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.

Meanwhile, here are some more top level survey results focusing on the all-day service we provide within Snohomish County on our local and Swift service. Local buses and Swift ridership accounted for 68% of all passenger boardings in 2010.

Local buses have the most riders under age 18. Local and Swift and University District buses are about tied for riders in the 19-24 age group. These numbers are a factor not only of moms with strollers, but also of bus pass agreements with Edmonds School District, Edmonds Community College and the University of Washington Seattle and Bothell campuses.

Local riders really depend on Community Transit to save them money and get them around.
  • Almost 40% report household income of less than $20,000 per year.
  • 39% do not have a car available. When we average in commuter and Swift riders, 28% of Community Transit riders overall do not have a car.
  • 18% are unable to drive . The system average is 13%.

Even though many local riders are low income and have less education than our other rider groups, 19% earn $50,000 a year or more and more than 22% have a bachelor’s degree and even higher education.

Local and Swift riders are Community Transit’s most gender-balanced group – about 50-50 male and female. Boeing riders are 77% male, while U-District riders are 62% female.

About 7% of riders overall report Hispanic origin. Local and UW routes have the most diversity, with about 1/3 of riders reporting an ethnic background other than white.

No matter the route type, most people use the bus to get to work, school or home from work or school.

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