Community Transit, Sound Transit announce service reductions, other changes beginning March 30

Sound Transit double decker bus.

As community members are encouraged to stay home and practice social distancing, transit ridership has seen a decrease in ridership prompting  service reductions beginning Monday, March 30.

Community Transit announced Thursday a plan to reduce most bus services by approximately 25%. This COVID-19 related reduction in service will go into effect March 30, and continue until further notice.

A route-by-route breakdown of the plan is available here.

Schedules will be updated and available for riders in the online Trip Planner tool by March 27. Other tools, like BusFinder and directions via Google Maps, will be updated after March 30. Until those updates are complete, BusFinder may be inaccurate. Riders will be informed when the updates have been completed.

“Through this plan we are ensuring that we continue to meet the essential transportation needs of our community,” said Community Transit CEO Emmett Heath. “Our ridership has decreased significantly, but we still have many people including first responders, medical staff and frontline community workers who rely on transit as a critical service.”

In addition to all Community Transit service, Sound Transit is also planning service reduction to Sound Transit Express Routes 510, 511, 512, 513, 532 and 535, which are operated by Community Transit.

Key details of the service reduction plan include:

  • All routes will be served by at least one trip in each direction to ensure service is available for all of our communities; no routes have been eliminated.
  • Local routes within Snohomish County will be reduced less than others.
  • Commuter routes, including routes to Seattle, University of Washington, Bellevue and Boeing will see greater service reductions to more closely match current ridership.
  • Routes that have a change in either their first or last trip include Routes 105, 106, 107, 196, 202, 247, 280, 412, 416, 424, 435, 821, and 871.
  • Weekday bus frequency for Swift Blue line will change from  approximately 10 minutes to every 12 minutes, and will change to every 15 minutes for Swift Green line. Evening and weekend service on both Swift routes will be every 20 minutes.

As recently announced, in order to ensure proper social distancing for our drivers, Community Transit has suspended the collection of fares until further notice. Additionally, all buses will continue to board and exit through the middle and rear doors only.

The front door will remain accessible for ADA customers. The front 10 feet of all buses will be available for bus drivers and ADA customers only. Riders are encouraged to continue to practice good hygiene and appropriate social distancing to protect other customers as well as our drivers.

“We continue to refine our response to this crisis and appreciate the understanding of our riders as we make these changes,” Heath said.

Additionally, Sound Transit also announced Thursday it will introduce service reductions on additional ST Express routes starting March 30. According to a statement from Sound Transit, ridership on trains and buses are down by an estimated 83%. With these further responses to the COVID-19 outbreak, riders should anticipate reduced service on almost all ST Express routes as well as on Link and Sounder trains. 

“We are committed to continue serving riders who need transportation on critical trips, and our reductions will still maintain room for social distancing,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “We thank our riders for their patience and observance of social distancing and other health precautions. We also thank our operators, who are displaying a heroic commitment to ensuring that service remains available to anyone who needs to travel.”

Starting Monday, reductions of ST Express services operated by Community Transit and Pierce Transit follow reductions announced last week of ST Express routes operated by King County Metro Transit, as well as previous reductions to Link light rail and Sounder train service. In addition to much lower ridership, the reductions take into account current and potential future reductions in available staffing. Sound Transit also suspended fare requirements on all buses and trains until further notice to help protect transit employees and riders through social distancing.

 Work with partner agencies to identify the reductions put priority on maintaining needs of transit-dependent riders as well as services for low-income, minority and limited-English-proficiency populations. Trains and buses will continue to run at the earliest and latest service hours. At this time, normal service will continue on Tacoma Link.

Reductions to ST Express routes operated by Community Transit:

Routes 510, 511, 512, 513, 532 and 535 will run on a reduced weekday schedule that will preserve the overall span of service but at a reduced frequency for select trips.

Riders will find more information on the specific trips canceled at here and via rider alerts, which they can sign up to receive electronically. Riders are encouraged to sign up for rider alerts to ensure they receive up-to-date information about service changes, or visit Sound Transit’s website.


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