On Monday, Feb. 18, Community Transit service will be operating on new schedules. That's not unusual, the agency changes its schedules twice a year. Typically, routing changes and other more substantial changes occur at those times.
Last year, the February service change was significant, we eliminated eight routes, created two new routes, restructured our local service network and cut service hours by 20 percent. And, that happened on Presidents Day.
That presented a bit of a problem. Community Transit no longer operates on Sundays, so our schedule changes take place on Mondays. On minor holidays, like Presidents Day, we typically run a reduced commuter schedule to Seattle as ridership is about 40 percent what it is on a non-holiday. But how do you communicate the many changes that start that day, then say that some of them won't actually happen until the next day?
Well, the Puget Sound transit agencies have agreed to have their service changes on the same day, and those dates are set by Metro. As it happens, Metro has selected Presidents Day as the February service change date through 2015.
For Community Transit riders, this means that the 30 additional commuter trips being added this month will not all be added on Feb. 18. Some will, but only on Routes 402, 413 and 855, which, along with Route 421, are the only commuter routes we operate that day. The other extra trips will start the next day.
Our other significant changes - to Routes 112 and 417, will take place on Feb. 18 because we operate regular local service on Presidents Day. We also encourage all riders to check the new Bus Plus books or the new schedules online to see what time their bus will come that day. Trip times are sometimes tweaked to make better connections, because "real-world" traffic conditions have changed, or to add or take away downtime for our drivers (they need breaks too!).
By the way, Sound Transit buses in Snohomish County will see their service changes beginning Feb. 17.