Showing posts with label Lynnwood Transit Center. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lynnwood Transit Center. Show all posts

Friday, January 10, 2014

Where's My Bus: A Holiday Bus Hunt Adventure

Jeff Miller commutes year-round and tracks his miles through Community Transit's Smart Commuter Rewards Program. He was awarded "Smart Commuter of 2nd Quarter," honors last year for his efforts, which included his likeness on one of our Community Transit bus board ads. The following is Jeff's account of trying to track down "his" bus.

I commute by bike year-round, and I track all my miles on Community Transit's website.  As long as I cycle into work, my company, Esterline Controls and Communication Systems, pays me a monthly incentive to reduce congestion.  Cycling 4.5 miles each way to and from work gives me two good cardio workouts a workday, which is great for me physically and mentally—it’s my personal gym on wheels!  Because Esterline provides indoor bicycle parking and showers, my bike commute is very convenient.  And believe it or not, it’s just about as fast to ride my bike to work as it is to drive a car.  Biking just makes sense for me.     
One day, I received an email from Community Transit saying I was eligible for the Commuter of the Quarter because I cycled so many consecutive days.  I filled out the questionnaire and was surprised to hear back that I had won!  Eventually, a friend of ours who regularly rides Community Transit took a cell phone picture of my poster on the side of a bus she’d ridden and emailed it to us.  Aha!  Evidence that the poster had made the bus!  My wife decided it would make a great family Christmas picture if she and the kids posed with me in the background on the bus. 
I kept a watchful eye as I commuted by bike and searched for ‘My Bus’, but never saw it myself. If it weren’t for our friend’s picture, we wouldn’t have believed it was actually out there!  Finally I called Community Transit's Marketing Department during the holidays and asked if they could track my picture down.   I thankfully got a call from Community Transit with a few bus numbers that had my picture. Now, I had to get a route and a safe place for a picture. 
The people at Community Transit were extremely helpful and within a few days, provided us with a route number that the bus was running.  
“OK kids, we are packing up and heading to the Lynnwood Transit Center for a Bus Hunt!” 
 We huddled at bus bay where our route was to arrive and waited.  The drivers were all courteous and kind, but they were wondering why we didn’t get on the bus!  We let them know we were waiting for “Jeff’s bus” and showed them the poster as evidence.  The third bus driver let us know the total route time and figured there were a total of 9 or 10 buses that we may have to wait through to check them all out.  We got through about 5 buses and the kids were getting pretty cold.  We were also running out of daylight for a good quality photo, so we decided to leave.
Just then—right on our way out of the Transit center--our youngest yelled, “Dad! – There you are!” 

Did Jeff find his bus? Did the Millers get their family Christmas picture? Stay tuned and find out!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Gov. Inslee Makes Pitch for Snohomish County Transportation Investment

Gov. Jay Inslee was at Lynnwood Transit Center yesterday making the case for new investment in transportation projects. He said that Snohomish County is a key for transportation investment because of Boeing and other manufacturing jobs that rely on roads and transit to move goods and people.

With a backdrop of a Swift bus and speaking to an audience of about 100 people, including many elected officials, business owners and community leaders, Inslee said the state has a role in transportation and he called upon legislators to work with him to get a funding package approved as soon as possible.

Asked if there would be a special session of the Legislature later this year to approve a transportation funding package, Inslee said, "We need to have a package fully baked, and the votes fully identified before calling a special session." Inslee said he did not want
to bring lawmakers together to simply "sit around talking."

Following the speech, about 60 people took a tour of county projects identified in a funding proposal on a Community Transit bus. For its part, Community Transit is seeking funding to add service after several years of cuts. The agency also is studying routing for a new Swift line and is seeking state funding to help that become a reality.

Thanks to Economic Alliance Snohomish County, which sponsored this event, and is leading the effort in Snohomish County to get transportation projects funded.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Navigating Snohomish County by Bike

Whether you bike as part of your commute or just for fun, Snohomish County offers a lot of great options for getting around and enjoying the beauty of this region.  Here are just a few of the routes that make this a great area for biking.
Snohomish County bicyclist, Jason Wilsey, enjoying the trails!
Centennial Trail – Spanning 30 miles from Snohomish to the Skagit County line, this paved recreational trail provides great opportunities to ride for both beginners and more advanced riders.  The trail connects Snohomish, Lake Stevens and Arlington with parking lots, restrooms and picnic areas located at points between.
Interurban Trail – This 15.1 mile, paved trail is great for commuting and recreational biking.   While most of the trail is separated from traffic, there are several places where the trail is a designated bike route on the road shoulder.  The trail is located next to or near the South Everett Park and Ride, Mariner Park and Ride, McCollum Park Park and Ride, Ash Way Park and Ride, Edmonds Park and Ride and the Lynnwood Transit Center for easy connections to transit.
To find other bike routes in Snohomish County, download a copy of Community Transit’s Snohomish County Bike Map.  Also, check out these other great resources for more information on biking:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

2013 Bike to Work Day Wrap-up

Last Friday, Community Transit was out at the Lynnwood Transit Center, McCollum Park Park and Ride and Boeing to celebrate Bike to Work Day!  We had 327 bike riders join us for food, coffee and fun!

Thanks to all the bikers that joined us at one of the Community Transit commute stations.

Oxy Gene stopped by the Lynnwood Transit Center commute station to thank
these bike riders for their commitment to cleaner air.

Community Transit and Boeing staffs were out bright and early Friday morning to greet bikers.

A special thanks to our bike mechanics from Bicycle Centres, Harvy’s Bike Shop and
Gregg’s Cycle that were on hand to help riders with minor repairs and maintenance advice!

Thank you to everyone that made Bike to Work Day in Snohomish County a success this year!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Seattle Ride Free Area Going Away

King County Metro Transit has decided to eliminate the downtown ride free area on Sept. 29. The decision was really made by the King County Council as a concession to approve the two-year $20 car tab fee.

Either way, there are a few impacts for Community Transit riders.

Commuters who board Community Transit buses in downtown Seattle will pay on entry, which is how they pay everywhere else. This also means that riders must board at the front doors.

Having an ORCA card will make boarding faster; so far the vast majority of Community Transit's commuter riders have ORCA cards.

Lynnwood-bound riders who board north county Routes 421, 422 or 425 will need to let the driver know they are only going to Lynnwood before paying fare. This allows the driver to change the farebox from the default north county fare. Currently, this is done at the Lynnwood Transit Center as people deboard.

The upside to this change is that when commuters get to their destination they can just hop off the bus from any door! Also, there shouldn't be a lot of "free riders" taking their seats in downtown Seattle. Community Transit does not have a local fare in King County, so anyone boarding a bus downtown will have to pay a commuter fare.

The downside could be confusion the first few days after the change. There may also be longer waits for buses downtown as people take longer to board.

For information on how people can get around downtown, visit Metro's website.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Route 196 Schedule Adjustments

By Tom Pearce, Public Information Specialist

Since the February service change, we’ve been listening to customers and tracking service to see where things haven’t quite worked out. With that in mind, starting Monday, April 9, there will be changes to the Route 196 schedule.

On that date, all Route 196 trips in both directions that start after 2:40 p.m. will begin five minutes later. This adjustment, combined with a change to the way drivers’ work is configured, will help keep these buses on schedule the rest of the day.

The new Route 196 schedules will be posted at each stop by Monday, April 9. Meanwhile, the new schedules have already been posted online and are loaded into our Trip Planner so trips can be planned for after April 9.

Route 196 is a new route offering all-day half-hour service between the Alderwood mall area and Edmonds waterfront. The route is averaging more than 500 riders a day, which is very good for a new route. So far, this route has suffered from late trips in the afternoon and a lack of stops around the Lynnwood Civic Center/Lynnwood Transit Center area. We continue to work with Lynnwood officials on the bus stop issue.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Service Change - Bus Stop Locations

The service change that took place yesterday was in the works for nearly a year. That's the time it took to get guidance from our Board (once we knew how much money we needed to save), develop three alternative scenarios, present them to the public and gather feedback, go through the Board decision process, then fully schedule the final service plan, train drivers, produce signage and information materials and start the new service.

It is near the tail end of that process, after we have fully scheduled the service plan, that we reach out to cities and the county to talk about where we want to locate new bus stops. Each jurisdiction has a separate bureaucracy for dealing with such requests, with their own criteria and timelines.

What we submit are requests based on what we feel is the best place for riders to catch a particular bus. This year, our route shuffling was designed to eliminate loops and deviations - in other words, make the routes as direct as possible to save time and money. Most requests are granted, but not always; sometimes we are given alternatives to consider, and sometimes flatly denied.

Sometimes the process goes beyond the time frame in which we need to produce Bus Plus, maps and other public information.

Just last week, we were granted permission to put two new temporary stops on Marine Drive outside the Warm Beach Senior Community near Stanwood. The timing on that decision was close! We are still awaiting decisions from the City of Lynnwood on stop requests for Routes 112 and 196 near the Lynnwood Transit Center. Obviously, the new service has already started, so the omission of those stops is glaring. We are forwarding comments from our customers to the city, but it is their decision to make. The service still works without those stops, but it may not be as convenient for some customers.

We can add stops at any time during the year, not just at a service change. With the vast number of changes that took place this week, there are bound to be some tweaks here or there. Most tweaking will happen when we publish new schedules on Oct. 1, but if stop requests are granted before then, we could make some changes sooner.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Reality Check - Changes Coming!

Community Transit staff have been out at park & rides and on board buses reminding riders that a major service change will take place on Feb. 20. Many people are aware of this, and many have gone online or read the Guide to Service Change to see how their travel will be impacted. But there are still quite a few people out there who think these changes are negotiable and may not realize they are going to happen, soon!

To date, we have spoken to more than 1,700 riders about the upcoming service change. We get that number by adding the number of conversations we've had to the number of people on buses that we hop on and make an announcement. In some cases, we may have a five- or 10-minute conversation with someone waiting for their bus; in others there is a 25-second announcement that the changes are coming Feb. 20 and all the details are in the Guide to Service Change and on our website.

Given that we have about 40,000 boardings a day on our buses, that comes down to just south of 20,000 actual daily riders. We hope to speak to maybe 3-4,000 in person before the service change, and those people may talk to others. Through this blog, our electronic alerts (13,000+ subscribers), our website and our Facebook page, we hope the word is getting out to more. And, of course, everyone who rides the bus has a chance to see the materials on board.

But again, not everyone pays attention or realizes the urgency. Even on these pages we see commentors suggesting alternatives to the changes. It's always great to get feedback, but the public comment period for these changes took place last summer; these changes are final.

Maybe that fact will sink in when the printed Bus Plus schedule books arrive on buses later this week.

The changes are not perfect. Service cuts never make people happy. But nearly everyone should be able to still use our service with some adjustments. And we'll be making adjustments later this year. If a connection just is not working out, or trip times need to change, we can do that. For now, we are trying to make people aware that changes are coming, soon.

We'll be out by the Albertson's in Mukilteo, at the Ash Way Park & Ride and the Lynnwood Transit Center this week, and at Mariner Park & Ride, Boeing and Everett Station next week. What question will you be asking?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

February 2012 Route Information is Online

We are now several days into the new year and more details are available about the upcoming Feb. 20 service change. This is one of the largest service changes in our agency’s history—every route will be affected, although the commuter service to the University District will see only minor schedule changes.

In all, nine routes are being eliminated, 20 routes have changes to their routing and 29 routes will have fewer trips scheduled. There also will be two new routes, one in south county along 196th between Edmonds and Alderwood, and one in north county taking over the eastern portion of Route 240 between Smokey Point and Arlington.

The information now online is the same information that is in the Guide to Service Change that is going on buses this week. That booklet provides comprehensive information about the routing changes, trip reductions or frequency reductions, and tips for connections for each route. There are also maps for each route that has routing changes, and area maps to show how the service will connect in various geographic areas.

What the Guide to Service Change does not have are the specific schedules or bus stop lists for each route. Those will be available online soon, and the Bus Plus schedule books will be on buses at the beginning of February.

Here is an example of what information is in the Guide and online now:

Route 113: Mukilteo–Ash Way Park & Ride
Routing Changes - Map (shown above):
• Revised route ends at Ash Way Park & Ride instead of Lynnwood Transit Center.
• No service south of 164th Street.
Weekday Schedule: Daytime frequency reduced from every 20 minutes to every 30 minutes.
Saturday Service: Frequency reduced from every 30 minutes to every hour.
Connecting Routes: Swift, Routes 101, 112, 115, 116, 119, 201, 202, 413, 415, 417, 810, 860, 880, 885, 511, 532, Everett Transit, Sounder, Washington State Ferries.
Route 113 Rider Tips:
• Routes 112 and 113 will connect at Ash Way Park & Ride instead of Lynnwood.
• For service to Alderwood mall or Lynnwood Transit Center, passengers can transfer at 164th Street & 35th Ave. or Ash Way Park & Ride to Routes 115, 116, 201 or 202, all of which have frequent service.

The map shows the new routing, along with what section has been deleted. The rider tips explain that riders wanting to get to Alderwood, Lynnwood Transit Center or the Lynnwood Civic Center can transfer to specific buses to get there.

What riders will discover as they begin to use the newly designed service is that Route 113 now connects to the Ash Way Park & Ride, which has connections all over the county and to Seattle so there are new opportunities. It will take some getting used to, but our planners, faced with the financial reality of cutting 20 percent of our service, redesigned many routes to shorten trips, connect to other service and open up new opportunities.

Because some riders will need to transfer when they didn’t need to before, it is even more important for people to get an ORCA card if they don’t have one. With ORCA, your fare is transferred to any other trip you take in the next two hours.

In the coming days, and for the next two months, we’ll have more information here and on the website about the Feb. 20 service change.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Route 424 Dilemma: Fewer Trips or Longer Ride?

On Wednesday, June 15, Community Transit will host its next Community Open House meeting in Monroe, at the High School Performing Arts Center from 6-8 p.m.

Some of the people likely to attend are those bus riders who take Route 424, a commuter route from east Snohomish County to downtown Seattle. Already, this is a long trip, as the bus begins picking up passengers in Snohomish then travels east to Monroe, south to SR522 and I405 then across the always-congested SR520 bridge.

Last week at the Monroe Park & Ride I spoke with a number of Route 424 riders about the alternatives looming for 2012. They pose quite a dilemma. Under Alternatives I and II, the number of trips for that route gets cut from three trips each direction to two trips. As riders pointed out, the buses are already full, especially in the afternoon as people tend to pack into one or two of the three trips home.

Under Alternative III, the number of trips is increased to four in each direction. But the nature of the route is changed to a commuter feeder route. Rather than traveling directly to Seattle, this route would veer from SR522 onto northbound I405, stop at Canyon Park and continue on to the Lynnwood Transit Center. There, riders can transfer to any of a number of buses that go to downtown Seattle. A longer trip, and a transfer.

As I kept repeating last week, and all our staff will continue to tell each rider who is not happy with the choices in the alternatives, we have to cut 20 percent of our costs. There is no way to make people happy with that level of cuts.

The savings in Alts. I and II are obvious; one fewer trip each direction that won't run. The savings in Alt. III come from not having those four buses travel all the way back from Seattle to Snohomish empty.

Essentially, the choices for commuters are between the familiar (Alts. I and II) with the downside being fewer trips. Because the times for those trips have not been figured out yet (that will happen when we're down to one scenario), riders should state their preferred time when giving their input.

The other choice is flexibility (Alt. III) with an upside being more options. In the case of Route 424, there would be more options to catch the bus each way, and more options for connections to and from Seattle. The downside is, of course, more time spent traveling.

Given that there have to be cuts, what are your thoughts about the choices before you for your ride?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Driving Is An Expensive Choice

I went shopping at REI this weekend to spend my dividend and use my discount, along with thousands of other members and shoppers. We started at the Alderwood REI, but soon confirmed that we needed more choices. We had brought our ORCA cards just in case we wanted to take Sound Transit to the downtown Seattle REI.

Just as we were heading to Lynnwood Transit Center, one of those spring squalls passed through. We decided to drive to Seattle instead.

It was an expensive choice.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

On Sitting, Standing and Sharing

After my post on improved commuter route productivity – due to fewer buses (and seats) to Seattle and more efficient routing – we received a question about crowded buses at Lynnwood Transit Center around 7 in the morning. Some 40-foot buses are packed, while some larger buses leaving at different times seem only partly full.

Articulated buses are assigned to the trips that have the most passengers most often. That may be hard to judge from the curb – and can be a close call for transit planners as well. A Community Transit planner – who helps identify what size of bus gets assigned to what trip – explains how a similar number of passengers can look very different:

“The seating capacity of a 40-foot bus is roughly 39 people and the seating capacity of a 60-foot articulated bus is 65 people. That means a standing room only load on a 40-footer would only be 60 percent full on an articulated bus. To some observers, a 60 percent full bus could look like a bus that is only half full.”

Community Transit staff did analyze seating capacity and ridership prior to our June service changes, and our goal is for all passengers to have a seat, especially on longer trips (Lynnwood is a comparatively shorter run). As one of the commenters noted, many people take different trips on different days, so ridership has peaks and valleys. That can result in crowded trips at times.

On paper we now have 40 percent more seats than riders at Lynnwood Transit Center, on average. We constantly monitor ridership and can adjust bus assignments. But usually, assigning an artic to a new trip means taking it off another run, so we don’t do that lightly.

This is a tight economy and we don’t have money for excess. That means commuters used to spreading out may need to share a seat – and even stand on rare occasions. If your bus is regularly overcrowded, please let us know.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Seats Filling Up on Commuter Routes

Although the Great Recession continues to bring bad news to transit agencies around the country, the Community Transit board did get some good news last week: productivity on commuter routes is up.
Productivity is a measure of the number of passengers per hour of service on a given route (boardings per revenue hour, in transit speak). It is impacted by ridership and by the length of a route, both in terms of distance and time.
  • Boeing routes have improved from 23 boardings per revenue hour to 26.
  • University routes have improved from 25 boardings per hour to 32.
  • Seattle routes have improved from 26 boardings per hour to 33.
The improvements in efficiency show that while the service reductions made in June were painful, many of them were strategic, just as we’d intended. Commuter buses no longer make slow-speed loops through neighborhoods to pick up a handful of passengers. Instead, we’ve focused service on park & rides where many commuters board at once.

Seattle routes from north Snohomish County with extra capacity (empty seats) now make stops at Lynnwood Transit Center to fill up. That’s brought Route 421 from Marysville up from 16 boardings an hour to 25.
Boeing ridership overall is down because we cut the earliest trips of the day, but the remaining service is being better utilized at lower cost to Community Transit and our taxpayers. Route 247 from Stanwood has gone from 24 boardings an hour last July and August to 35 this summer.

Local routes that were reconfigured in June have also improved in efficiency, though productivity on local routes overall is down along with ridership. Swift bus rapid transit continues to buck that trend, growing in boardings per revenue hour despite having the most time on the street of any route in our system.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bikes and Buses, Part II: Bike Parking

I really don’t like bringing my bicycle to downtown Seattle on the bus. I don’t carry much of a lock on my bike, but I do have a lot of other good, easy to steal “stuff” hanging off, such as lights, bike bags and the wheels themselves. I also wouldn't want to leave my bike parked all day (in the rain or sun) in a bike rack at a park & ride. Yet the nearest commuter bus stop is 2 miles from my house – 10 minutes by bike, 40 minutes by foot, a lot of unnecessary pollution and driving by car. The solution? A box at the park & ride that fits bikes called a “bike locker.”

Community Transit manages 92 bike lockers at 15 park & rides around Snohomish County. Those same lots have 6,458 car parking spaces. Given that bicyclists make up less than 2 percent of our passengers overall (see Part I), that might be about right. But the most popular places to park a car are also the most popular places to park a bike: Lynnwood Transit Center and Ash Way Park & Ride have (years) long waiting lists of people hoping to get a bike locker.

The good news for Lynnwood is that Sound Transit (locker purchaser) is working with Community Transit (locker manager) to place 10 more locker spaces near the commuter bus bays. I’m not sure of the timeline, but I’m excited.

Both agencies install bike lockers at new facilities as a matter of course. But we’ve been slower to respond to demands at existing park & rides.

About 70 percent of Community Transit’s bike lockers are currently leased. Unlike a car parking spot, a bike locker is “yours” for the length of your contract. That’s why some agencies charge a small fee for lockers – something Community Transit is also considering.
The next evolution in bike-transit technology is easy to install, easy to administer “pay per use” lockers. They exist, but have not yet been tried in the Puget Sound region (see where some are in use). King County Metro Transit plans to test on-demand lockers next year. Another way to expand capacity is a simple bike cage or room, a concept in use for employees at the Snohomish County Campus.

A more sophisticated version is the Bike Port in downtown Seattle – that’s one place down there where I have left my bicycle without trepidation.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

For emergency transportation, who do you call?

The terrible fire at the Lynnview Apartments in Lynnwood was all over the news last night. Everyone who lived there lost their homes – and had to find a place to sleep after watching their belongings burn. The Red Cross arranged for a church nearby to act as a shelter. Firefighters needed help getting people there.

Who did they call? Community Transit. We sent two buses to the scene and transported 30 people to the Trinity Lutheran Church. Some families will be staying there until other accommodations can be arranged.

The Lynnview Apartments are just blocks away from the Lynnwood Transit Center, and I expect many of the residents are regular Community Transit riders. I’m glad we could help them last night. If you’d like to help as well, consider a donation to the local Red Cross.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Downtown Seattle bus bay changes at Lynnwood Transit Center

One of the fallouts from the June 13 service change was confusion at Lynnwood Transit Center’s Bay D5.

Six different bus routes were scheduled to leave that same bay to downtown Seattle each morning. As you can imagine, some of the those buses arrived at nearly the same time and customers were inventively forming various queues to catch a particular bus.

After several days of observation and receiving comments from riders, we’ve made an adjustment that will improve customer loading and bus flow. These changes go into effect on Tuesday, July 6.

• Community Transit Routes 401, 402 and 422, all of which travel to downtown Seattle from the north end via Stewart and 2nd, will continue to depart from Bay D5.

• Community Transit Routes 421 and 425, which travel to downtown Seattle from the south end via Cherry and 4th, will depart from Bay D4.

• Sound Transit Route 511, which travels to downtown Seattle from the north end via Stewart and 5th, will depart from Bay D2.

• All routes will serve their new bay assignments in both the southbound and northbound directions.

Information about the changes is available at the bus bays and on the Community Transit website. Also, staff will be at LTC Tuesday morning to help people adjust to the new bay assignments.

This change means that our newly printed Bus Plus books will be incorrect for these routes at these bays. But it was decided that improving the customer experience was the higher priority. Besides, minor changes are often made between service change cycles which deviate from Bus Plus language. Which is why we now tell our customers that the best, most-up-to-date information can be found on our website.

By the way, riders to and from Lynnwood now have more options because of the service change. Several routes (Routes 421, 422 and 425) from north Snohomish County now make stops at LTC on their way to and from downtown Seattle, meaning there are more buses to choose from between Lynnwood and Seattle. Now that we’ve got the bay issue worked out, we hope more riders will learn to take advantage of this benefit.