Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Message to our Customers from CEO Emmett Heath: We’re All in This Together


As we have shared over the past few days, our top priority right now is to provide a safe ride for our customers and a safe working environment for our employees. We are continuing to provide our normal level of service and hope to do so for as long as we can.

Today, I would also like to take a moment to thank all of the Community Transit employees and contractors who are working tirelessly to ensure we maintain safe and dependable service during this time. While our bus drivers are the primary face of our agency, we have hundreds of employees you may never meet who are working long hours during this time. Our entire agency is committed and focused on doing whatever we can to pitch in and provide critical services to you.


Many of these staff members cannot do their jobs from home. I want to share a special note of recognition to these front-line employees who are coming to work every day to keep our operations running smoothly, from drivers, dispatchers, mechanics, technical teams, Ambassador team and facilities crews to our road supervisors and customer care team helping riders at stops, over the phone, and at the RideStore; thank you. 

If you haven’t already, please take a moment to read our most recent customer communication (March 13) that details our current disinfection protocols and our request that you partner with us in preventing the spread of COVID-19. We are also keeping our website updated with key information for riders and our communities.

Community Transit is made up of an incredible team of people who are committed to the community, to you and to each other. I am humbled to be their colleague.

If you’re on the bus today, please remember to follow social distancing guidelines with both your fellow riders and your bus driver. If you can, take a moment to say thank you to your bus driver, even from six feet away. Wednesday March 18 is Transit Driver Appreciation Day and I hope you will join me in expressing our deep gratitude to our drivers.

We are all in this together. Whether or not you are still using our services or are able to stay home during this time, we wish you good health for the weeks and months ahead.  

Emmett

Emmett Heath
CEO, Community Transit

Friday, March 13, 2020

Coronavirus Update: Staying Informed


Our ongoing commitment to providing a safe ride for both our customers and our employees is our top priority. In addition to our weekly cleaning practices, we continue to disinfect all buses daily using a backpack sprayer and spray down all hard surfaces with the disinfectant Virex II 256, specifically to address COVID-19.

We ask that all riders partner with us in preventing the spread of coronavirus by following this guidance:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol will do if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes with unwashed hands to avoid transferring germs.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces, like counters, light switches and doorknobs.
  • Stay home when you are sick and avoid close contact with others.

This week, the Governor provided guidance to transportation agencies, asking for agencies to do everything possible to encourage space between people. 

As our ridership has declined, this has naturally allowed for more space between riders. We will continue to monitor ridership daily and are working to ensure, to the best of our ability, that we are able to provide the ongoing transportation service that our customers need. We remain committed to providing current service levels as long as we are able to do so.

Providing a safe transit journey requires a partnership with our riders. Please visit our webpage where we will post updates on how we're working with local agencies to keep our communities healthy. We are also providing links to local health authorities should you have questions or concerns about the coronavirus.

Please Subscribe to free electronic alerts by email and/or texts and Follow @MyCommTrans on Twitter. Visit our blog to learn more about how we are responding to coronavirus/COVID-19 concerns.

Our top priorities are to continue service to the public and to keep our employees healthy and safe. Thank you for your patience and partnering with us to help prevent the spread of illness.





Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Coronavirus Update: How we’re responding to COVID-19 concerns

By Laurel McJannet
Be it by bus, paratransit, or vanpool, Community Transit provides vital transportation services. We transport people within Snohomish County, as well as to and from locations in King County.
Understandably, you may be feeling anxious and concern about the safety of public transit as the news of COVID-19 novel coronavirus continues to be in the headlines, social media and the topic of conversation with family and friends. We take these concerns very seriously.

Staying Informed

Updates and news about COVID-19 is changing rapidly. We are evaluating the situation daily and follow guidance provided by local health authorities. Our goal is to apply best practices to keep our customers and employees healthy. If you have questions and concerns about coronavirus, we encourage you to contact the local health authorities:

Snohomish Health District (public health district for Snohomish County)
Washington State Department of Health (Washington state government)
Call Center: 1-800-525-0127, then press #
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. government)


Backpacks charge in preparation
for nightly bus disinfection.

Updated cleaning procedures
Last week we updated our vehicle cleaning procedures to include nightly disinfecting of all high-touch areas in all our buses. We want to ensure clean surfaces each morning to assist our riders in having a safe journey to their destination. If you have any concerns or observe a bus or vehicle that needs attention, please alert a transit employee right away.

Communication

Providing a safe transit journey requires a partnership with our riders in helping to prevent the spread of illness. We have messages available on our buses and online:
·      We’ve placed posters from the Snohomish Health District aboard all buses and at transit centers to remind everyone how they can keep themselves and others healthy.
·      For updates and to check out our FAQs, please visit our dedicated webpage at https://www.communitytransit.org/coronavirus.
·      Join us on Facebook for our Community Transit Live webcasts to ask questions. We will have our regularly scheduled webcast on Tuesday, March 10 at Noon (https://www.facebook.com/communitytransit/videos/1089224144751532/) We will also have a webcast every Tuesday in the month of March.


Postponing non-essential meetings

Based on the latest guidance from the Snohomish Health District, Community Transit is postponing in-person, non-essential events and meetings that are open to the general public, whether on- or off-site, until after March 31. Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis.
Our top priorities are to continue service to the public and to keep our employees healthy and safe. Thank you for partnering with us to help prevent the spread of illness. And, stay well!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

BusFinder is BETA and BETTER

By Laurel McJannet

As of Noon today, our website looks different-- and that's by design.

BusFinder BETA is now live on communitytransit.org
Community Transit's web app, BusFinder, was introduced in the spring of 2014. It was the agency’s first app, allowing customers to access real-time information to help plan trips and locate our buses

Since then, technology on our buses has improved and the data provided is more accurate. Our customers have asked for (and need) better web experiences, visually and functionally, to get from where they are to where they want to be.
With all this in mind, we've rebuilt BusFinder from the ground up and now everyone can give it a test drive on communitytransit.org.
The BETA testing period kicks off today, Thursday February 20 and will last 4-6 weeks to gather feedback and identify bugs. We invite you to put BusFinder BETA through its paces and tell us what you think!
There are a total of 25 enhancements made to BusFinder and you can read all about them (and check out the FAQs) at communitytransit.org/busfinderbeta.
The video snippet below shows how some key enhancements look on BusFinder BETA (Note: the video has been sped up for this example-- buses will not be blinking on the map!)
  • Buses on the map indicate that the bus is transmitting "live," real-time data.
  • Data refreshes every 30 seconds, resulting in the buses moving on the map.
  • Your current location is shown as the shaded circle (as long as your location services activated on your device.)
  • Buses showing real-time data have a green "LIVE" icon in its route listing. To see the route from end-to-end with more information, just click on the ">".
We are very excited about this new BusFinder BETA and hope it brings useful, easy to understand, timely information to help make your bus ride better. 

So, what do you think? Will you try BusFinder BETA? How does it compare with other transit apps? Tell us in the comments!


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Agency Employees Volunteer Support for Kids in Transition


Students without a guardian and experiencing homelessness have difficulty connecting with needed support during the winter break from school. While other students look forward to time off from classes, these kids experience time off from the security of a warm building, support programs, and predictable meal times.

Everett Public Schools’ Kids in Transition (KIT) program helps homeless youth attend school without barriers or interruption. The KIT program identifies students experiencing homelessness and are unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. 

This holiday season, for the fourth year in a row, Community Transit and DSHS employees organized a Giving Tree program to gather donated gifts for KIT students. Employees took tags from “giving trees” located in shared workspaces and purchased items listed on the tags, including gifts, warm clothing and hygiene items.

The backpacks filled with gifts and other items were delivered to high school counselors so each KIT student would receive a backpack just before leaving for winter break.


Kelly Shepherd, Sequoia High School principal, explained that some of these kids have never had presents to open during the holidays.

According to Shepherd, students return from break and share details with their counselors about the gifts they received in their backpack. “This is such a huge impact in their lives,” Shepherd said. Sometimes students have a hard time believing the gift and hygiene necessities are for them.

Community Transit's Giving Tree program has been going since 2010, and every year employees look forward to contributing and volunteering, affirming two of Community Transit’s Core Values:
Teamwork: Agency employees worked together on lunch breaks and off-hours to purchase items and wrap gifts for the Giving Tree program to benefit KIT students. 
Equity and Inclusion: The Giving Tree donations were provided to vulnerable teens in our community dealing with challenges accessing resources. Employees wanted the teens to have the same opportunity as other students to experience holiday cheer, regardless of their living situation.

This year, agency employees provided 118 backpacks filled with wrapped gifts, including $25 gift cards. Additional hygiene items were donated and will be stored in the counselors’ offices to be used throughout the year.

Some of the backpacks were delivered to Everett Public Schools’ Community Resource Center where Community Transit employees met with KIT Coordinator Amy Perusse. “It’s amazing how these backpacks make such a difference for these students; it really does take a village,” Perusse said.


The “village” that worked together on the Giving Tree program in 2019 included Community Transit employees and:
  •         Washington Kids in Transition
  •         Lance Lewis, Everett DSHS CSO / Office Manager
  •         Kellie Bjerkaker, Everett DSHS / CSO Administrator
  •         Allen Shields, RMR Group / Property Manager
  •         South King County Firefighters Foundation
  •         Loma Hair Care
  •         Everett High School Blue & Gold Club

Almost 400 backpacks have been provided to KIT students over the four years that the Giving Tree partnership has benefited Everett School District's KIT program.

Friday, November 29, 2019

An Ode to Swift as It Turns 10

The connections Swift has made over the past 10 years goes beyond stops and stations, home-work-school. It connects people.
Margaret continues to use Swift in retirement fo
recreational, multi-modal trips on her bike.
Margaret Elwood is a big fan of Swift, our bus rapid transit service. She was on the inaugural Swift Blue Line ride 10 years ago today! If Margaret seems familiar to you, she has been a long-time fan of Swift and has written several poems about it. You can read them on our blog at http://bit.ly/MargaretOdestoSwift.
She has commemorated past Swift anniversaries with poems and even shared a birthday song on our video gallery. We couldn't let our 10th anniversary pass without an ode from Margaret:


Swift service is now 10 years old! I was on that first trip when it rolled.Reliable, swift, Always there with a lift,Your standard for service is GOLD!

Margaret, who lives in Edmonds worked as a Technical Training Administrator for the PUD in Everett, using her bike as part of her Swift commute. Today, she is retired, but still uses Swift for recreational, multi-modal trips with her bike. 
Margaret, thank you! We're glad Swift continues to play a part of your commute.

Pictured (right) is Margaret and Steve. They were both on the inaugural Swift Blue Line ride 10 years ago today (November 29, 2019)!
Steve is one of our coach operators. He just happened to be driving Swift when Margaret went out to have her husband snap a pic of her a couple days ago. Meant to be!
So, let's hear it for Swift connections of the past and for those to come as the network grows. #Swift10



Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Ride Swift to get to great community eats!


Our communities are filled with delicious and diverse places to eat. Being a new transit industry employee, who also enjoys exploring local food options, I wanted to explore what routes would get customers to some local highly-rated food options!

Since November marks the 10-year anniversary of Community Transit’s Swift Bus Rapid Transit service, I focused on the Swift Blue and Green lines, which currently serve six different cities in Snohomish County.

Check out my list of restaurants, cafes, and quick dining options below! Every location is within a 10-minute walk (approximately a half mile) of a Swift station.

Did I miss one of your favorite local spots? Please leave me a comment and I’ll update this post!


An interactive map is available here.

Swift Blue – South of Airport Rd. 

Hosoonyi Korean: Award-winning food writer and radio personality Nancy Leson, also a Snohomish County resident, has been eating here for 20 years! Serves Korean BBQ, soups, rice bowls and stir fries. Located next to the 238th St stations. 

Dick's Drive-In: The only Dick's location outside of King County is in Edmonds, just south of Swift Blue Line's 216th St SW stop. Deluxe, fries, and a chocolate shake, please! 

Chug’s Root Beer: If you love root beer, like REALLY love, then Chug's is for you: over 100 brands of root beer and 300 types of soda. A 5-minute walk from the southbound College (204th Street SW) station. 

Tubs Subs: Hearty sandwiches on thick bread that include the classics as well as new creations. A 10-minute walk from the Cherry Hill and International stations at 176th St SW. 


Swift Blue line passing Dick's in Edmonds

Swift Blue – North of Airport Rd. 

Yummy Bahn Mi: Highly-rated Vietnamese sandwiches, pho, and bubble tea! A 4-minute walk from the Colby Ave and Wetmore Ave stations. https://yummy-banh-mi.business.site/
Gyros Plus: Greek and Middle Eastern cuisine just north of the Casino Rd stations. 

Nick's Jr: Creative burgers and sides a 4-minute walk from Pecks Dr southbound station, or 10 minutes from Madison St northbound station. 

Bento Factory: Wide-ranging Japanese menu including sushi and a few Korean dishes. A 5-minute walk from the Colby Ave and Wetmore Ave stations. 

A Pizza House: Serving pizza, pasta, salads and calzone for more than 15 years in downtown Everett. Just 9 minutes north of the Colby Ave and Wetmore Ave stations. 

Botan Ramen: Variety of ramen and Japanese options, including combos and lunch specials. A 6-minute walk from the Colby Ave and Wetmore Ave stations. 

Narrative Coffee Co.: Delicious coffee creations and brunch food just a 3-minute walk from the Colby Ave and Wetmore Ave stations. 

Cafe Wylde: Vegan food with a juice and smoothie bar! A 5-minute walk from the Colby Ave and Wetmore Ave stations. 

French Toast at Narrative Coffee Co.

Swift Green South – South of 132nd

Sushi Zen: 40 different types of creative sushi rolls as well as more traditional Japanese offerings. Located next to the 16th Ave SE station. 

McMenamins: Their northern-most location is next to the 16th Ave SE station. If you're trying to collect passport stamps, don't forget that Swift Lines have bike racks!  

BMG Thai: Extensive Thai and Southeast Asian menu featuring noodle, rice, soup, salad, and curry dishes. A 5-minute walk from the 164th St SE stations. 

Azul: Latin American bistro that also is open for brunch on the weekends. A 4-minute walk from the 153rd St SE stations. 

Ezell's Famous Chicken: Classic house-made fried chicken, comfort-food sides, and desserts. Located 1-minute south of the 180th St SE stations. 

Samburna: Authentic south Indian cuisine located next to the 208th St SE stations. 


Swift Green North – North of 132nd 

Katya's Bakery: Sweets, baked goods, coffee, and custom cakes. A 4-minute walk from the 4th Ave W station. 

Shawn O’Donnel’s American Grill Irish Pub: Locally-owned and serving burgers, sandwiches and wraps, salads, as well as traditional Irish mains and sides. A 2-minute walk from the 3rd Ave SE stations. 

La Palmera: A variety of Mexican food options with lunch specials from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Accessible from both the Swift Blue and Green lines at Airport Rd. 

Don't forget that you can take Swift to access the passenger terminal at Paine Field! A Caffe Vita coffee and pastry bar serves passengers and the public next to baggage claim, while a Beecher's Handmade Cheese cafe serves sandwiches and other cheese-centric foods in the departures terminal.



Those are a few of my picks, what are your favorites? What other non-work destinations do you get to along the Swift lines?