Community Transit will cut its service by 15 percent, including elimination of all Sunday bus and disabled-van trips, starting June 13.
EVERETT — Community Transit will cut its service by 15 percent, including an indefinite suspension of Sunday bus and disabled-van trips, starting June 13.
Board members of the agency voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to make the changes.
The board also approved a 25-cent fare increase for local bus and paratransit service, while leaving prices the same for commuter routes into King County.
Ridership and bus hours have increased rapidly in the past decade, but the recession drove sales-tax income down to 2005 levels — leaving transit officials with routes and services they can’t afford.
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The changes are supposed to save $5 million this year and $11 million next year, allowing the agency to balance its budget.
Sunday service was chopped so the agency could make shallower cuts in the busy weekday local and commuter routes.
The agency suspended Sunday trips in 2000 and brought them back in 2002, during an earlier budget crisis. “The first weekend we didn’t have Sunday was horrible. It will be horrible again,” said CEO Joyce Eleanor.
Board members voted to set aside $50,000 for service groups or churches to transport homebound people on Sundays, particularly the disabled, perhaps by using surplus transit vans.
Besides the Sunday cuts, buses on Route 101 on Highway 99 will run every half-hour, instead of every 20 minutes. Last fall, the Swift bus-rapid transit line began in the same corridor, with fewer stops and faster buses, every 10 minutes.
A touchy issue is the proposed loss of an early-morning trip from Gold Bar to the Boeing Everett complex.
The board decided to keep studying how to maintain a 5:06 a.m. bus leaving Gold Bar. Only a half-dozen people ride that particular bus, but the agency is trying not to strand them.
“If we’ve got one group going to one place, it sounds like a perfect vanpool,” said board member Joe Marine, mayor of Mukilteo.
But board member Dianne White, mayor of Stanwood, admonished the group not to disparage outlying small towns.
“To ask somebody who’s going to go to Boeing and work 12 to 14 hours, and ask them to drive a van, is kind of a stretch,” she said. The agency will continue working on a Gold Bar solution until April.
In Stanwood, Arlington and Monroe, trips could either be reduced or truncated to park-and-ride lots instead of continuing into neighborhoods.
Lynnwood Councilman Ted Hikel pointed out that hundreds of low-income workers use the bus on Sundays to reach his city’s huge retail centers.
“They’re either going to have to walk or find a friend, or lose their jobs.”
Mike Lindblom: 206-515-5631 or firstname.lastname@example.org