At its regular meeting on October 14, Pierce Transit’s Board of Commissioners unanimously approved two action items to advance innovative solutions proposed by the Agency’s recently formed Business Development Office. On October 17, the Board’s Executive Finance Committee signaled early support for a third innovative solution that will come before the full Board in November. The Board’s actions, combined with the success of recent demonstration projects and support of local communities, have added momentum to the Agency’s strategic focus on tailored, innovative solutions.
On October 14, the Board approved the operation of an ongoing Seasonal Trolley Service in Gig Harbor beginning in 2014. The service will run from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend at an estimated cost to the Agency of $315,450. The adult fare will be $2.00 and the youth and discounted fare will be $0.75 for the seasonal service. The Board’s approval of the service was informed by the success of the demonstration project and by letters of support and public comment from representatives of the Gig Harbor Community Investment Team.
The Gig Harbor Trolley Demonstration Project began July 9, 2013 and concluded on September 28, 2013. The service proved popular with the Gig Harbor community, hitting a total ridership of 28,514 during the 82-day demonstration period. Although the service missed its performance targets in September due to the end of school breaks and summer events, both passengers per service hour and passengers per revenue mile targets were met in July and August. Through an inter-local agreement with the City of Gig Harbor, the Agency also achieved its farebox recovery target of 16%. The City and the Gig Harbor Community Investment Team contributed $41,161 in partnership funds and $10,270 in marketing and in-kind contributions to the project.
On October 14, the Board also approved the Agency’s advancement of a proposed Fife-Milton-Edgewood Demonstration Project into the next phase of design. Pierce Transit staff members and a Community Investment Team have been meeting for the past several months to determine the community’s needs and interests, and the Community Investment Team has recommended the preliminary proposal which integrates a circulator service with Routes 402, 500, and 501. The circulator service is intended to provide stronger local connections while maintaining regional access, using two 25-foot cutaway vehicles in conjunction with the 40-foot buses currently serving those communities.
The preliminary proposal would require some modifications to Routes 402 and 501. The proposed modifications to the existing Route 501 service are considered a major service change under Pierce Transit’s Major Service Change Policy, and require a Title VI Service Equity Analysis and public outreach. The community is invited to give their input at an upcoming Open House and/or Public Hearing:
Open House – 4:30PM – 7:30PM October 30 – Fife City Hall, 5411-23rd Street East, Fife – Served by Route 501
Open House – 11AM – 2PM November 2 – Milton/Edgewood Library, 900 Meridian East, Milton – Servd by Route 402
Public Hearing – 4PM November 18th – Pierce Transit Training Center, 3720-96th Street SW, Lakewood – Served by Routes 48, 300
The community may also find more information about the project and complete an online survey by following this link www.piercetransit.org/
Another innovative solution, the Custom Bus Demonstration Project, received a “do-pass” recommendation from the Board’s Executive Finance Committee on October 17. An action item will come before the full Board for approval on November 18, 2013. The Custom Bus is an express bus service designed to meet the specific needs of commuters. This weekday service schedule is tailored to the travel times and patterns of commuters, but is a fixed route open to the general public at a special express service fare.
If approved, the Custom Bus Demonstration Project would begin in December, 2013, and operate as Route 485 from Olympia to Puyallup’s Benaroya Business Park, with stops at Martin Way Park-and-Ride and Hawks Prairie Park-and-Ride. To avoid a not-in-service trip from Lakewood to Olympia, the demonstration will also test an early morning express, operating as Route 475, from University Place Town Center Park-and-Ride to the Olympia Transit Center, with stops at the South Tacoma Sounder Station, the Lakewood Station, and at 11th & Capital Way. Both Route 485 and Route 475 would be tested with a six-month demonstration to gauge market demand and determine fare box recovery.
Pierce Transit’s focus on innovative solutions is led by the Business Development Office (BDO), a multi-disciplinary team of professionals with operations, market research, data analysis, service planning, business partnerships, and governmental affairs expertise, supported by LEAN practices. The BDO launched in May, 2013 in response to the Board’s strategic direction to focus a percentage of the Agency’s resources on rapid design projects tailored to community needs. The Agency recently promoted C. Van Sawin to the role of Business Development Officer, reporting to CEO Lynne Griffith.