Monday, November 29, 2010

Celebrating Swift: One Year Later

Cold, clear mornings marked Swift's first week.
We’ll be posting special blogs in honor of Swift's one-year anniversary this week:
Community Transit launched Swift one year ago today. We were very serious about making Washington State’s first bus rapid transit line work for our customers, but we also wanted to celebrate the culmination of an intense year of station construction and service preparations.

Swift started with a party and a dance on Nov. 29. About 800 people attended the event at the corner of Highway 99 and 196th Street in Lynnwood. Many took their first ride on Swift (Seattle Transit Blog) that evening.

The official first day of Swift service was Monday, Nov. 30, 2009. Dozens of Community Transit employees were out at Swift stations before 5 that morning ready to help passengers. We wanted to make sure people understood how to ride this new service, and we wanted to be there to help with the inevitable bugs of a new system.
  • New ticket machines (that don’t take $1 bills as eagerly as vending machines)
  • New bus dispatch process to keep buses evenly spaced 10 minutes apart over a 17-mile route
  • New Swift drivers pulling up close to the curb at exacting boarding locations (I watched a bus get hung up on a corner at Everett Station {which was so new, we hadn't had time to practice}, but managers patiently helped get the driver unstuck)
  • New interior bike racks (my bike did keel over one morning, and the Swift driver and I both went over to study what had gone wrong. Conclusion: make sure your front tire is centered under the wheel of the rack.)
  • New reasons to use an ORCA regional fare card for faster boarding and transfer credit
After a few days, riders, drivers and staff all knew what they were doing. Workers still hung out at the stations in our Swift scarves, but the biggest question became “where can I buy one of those?”

Sorry, they are still not for sale.

But rides on this great service are just $1.75 for adults. If you haven't tried it yet, what are you waiting for?

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