Thursday, March 28, 2019

Swift Green Line – At Your Service!

Swift Green Line launched Sunday, March 24. The Grand Opening and community celebration was a blast! It was an honor to meet community members that expressed excitement about Swift Green Line and to see riders boarding on the inaugural bus ride. This week, our goal is to maintain that community spirit by creating connections with riders and providing information about the new line.

Service Ambassadors
Service Ambassadors, from left: M.Rojas, N. Ludington, C. Peyton
Service Ambassadors are Community Transit crew-members that offer customer service, face-to-face while riding on buses and at Swift stations, in addition to checking fares. Often they can be seen assisting riders using ticket vending machines or ORCA readers and answering questions about bus connections. Additional ambassadors were hired to provide service across both Swift Blue and Green lines, increasing the crew from four ambassadors to eight. 

During this first week of service, ambassadors are actively looking for riders who are new to Swift and bus rapid transit systems in their goal to help minimize barriers and confusion that might go along with learning a new bus system.

Some of the ways Swift can differ from a regular bus line are:
  • Riders pay their fare prior to boarding the bus.
  • Riders can board at any of the Swift’s three doors.
  • Buses come more frequently: every 10 minutes on weekdays, and every 20 minutes during early mornings, nights and weekends.
      To learn more about how to ride Swift go to

New signage at Swift Green Line station
Service Ambassadors aren’t the only agency employees greeting riders this week. There are also Swift Street Teams assisting customers along Swift Green Line route. Team members answer questions and provide information to riders while riding on the bus and visiting Swift stations. In addition, team members gather feedback from riders at key locations, such as where Swift Blue and Green Lines meet at Airport Road and Highway 99.

Blue & Green Connection
Newly installed Swift Blue and Green Line signage is visible on Swift station columns at the intersection of Airport Road and Highway 99, where the two lines connect. The signage clearly identifies each station as “Blue Line” or “Green Line” to eliminate any confusion that might be caused by having two Swift lines operating in the same area. 

Have you have noticed the new signage and if so, do you think it’s helpful? We want your feedback, please leave us a comment below.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Swift Green Line is matching early Blue Line ridership stats

It’s been said that the Swift Green Line will transform public transportation in Snohomish County. Well, it’s been three days… has it yet?

Very preliminary ridership numbers are in for the first three days of Swift Green Line service. After a surprisingly high half-day’s ridership on Sunday, boardings took a big leap forward to start the week. After that, they dipped slightly.

Swift Corner, where the Blue Line and Green Line connect
"Swift Corner," where Swift Blue and Green lines connect.
Bus counters show that the first three days of Swift Green Line service saw 1,218, 1,818 and 1,718 riders from Sunday through Tuesday (what’s with the 18s?). 

Sunday’s numbers were high for a half-day of service as many people attending the grand opening celebration boarded at the Dumas stations near McCollum Park to test out the new Green Line.

With about 1,800 boardings each of the first two weekdays, Swift Green Line ridership is matching the pace of Blue Line’s first week of service in late 2009. Blue Line ridership doubled in its first year as people learned how quick and easy it was to commute on a Swift bus.

At “Swift Corner” on Airport Road & Highway 99, where the Swift Blue and Green lines meet, many people are seen making that connection from one BRT route to the other. This morning, one woman got off a northbound Blue Line bus to connect to the northbound Green Line. She said she works at Paine Field and was ecstatic that this new connection saves her at least 10 minutes each way on her work commute.

Swift Green Line mapEarly statistics corroborate her journey.

The most popular destination points for the northbound Swift Green Line are Seaway Transit Center, Highway 99 and 100th Street (by Paine Field).

The most popular southbound destination points are Canyon Park PR, 4th Avenue (by Mariner PR) and Highway 99.

Word is just getting out about the Swift Green Line. So far, the numbers look good and the reviews are positive. Have you tried the Swift Green Line yet? What’s your experience?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Green Line, Green Spaces

Now that Swift Green Line is operational, you may have noticed a "green" area behind the northbound station on 128th St. SE at 3rd Ave. SE.

A Swift Green Line bus pulls into the northbound station on 128th St. SE at 3rd Ave. SE, just in front of a Native Growth Protection Area and wetlands.
At first glance, it appears to be just a bunch of wild brush, but every leaf, stone, log, and blade of grass was actually placed there for a specific purpose. It's a Native Growth Protection Area (NGPA) that is intended to filter and clean water runoff from 128th St. before it joins the nearby wetlands to the east, and, eventually, North Creek.

Runoff from 128th St. comes into the area via street-level storm drains, filters through the vegetation and soil, and eventually seeps through holes in a pipe buried a few feet underground. It should be a slow process that often leaves the area damp and wetland-ish, but three years ago, the NGPA -- and the wetlands it drains into -- was drying up and dying.

Snohomish County, which is responsible for these areas, granted Community Transit special permission to rebuild the NGPA at its own expense in order to expedite the process and have the work complete in time for the opening of Swift Green Line.

The Native Growth Protection Area under construction in January 2018, before the Swift station was built.
After months of heavy construction to replace the underground stormwater drainpipe it was time to re-plant the area with native flora.

That's where Curtis LaPierre comes in. He's a senior landscape architect with Otak, the engineering firm contracted by Community Transit to rebuild the NGPA.

"We started from scratch to create a constructed biofiltration rain garden," Curtis said.

Landscape architect Curtis LaPierre reviewing design plans for the site.
Curtis and his team designed the area to slope like a natural swale (shallow ditch) then added layers of gravel, mulch and bioretention soil specially formulated to help clean the water before it enters the underground pipe.

Flood plants -- sedges, grasses and bulrushes -- were planted on the bottom of the swale. These native plants will thrive in the wet, marshy ground.

Sedges, grasses and bulrushes thrive in wet soil.
At strategic locations about midway up the swale wall, Curtis placed several logs, what landscape architects call "large woody debris."

"They function like natural shorelines," Curtis explained. "They will only occasionally be underwater -- perfect for amphibians and insects and the like."

Several strategically placed logs will become homes for frogs, insects and other damp-loving fauna.
The top of the slopes feature flowering shrubs like salmonberry and snowberry, and native trees like vine maple, hemlock and Douglas fir. They provide stability to the slope and, eventually, a visual screen to the residents of the condominiums on the other side.

The next time you're at the northbound Swift Green Line station on 128th St. SE at 3rd Ave. SE, take a peek at the rain garden. It's beautiful and functional, helping to clean stormwater runoff and protect nearby wetlands and streams -- all part of what makes Swift Green Line green.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Taking Swift Green Line to the Paine Field Passenger Terminal

In honor of our Swift Green Line opening this week, we are celebrating "Green Week" with a series of stories about our Swift service.

The anticipation is over! The Paine Field Airport Passenger Terminal is open with Alaska Airlines providing daily flights since March 4 and United Airlines set to begin service on March 31.

The timing couldn’t be better for the launch of Community Transit’s Swift Green Line on Sunday, March 24. Swift Green Line, the agency’s second bus rapid transit line, will connect with the Swift Blue Line at Airport Rd. and Highway 99, creating a high-frequency, high-capacity transit network. With Swift Green Line stations at Airport Rd. and 100th St., riders can catch a bus every 10 minutes on weekdays and every 20 minutes early mornings, nights and weekends to reach Paine Field.

From the Swift Green Line station, it’s just a short walk to the passenger terminal. We decided to video that walk from the northbound Swift Green Line station at Airport Rd. and 100th St. to provide an actual view of what it’s like and how long it actually takes. This is the station that riders will arrive at if they take Swift Green Line from Mill Creek or Bothell. It’s also the same station that riders will arrive at if they transfer from Swift Blue Line coming from Everett Station or Lynnwood, Edmonds or Shoreline.

When walking to the passenger terminal, it’s important to note that pedestrians will need to cross Airport Rd. and then cross again to the south side of 100th St. where there is a sidewalk and walking path to the terminal.

Parts of the path are newly paved. Pedestrians will pass buildings such as a flight museum and several training facilities. There’s an Alaska Airlines office along the path that’s not part of the terminal, so keep walking. Just past Alaska Airlines, the sidewalk ends. You can see the terminal to your right. Follow the crosswalk markings across the parking lot to get to the terminal.

The walk takes about 10 minutes from the station to the terminal, depending on a few factors such as:
  •       Wait time for walking signal at intersection
  •       Walking speed
  •       Baggage, and
  •       Weather
This test walk took about 8 minutes; the weather was clear and sunny.

We are excited about the new service at the passenger terminal and just as excited to provide a reliable and consistent option to get there for those choosing not to drive. Swift Green Line riders can leave the driving to us, while they relax and enjoy the ride to the Paine Field Passenger Terminal.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

7 Facts You Didn't Know About Our New Swift Buses

In honor of our Swift Green Line opening this week, we are celebrating "Green Week" with a series of stories about our Swift service.

In four days, Community Transit Swift Blue Line will be joined by the Swift Green Line, a milestone for Snohomish County's Swift Bus Rapid Transit network.

If you're new to the idea of bus rapid transit and Swift, you can read about it here.

We also have more details about Swift Blue Line and Swift Green Line, but for this post, we're going to focus on seven facts about our Swift buses you may not know.

It can take up to 2 years to get a bus

But in this case, it took 19 months (from order to delivery) for one Swift bus. There can be an additional 30-60 days added to that timeline. Below is Bus #18710 back in November 2018, waiting to be equipped and branded with Swift decals and trim.

Sweet 16: The number of buses ordered for the Swift Green Line

16 new buses were ordered to serve the Swift Green Line. These buses may look a little different (seating arrangements, windshield, headlights, etc.), but they will have the same branding, colors and signage as our current Swift Blue Line buses. You'll see both bus models serving the Swift network.

Two for the Blue

Two additional buses were ordered to increase the frequencies on the Swift Blue Line-- they were received last summer and put into service September 2018.

Two Swift buses (the newer model is on the left.)
You'll see both models serving the Swift Blue and Swift Green Lines.

21 Run

There are 21 activities, from installations to inspections, completed on a Swift bus before it goes into service.

Before our buses hit the road, they are outfitted with technology, equipment and amenities:
  1. Delivery inspection
  2. Replace engine oil and filter
  3. Replace differential oil
  4. Check and adjust tire pressures
  5. Re-torque wheel lug nuts
  6. Lube suspension
  7. Set-up and test DVR system
  8. Verify programming
  9. Commission Advanced Public Transportation System (APTS).
    (This is the technology that enables us to track our buses in Dispatch and share real-time information via BusFinder and data feeds.)
  10. Perform fire suppression system service
  11. Set-up and test HVAC system
  12. Install bike racks
  13. Install Mobile Access Router (GPS)
  14. Install destination sign emergency arrow switch
  15. Install convex mirror
  16. Install interior decals
  17. Install schedule holders
  18. Install and program Traffic Signal Priority (TSP) system
  19. Installation of Swift graphics and decals
  20. Program and commission radio system
  21. Install: (2) garbage cans; Wheel blocks; First aid kit; Seat belt cutter; Insurance card holder; Destination sign legend/holder; Good to Go Pass; T-Key; and Tire Chains

Gimme a (Disc) Brake

A new Swift bus awaits inspection at the Merrill Creek Bus Yard in Everett.

The new Swift buses have disc brakes, reflecting a current trend in heavy duty vehicles to improve stopping performance. The disc brake actuators take up some space under the floor, resulting in some of the seat configuration changes you'll see on the new Swift buses.

It can take up to four hours to install the Swift graphics on a bus (And that's with two installers!)

So there you have it-- 7 fun facts about our new Swift buses. Did you learn something new? What else would you like to know?

The Swift Green Line service officially kicks off at Noon on Sunday, March 24. Get the details at


Monday, March 18, 2019

Swift Green Line Grand Opening Celebration, March 24

In honor of our Swift Green Line opening this week, we are celebrating "Green Week" with a series of stories about our Swift service.

If you’ve been wondering where you could take a selfie looking like you’re driving a Community Transit bus, check out some cool student transit art, and witness an historic Snohomish County public transportation milestone, look no further.

Join us for the official launch of the Swift Green Line Sunday, March 24, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at McCollum Park on 128th Street. We’re throwing a free public celebration with music, food trucks, Swift cookies, caricatures and more. Yes, Swift cookies!

KIRO 7’s Tracy Taylor will emcee the event. Speakers include Congressman Rick Larsen, State Senator Marko Liias, Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, Snohomish County Councilmember Terry Ryan, Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling and Community Transit CEO Emmett Heath.

The big event will be the launch of the first Swift Green Line bus, which will depart McCollum Park at noon. Regular service on the Swift Green Line will also start at noon from both ends of the route, Canyon Park and Seaway Transit Center.

Don’t try to catch a Swift Green Line bus before noon that day!

With two Swift lines running every 10 minutes weekdays, this will be a major improvement for transit travel in south Snohomish County. You can read more about the Swift Green Line, and its connection to the Blue Line at Airport Road & Highway 99 at www.communitytransit,org/SwiftGreen.

Community Transit is making other service changes this coming week, especially to routes serving Boeing. Check out those changes at

See you on Sunday!