Who rides Community Transit buses and why do they do so? The results of our 2010 On Board Survey begin to answer those questions. We have received a preliminary report on the 8,000 surveys returned last October. This will be the first of several blogs to discuss some of the results. I’ll break the posts into rider types based on routes.
- Boeing Riders
- Commuter Riders
- University Riders
- Local Riders
- Swift Riders
First, some background. Community Transit operates four bus routes that serve Boeing: Route 227 from Arlington/Marysville, Route 247 from Stanwood, Route 277 from Monroe and Route 280 from Lake Stevens. Our Boeing-route passengers are a dedicated lot, based on the survey.
- 55% of Boeing riders have ridden Community Transit for six years or more.
- 31% have ridden for two to five years
Unfortunately, the corollary is also true: Boeing service is not attracting new riders. Only 6% started riding in the past year, compared to 20% new riders in our system overall.
Despite their long-term commitment to public transportation, Boeing bus riders are not a captive audience. Ninety-four percent say they own a car but choose to use transit. At the same time, Boeing riders are the least likely to drive to the bus of all our commuter riders (Boeing, Seattle or U-District service): 48% walk to their stops, while 38% drive.
Most Boeing riders pay for the bus with an ORCA card. As a company, Boeing subsidizes bus passes and vanpools and has other programs in place to encourage alternative transportation. If you’ve ever tried to get onto Highway 526 at 5:30 a.m. (or if you work at Boeing and try to park there), you’ll know that encouraging transit use is in Boeing’s self-interest. There’s also the state Commute Trip Reduction Law which requires large employers (and who is larger than Boeing?) to do their part in reducing congestion.
Because of the varying start times and shift work at Boeing, the increased flexibility of vanpools makes them more popular than buses. There are 88Community Transit vanpools to Everett Boeing, and many more from other counties around the region.
But something about Community Transit’s Boeing bus service obviously works for our long-term bus riders – or maybe it’s something about driving to Boeing that doesn’t work . Either way, we have something to learn from them about how to encourage more people to choose public transportation even when they have other options.