Thursday, July 14, 2016

"Be A Clean Air Superhero" Contest Winners, Ages 6-8

When you ask a bunch of second and third graders how they would help clean our air, you end up with wonderfully imaginative solutions! There's "Seed Man" who plants seeds that will never get weeds, "Clean Air Man" whose super power is blowing out clean air, "Energy Man" who turns off all unattended lights, "Water Woman" who rains down clean water on our crops, and a kitty that blows bubbles that capture pollution.

Thanks, kids, for sharing your creative ideas. Oxy Gene appreciates how much you care about our environment. We're sharing your pictures on Oxy Gene's web page and social media. Check it out!

Join us later this month for winners from our 9-11 age group category!

Serene Lake Elementary, Third Grade

Serene Lake Elementary, Third Grade

Serene Lake Elementary, Third Grade

Marshall Elementary, Second Grade

Serene Lake Elementary, Third Grade

Thursday, July 7, 2016

"I'm Mary. And I Resource It."

Each weekday over 36,000 passengers rely on us to bring them home. It takes a dedicated team of employees who are passionate about the passenger to make this happen. How do we find such a wonderful group of people? Through our talented Human Resources department, where individuals like Mary get excited to grow relationships, build confidence, and empower employees to be successful.

First impressions are everything. Mary remembers the sense of belonging she felt when first hired in 2004 as an administrative clerk. "They were prepared for me. Everything I needed was ready for me before I got there. That felt great." As a Human Resources Assistant for nearly ten years, Mary has been making all new hires feel valued from day one. "Part of my role is giving a benefits orientation to all new hires. It's such a positive position! I get to meet everyone in the agency which is rare. For many people it's their first impression of Human Resources, so I try to be friendly, open, and welcoming."

For Mary, it's not just about establishing good relationships with employees. She is committed to maintaining and growing those relationships as well. "I try to treat each person as an individual, to make time for them. It's important to be accessible, to give everyone my full attention. I don't think of my job as a job. I'm here because I want to be. These aren't just new hires, they're coworkers I'm excited to meet and get to know."

Helping others navigate sensitive issues also presents Mary with an opportunity to create a safe and trusted environment for employees. "I help them gain the skills and tools they need to be successful. By being a good listener, I am able to help them build on their strengths. I get excited that people will come and talk with me and share their personal stories."

Employees who are valued from the day they walk in our door, end up being employees who are happy to come to work. This translates to a work environment where employees feel they have a voice and a support system to be successful. Thank you, Mary, for fostering a work environment that feels like family. A family that believes in bringing people home.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"Be A Clean Air Superhero" Contest Winners, Ages 1-5

We asked kids all over Snohomish County to show us how they would help our favorite pollution-fighting superhero, Oxy Gene, clean the air we breathe. Thanks, kids, for entering our "Be A Clean Air Superhero" contest! There were so many great ideas that we chose multiple winners for each age category.

The winners from our 1-5 age group are super fun! Whether with wings, a cape, or a huge smile, these five year olds know that planting trees and flowers is an important part of keeping our air clean. We'll be sharing their cheerful drawings on Oxy Gene's web page and on social media all week long.

Join us next week for winners from our 6-8 age group category!
Northshore Christian Academy, Age 5
Preschool Pals, Age 5
Heatherwood Pre-K, Age 5

Thursday, June 23, 2016

"I'm Royce. And I Take Care of It."

Maintaining an operation as large as ours requires more than the skill of our talented mechanics. We couldn't get our buses on the road without the support of our Facilities Maintenance team. From our state-of-the-art shop to our corporate offices to every bus stop spread across 1,305 square miles, Facilities Technicians like Royce take care of it all.

A retired Navy man, Royce has dedicated his career to public service. Since joining our ranks in 1995, he's seen his team grow from five to twenty people to meet the needs of our customers. The crew is split into two groups: road and base. Our road crew cleans and maintains all of the bus stops, stations, and signage for our extensive route system. Our base crew maintains the buildings that house our corporate offices and maintenance shops. This includes all of the support equipment our mechanics use to keep our buses in prime working condition, such as lifts, pumps, exhaust motors, etc. Our Facilities Maintenance team even maintains a steam bay which cleans each vehicle's engine before mechanics begin their work.

In Royce's early years at Community Transit, when our facilities were much smaller, technicians functioned more as generalists, doing a little bit of everything. Of course this meant more specialized skills had to be contracted out. Now, Facilities Maintenance has grown to include certified plumbers, HVAC technicians, electricians, and welders. "In the past we figured out how to fix things on our own," says Royce. "Now we work together as a team to problem solve. You don't have to feel bad if you don't know something. There's no criticism, only encouragement. We have each other's backs."

By bringing on highly-skilled technicians, we now keep all of our maintenance in-house so we can control the quality of work. "There's a real pride of ownership here," says Royce. "Everyone has the same goal in mind: serve the customer. It's a great sense of accomplishment knowing the equipment you maintain is used safely by other people."

Thank you, Royce, for taking care of our facilities, our equipment, our route stops, our employees, and our riders.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

"I'm Jessica. And I Coordinate It."

Did you know that nearly 10 million passengers board a Community Transit vehicle each year? With a service area of over 1,300 square miles, from Stanwood to Seattle, there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make sure our buses get our passengers where they need to go. We rely on a team of fantastic trouble shooters who can solve problems on the fly to make sure service is as seamless and timely as possible. People like Jessica, one of our cool-headed, fast-thinking Dispatchers!

Over 36,000 passengers use our service on an average weekday, and the majority board during peak commuter hours. This means a large part of our fleet is doing a "morning pullout" between 4:00 - 7:00 a.m. Dedicated Dispatchers like Jessica are starting their day at 3:30 a.m., taking roll call and pulling up multiple online screens which display real time information about each bus. As the morning progresses, challenges inevitably occur, such as bus delays or breakdowns. If a bus does break down, Jessica will have to coordinate a coach exchange (this could be a coach out of service nearby or one from the bus yard). A Road Supervisor will need to be arranged, coordinated conversations with our Maintenance Department to send out a truck will happen, and our Customer Service representatives will be alerted to let customers know there may be a delay.

Jessica loves the challenge of putting the puzzle back together, "Every day starts out with the puzzle pieces perfect. When it explodes and the pieces go everywhere, I put it back together to make it work, keep service on the road and the customer happy. It makes me feel good when I can make things work. I feel like I make a difference, like I'm helping the community."

Jessica credits two main things with her success on the job. The first is her year-and-a-half stint as a Coach Operator before she took on her Dispatch position in 2010. "My time as a driver informs what I do. I know what it's like out there. It makes me more compassionate. Coach Operators are our customers too, and it's important to develop good relationships with them. It helps us all work really well together to solve problems." Jessica also praises her team for helping her get through hectic times. "There are 5-6 of us working collaboratively at any one time. There's a great sense of camaraderie. If one person is slammed, we all offer help. We always have each other's backs."

Next time your bus is running late, remember there is a team of people like Jessica who are working hard to bring you home.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

"I'm Tony. And I Maintain It."

Did you know our buses drive approximately 1,000 miles per week? That's like driving from Seattle to Los Angeles! To keep our buses in tip-top shape, we utilize a team of service workers to thoroughly inspect each bus. One of our rock star employees that helps "Maintain It"? Veteran Community Transit employee, Tony S.

Tony has been with Community Transit since the early years, when our first maintenance shop was just a small space at Kasch Park. Back then our fleet consisted of antique and refurbished buses. Buses have certainly changed in the 25 years since then. Now our fleet includes a wide range of cutting-edge technologies, such as CAD/AVL technology (computer aided dispatch and automatic vehicle location), safety technology (such as collision avoidance), and maintenance technology (including vehicle diagnostics). "It's been exciting to grow with the company," says Tony.

Our bus maintenance program ensures each bus is inspected every six weeks. A mile indicator notifies us when a bus hits 6,000 miles so that it can rotate through the shop. A team of seven service workers make sure that anything that can easily down a coach, such as brakes and power steering, are meticulously inspected. The maintenance team always has one goal in mind: making sure our coaches are safe. Tony says, "Everyone wants to do their job well. It's an expectation we put on ourselves, not that the company puts on us. Every day is better than the last. You are better because each day is a different challenge. It makes coming to work so easy."

A personal commitment to excellence, combined with a collaborative spirit, lets our service workers "Maintain It" with a smile. "This shop is like a Mecca. We all do different things to reach a common goal. These guys work well together which you don't often see in bigger shops. If anyone has a question, we all communicate to come up with the answer. It's a good group of people which makes working here a piece of cake."

Without the talent and dedication of our maintenance team, we wouldn't be able to provide the excellent service that our customers have come to expect of us. After 25 years, Tony has helped our buses drive millions of miles. Next time you ride a Community Transit bus, you can be sure that at some point Tony has maintained it. "It's hard to believe it's been 25 years. It's been a really good ride."

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Plan Your Bike Route With Our Snohomish County Bike Map

Whether you want to commute to work or ride for fun on the weekends, Snohomish County has a bike route for you! 

From recreational paved trails to city roadways, our Snohomish County Bike Map will help get you to work or play. We've noted which roadways have a dedicated shoulder or bike lane and where to connect to Park & Rides and Transit Centers for easy connections to transit.

There are also two main recreational trails that bisect the area for safe, scenic adventures perfect for the whole family: 
  • The Centennial Trail is 29 miles of paved trails that run along abandoned rail lines from Snohomish to the Skagit County line, connecting communities to parks and shopping districts. 
  • The Interurban Trail runs from Seattle to Everett, with over 15 miles of paved trails in Snohomish County. While most of the path travels through parks and greenbelts, the trail does parallel Interstate 5 with easy access to several Park & Rides, making it a great choice for commuters, too!
  • The North Creek Trail links the communities of Bothell, Mill Creek, and Everett. The trail also provides access to the Sammamish River Trail and the Burke-Gilman Trail.

Before you get rolling, know the Rules of the Road for a safe ride:

Where is cycling prohibited? is not allowed on I-5 from Marysville south to Pierce County. Everett doesn't allow cyclists on the sidewalks in its downtown business district. In Snohomish County, sidewalk riding in residential and other areas is typically legal, but not recommended for adults traveling faster than 10 mph.

Is there a helmet law?
Cyclists of all ages are required to wear a helmet when riding in the city of Lynwood and if you cross over into King County. Children under 18 are required to wear helmets in Lake Stevens. Cyclists in other parts of Snohomish County wear helmets because they save lives.

How do I get the light to turn green?
Traffic signals detect vehicles with either a magnetic loop under the pavement or an optical detector. In both cases, positioning your bicycle is important. Look for a white pavement marking or cuts in the pavement to mark the placement of loop detectors, and position your pedals over these marks. For optical detectors position yourself in the front center of the line.

What equipment is required at night?
A white front headlight (not a reflector) visible for 500 feet and a red rear reflector are required. A flashing red rear light is also recommended, along with bright, reflective clothing.

Download a copy of Community Transit's Snohomish County Bike Map and plan your next urban adventure! 

For more great resources on biking, check out:

Community Transit's Bike Web Page
Community Transit's Centennial Trail Map
Community Transit's Interurban Trail Map
B.I.K.E.S. Club of Snohomish County
Cascade Bicycle Club
Google Maps - Bikes