid buses and that is keeping Swift in operation.
“Swift is not only Washington’s first bus rapid transit line, it’s also a great example of how innovative transportation ideas can encourage more people to use transit,” said Larsen.
Swift runs every 10 minutes weekdays from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., and every 20 minutes nights and on weekends. Swift serves 12 stops each direction between Everett Station and the Aurora Village Transit Center in Shoreline, providing a one-seat ride across the Everett city line and reducing bus travel time by as much as 30 percent.
Swift started service on Nov. 30, 2009 and has quickly become Community Transit’s highest ridership route. In January, Swift served an average of nearly 2,400 riders each weekday.
At Community Transit’s headquarters, Larsen met with employees and urged them to keep their morale up even as the agency is proposing service cuts and layoffs. Larsen was on the Community Transit board in 2000 when the agency lost a third of its funding after the state cut MVET support to transit agencies. At that time, Community Transit cut 23 percent of its service, including all weekend service.
Larsen said he is doing what he can to get federal funding to help the agency, and pointed out that because of the recession many other agencies across the country are faced with similar financial troubles.