Thursday, March 17, 2016

Every Day Should Be Bus Driver Appreciation Day!

Tomorrow is Transit Driver Appreciation Day, a day when riders and transit agencies across the country go the extra mile to recognize the men and women who are such a big part of our lives. They get us to work and school, to the grocery store and the dentist, and to everywhere in between. They command the wheels of our local, commuter, and DART vehicles, serving people of all ages and abilities. They are professional and courteous, getting riders to their destinations safely and reliably. And all of this with a smile!

Yes, we think our bus drivers are pretty special. Our riders agree! From assisting confused non-English speaking students and the elderly to reconnecting lost wallets with their owners, riders have shared their stories of appreciation and thanks.

  • "I had the pleasure of seeing a coach operator escort a blind woman (with her service dog) from his bus to the RideStore. What a wonderful thing to see - both with big smiles on their faces, conversation happening, and his patience and kindness in ensuring that she was able to make it into the store safely." 
  •  "I really appreciate the operator who drives the 270 from Gold Bar to Everett. I am in a wheelchair and he is always so helpful. When he sees me trying to get to the bus stop, he'll pull to the stop and wait a moment so I can get there. He is always so helpful, kind, and goes out of his way to go the extra mile. I can't thank him enough for his kindness. Please let him know I think he's doing an awesome job!" 
  • "I wish to show my appreciation for the courtesy the driver of the 106 bus showed me. I had crossed 35th to my mailbox as the bus came southbound. The driver stopped, allowed me to retrieve my mail and cross back over safely. I was very impressed with this act of kindness during the heavy commute time. Many thanks to your driver for going above and beyond and making common courtesy a priority in our busy world."
  • "On October 3, I rode route 120 southbound from Lynnwood Transit Center to Canyon Park Park & Ride. I would like to show my gratitude for the driver. While I was entering the bus I tripped and fell. The driver asked twice if I was ok and even though I assured him I was fine, he still reported it. His demeanor was kind and concerned and I appreciated this as well as his honesty during moments where other people might be careless or dismissive." 

Do you have a great transit driver appreciation story to share? We'd love to hear it! Let us know in the comments, or, better yet, email us at It's easy! Be sure to include the route, bus number, time of day, and the driver's name if you know it. Your thoughtfulness means the world to your driver. Did you know they are rewarded for these commendations? So please take a moment to make their day.

While tomorrow is the perfect day to say a special "Thank you!" to the person who gets you where you need to go,  let's all remember that these individuals make a difference in both big and small ways every day of the year. Community Transit Coach Operators, our hats are off to you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Community Transit Bus Service and University Link

Congratulations to Sound Transit on the opening of University Link light rail service this Saturday, March 19!

Community Transit will be serving a new bus stop on the south end of the UW campus loop to help serve riders connecting with University Link. The University of Washington Link station is located adjacent to Husky Stadium. A pedestrian bridge over Montlake Boulevard connects the station to the UW Campus.

The new bus stop (CT #3081) is located at Stevens Way NE & Rainier Vista. It will provide the shortest connection between Community Transit UW bus service and University Link, about a 4-to-5 minute walk at typical walk speeds. It takes an additional few minutes to get from the station entrance to the train platform, so allow enough time for your connection.

Community Transit provides 84 bus trips on six 800-series routes Monday through Friday between various locations in Snohomish County and the University District. All Community Transit University District routes circulate through campus on Stevens Way.

The proximity of existing Community Transit service to University of Washington Station will provide new options for riders of the 800-series routes who may wish to travel to destinations on Capitol Hill or downtown Seattle on Link, or vice versa.

Because the primary market for our 800-series routes is University of Washington students, faculty and staff, there are no plans to change the routing of these buses. With the new bus stop, current routing provides convenient access to Link light rail. It would be less convenient and a longer ride for existing customers if the routes were extended to serve the Link station more directly.

Community Transit also provides a high level of service directly to downtown Seattle weekdays on our 13 400-series routes. Route 424 between Snohomish and Seattle also stops at the Hwy 520 Montlake Freeway Station south of UW.

We welcome the opening of University Link and look forward to more north line openings!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Meet Ken Bailey, Community Transit's Maintenance Manager

It's easy to be passionate about your job when you work with a team that controls its own destiny.

Did you know Community Transit has a fleet of approximately 240 active coaches? These are in a constant state of flux with heavy duty transit coaches retiring after 15-16 years, new coaches joining the fleet, and mid-life rebuilds of engines and transmissions. A strict maintenance program ensures our vehicles are always at their very best. This means there are a lot of moving parts, and not just those that are automotive.

It takes a team of over 40 Mechanics and 7 Service Workers to make those parts come to life. Community Transit believes in keeping almost all of its maintenance in house, where we can ensure work is done to our exacting standards. This means we aren't dependent on anyone else to get things done right.

By investing in the very best training for our Mechanics, we rarely have to outsource. All of our technicians receive three weeks of intensive training on our vehicles, followed by six months on the shop floor to gain hands on experience on every one of our critical systems. This commitment to training empowers our maintenance team to be the best of the best. "Our Mechanics feel pride of ownership," says Ken.

It's not only the training that is meaningful to our Mechanics. There's a real sense of camaraderie as well. "There is a unique internal community here. Most of these people live around here, have worked here a long time. They understand each others' jobs and appreciate and value each other."

Thanks for helping put the 'Community' in Community Transit, Ken!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Smart Transportation Choices Get Rewarded

Community Transit’s Choice Connection program promotes smart transportation options throughout our community. In 2015 these programs combined removed over 538,696 drive-alone trips for our roads, and 5.8 million pounds of CO2 from the air we breathe.Two innovative incentive programs are offered to help reduce traffic congestion and pollution, and encourage healthy travel options.
  • Smart Commuter Rewards is an incentive program that helps large businesses motivate employees to reduce their drive-alone trips to work.
  • Curb the Congestion promotes smart transportation options to residents and employees on six of Snohomish County’s most congested corridors.
Each quarter Community Transit recognizes standout participants and employers who are dedicated to smart transportation choices. Congratulations to the Choice Connections award winners for 4th Quarter of 2015:

Smart Commuter of the Quarter, Daniel Dootson
Curb the Congestion Champion of the Quarter
Eric Blanchet of Monroe travels over 58 miles a day by longboard, skateboard and bus every day to his job at Microsoft in Redmond. For over seven years he’s been committed to choosing a healthy commute not only for himself, but the environment as well. He’s often seen riding his longboard around the Microsoft campus, and even helps teach his coworkers how to ride.
Smart Commuter of the Quarter
Daniel Dootson of Edmonds has biked 50,000 miles over the past 23 years, rain or shine five days a week to work. As Edmonds Community College’s Visual Media Services Director, he applies this same tenacity to his job. He knows that if he can conquer the elements, he can handle anything that might come his way during the day.
Employee Transportation Coordinator (ETC) of the Quarter
Sylvia Peacock of Trade Products & Specialty Manufacturing in Lynnwood is consistent in her Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) efforts. She makes the time to provide extra assistance to her employees, many of which don’t have access to a computer. Thanks to her efforts she increased her number of employees tracking their non-drive alone trips by 20%, and helped save over 2,100 pounds of CO2 pollution during in the fourth quarter alone.
Employer of the Quarter
The City of Monroe consistently provides outreach and education to their employees on smart transportation choices to work. By the end of the fourth quarter 2015 they had 20% of their employees participating in their worksite transportation program. In partnership with Community Transit, the City of Monroe is working to expand their efforts to promote smart transportation to other residents and employers in the community. These consistent efforts are making an impact, and helping take cars off the road in our communities.
The Choice Connections program recognizes individuals and worksites in Snohomish County and the City of Bothell that support Washington State Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) goals. They go above and beyond to use smart transportation alternatives to driving alone, and encourage workers to do so.
To learn more about the Choice Connections program and to sign up to start receiving rewards for your smart transportation choices, please visit www.communitytransit/ChoiceConnections.

Meet Jayen Hass, Community Transit's Maintenance Instructor

Who knew a game of soccer could change your life?  

Jayen Hass was working as a Mechanic and enrolled in an automotive program when he met some friends for a game of soccer at Kasch Park. When he saw that Community Transit was just next door, he decided to stop by to see if he could talk to anyone about their maintenance program. As one of our friendly Foremen gave him a tour of the facilities, he spoke of his fellow Mechanics with such respect and fondness that Jayen was hooked. He decided then and there that Community Transit was where he wanted to be.

Jayen got his start here as a Vehicle Service Attendant to get his foot in the door. After nine months he was enrolled into Community Transit's Apprenticeship Program. For three years (approximately 6,000 hours) Jayen became an expert in diesel vehicles and electronics. As soon as he completed the program, a vacancy for a Journeyman role became available. Just as with that soccer game, it was meant to be! That was nearly 20 years ago (the big anniversary day is in July!).

Wondering what inspires Jayen to come to the same place for work for 20 years? It's all about the passenger. "I'm always thinking about the passenger. It makes you perform your job better. You would never want them to be left stranded on a cold, rainy bus stop. At the end of the day you feel fulfilled. You accomplished something important. You did something good."

Jayen is taking that passion for making a difference and sharing it in his new role as a Maintenance Instructor. Since January 2015, Jayen has been developing training for new and existing maintenance employees. In this role he researches information on our new vehicles, designs maintenance programs for these vehicles, develops presentations and student manuals, and presents this training to employees. In order to provide training on cutting edge technologies, Jayen travels every other month or so to learn the best the industry has to offer. "When I meet new employees they ask me if it's really true that they'll receive that kind of training. They're always surprised. Other companies make promises but don't deliver. Community Transit delivers." 

"Every day here is different. Every day is a good day. You come in, you know exactly what to do, and you know you're making a difference. It keeps things exciting. Even after 20 years."

Thank you for sharing your story, Jayen, and helping our maintenance team be the best of the best!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Meet Gerry Martin, Community Transit's Paint & Body Shop Lead

How does an Alaskan crab fisherman find his way to a state of the art maintenance facility in Everett, Washington? As is often the case, it all began with a woman. Gerry Martin was happily crab fishing and working as a forest fire fighter for the U.S. Forest Service when it came time to settle down and start a family. He landed at the maintenance department of the Edmonds School District. As it happens, they had a contract with Community Transit, providing maintenance on their small fleet of 6-10 buses. In 1985, Community Transit purchased the Kasch Park space and Gerry was given the option to move over. He jumped at the chance.

Part of what made the move so appealing to Gerry was the ability to be part of the planning process. "We got to help design the place, help set it up." It was this sense of feeling valued that cemented Gerry's commitment to the agency. "We saw a future for growth here. Now we've got some of the best techs out there. And the best equipment too."

This sense of feeling valued extends beyond the relationship with the agency. With the support of excellent training, competitive pay, and great benefits, Gerry and his team feel a strong connection to their peers. "There's a real sense of family here. A lot of us know these guys better than our own brothers."

With a whopping 38 years of service for Community Transit as of April 16, 2016, Gerry is an inspiration not only to his team but to the entire agency. Thank you, Gerry, for taking a chance on Community Transit!

Friday, March 4, 2016

We're looking for people to Maintain It!

Community Transit is one of the most extensive transit systems in the Puget Sound area. We need people like you to maintain it!

If you are an experienced Journey, Diesel, or Automotive Mechanic, we want to talk to you! Our expert Mechanics keep our buses in tip-top shape, getting people in our community to where they need to go. To keep our buses rolling smoothly, we train our Mechanics in the following:
  • Bus Air Brake Systems Repair
  • Diesel Engine Repair
  • Allison Transmission Repair
  • Air Conditioning Systems Repair
  • Vehicle Electronics/Multiplex Systems Repair
  • Articulating Joint Repair
  • Hybrid Systems Safety Repair
  • Certifications in Forklift Operator and First Aid
In just four weeks you'll be ready to diagnose, maintain, and repair our heavy-duty coaches to keep our community on the move. Need a Commercial Driver's License? No problem! We'll make sure you get the training you need to pass your CDL exams with confidence.

At Community Transit we value our Mechanics (without you, our buses won't run their best). We offer a competitive salary ($30.88/hour to start and up to $34.41/hour after 12 months) with benefits for the whole family (including medical, dental, and vision). We are also invested in your future, and are committed to providing continued professional development throughout your Community Transit career.

Ready to join the best of the best? Apply today!