Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Swift Stations Coming Soon

Riders of the Swift bus rapid transit line, as well as drivers on Highway 99 in Snohomish County, are aware that four new Swift stations are under construction.

The four stations in Everett were in the original route plan but were not built because of cost considerations. Now, the City of Everett has received a state regional mobility grant to fund the four stations.

The stations are located on Evergreen Way southbound at Pecks Drive, Evergreen Way northbound at Madison Street, and Highway 99 at 112th Street southbound and northbound.

Ground work on these stations began in late September and the structure of the Madison Street station is going up this week. Steel on the two 112th Street stations will likely go up in the next couple weeks, with the Pecks Drive station coming last.

Crews worked with nearby businesses on the construction schedule. At Pecks, the Value Village asked that the sidewalk not be torn up until after Halloween as that is the busy time for that store. Similarly, the Albertson’s at Madison asked that work be done by Thanksgiving time as they sell Christmas trees in that southwest corner of their parking lot.

Once the structural work on the stations is complete, there is still electrical and communications work to be done. Swift stations each have two cash- and credit card-taking ticket vending machines and two ORCA card readers for quick, off-board fare payment.

The plan is to open the two northbound stations as they’re completed, likely before the end of the year. The southbound stations will be opened later, likely by mid-February. This directional pairing is being done to complete and commission the technological components. The new stations will give riders more stop options and provide more access to the fast and frequent rides on Swift.

All of this news comes at a great time because the one year anniversary of Swift is Nov. 30.

It’s hard to believe that this BRT line has been in existence just one year. By February of this year, Swift became Community Transit’s highest ridership route. The agency’s projection for its first year was a 25 percent increase in ridership from Day One. From 1,500 riders on Nov. 30, 2009, Swift has seen a better than 100 percent jump in ridership as October 2010 saw an average of about 3,500 riders each weekday!

The week of Nov. 29, this blog will feature daily stories about the state’s first bus rapid transit line, commemorating Swift’s first anniversary. Look for new statistics, a look back at the award-winning Swift launch celebration, and previews of what’s to come for BRT in Snohomish County.

We invite your thoughts on Swift as well…


  1. THe rate things look Swift is not looking to be an "express bus" any longer. Though strategic with the 112th St stop, for Wal-mart purposes,its only 8 blocks from Airport Rd. 50th st is arguable because from 41 st its an uphill climb between stops. The idea of keeping the stations approximately one mile apart gives the Swift the ambiance of being the "express bus" it really isn't and adding stops without deleting stops will defeat purpose of gaining Swift and dropping route #100. Right now except for late evening, I feel until Highway 99's right lane is transit priority,like Aurora Ave,with conditions on Airport Rd,whats the point?

  2. Yeah, Swift seems like a sorta fast bus to nowhere. With stops so far apart, and not at most major centers of anything (Edmonds CC, for instance, or any Lynnwood P&Rs, Alderwood Mall) it doesn't connect with anything. If it is supposed to look like a light rail line, fine, but 99 has little destination density to reward mile apart stops. It's one long strip mall. If you are an Albertson's or a Wall Mart, sure, but overall these are not destinations worthy of all the expense of building "stations". Perhaps someone could explain the Swift rationale in the context of where people actually need to go in a day.

  3. It is true that there are few single-point destinations directly on the Swift line. But when you consider what's within 1/4 mile of Highway 99, you'll see it is the most population and job rich corridor in Snohomish County. Edmonds Community College students make up 12% of Swift riders, and both Premera and Swedish/Edmonds are near stations as well.
    The "new" stations have always been part of the plan for this route, but were delayed for a year due to funding. Like all the stations, they are strategically located, on average 1 mile apart but at times closer or further due to other factors. Swift serves far fewer stops than local buses (14 vs. 50+), and any Swift rider (like myself) will tell you the time savings and efficiency of the system are very real.
    Swift's high ridership speaks for itself. See today's blog post.