Monday, January 7, 2019

Meet Emily, Travel Training Program Graduate

Travel Training: Fostering Independence for People with Special Needs

Travel Training Graduate from Community Transit on Vimeo.

Emily learned about Travel Training by watching her younger brother, Kevin, gain his independence through the program. Even though Kevin has more limitations than Emily, his bravery and fierce determination were inspiring to her, and the push she needed to find her own path. "I thought if he could be successful at it, I could be successful at it."

Emily started working with Christine, her Travel Trainer, during her senior year of high school. In the beginning Emily's busy school and work schedules only allowed for 1-2 sessions with Christine per month. After graduation she was able to meet Christine more often and felt fully confident on the bus within a year of her first session. "At first it was a bit nerve-wracking, but over time it got more fun and I needed a little less help."

Some of the first places Emily learned to get to by bus were places Kevin went to, such as their family church and Mukilteo Beach. Since then Emily enjoys going to the library, the Dollar Store, and Alderwood Mall. She is even dreaming about learning how to get to downtown Seattle by bus, and trying Community Transit's Swift bus rapid transit network once the Swift Green Line opens in March.

Like many teenagers newly out of high school, Emily is trying to decide what is next. She thinks college might be a good plan, but for now she is dedicated to feeling more independent and trying new things. And, of course, being able to get where she wants is a big part of that independence. "Taking the bus often offers me an open door that I haven't opened yet growing up, and I think I want to keep following in Kevin's footsteps."

We think you are just as brave and adventurous as your brother, Emily. Your thoughtfulness and willingness to stay open to new experiences is really inspiring. We can't wait to see where your path leads you next.

Do you know someone with special needs who would benefit from our Travel Training Program? Visit communitytransit.org/TravelTraining or call (425) 348-2379.

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Giving Tree Experience


During the holiday season, many of us are busy shopping for our friends and family. It’s also the time of year when we consider ways we can help those in need within our communities, I do this by looking for volunteer opportunities. Donating my time or resources is valuable to me because I connect with neighbors and hopefully improve conditions for someone going through a difficult time.

As a newer employee with Community Transit, I was excited to participate in the employees’ Giving Tree program. The 2018 program, powered by employees, focused our efforts on bringing holiday cheer to homeless students living without a guardian.

Everett Public Schools’ Kids in Transitions (KIT) program helps homeless youth attend school without barriers or interruption. They organize community closets where students can find warm clothing to wear and pay fees for students to join sports or clubs.

For homeless students living without a guardian, it can be difficult to connect with support programs and resources during the winter break. While other students might be looking forward to time off from school, for these kids it’s time off from a warm building and hot meals. KIT coordinated with Community Transit employees to help students identified as “unaccompanied,” or without a legal guardian over the winter break.

Employees organized a gift drive for the teens, working with Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) employees on a Giving Tree program at both agencies. We took tags from “giving trees” located in their offices and purchased items listed on the tags, including sports gear, cosmetics and warm clothing. I took two tags and went shopping on a lunch break with a co-worker. We found and purchased a warm flannel, a hat, gloves and socks.

Donated items were gathered in a large room and organized by type. I and several of my co-workers volunteered personal time to wrap gifts and fill 105 backpacks with presents, personal hygiene kits, snack bags, gift cards valued at around $25 and a $10 ORCA card for use on public transit.
Community Transit employees wrapping gifts on break.


Backpacks were delivered to four high schools in the Everett and Mill Creek area. I was given the opportunity to help deliver backpacks and meet staff working with the KIT program. Kelly Shepherd, Sequoia High School principal, explained that for some of these kids, they would be receiving presents for the holidays for the first time in a while. Hearing stories about teens doing their best to attend school while dealing with homelessness, and the impact of our collective efforts gave me a feeling of being a part of something much bigger than myself.

This is the third year of a Giving Tree partnership between the agency, DSHS and Everett Public Schools. Over that time, 275 backpacks were provided to students. I’m so happy to have participated in the program this year. The opportunity to give and help these teens was a great gift and a highlight of my holiday season.  

Community Transit employees delivering backpacks to Everett Public Schools
Community partnership “giving trees” can remove the guesswork, for those who may not know how or where to donate during the holiday season. Personally, I enjoy when I find an intersection between my professional life and helping those in the community where I work and live. Working for an agency where employees are empowered to invest in our community, is one of many reasons why I am grateful to be part of Community Transit.

What ways will you give back in 2019?

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Let's Go Holiday Shopping

Nothing ruins holiday cheer faster than a slow drive to the shopping center. Even worse? Once you finally get there, you discover the parking lot is completely full. As you circle around and around, you vow never to wait to the last minute to shop again. Make things easier this year by avoiding the stress of traffic and parking. Take the bus!


Let's go to Alderwood Mall

This mall really has it all: major department stores, trendy teen shops, and specialty stores that offer everything under the sun, from kayaks to fine jewelry. You can even grab lunch at a rotating sushi restaurant or nibble on cupcakes and coffee before wandering to a state-of-the-art multiplex theater.

Did you know that there are five bus routes that serve the Alderwood area? Most run every 30 minutes on weekdays, and every hour on evenings and weekends. Create your customized itinerary on our Trip Planner!

MapDestinationsAlderwood

Park and Ride! Lynnwood Transit Center has plenty of parking at night and on weekends, and is a quick 10-minute bus ride to and from Alderwood Mall on routes 113, 115, and 116. Or park at Ash Way Park & Ride for a trip on 115, 116, or 196 that takes just minutes.

Let's go to Seattle Premium Outlets!

Searching for something big without the big price tag? Seattle Premium Outlets is your holiday shopping destination. This is the place for scoring great holiday deals on the famous brands your friends and family have been dreaming of. With over 130 upscale retail stores and plenty of food options, there's sure to be something for everyone on your list.

Routes 222 and 209 will take you there. Plan your trip on Trip Planner!

Have a wonderful holiday season, and enjoy the ride!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Bringing You Home with Swift Bus Rapid Transit

Mina shares her story on the benefits of being a Swift rider

Bringing You Home with Swift from Community Transit on Vimeo.

Life is always on the move for Mina, an international student at Edmonds Community College. With different classes every day, and a busy social life, she needed a commute option that was inexpensive, flexible, and fast. She hopped on Swift and has been moving ever since.

Mina, who is from Mongolia, lives in Lynnwood with her brother. Every day she walks 15 minutes from her apartment to catch Swift Blue Line to the college where she studies Computer Science. Because Swift comes every 10 minutes, she never worries about a schedule. In just a few minutes the bus will arrive. Mina's commute is fast; just a quick 10 minute ride and she arrives at College Station.

Swift Blue Line is a bus rapid transit line that runs along Highway 99 between Aurora Village and Everett Station. Most of Mina's friends also use Swift to get to school and to support businesses along Highway 99. "We take the bus because we don't feel that cars are necessary since the bus comes to most of the area. We hang out, go to eat, go to karaoke."

Mina doesn't drive, and Uber is too expensive for her to use regularly. She doesn't mind since she feels safe and confident in Swift, "I don't have to worry about safety; it's really safe. And also I don't drive so I can study just while riding the bus, and I can hang out with my friends."

Want to get in on the Swift action? You're in luck! Our Swift network is expanding beyond Highway 99. Swift Green Line will open in March 2019 and will run from Canyon Park/Bothell through Mill Creek to the new Seaway Transit Center near Boeing/Paine Field. Swift Green Line will connect with Swift Blue Line at Highway 99 and Airport Road, creating the region's first bus rapid transit network for travel in South Snohomish County and beyond.

Swift, bringing more connections and more opportunities to keep you moving.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Take Your Ballot on the Bus

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Consider taking the bus to a ballot drop-off location near you. Don't let lack of transportation keep you from voting. You can take the bus to any of 17 ballots drop boxes in Snohomish County.


Tuesday November 6, is Election Day. If you prefer to drop off your ballot than mail it in, there are 18 Snohomish county ballot drop box locations-- check out this handy list published by The Herald.

Community Transit has service that takes you near 17 of the 18 drop-box locations with bus stops located approximately 2-3 blocks from these locations. Take a look at the list below and click on the route for service details.

Please note that the deadline for ballot drop-off is 8 p.m. on Tuesday, so make sure to note service times for your particular route.


Drop Box Location
Community Transit Route
Arlington: 135 N. Washington Ave. Route 106, 120, 220, 230
Bothell: 22833 Bothell-Everett Highway Route 105,106, 120
Edmonds: 650 Main St. Route 116
Everett: Rockefeller Avenue and Wall Street Swift (Wetmore Station), 510, 512
Everett: 1402 SE Everett Mall Way N/A
Everett: 600 128th St. SE Route 105106, 109, 115, 810, 860
Fifth and Orchard Route 270, 271
Granite Falls: 815 E. Galena St. Route 280
Lake Stevens: 1800 Main St. Route 280
Lynnwood: 19100 44th Ave. Route 112
Marysville: 1049 State Ave. Route 201, 202
Mill Creek: 159th Place SE and Mill Creek Boulevard Route 105, 115
Mountlake Terrace: 23300 58th Ave. W Route 119, 130, 810, 871
Mukilteo: 4675 Harbour Pointe Blvd. Route 113
Smokey Point: 3300 169th Place NE Route 201202
Snohomish: 311 Maple Ave. Route 270271, 424
Stanwood: 9701 271st St. NW. Route 240

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Meet Jesse, Travel Training Program Graduate

Travel Training: Fostering Independence for People with Special Needs

Travel Training Graduate from Community Transit on Vimeo.

Becoming independent is an exciting time for young adults. For young adults with special needs, though, this time can also be a little bit scary.

Jesse, who is 22 years old, was worried about how to get to and from his job at Lowe's. Normally a paratransit rider, Jesse was limited to the less flexible schedule that DART buses provide. His vocational coach surprised him by suggesting he train how to take the bus. A few phone calls later and Community Transit was able to connect Jesse with Christine, one of the travel trainers.

"The first time I was really nervous going by myself. I was quite confused and worried am I taking the wrong bus and have to be late to work?" Luckily it only took two travel training sessions with Christine to feel comfortable. "The second time I knew where to go so it feels good."

Christine taught Jesse how to plan his route, how to determine his stop, and when to pull the cord to exit at the correct stop. She also taught him how to purchase and use an ORCA card which provides a reduced fare for people with disabilities. It's easy for Jesse to add more value to the card when he needs to.

Jesse's mother doesn't know how to drive, and so occasionally Jesse will accompany her on errands, like going to the dentist. But for his day-to-day life, Jesse is happy to just take the bus to work and home again, and he encourages others with disabilities to give our travel training program a try. "I recommend this to other disability people, so if they can't drive they can watch this story."

We are as proud of you, Jesse, as you are of yourself! Congratulations on taking important steps in your independence.

Do you know someone with special needs who would benefit from our Travel Training program? Visit communitytransit.org/traveltraining or call (425) 348-2379.

Friday, September 21, 2018


Check Out the New Swift Buses!
Two in Service This Month, More Coming Soon

Two new Swift buses are entering service this month to support the 20 percent expansion of Blue Line weekday service, and 16 more will be added in the months leading up to the launch of Swift Green Line.

A little different: flatter front, USB ports, all-diesel engine

Long-time riders of Swift will notice a few differences between the original buses and the new Xcelsior model buses (New Flyer no longer manufacturers the original model).


The exterior of the new buses have a flatter front, making them almost two feet shorter. This means that the three passenger doors may not be perfectly centered with the welcome mats when the bus stops at a Swift station – but most people probably won’t notice the difference.


In the interior, the bike racks and wheelchair passive restraint systems are the same, but passenger seats are arranged in a slightly different configuration... and each seat has a USB port!


Individual USB ports are a feature that will be included on all new buses from now on, including Double Talls.

Finally, while the original Swift buses have hybrid diesel-electric engines, the new buses run solely on the biodiesel blend that the agency uses.

Diesel: cheaper to buy, cheaper to maintain, kind to the air

The decision to move away from the hybrid buses for Swift is a result of a years-long study conducted by Community Transit that directly compared buses with hybrid engines to buses with diesel engines.

In 2011, Community Transit purchased 24 new New Flyer buses, 15 with all-diesel engines and nine of the same model with diesel-electric hybrid engines. The 24 buses were deployed onto the same local routes, where hybrids could be expected to perform most efficiently because of the more frequent stops and starts.

The study found that diesel engines emit as few particulates into the air as hybrids do – and are much less expensive to maintain.

"Hybrids cost more to purchase and more to maintain, far outweighing their fuel savings," said Ken Bailey, manager of Community Transit’s vehicle maintenance division. "Fortunately, from an emissions standpoint, modern diesel buses are as clean as hybrid buses."

Community Transit is also looking at the future of electric buses. At this point, the current technology can't meet the agency's need for buses to travel at least 250 miles per day on one charge, but other agencies in the region are trying them out. In fact, King County Metro is the largest electric bus test market in the country, and Community Transit is paying close attention.

"When the technology advances enough to make sense for us to run electric buses," said Bailey, "we will."

New buses will be used on all Swift lines

Swift buses will be used interchangeably between lines, so after the Green Line launches both Blue Line and Green Line riders will have a chance of getting on a new bus.

Another 15 buses will be purchased around 2023 to replace the original Swift fleet, which went into service in 2009. An unspecified number more Swift buses will be purchased around the same time to support the opening of the Orange Line between Mill Creek and Lynnwood and the extension of the Blue Line to 185th Street, both planned to occur when Link light rail comes to Lynnwood in 2024.

What do you like best about the new buses? Have you ridden on one yet? Tell us what you think in the comments below!