Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Getting the word out about service change

We’re just three weeks away from one of the biggest service changes in Community Transit history.

Actually, in 2000 the agency cut 23 percent of its service after the state withdrew all its car tab funding for transit agencies. Over the next few years, once voters approved a sales tax increase to support Community Transit, service was brought back and reconfigured, leading to four consecutive years of record ridership from 2005-2008.

On June 13, there will be no Community Transit service, the first Sunday of our “Sunday and major holiday” service suspension.

On June 14, nearly every Community Transit route will see some trips eliminated, sections of the route cut, or both. Eight routes will be eliminated entirely, including Route 441 from Lynnwood to Redmond, our only service to the Eastside.

Since the Board of Directors approved the service change in March, then revised it slightly in April, details of each route change have been posted on Community Transit’s website.

Earlier this month, post-June 13 route schedules and route maps were added, the first time we’ve ever put that information online before Bus Plus schedule books were published. We put that information online as soon as the Bus Plus book went to the printer, and that’s something we’ll likely do in future service changes.

Beginning May 2, Community Transit staff have been riding buses, standing at park & ride lots and transit centers and talking to bus riders about the service change.

We’ve directed people to the website as the best source for updated information, and once Bus Plus books are available in early June we’ll use that as a tool to help riders find the information they need to plan their trips for after June 13.

As we talk to riders, we’re learning several things:
  • Many riders are aware of the service change, even if they disagree with it.
  • Many riders have gone online and figured out how they will get around once service changes.
  • A good portion of riders have heard something, but have not looked into the details enough to see if their route or trip is affected. We’ve helped some of these people get that information, if they have time, but as riders are often in a hurry they often say they’ll look into it later.
  • A good number of people remain unaware that service is being cut.

Our goal in this education effort is to make people aware of the changes coming and give them the tools to rearrange their trips, if needed. Above all, we want to reduce the number of people who are confused when June 13 and 14 come around, even though we know there will be some confusion.

Between now and then we will continue to meet riders where they gather, on buses and at transit facilities and bus stops. And we’ll push our education through our website, our electronic alert system, this blog, Facebook and other communication avenues.


  1. This does not mean that Sound Transit services to/from Seattle won't be operating on Sunday - that's just the only services that will be operating on those days that involve Community Transit operations...

  2. Everett Transit will be operating on Sunday as well. One might have to take Sound Transit to Everett, then south as far as Airport Road. Past that, and you're on your own!

  3. For a approach to staving off service cuts that began at first sign of the recession and has ratcheted up since, see
    It included mandatory furloughs, even for the CEO, earlier pay freezes (since 2008), and suspending projects requiring a local match. This has allowed them to hold out longer before pursuing other measures (taxes or service cuts).