Friday, July 29, 2011

Take Transit to Summer Events

Perhaps you’ve heard of our “buy local for transit” campaign? Or of the “stay-cation” concept that makes sticking close to home sound fun?

It just doesn’t get any more local or festive than the community events hosted each summer around Snohomish County.

Since Community Transit strives to live up to our name, we participate in events when we can. Next week’s “National Night Out Against Crime” activities will bring Oxy Gene and Community Transit staff out to some neighborhoods in support of safety.

Our primary involvement is as a transportation provider.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Board Continues Consideration of Service Cut Alternatives

The Community Transit Board of Directors met July 21 to discuss the 2012 system change alternatives and go over public comment that was received since June 3.

The board is expected to make a decision on a final plan no later than September 1. Once a decision is made there will be a great deal of work required to implement the changes. New maps and schedules will need to be developed, necessary staffing levels must be determined and a major public education effort will take place before the service change occurs in February 2012.

The July 21 workshop featured several presentations and a lively discussion that did not arrive at any consensus as to what the final service plan will be.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fare-Well to a Swift Original

More than 1 million people have boarded Swift since the service started in November 2009. Joyce Dews has talked to thousands of them as one of three people filling the job of Swift Ambassador.
Swift riders may not know her name, but they do know her trademark red hair. Even when she goes to the grocery store or visits a car dealership, people recognize her as “the bus lady.”

When she boards a Swift bus, some people – those who failed to pay their fare – jump off. “They all act like they’ve got somewhere important to go,” she explains. Ambassadors and Snohomish County Sheriff’s Deputies have worked together to issue hundreds of $124 tickets to non-paying riders so far this year.

A 60-something grandmother in real-life, Joyce is also the “mom” of Swift, the one who tells people not to eat on board, not to cuss, and to clean up after themselves.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Good Financial Reporting Keeps Transit Accountable

Anyone wanting to know how Community Transit really spends the taxpayer’s money can view the “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report” (CAFR) on the budget page of our website. We just posted the 2010 version last week after the completion of our six-week annual audit by the Washington State Auditor’s Office.

Community Transit received a letter of congratulations for 16 straight years of clean audits from State Auditor Brian Sonntag.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Public Hearing Summary from July 7

About 70 people turned out for the Community Transit Board of Directors public hearing last night on proposed service cuts to take effect in February 2012. A total of 31 people testified.

Seven people testified in favor of bringing back Sunday bus service. They ranged from a single mom who says it’s hard for her to keep or get a job with no reliable transportation on Sundays to DART paratransit customers who have no way to get around those days.

There were five riders commenting on Route 422, which serves Stanwood-Seattle. Each of the five riders testified against Alternative III, which would increase the number of Route 422 trips from three to four but would have the route run only to the Lynnwood Transit Center. From there, riders would transfer to buses running to and from Seattle.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Public Hearing Starts at 5 p.m.

The public hearing before Community Transit's Board of Directors on the three service alternatives for the 2012 system change takes place tomorrow, Thursday July 7 at 5 p.m. The meeting will continue until the last person present has had the opportunity to comment.

That last little phrase has been promoted heavily the past couple weeks on our website and through rider alerts because the 2012 System Change Alternatives brochure that outlined the service options originally said the hearing would run from 5-8:30 p.m. That was the time the room at Mukilteo's Rosehill Community Center was booked, but it has always been the intention of the board to allow everyone present a chance to comment, whether that meant ending earlier or later than 8:30 p.m.

The reason the board meeting is taking place at Rosehill is that last year there were about 100 people who showed up for the hearing on the June 2010 service cuts. Community Transit's board room, where such meetings usually take place, only seats around 40 people. Last year the hearing was held at Boeing's Future of Flight Museum, a location that wasn't easily accessible by bus and was still a little cramped.

Rosehill is just off several bus routes (Routes 113, 190, 417 and 880 as well as Everett Transit Route 18) and is even larger. There is no way of predicting how many people will show up to testify, but this year we have received more than 1,560 online comments compared to the 600 or so total comments received last year.

At the hearing, each person signed up to comment will get three minutes to do so. Board Chair Dave Gossett will run the meeting and will call people by number. Everyone who signs up to comment will get a number and is expected to line up just prior to their turn to speak. There should be three people lined up at the microphone at all times. A roving mic will be available for those who cannot get in line.

Since the board members will focus on hearing the comments, staff will be available outside the hearing room to answer questions, as they did at the five open houses held in June. Even if you have not had a chance to form your opinion about the service alternatives, you can show up, learn all about them, ask some questions then testify before the board.

The formal public comment period runs through Monday, July 11.