On Thursday, Community Transit will kick off its Buy Local for Transit program to educate riders and the public about how the local economy impacts transit funding, and to involve them in turning things around.
A news conference will take place at 10 a.m. at Alderwood Mall to announce the program. Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor will be joined by Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon and local business owners to tout the benefits of the program. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
The concept is simple. Encouraging transit users and everyone else to do their shopping in Community Transit’s service district can bring more money to the agency. Community Transit’s primary source of funding is a 0.9 percent share of sales tax generated in the communities it serves (9 cents on a $10 purchase). It was the decline in sales tax revenue during the recession that led to the agency's service cut this past June.
Local businesses also benefit as this program drives more customers into their stores. Cities and the county will benefit from the increased taxes and activity this business creates in their jurisdictions.
Community Transit’s service district includes 19 cities and towns as well as much of unincorporated Snohomish County. Notably, it does not include Everett, which has its own transit agency.
While shopping at any store or restaurant in the service district will help Community Transit, a number of businesses will partner with the agency by offering special discounts to Buy Local for Transit customers. A list of those businesses and their offers will be available online. To get the discount, shoppers will need to show either an ORCA regional fare card or an “I Buy Local for Transit” card that can be downloaded at www.communitytransit.org/BuyLocal.
At the news conference on Thursday, 100 I Buy Local for Transit cards will be handed out. The more people who get these cards, the more likely they will be to seek out BLT discounts and shop locally.
Also, Buy Local for Transit offers one of the first non-transit benefits for ORCA card users. Just show your ORCA card at a participating business and you can get a discount that others can’t. If you ride transit and don’t yet have an ORCA card (which saves you money on transfers), here’s one more reason to get your card now!
If you know of a business that would be interested in participating, refer them to www.communitytransit.org/BuyLocal to sign up.