Pierce Transit is planning the South Sound’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line along a 14.4-mile portion of Pacific Avenue/SR-7 between downtown Tacoma and Spanaway. The corridor is currently served by Pierce Transit’s Route 1, which has the agency’s highest ridership. The project is approaching 60 percent design, with construction slated to begin in late 2021.
At its Sept. 14 meeting, the Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners selected the name “Stream” for the agency’s Bus Rapid Transit system. Since the name was chosen for an entire BRT system, it will apply to the line being planned now as well as future Pierce Transit BRT lines planned along Routes 2, 3, 4 and 402. Each line will also have an individual name to set it apart, much like Community Transit’s BRT system is named “Swift,” and each line is referenced by a different color.
Pierce Transit employed a professional firm to assist with research for a system name; the firm has helped vet names for other BRT systems, including Sound Transit’s. The work included interviewing stakeholders, conducting an analysis of other lines, developing a brand strategy and platform, and vetting potential names for things such as trademark and use in other locations. Now that the system name has been selected, branding and other system-identifying elements will move forward.
“Over time, Tacoma has grown and become a hub for regional travel that is well served by Sounder trains, regional buses and, in the future, regional light rail,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. Mayor Woodards is a member of the Sound Transit Board and is the Chair of the Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners. “Pierce Transit’s new BRT line will provide Tacoma and other communities throughout the region with several options to ease traffic congestion.”
BRT systems are designed to carry larger numbers of riders with greater speed, reliability and frequency than a standard fixed-route bus. BRT stations have additional amenities, such as real-time arrival information; off-board fare collection, raised platforms and multiple doors for faster boarding; transit signal prioritization for faster travel times through congested intersections; and unique, branded vehicles that carry more passengers, have room for bicycles onboard and provide easier wheelchair access.
The public can learn more about Pierce Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit project at RideBRT.com. They may also sign up to receive email updates by visiting PierceTransit.org/StayConnected, entering their email address, and selecting the “Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project” topic. Questions and comments may be sent via email.
There is already $95 million committed to the Pierce Transit BRT project, including $60 million from Sound Transit 3, plus state funding and other grants. Pierce Transit is requesting federal funding to cover the remaining costs of the project. If fully funded, service could get underway as early as 2024.