Friday, December 27, 2013

Website Survey Results: You Like Us-- but We Can Do Better

Last month, we asked for 4 minutes of your time to take our online website survey and you gave us 1,824 minutes! (That's 4 minutes each for the 456 people that  took the time to tell us what they like, don't like and want to see for communitytransit.org in the future.) Sure, we've got Google Analytics to give us reports on hits, visits and other numerical data-- but we wanted to hear from the people that use our website and we're glad we did!

We want to update our website in 2014. The last time it was refreshed was roughly five years ago, which doesn't seem very long ago until you realize the iPhone and iPad just came onto the scene in 2009. If you consider this September 2013 study of cell phone and usage by Pew Internet, it appears we are doing this refresh just in time:

"63% of adult cell owners now use their phones to go online, a figure that has doubled since we first started tracking internet usage on cell phones in 2009. In addition, 34% of these cell internet users say that they mostly go online using their cell phone. That means that 21% of all adult cell owners now do most of their online browsing using their mobile phone—and not some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer."

So, one of the takeways learned from our website survey is that it needs to be mobile-friendly so that the information you need is accessible no matter what mobile device you are using. We also found out that a majority of you rate the website quite high, and for that we thank you!

Below is an infographic illustrating the highlights and trends gleaned from the survey. Do you agree? Are you surprised?  What are your reactions to what the survey participants said about our website?


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Improvements Ahead as Swift Turns 4


It was four years ago this Saturday, Nov. 30, that Swift bus rapid transit was launched. People still talk about the flash mob that invaded the grand opening party. And the sub-freezing temperatures that first week of service, when staff were out at each station teaching people how to use the off-board ticket vending machines and ORCA readers.

Today, Swift is a mature BRT line talked about across the country. Because it does not have its own dedicated lane, some say it is not “true” BRT. But Swift uses right-turn BAT lanes for 7 miles, transit signal priority its entire length and off-board fare collection at all stations to save a third of the trip time of a regular local bus. And, with 4,400 riders a weekday and nearly 3,000 riders on Saturdays, people obviously love to take Swift!

After its 2009 launch, several improvements have been made to Swift. In 2011, four new stations opened in Everett; a pair at 112th and one each at Pecks and Madison. In 2012, a queue jump signal was added at northbound 148th as the BAT lane ended. This early light gives the Swift bus a three-second jump on other traffic so the bus can merge into the general purpose lanes.

There are two new improvements coming in 2014.

A WSDOT project in early 2014 to shave the “pork chop” islands at Airport Road will allow Swift buses to use right-hand turn lanes, rather than general purpose lanes, as they cross the busy intersection and glide into the next station. This will save time and make for a smoother ride into the station.

Later in the year, Community Transit will build a southbound station at 204th near Edmonds Community College. That station was in the original route design, but was delayed because 204th was a dead-end street. The city of Lynnwood plans to extend that road between Highway 99 and the college, so it is finally time to build that station.

The big news that will emerge in 2014 will be details for what is being tentatively called Swift II. A feasibility study is underway for a second Swift line that would travel from Boeing-Everett in the north end, down Airport Road along 128th crossing Highway 99 and I-5, then south at Highway 527 (Bothell-Everett Highway). The route would serve Mill Creek Town Center and terminate at either 164th or Canyon Park.

Before people get all righteous about why this next Swift route is where it is, visit our 20-year Long Range Transit Plan to see that we do envision a network of Swift routes. Unless we fall into a great deal of new funding, we’ll take them one at a time, seeking federal and state funding for each one. The good news that we are moving forward with plans for more Swift!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Swift 4th Anniversary

Birthday wishes for our BRT

Happy Birthday, dear Swift. Are you four?
You have riders and fans now, galore.
I just want to say.
You still make my day.
You're the bus that I'll always adore.

Margaret Elwood is a big fan of Swift, Community Transit’s bus rapid transit service.

She has commemorated all four Swift anniversaries with poems and even shared a birthday song on our video gallery. Margaret, who lives in Edmonds and works as a Technical Training Administrator for the PUD in Everett, uses her bike as part of her Swift commute.

We launched Swift as the first bus rapid transit line in Washington state. Swift is an affordable, fast and frequent service on Highway 99 between Aurora Village Transit Center and Everett Station. After only one year, Swift also proved to be our highest ridership route, whisking riders to work, shopping, school and errands. Feasibility studies are underway for construction of a second Swift bus rapid transit line.

Margaret added, “Congratulations, and thanks again for your continued service. I appreciate it as much today as I did four years ago.”

Margaret, thank you! We appreciate your support.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Kids STEP on board Community Transit buses

Education Coordinator Steve Peters shows a class
how to board a Community Transit bus
Community Transit’s School Transit Education Program (STEP) is a free educational experience offered to all public and private schools throughout Snohomish County with the goal of teaching students K-12 the benefits of public transportation. 
Education Coordinator Steve Peters uses his background in theater to bring a 30-minute classroom presentation to life! Steve uses stories, imitations and funny characters to introduce public transportation to thousands of children each year. Kids learn about transit and their role in keeping the environment clean, as well as basic bus know how such as how to read a route number, bus etiquette, bus safety and much more! 

Once the classroom presentation is complete, all children board a Community Transit bus for a half-hour ride around the community. This “rolling classroom” driven by some of Community Transit's best drivers, allows students to apply their skills as new bus riders.

Since the program began in 1985, Steve has worked with over 140,000 students at more than 200 schools throughout Snohomish County.  For more information about the program, call (425) 348-7148 or email steve.peters@commtrans.org.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Four Minutes for a Better Website

The last time Community Transit's website got a virtual facelift was back in 2008. This is what it looked like in June 2007 just before we conducted a website survey and did the redesign:

communitytransit.org - June 2007

Interestingly enough, we conducted a website survey then, too, resulting in the website you see today:

communitytransit.org - November 2013


It doesn't seem too long ago, but when you consider what's happened in the last five years technology-wise, communitytransit.org could do with a little refresh. Since our last website re-design:
  1. The iPad was launched (and three versions since);
  2. Websites need to fit on all sizes of screens thanks to mobile phones and tablets;
  3. Content has to be relevant and searchable more so than ever due to user and search engine demand (I'm lookin' at you, Google)
  4. Mobile device usage is on the rise and will soon outnumber desktop use.
We hope to implement a new content management system soon that will help us keep our website up-to-date and user friendly no matter what you use to view it. We also want to take the opportunity to refresh the look and feel of our website.  This is where you and four minutes of your time come in.

We want to know how you, our customer, use our website. Yes, we have Google Analytics reports that can tell us browsers used, numbers of visits and pages visited, but we want to go deeper than that. How do you use the website? What do you like the most? The least? What can we do to make it better?

Tell us the answers to these and other questions through our short, online survey available by clicking on the link below. It should take around 4 minutes to complete and will be available until 5 p.m. Friday, November 29.


Thanks in advance for helping us create a better website for you!


Friday, November 8, 2013

Special session: Don't forget Community Transit

Gov. Jay Inslee has called the Washington Legislature into special session to pass legislation intended to ensure that Boeing builds the 777X airplane line in the state, according to Inslee. Among the legislation under consideration this session are manufacturing tax breaks, education and workforce training, and transportation improvements.

The transportation improvements are presumed to be centered around legislation that failed to pass the state Senate earlier this year. However, it’s not exactly clear how serious an effort will be made to pass a transportation package immediately. Assuming the discussion starts with the proposed House transportation package, there are several things that could greatly benefit Community Transit riders, and Boeing.

Operational funding
For several years, Community Transit has asked the Legislature for additional money to operate bus service. The recession reduced Community Transit’s sales tax revenues, and while the economy is rebounding, there is no way to bring back near the level of service we had in 2009 based on sales tax alone. To increase service significantly, new operating funds are needed.

The House package provided a small amount of operating funds, about $13-23 million for all transit agencies in the state. At most, Community Transit might get $1.4 million a year from this fund, which is about a third of the amount needed to offer a reduced level of Sunday service. That is not much.

From an operational perspective, the most beneficial feature of this legislation is a local option. That would give the Community Transit board authority to place a ballot measure in our service area seeking additional tax revenue. It could be sales tax, it could be a car tab fee or excise tax. Such an option could generate enough revenue to fund service levels at the 2009 level, and maybe beyond. It goes without saying that there is no guarantee voters would approve this funding, but at least this option allows the agency to make its case. And it is the only option on the table that would allow Community Transit to add significant service.  

Swift II
The House package also contained a capital transit project list. This is one-time money that can be spent on building something. The list included money to help Community Transit build a second Swift bus rapid transit line.

This “Swift II” project (just a working name) is a perfect project for this session. The proposed Swift II line under study would serve Boeing-Everett at the north end, wind east across Airport Road/128th to 132nd, then turn south at the Bothell-Everett Highway. There are two options of a southern terminus: just south of Mill Creek Town Center or Canyon Park.

A feasibility study of this project has been underway for close to a year now, a prerequisite for federal funding.

If the governor and legislature want to support Boeing, and the 777X would be built in Everett, improved funding for transit service to the Boeing plant and the surrounding community is vital. Community Transit works closely with Boeing to ensure bus and vanpool service to the plant. Several Boeing trips were cut during the recession, so the loss of bus service has affected Boeing employees. Swift is a proven high-capacity service that can help the aerospace giant build planes without building new parking, and retain and attract quality employees. Funding to add Community Transit service in general, and funding to get a Swift II project serving Boeing should be high priorities for this session.

Unlike King County Metro, Community Transit does not need state money to avoid service cuts. Those cuts were already made (partly because the state did not step up earlier). Community Transit has no plans for any further service cuts. Instead, we are poised to grow. In the 2014 budget there is money from increased sales tax revenue to add 2,500 hours of new service. Not much, but it’s growth.

Any funding that comes out of the state legislature would help us to add more service and do it quicker. Don’t let legislators forget.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Community Transit Staff Give Back

Each year Community Transit employees come together to give back to our community by volunteering our time and donating to the United Way of Snohomish County.  Earlier this fall, Community Transit kicked off our 2013 United Way campaign, Strength In Community, with a goal to raise $45,000 for charity organizations throughout the county.

The campaign kicked off with over 25 Community Transit staff and family volunteers assisted with repairs and general maintenance including cleaning, repairing the barn roof, fence maintenance and moving drain pipe at the H3 Horses Healing Heroes farm as part of United Way’s Day of Caring on September 14.

Community Transit volunteers, Pete Juozapaitis, Steve Winecoff and son Andrew Winecoff mending a broken fence.
In October, the United Way Campaign team held a variety of events to raise money for United Way including waffle feeds in four Community Transit worksites and the annual Community Transit Silent Auction.  This year’s auction received over 100 items donated by Community Transit staff members including a Crepe Breakfast for 10, a BBQ for up to 20, autographed Seahawk memorabilia, lots of amazing gift baskets, handmade crafts and more.  We finished off the campaign with a Prize Wheel and a Grand Prize drawing for a one-night stay at Hotel Max in downtown Seattle and a $75 MasterCard gift card for all employees who submitted an annual pledge to United Way.

Members of the Community Transit United Way Campaign Team serve up 
piping hot waffles with all the toppings to hungry employees.  

Community Transit employees scramble to get last minute bids in the Silent Auction.

Customer Relations Director, Bob Throckmorton, demonstrates the prize wheel.

Thanks to the generous employees at Community Transit who made pledges, gave donations to the auction/prize wheel and came out and participated in our events we raised over $47,250!  That is $2,250 over our 2013 goal.

And a special thanks to our Community Transit United Way Campaign Team that dedicated their time to making this great campaign possible.

United Way Campaign Team co-chairs, Sue Masel and Diane Kinnear, take a moment to enjoy all their hard work.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Community Transit Listens: 2013 Rider Survey

Starting Tuesday, Oct. 15, Community Transit will be administering a system-wide onboard rider survey on local and commuter buses. We conduct these surveys every three years to collect anonymous demographic information about our riders to meet federal requirements, and to learn how riders use our bus service.

Aside from demographic information, the survey asks about the trip you are currently taking. We want to know, in general terms, where you are coming and where you are going to, as well as how you got to your bus (walk, car, bike, etc) and how you will get to your destination after leaving the bus.

There are also a few questions asking your opinion about the service.

This is the first onboard survey we’ve done since our bus network restructuring in February 2012, so these answers will help us to figure out how rider habits may have changed, and how riders are using the system.

The survey takes about 3-4 minutes to complete. Surveyors will be on local buses (100s and 200s and Swift) Tuesday through Saturday handing out and collecting the surveys. These surveyors are temporary workers and will be wearing appropriate ID.

The survey will also be available on commuter routes to UW and downtown Seattle on Wednesday. On those buses, riders will fill out the surveys and place them in return folders near exit doors when completed. Riders can also take the survey home and send it via mail postage-paid. Riders are encouraged to take the survey each time they ride the bus.

Help us reach our goal of 10,000 completed surveys by the end of the week. Thanks for your participation!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Community Transit and United Way: Strength In Community


Earlier this month, Community Transit kicked off our 2013 United Way campaign, Strength In Community, by participating in the United Way of Snohomish County Day of Caring on September 14 at H3 Horses Healing Heroes in Monroe. 

Some of the Community Transit volunteers 
stop a moment to pose for a picture.
H3 Horses Healing Heroes is a non-profit organization for wounded military personnel, past and present.  Through equine assisted psychotherapy, horses are used as a tool to facilitate healing from:

  • Combat Trauma
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Injury
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Military Sexual Trauma

Over 25 Community Transit staff and family volunteers assisted with repairs and general maintenance including cleaning, repairing the barn roof, fencing maintenance and moving drain pipe.

Community Transit employees, Michael Shea, Tony Smith and Pete 
Juozapaitis, clean up a pasture at the H3 farm in Monroe

“We felt that the wounded warrior project was not only an opportunity for us to lend our skills and effort, but also a chance to honor our veterans for their selfless service,” said Sue Masel, Co-Chair of the Community Transit’s United Way Team. “Pairing horses in the healing process was especially appealing to us.” (Monroe Monitor)

The team met some new friends at the Day of Caring event!

Arlene Gibson, owner of H3, said “the day was exciting, awesome and humbling. I was a little scared but everything went beautifully.  If you ever need your faith in humanity restored, just witness the volunteers from Community Transit who signed up for United Way’s Day of Caring, helping H3 with our numerous projects. They came with their hands and hearts.” (Monroe Monitor)

.
Community Transit volunteers, Pete Juozapaitis, Steve Winecoff 

and son Andrew Winecoff mending a broken fence.

Check out this article in the Monroe Monitor to learn more about the event and the work H3 does in the community.
All the hard work really paid off!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Gov. Inslee Makes Pitch for Snohomish County Transportation Investment

Gov. Jay Inslee was at Lynnwood Transit Center yesterday making the case for new investment in transportation projects. He said that Snohomish County is a key for transportation investment because of Boeing and other manufacturing jobs that rely on roads and transit to move goods and people.

With a backdrop of a Swift bus and speaking to an audience of about 100 people, including many elected officials, business owners and community leaders, Inslee said the state has a role in transportation and he called upon legislators to work with him to get a funding package approved as soon as possible.

Asked if there would be a special session of the Legislature later this year to approve a transportation funding package, Inslee said, "We need to have a package fully baked, and the votes fully identified before calling a special session." Inslee said he did not want
to bring lawmakers together to simply "sit around talking."

Following the speech, about 60 people took a tour of county projects identified in a funding proposal on a Community Transit bus. For its part, Community Transit is seeking funding to add service after several years of cuts. The agency also is studying routing for a new Swift line and is seeking state funding to help that become a reality.

Thanks to Economic Alliance Snohomish County, which sponsored this event, and is leading the effort in Snohomish County to get transportation projects funded.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Next Bus Signs Live on Swift!

Community Transit’s first real-time bus information feature was officially turned on this week when the next bus signs at Swift stations went live.

These signs count down to the arrival of the next Swift bus, e.g., 12 minutes, 6 minutes, etc. When the bus is 1 minute away from the station, there is an audible chime and the signs say “Due.” After the bus departs, the signs start counting down to the arrival of the next Swift bus.

Because this is new technology, there will be a period of adjustment. The signs may not display correctly all the time. We already know that the audio chime at 1 minute may have some volume issues. That is something we are working to correct. Also, the timing of the chime has not always been exact in testing. We will continue to monitor that as well.

If you notice an error such as the bus not arriving at the displayed time, or the chime not working, you can help us improve the system by calling (425) 353-RIDE (7433) or sending a note to riders@commtrans.org.

Within a few weeks, next bus signs will be operational at the three largest transit centers: Ash Way, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace. This fall we will be launching a real-time bus departures feature that riders can access by phone, desktop computer and mobile devices.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Employees Host Picnic for Foster Children

By Nancy Lamus, Customer Relations Marketing Assistant

This year, as part of our United Way employee fundraising campaign, Community Transit “adopted” an organization for the first time. This meant that employees were given the opportunity to do additional fundraising and participate in additional events with this particular group.

The organization we chose was Hand in Hand. Hand in Hand is a volunteer organization whose sole mission is to help children who are removed from dangerous or unhealthy homes during a crisis. Children are brought to Safe Place, a shelter where they are cared for until a more permanent placement can be found. They provide food, clothing, health care and a safe, loving environment for these children in need.

After learning more about the group, I personally started to volunteer with Hand in Hand. It has been one of the most rewarding “jobs” of my life. I find I look forward to each and every shift, to care for these children and to spend time with the wonderful people who run this organization.

The employees of Community Transit partnered with Hand in Hand for two events this year -- a Christmas party and an old-fashioned family picnic. The picnic was held last Saturday (July 27). It was amazing! With the money raised from an employee waffle feed, we were able to have games, prizes and even a bouncy house for the kids at the picnic. They were all sent home with a personalized frisbee commemorating the event.

Several Community Transit employees volunteered at the picnic. Games sponsored by Community Transit included a duck pond, a bubble pool, a fishing game, potato sack race, a bean bag toss and many more. Every try won a prize! The joy on the faces of the children when they walked on to the field was priceless.

Community Transit’s own Oxy Gene, Defender of Truth Justice and Really Clean Air, made a special appearance. The kids love Oxy and enjoyed his superhero stories.

I am always amazed by the generosity of the employees from Community Transit. Thanks to our CEO Joyce Eleanor, our work with Hand in Hand has created many memorable moments for all of us here at Community Transit. We have managers, directors, office workers, dispatchers, bus drivers and mechanics all sharing in the work to bring joy to these kids. I guess I would ask: Who had more fun? The kids or those of us who were able to participate.

Thanks to the employees of Community Transit who gave this wonderful gift to the children of Snohomish County!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Can You Bag My ORCA Card?"

This spring local retail stores began selling ORCA cards. Since ORCA started in 2009, retailers have been able to load fare value on existing cards, but this is the first time they started selling cards.

That was a huge step for the ORCA program as it quadrupled the number of locations where you could buy an ORCA card if you didn’t already have one.

People who qualify for reduced fare, such as seniors, disabled or youth, still must buy their ORCA card in person at a transit agency customer service center because proof of eligibility is required. But the vast majority of transit riders use the standard “adult” ORCA card and that can now be bought at Safeways, QFCs, Roger’s MarketPlace and other convenient locations.

When you visit one of these retailers, there is often an ORCA sign, usually at the Customer Service desk. A new ORCA card costs $5, plus the cost of a monthly pass or whatever E-purse fare you want to put on the card. The hope is that expanding the locations where you can buy an ORCA card will encourage more people to use transit.

At community fairs this summer, we've been asked a lot of questions about ORCA, and many people don't know how convenient it is for paying fares. Now we can point down the street and say, "You can get one there!"

Where did you get your first ORCA card?

We'd Like Your Answers to Four Questions About Service

take our online service priorities survey and enter a drawing for a $50 ORCA card
Help us understand our service priorities by taking our short online survey!
Community Transit is not cutting service, but we will be adding service hours with some system fixes this fall. To best meet the needs of the communities we serve, we need to get in front of (and talk to) our customers—  this is where our outreach comes into play.

This summer, in addition to our traditional appearances at community events where we can talk one-on-one with folks, we are also taking advantage of online surveys and polls to engage with riders and non-riders alike. This combination of outreach tactics help to get feedback from a larger pool of the population who care about Community Transit and what we do.

On July 1, we started posting polls on the Community Transit Facebook page, keeping the questions light, but related to
riding the bus, such as “Would you ride the bus on holidays?” So far, our most active poll to date asked, “Which do you consider the worst bus behavior?

Last week, we posted a Service Priorities Survey on our website. We are asking the same questions to visitors who come by our booth at various community events this summer. Would you take a few minutes to share your input to help us understand priorities for service? Each person who completes the survey (including their name and email address) will be entered into a monthly drawing to win a $50 ORCA card.

Monday, July 1, 2013

We Are Not Cutting Service (Despite No State Transportation Package)

Community Transit has no plans to cut service. Despite the failure of the Washington State Legislature to pass a transportation funding package, Snohomish County’s transit provider will not cut service.

The question keeps coming up, so I want to repeat, no matter what other local transit agencies may or may not be doing, Community Transit is not going to cut service.

That said, the statewide transportation funding package was an important key to our county’s future. The package contained some direct funding for transit, funding for several capital transit projects and a local option that would have allowed Community Transit to make its case for an increase in local transit funding. There were also some major roads projects in that package that could have also benefited transit.

For Community Transit, the local option was the centerpiece of this package. While initially introduced as a motor vehicle excise tax, then changed to an additional sales tax, this local option could have provided the level of funding needed to erase the service cuts made in 2010 and 2012.

The local option was not guaranteed funding, it was authorization to place a ballot measure before our voters to ask their support. From that perspective, we were only asking the Legislature to let us do the heavy lifting because passing a tax measure is no easy feat. But with the death of the statewide package, we do not even get to ask the question.

Community Transit gets the majority of its funding through a state-authorized 0.9 percent sales tax in our service district, which is most of Snohomish County with the exception of Everett and some sparsely populated areas. So, 9 cents of every $10 taxable purchase (groceries are exempt from sales tax) in our service area helps to pay for transit service. The local option in the recent legislation would have given authorization to seek up to 0.3 percent additional sales tax, or another 3 cents on a $10 purchase.

Because Community Transit took action during the recession both to raise its fares and reduce expenses, including a 37 percent cut in bus service and laying off one-third of its employees, the agency is in a financial position now where it is preparing to grow again. Remember that slogan "Promising tomorrow with responsibility today?"

Community Transit envisions no more cuts in the foreseeable future. Some additional service hours to help with bus connections and other “fixes” to our system for the next year or two, and maybe more after that. But with additional funding there could be much more growth.

Maybe next year...

Friday, June 28, 2013

People Choosing Smarter Travel Options with Curb the Congestion

Curb the Congestion is better than ever with the addition of two new corridors and a new incentive!

Since 2008, Community Transit and Snohomish County have partnered to offer Curb the Congestion, a program that reduces traffic congestion, parking demand and greenhouse gases on local roadways. The program offers resources and rewards to residents and employees who use smart travel options such as bus, carpooling, vanpooling, biking or walking.  We have seen pretty dramatic results over the years with over 2,750 participants removing:
·         Over 250,000 trips from local congested roadways
·         4.6  million pounds of CO2 from our air
·          5.3 million miles of driving alone

This year the program expanded to provide resources and rewards to people traveling on these four congested Snohomish County roadways:
  • 128th Street (between Everett and Mill Creek)
  • 164th Street SW/SE (between Lynnwood and Mill Creek)
  • NEW 196th Street (between Edmonds and I-5)
  • NEW Bothell-Everett Highway (between 128th Street and downtown Bothell)
Choose a smarter trip on one of these corridors at least 8 days a month and you could win the following incentives. 
·     Monthly Rewards: Receive $50 a month for three months!
  • Continue to log smarter trips to qualify for a $150 drawing each month and earn a coupon for a discount or free item at a local business through our NEW Preferred Partner Reward program.
  • Recruiter Rewards: Earn up to $100 a year when you refer friends, neighbors or co-workers.
For more information on the program or assistance with your travel options, contact our Curb the Congestion Outreach Specialist at (425) 438-6136 or CurbIt@commtrans.org.
 

Athena’s story is a great example of how the Curb the Congestion program works!

Athena Parker of Mill Creek first learned about Curb the Congestion when she read a brochure.  She went home and signed up.  

Athena says, “It was nice that I could win but I really started putting in my hours to show that people do use the buses every day and that bus service is a valued thing.”

“When I ride I save myself the stress of driving and I give myself some more time to work. Since I'm a college student, anything that I can do to make my time easier and stress free is awesome. Riding the bus also saves me the cost of buying a parking permit each quarter and gas for my old car. And that saves me around $180 dollars a quarter.”


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dump the Pump – Save a Fortune, Share the Ride

This Thursday, June 20, is the 8th Annual National Dump the Pump Day sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association.   Community Transit will be joining transit agencies from across the country to encourage people to leave their cars at home for the day and instead share the ride to work, school or just for fun! 
 
By riding the bus, vanpooling, carpooling, biking or walking instead of driving alone even a few days a week, drivers can save money, relieve stress and help the environment.
·         A two-person household can save more than $9,700 a year by downsizing to one car.
·         Every $1 invested in public transportation generates approximately $4 in economic returns.
·         Public transportation use in the United States saves 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually.
·         Using alternatives to driving alone has saved Washington commuters almost 8.3 million gallons of gasoline annually with a fuel savings of nearly $32 million.
·         Using an alternative to driving alone just one day per week can reduce your commute costs by 20%.

If you are unsure of what smart transportation options work best for you, visit Community Transit’s website and check out all the great tools we have to make sharing the ride simple.

Trip Planner:  Plan your trip by bus or train in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties.
Driving Cost Calculator: See how much money you could save by sharing the ride.
How to Ride:  Know before you go! Find out everything you need to know about riding a Community Transit bus.

Also, Community Transit (and everyone’s favorite superhero Oxy Gene) will be joining other regional transit agencies at Westlake Center in Seattle this Thursday from 11:30a.m. to 1:30p.m. to celebrate Dump the Pump.  Stop by for prizes, treats and more information on how you can save a fortune by sharing the ride!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Oxy Gene: Two local schools STEP up for Community Transit Coloring Contest

Hello Good People!

Oxy Gene here, defender of truth, justice, and really clean air! I hope you’re all having a fabulous spring, and guess what…..summer is just about here(my favorite time of year to fly the gorgeous skies of Puget Sound!).  I’ve had a terrific year travelling across Snohomish County sharing information about Community Transit.
As you know, my good friend Steve Peters, runs a very entertaining School Transit Education Program (STEP), where he travels to schools within Snohomish County telling kids how much fun it is to ride their local transit system.  The program talks about safety, how to read a route number and how important Community Transit is for reducing traffic snarls in the community. Steve visits nearly 10,000 kids per year!

In fact, just recently I helped Steve choose two schools to participate in a poster coloring contest, Quil Ceda/Tulalip Elementary in Marysville and St. Mary Magdalen in Everett.  First and third graders were given blank sheets of paper and asked to show their creativity.  Using as many colors as possible and including a Community Transit bus, the kids used their imaginations to show how they can help yours truly be their own clean air superhero.

Quil Ceda/Tulalip Elementary First Grade Winners

St. Mary Magdalen First Grade Winners
St. Mary Magdalen Third Grade Winners
The pictures were amazing! Many kids also showed where they’d like to travel on a bus. Winners from each grade level were chosen and each school held an ice cream party this week to award the winners. Even superheroes can’t pass up ice cream! Their drawings will be posted on the interiors of our buses for all to see. An awesome job by all!!

Once the school year is done, well that’s where I give Steve a break and I, Oxy Gene.., “Clean Air Defender”, take to the skies and do my part to pulverize pollution.  You’ll see me in parades, at fairs, and other public events throughout the summer.
Remember…there’s only one thing that all of us share; it nourishes, refreshes, please love it…..IT’S AIR!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Snohomish County Transit Priorities

The Washington State Legislature is in its final week of a special session with no agreement yet on a possible transportation funding package. If there is no general budget agreement, there may be a second special session.

After cutting service 37 percent the past three years, Community Transit has no plans for further service cuts. Economic activity in Snohomish County is rebounding and the agency is looking ahead to when it can begin to add service. At stake in Olympia is whether the pace of service growth will be slow or quick.

Recently, Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor spoke with several local audiences about the prospect of service growth, as well as other transit issues.

As the agency embarks on a summer filled with community events, staff will be asking area residents their opinions on transit priorities. What are your priorities for service growth?

Listen to Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor and Everett Transit Director Tom Hingson discuss The Future of Transit in Snohomish County on KSER Radio (90.3 FM), recorded May 24, 2013.

KSER Interview (mp3)



Watch Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor speak to the Snohomish County Committee for Improved Transportation at Everett Station, recorded May 21, 2013.




Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Navigating Snohomish County by Bike

Whether you bike as part of your commute or just for fun, Snohomish County offers a lot of great options for getting around and enjoying the beauty of this region.  Here are just a few of the routes that make this a great area for biking.
Snohomish County bicyclist, Jason Wilsey, enjoying the trails!
Centennial Trail – Spanning 30 miles from Snohomish to the Skagit County line, this paved recreational trail provides great opportunities to ride for both beginners and more advanced riders.  The trail connects Snohomish, Lake Stevens and Arlington with parking lots, restrooms and picnic areas located at points between.
Interurban Trail – This 15.1 mile, paved trail is great for commuting and recreational biking.   While most of the trail is separated from traffic, there are several places where the trail is a designated bike route on the road shoulder.  The trail is located next to or near the South Everett Park and Ride, Mariner Park and Ride, McCollum Park Park and Ride, Ash Way Park and Ride, Edmonds Park and Ride and the Lynnwood Transit Center for easy connections to transit.
To find other bike routes in Snohomish County, download a copy of Community Transit’s Snohomish County Bike Map.  Also, check out these other great resources for more information on biking: