Saturday, November 28, 2015

Swift Bus Rapid Transit Turns 6

Riders love Swift, especially on the weekend!

This week marks the sixth anniversary of Swift bus rapid transit in Snohomish County.

The state’s first BRT line has become the cornerstone of Community Transit's bus system, carrying about 5,500 riders each weekday and more than 1.5 million a year. One in six of all Community Transit riders, or about 16 percent of the agency’s ridership is on Swift.

But on weekends, ah, on weekends these numbers are much more impressive!

Nearly 3,800 riders take Swift every Saturday, which is 30 percent of all riders. With Sunday service restored, there are about 2,800 riders boarding Swift every Sunday, or 33 percent of all riders.

The fact is that Swift has proven to be a very convenient way to get around. Pretty good for a six year old! And soon, Swift will have a baby brother (or sister – we won’t know until 2018).

When the next Swift line is up and running, we will have an established BRT network in Snohomish County. With a convenient transfer point at Highway 99 and Airport Road, there will be fast, frequent service across a major part of the county.

Before long, a whole Swift family will be serving the entire county. A third line is already in the conceptual stage to connect with Link light rail at the Lynnwood Transit Center. Our long-range plan calls for eventual Swift service north to Smokey Point and east to Highway 9.

In coming weeks, all Swift buses will get a new decal reminding us of what’s to come. The decal will say, “We’re building a network of Swift lines with fast, easy connections.”

For now, there is one more improvement to the original Swift line coming soon. The new College Station at 204th Street will provide more convenient southbound access to Edmonds Community College. Construction of this final station on the first Swift line is underway and it will be open when students return from the holiday break.

Happy anniversary, Swift!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What Will We Do if The Big One Hits? We're Getting Ready, Just in Case.

By Steven Winecoff, Manager of Transportation Administration

On Thursday, November 12 at 8:45 a.m., a simulated 9.0 earthquake occurred off the Pacific coast, causing major damage throughout the Puget Sound region.

At Community Transit, dispatchers and managers scrambled to contact drivers in the field to ensure that buses and passengers were safe and accounted for. Communication channels were spotty.

At the same time, all our employees were evacuated from their buildings and few were allowed back in due to lengthy inspection times and areas of clear structural damage.

Many workers, at our base and on the road, were anxious to get home to check on their families, as cell phone and Internet communication channels were overwhelmed.

Using real system data, such as how many buses were on the road at that time, and possible events, such as dispatch centers being inoperable, 29 Community Transit employees from various departments participated in a five-hour tabletop emergency response exercise that day to respond as they would if this event really happened.

Our objective was to assess Community Transit’s response and readiness. This is not just about planning for a possible earthquake, but helping us plan for “All Hazards” types of events so we can be better prepared in the event of any emergency. Our next step is an agency-wide debrief to discuss action items that arose from this tabletop event. 

The exercise also helped to prepare our agency for the “Cascadia Rising” Earthquake & Tsunami Functional Exercise that will take place in June 2016. This drill is being planned by FEMA and other state and regional partners. It is one more in a series of preparedness exercises our agency, and our partners, undertake to ensure the safety and security of our passengers and employees.

Read more about the possibility of “The Really Big One” in New Yorker magazine. For more information on personal preparedness please visit or

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Note of Thanks to our Veterans

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” - Maya Angelou

Every year, on November 11, Americans have the opportunity to honor the bravery and service of all U.S. veterans.

At Community Transit, we are honored to work alongside 92 veterans every day. They represent the five armed service branches (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy) and are found throughout the agency in our Transportation, Maintenance, Sales & Distribution and Capitol Planning areas.

For the past three years, we've posted the names of our veterans throughout the agency and given them pins to wear for the day to recognize their service. (Pictured to the left is the pin veterans will be wearing for Veterans Day 2015.)

Community Transit thanks all the veterans in our lives, including those who drive, maintain and support our transit service! Please join us in thanking our veterans for their service and sacrifice.

Want to send an eCard to the veterans in your life? Click here to send a thank you eCard to your favorite veteran (courtesy of GovLoop).

How will you be honoring your favorite veteran on Veterans Day?