Thursday, February 10, 2011

Boeing Riders Love the Bus

Who rides Community Transit buses and why do they do so? The results of our 2010 On Board Survey begin to answer those questions. We have received a preliminary report on the 8,000 surveys returned last October.  This will be the first of several blogs to discuss some of the results. I’ll break the posts into rider types based on routes.
  • Boeing Riders
  • Commuter Riders
  • University Riders
  • Local Riders
  •  Swift Riders
First, some background. Community Transit operates four bus routes that serve Boeing: Route 227 from Arlington/Marysville, Route 247 from Stanwood, Route 277 from Monroe and Route 280 from Lake Stevens.  Our Boeing-route passengers are a dedicated lot, based on the survey.
  • 55% of Boeing riders have ridden Community Transit for six years or more.
  • 31% have ridden for two to five years
Unfortunately, the corollary is also true: Boeing service is not attracting new riders. Only 6% started riding in the past year, compared to 20% new riders in our system overall.

Despite their long-term commitment to public transportation, Boeing bus riders are not a captive audience. Ninety-four percent say they own a car but choose to use transit.  At the same time, Boeing riders are the least likely to drive to the bus of all our commuter riders (Boeing, Seattle or U-District service): 48% walk to their stops, while 38% drive.

Most Boeing riders pay for the bus with an ORCA card. As a company, Boeing subsidizes bus passes and vanpools and has other programs in place to encourage alternative transportation. If you’ve ever tried to get onto Highway 526 at 5:30 a.m. (or if you work at Boeing and try to park there), you’ll know that encouraging transit use is in Boeing’s self-interest.  There’s also the state Commute Trip Reduction Law which requires large employers (and who is larger than Boeing?) to do their part in reducing congestion. 

Because of the varying start times and shift work at Boeing, the increased flexibility of vanpools makes them more popular than buses. There are 88Community Transit  vanpools to Everett Boeing, and many more from other counties around the region. 

But something about Community Transit’s Boeing bus service obviously works for our long-term bus riders – or maybe it’s something about driving to Boeing that doesn’t work . Either way, we have something to learn from them about how to encourage more people to choose public transportation even when they have other options.


  1. Of course the love riding, it only cost $1.75 to go from stanwood/arlington/goldbar Direct to the gates at boeing. When I go to the u district from LTC every day it cost $3.50 and is a shorter distance.

    WHY do Boeing employees get such a great deal and we do not? Is Boeing giving CT subsidies also?

  2. For consistency, the Boeing fare is equal to other local bus fares for service within Snohomish County. Since the events of 9/11, Boeing bus passengers do not get dropped off at their gates - buses stay on a perimeter road and riders walk the rest of the way to work. The Boeing Company does not fund public transportation.

    Boeing riders do, in fact, get a good deal with Community Transit. So do University District passengers, Darrington passengers and people who drive alone on I-5 at rush hour who would otherwise be joined by thousands more cars each day.

    Based on ridership, fares and operations costs, Boeing routes do cost more to operate than our service to the UW, however, they are not our most expensive routes. Boeing service was reduced substantially last June as part of our cost-cutting efforts.

    We are looking at all our costs in these tight budget times, as well as other priorities such as supporting business and providing broad geographic coverage.

  3. Actually we do get dropped of at the gate, at least I do on the 227 at gate 72.

  4. I live north east of lake Stevens off of hwy 92. It currently takes 3 times longer to take the bus then to drive, There needs to be some direct routes the just goes to Boeing and does not goes 20 miles out of the way to pick up 2 people. Get a clue. Maybe there needs to be some more park and rides.

  5. I wish that reverse commuting would be taken more seriously for the north-bound! There is no Sounder service in the morning from Downtown to Everett; Everett Transit also sucks, they refuse to accommodate Sound Transit services (at more flexible hours) in order to make transfer at South Everett P&R. Everett has a horrible problem with parking - one can easily take from their car to their office about 40 minutes (and that may include taking the internal shuttle). I currently commute south - and although the commute up to Seattle is horrible, I have a 10 minute walk every time, all we want it's consistency! Urban residents are already WILLING and wanting more transit... why not cater to us? It would certainly keep our taxes within Seattle limits!