Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Swift celebrates 7th Anniversary with big future plans

Ribbon cutting on the first Swift line in 2009
If you’re anything like me you like things quick. Unfortunately, sometimes getting around Snohomish County is anything but quick. That all changed when the first Bus Rapid Transit system in our state came along. 

On November 30, 2009 Community Transit’s Swift line was born. Swift was built with 15 stations, in each direction, along Highway 99 plus terminals at Everett Station and Aurora Village. Improvements have been made over the years and the final stop on the line was completed last January near Edmonds Community College.

How has Swift stacked up compared to our other routes? Well I like to call it the Russell Wilson of bus systems - the leader. Swift carries about 5,500 riders each weekday and more than 1.7 million a yearWeekends average near 3,000 riders per day as well. One in six of all Community Transit riders travel on Swift. The ease of riders paying at the bus stop prior to boarding gives it the efficiency and appeal of light rail, delivered faster and at a fraction of the cost. 

Swift’s first line got a new name last August as we unveiled ‘Swift Blue Line’. And Swift is getting even better when the Swift Green Line comes online. Thanks to federal money, construction on the Swift Green Line will begin in 2017 and wrap up in late 2018. By early 2019, Swift Green Line will begin service and have 17 stations in each direction between Canyon Park in Bothell and the Boeing/Paine Field area.

To get the Swift Green line moving there are three things that need to happen:
·        - The Seaway Transit Center will be constructed as the Swift Green Line's northern terminal and will be located on Seaway Blvd. and 75th Street in Everett across from Boeing's main entrance. 
·       -  Addition of lanes near the 128th street and I-5 Bridge. Adding lanes on each side near the bridge will ease the congestion and get the bus through on time.
·        - Construction of 34 stations along the Swift Green Line route. 
Unveiling of Swift Green and Blue Line names in Aug. 2016
Snohomish County is continuing to grow, and with 65,000 jobs in the Boeing/Paine Field vicinity, and 25,000 jobs in the Canyon Park area, we need fast, frequent new bus service between the two areas and Swift Green Line gets that done.

More big plans are ahead with Swift as in 2023 Swift Orange Line will connect with Link Light Rail at Lynnwood Transit Center, covering those key east/west corridors. We know Snohomish County is a great place to live, work and play. We are glad that Swift is helping keep it that way. Happy seventh anniversary to Swift.

Some Swift riders joined in on the #mannequinchallenge earlier this month! Watch below:

***Sean Christensen is a Public Information Specialist for Community Transit. He joined the company in October 2016. Sean comes from a background in media, athletics, communications, and production.***

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Meet Devan Hogan: Community Transit Coach Operator

When every day is different, it certainly keeps the work day from getting boring! Rotating schedules, changing environments, and a wide range of vehicles and customer personalities have Coach Operator Devan Hogan looking forward to the unique challenges each day will bring.

Though Devan has been with Community Transit for less than two years, there have been opportunities where he has driven all of Snohomish County in the course of a week. "Going different places every day is fun. I get to see gorgeous sunrises and sunsets every day. New places and new faces makes it feel like I'm doing something new every day."

Devan stresses how important diversity training was when training to be a Coach Operator, "We learned to be sensitive to different kinds of people. One of the biggest things we deal with are different personalities every day, some of which can be difficult. We learn how to be patient and answer questions, and to respect that everyone is in a different stage in their life."

Different routes require different buses as well. "The length of a bus changes how it drives. While I've driven Swift and our articulated 60' buses, surprisingly it's the 40' buses are the most challenging to drive. They're harder to turn since the axles are further apart." Driving these challenging vehicles makes Devan feel like he can do anything, "It's a fun job. It's given me the confidence to feel that if I can drive any of those vehicles, what else can I drive? I'm thinking a motorcycle next."

Thank you, Devan, for being part of the Community Transit family and for reminding us that every day is an opportunity for embracing change and learning something new.

Do you value a work environment where every day is different? Share your comments below!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

"I'm Carlos. And I Ride It."

For 40 years we've been privileged to provide safe, reliable, and friendly service to Snohomish County. From our early years as a small bus company, we've grown to provide nearly 10 million passenger boardings each year across one of the fastest growing counties in the state. This milestone birthday is a perfect opportunity to give thanks to the people that make it possible to serve our community... our riders. People like Carlos, who rely on us each day to bring them home.

Having grown up in rural, central Washington, Carlos was new to transit when he moved to Lynnwood nearly a year ago. The daunting commute to downtown Seattle convinced him to give transit a try. "I hate to drive. Taking the bus is so much easier and convenient, and I don't have to worry about finding and paying for parking. I just walk a block to the corner to catch the 115 or 116 to the Ash Way Park & Ride where I transfer to the 415 express bus to downtown."

For Carlos, taking transit is about more than convenience. It's also a rare opportunity for a little 'me' time. "It's really pleasant to download a show and watch a little TV on the ride downtown. Even though it takes longer to get to work, I put on headphones and can just zone out for a little while. It's like meditation time and I really enjoy that."

Taking the bus also provides a change of scene, even when you take the same bus route each day, "You tend to see more around you on the bus, too. When you're driving you're paying attention just to the drivers around you. All of your focus is on being a defensive driver. But when you take the bus, you can look out the window and discover all sorts of shops and restaurants you just don't catch when you're driving."

Carlos doesn't just rely on Community Transit to get him to and from work. Being a one-car family means Carlos and his four young children regularly rely on transit to get groceries, go to the bank, run errands, and have fun. "It's not hard at all to navigate transit with kids. We go to the grocery store all the time and can manage three bags of groceries with the stroller. We also like to take the 115 or 116 to Alderwood Mall to run around. There are a couple of drivers that are really friendly and say hi to the kids and ask what we're up to that day."

Thank you, Carlos, for the responsibility you have entrusted in us to serve you, your family, and our community. We look forward to bringing you home for many more years to come.