Community Transit has raised its bus fares and is preparing for suspension ofÂ Sunday and holiday service starting onÂ June 13.
The Sunday suspension is part of a package of cuts aimed at saving $16 million over two years as the transit agency seeks to recover from low sales tax revenues brought on by the recession.
Other cuts include reduced commuter service to Seattle, fewer early morning and late night trips when ridership is low, and revised routing that eliminates some neighborhood loops. Local bus faresÂ were raised 25 centsÂ across the board — youth, adult and senior/disabled/Medicare and DART paratransit fares — as of Â June 1 to help bring additional revenue.
Community Transit staff have been at park-and-ride lots and on buses during the past month discussing the changes with riders. Outreach to riders will continue through June 14, the first day of the revised service.
June 6, the last day of Sunday service, will see a big push, with staff out at most major transit centers and aboard buses through much of the day. Bus riders are being advised to call the North Sound 2-1-1 social services hotline for assistance with transportation on Sundays. Everett Transit, King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit will continue to operate on Sundays.
In addition to Sundays, Community Transit will suspend all bus service on six major holidays. The first major holiday without service will be Independence Day. Because the holiday falls on a Sunday this year and is officially recognized on July 5, there will be no bus service on either Sunday, July 4, or Monday, July 5. Other affected holidays later this year include Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. In addition, the service will beÂ suspended on New Yearâ€™s Day 2011 and Memorial Day 2011.
â€œThe Sunday and holiday service suspension helps us keep much of our core bus service intact the remaining six days of the week, when ridership is much higher,â€ said Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor. â€œThis is a service suspension and we are working hard to get additional funding to restore that service as soon as possible.â€
Another big change for Community Transit will be the reduction in frequency on Route 101 between the Mariner Park & Ride and Aurora Village Transit Center via Highway 99. Service will be reduced weekdays from every 20 minutes to every 30 minutes. Swift bus rapid transit will continue to operate its frequent schedule on Highway 99 at 12 stops between Everett Station and Aurora Village. Swift is funded through other sources, so the only change it will see is the loss of Sunday service.
Other changes include:
â€¢ Elimination of the Route 115 shuttle, and Routes 200, 207, 404, 411, 441, 812, 851 and 870. Most of these routes are covered by other service.
â€¢ Major trip reductions on Routes 106, 121, 230, 247, 277, 402, 414 and 810.
â€¢ Major routing changes on Routes 105, 106, 115, 118, 119, 120, 121, 190, 406, 408, 415, 416, 421, 422, 425, 477, 810, 821 and 855.
â€¢ Minor changes on most other routes.
Complete schedules for service after June 13 are available online and in the new Bus Plus schedule book on board buses.
There is no schedule for restoring the suspended Sunday and holiday service. However, Community Transit says its top priority is to restore these services as soon as funding becomes available.