Last night the Pierce Transit board passed their ridership-based cuts plan on a 4-3 vote. TCC has been working on this process at Pierce Transit for the past few months. No bus cuts are good cuts, but unfortunately, due to the economy and the failure of the Proposition 1 campaign last February (which we worked on), Pierce Transit cuts were inevitable. Thanks to the leadership of Marilyn Strickland and Jake Fey from Tacoma and the comments our members and supporters sent in, these cuts were done in the best way possible. The plan that went through final adoption last night, after hours of grueling and heartening public testimony, keeps over a million riders in the Pierce Transit system than the original “peanut-butter” based cuts plan did.
Transit cannot do everything for everyone and that is especially true during fiscally-constrained times. This ridership plan does the best the agency can under constrained budgets. As a silver lining, this plan makes the agency much more efficient, something the voters demanded with their Proposition 1 vote last February. Fixed-ridership system-wide right now costs $9/rider, after these cuts it will be $5/rider. Additionally, by focusing on efficiency, this plan sets the agency up for future success with the voters and rebuilding, and leaves the fewest number of riders as possible stranded at the bus stop.
Thank you for engaging on this process with us and stay tuned as we continue to work with Pierce Transit to restore lost service, especially in the evenings and weekends, in Pierce County in the months ahead.
Below is further coverage in the local media of the cuts this week:
Steve Fetbrandt. Lakewood Patch. “Pierce Transit Board Makes Cuts Official.” June 14, 2011.
Monday night, Pierce Transit adopted service cuts, eliminating Route 220, which goes through Tacoma, Lakewood, and Fircrest. 140 citizens attended the hearing, many objecting strongly to the cuts.
Stacia Glenn. Tacoma News Tribune. “Pierce Transit board OKs additional service cuts.” June 14, 2011.
Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners approved a second round of cuts Monday, affecting thousands of riders. Their plan eliminates 17 fixed-bus routes, while other routes will operate less frequently and for shorter hours of the day. At the last minute, the board delayed elimination of Route 496 from Sumner to Bonney Lake until February.
Jeanine Stewart. The Peninsula Gateway. “Pierce Transit issues final cuts to service reduction plan.” June 14, 2011.
Pierce Transit’s finalized cuts eliminated Bus PLUS Route 113 to Key Peninsula and Route 601, connecting Kimball Drive to Olympia. Route 496, along with some service to northeast Tacoma, was preserved. The cuts focused on ridership, efficiency, and serving the most densely populated areas.
John Discepolo. KOMO News. “Pierce Transit to cut another 15 routes despite riders' protests.” June 13, 2011.
Pierce Transit’s second round of cuts is supposed to help deal with a $51 million budget shortfall, but some who rely on this bus to get around fear they will lose mobility. Dozens of riders attended the hearing Monday and one voiced fears of losing her job.
Chris Daniels. KING-5 News. “Pierce Transit chops routes to overcome budget woes.” June 13, 2011.
Pierce Transit has eliminated Route 113 Key Peninsula and Route 61 Northeast Tacoma-Brown’s Point. Route 496 has been temporarily preserved and officials have until February to examine a long-term plan to fund for it. Starting in October, service hours will be weekdays 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.