Thursday, March 31, 2011

Return of the Double Tall

Despite the dreary rain and wind, it was a bright morning for some Snohomish County commuters on Community Transit's Routes 413 and 415.

Double Tall at Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station
Surprise surprise! Riders watched a shiny, new 14-foot high Double Tall bus roll up to their stop to welcome them aboard.

My co-worker Jason and I met up with the bus and its driver, Ron, at 4 a.m. to tag along on those first trips and record a virtual ride-along for fans of our Facebook page. We loved seeing the surprised looks on customers' faces as we rolled up. We took some photos and chatted with customers, many of whom welcomed the return of the much-loved Double Tall. Others took a ride for the first time; we suggested they sit up top, of course.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Commute Alternatives Help Business Move

Note: Korry Electronics was named Employer of the Year at the Community Transit Smart Commuter Awards earlier this month. Below is a portion of the remarks presented at the event by Korry Director of Human Resources Victoria Lindsey.

By Victoria Lindsey
Esterline Control Systems, Korry Electronics

A bit of background - Korry had been Seattle-based employer since it was first established in 1937. We were at our South Lake Union address for 25 years. That was our home, our neighborhood. So moving was – like it would be for many companies – an emotional, traumatic occasion for many employees.

About three years ago, it became inevitable that we had to move locations. The decision to move to the Paine Field area near Mukilteo really raised an outcry. We had employees from all over Puget Sound , and moving 20 miles away was going to really disrupt lifestyles. So we were faced with a real challenge to persuade and motivate employees to come with us!

A committee was formed to survey employees, meet in small groups, and really dive into people’s fears and concerns. The top concern was, “How am I going to get there (new location) and how long will it take?”

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Join the Conversation

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, public transportation is social. I’ve known bus riders who celebrated birthdays (with cake) on board, who met and fell in love, who seemingly share their life stories or simply a small part of their day with each other.

So it’s only right that Community Transit jumped on the social media band wagon early, launching our Facebook page in fall 2008. Government pages don’t have “friends,” but more than 850 people “like” us. Actually, we know many more of you like us, so check out our page! We have some interesting discussions there, with hot topics including service changes and Double Talls, the replacement fleet of double decker buses.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

State House, Senate Transportation Budgets Released

Both the state House and Senate transportation budgets were released this week. While neither contains a comprehensive plan for funding transit, there was a key difference between the two.
The House included funding for a Regional Mobility Grant application submitted by Community Transit to bring back a minimal level of Sunday service. The Senate budget does not include this funding.

Altogether, the grant request is for $4.3 over four years and would allow Community Transit to operate about 30 percent of the service that it had before Sunday service was suspended in 2010.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Adding A Walk in Mountlake Terrace

Studies have shown that transit users are more likely to get their daily recommendation of exercise than non-transit users. People are also willing to walk a little farther for high quality – as in frequent – transit service.

Mountlake Terrace riders will get both starting on Monday. The opening of the Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station means Seattle commuters there will go from walking across the parking lot to walking across I-5 (on a bridge) to catch a bus.

There will be three times more buses to catch there, and commuters will go from having primarily commute-hour only options to 15-minute service all day long.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Participants sought for Transit Values Exercise

Community Transit continues to be impacted by the recession. Due to low sales tax revenues, the agency has been forced to cut service and restructure itself for an uncertain future economy.

Our mission of providing quality public transportation service has not changed, but the way we go about it is evolving.

As the agency considers its future, we are looking to involve our customers in our visioning process. Community Transit will host two fun and informative workshops involving a Transit Values Exercise that will allow you to walk in the shoes of a transit planner and decision-maker.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Local Riders Rely On Community Transit

Community Transit conducts comprehensive surveys of our riders every three to four years. On-board surveys provide valuable information about rider habits and demographics. We use survey data when considering service changes, to apply for grants, to improve rider communications and to plan for the future.

Our 2006 survey was a joint project with Everett Transit. That data proved extremely useful as we planned our Swift system, and also showed some of the differences between Everett and Community Transit systems and riders.

Our 2010 survey used many of the same questions to allow comparison. We also geo-coded all the survey data so we can map where people started and ended their bus trips. The process of analyzing that data for service planning purposes is ongoing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March 20 Service Changes

Community Transit's next service change takes effect March 20, with the opening of the new Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station. This stop in the median of I-5 will allow commuter buses to serve the transit center without the hassle of offramps and traffic signals.

Sound Transit will begin service to Mountlake Terrace as Routes 511 and 513 will begin stopping at the freeway station. Community Transit will reconfigure some routes, eliminating two commuter routes and serving the freeway station with existing commuter service. This will save Community Transit money while at the same time dramatically increase the number of daily trips to and from Seattle serving Mountlake Terrace.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Snow Puts Communications to the Test

Last week’s snow put a crimp in many people’s plans. For Community Transit, it allowed us to test some of our plans for rider communications and temporary service reductions. 

Our Transportation Department has developed a list of trips that may be dropped during inclement weather if equipment, extreme delays or other issues cause shortages. By planning ahead to reduce service strategically, we can keep other buses running smoothly and give passengers an idea what to expect in advance.