Monday, November 28, 2011

Swift Celebrates Second Birthday

It was two years ago this week that Community Transit, in partnership with Everett Transit, launched Swift bus rapid transit. When it opened, Swift had 12 stops in each direction along a 17-mile stretch of Highway 99 between Everett and Shoreline. There are now 14 stops in each direction, as four stops were added in the City of Everett earlier this year.

In October 2011, Swift had an average of 4,500 passengers ride each weekday. That totaled more than 107,000 passengers for the month – the highest ridership month so far. To put that in perspective, that means in October one out of every 7.7 weekday passengers on Community Transit was riding Swift. On Saturdays, that percentage was even greater as one out of every 4.7 riders was on Swift!

Riders know that Swift is a unique experience, but operationally, Swift stands out among our routes. It is the most frequent service in our system, with a bus arriving every 10 minutes from 6 a.m. – 7 p.m. Swift also has the most service hours of any of our routes, as the service runs from 5 a.m. to midnight, with more buses per hour during that long day. Of course, Swift is also the only route in our system that has off-board fare payment, which helps speed up the boarding process, frees up the drivers to focus on driving and requires fare checkers, known as Swift Ambassadors.

Swift is also the only route in our system that receives specific grant funding. State and federal grants combine to pay for a majority of the operating costs through 2013.

Swift also has been a victim of Community Transit’s service cuts. In June 2010, Swift lost Sunday service, just like the rest of our bus routes. In February 2012, Swift frequencies will be cut back to every 12 minutes on weekdays. To most riders this may not make a big difference, but from an operational perspective, this means big cost savings. There will be one fewer bus going in each direction each hour, saving the cost of a bus driver, the cost of fuel, and the cost of maintenance and depreciation on vehicles that will travel fewer miles because of this reduction.

Finally, what would a Swift birthday be without some poetry from rider Margaret Elwood?

Our favorite bus just turned two!
Dear Swift, Happy Birthday to you!
It's undeniable:
Fast, clean, reliable-
That's how your ridership grew.

At the end of your second year
Here's a rhyme to wish you good cheer.
Swift bus, you're a treasure.
Your service-a pleasure!
I'm glad every time you appear.


  1. What a great success! Happy Birthday Swift! I want to thank the staff and drivers at Community Transit they really have done a great job with this new service.
    Also, by getting the majority of the operating costs for Swift paid for through 2013 with grant funds is also a great success.
    I also really like the off board fare collection which really helps speed up this service and the buses and stations are very nice.

  2. that bus averages less than 1 passenger per opion...a failure