Monday, August 24, 2009

Touring Everett and Bellingham on Washington's only State Supported Transit System

Last Friday I had the opportunity to travel from Downtown Seattle to Downtown Bellingham for $4 all on local transit. Last week, Oran over at STB reported on his even longer public transit trip from Seattle to Vancouver and it is well worth the read.

I took the ST510 to Everett where I had a meeting , where PSRC's 2040 transportation plan was being discussed. After that I had an hour to kill in downtown Everett. There i took some interesting photos of land use around their station area and other parts of downtown.

I then took the 90X from Everett to Mt Vernon Station. From there I took the 80X up to downtown Bellingham. Overall the trip from Everett cost $4 and took about an 1 hour and 40 minutes in traffic and it was a very comfortable ride.

Both on the connector buses and touring downtown Everett and Bellingham there were a lot of lessons learned both for transportation and land use.

Check out the photo album I created of the trip on the TCC facebook page. Lessons learned and commentary are posted in the captions of the photos.

The most important take away in terms of transit funding is that the State supported connector service that connects Whidbey with Mount Vernon, Bellingham and Everett is very successful. On my trip last Friday the Bellingham-Mt Vernon bus was nearly at capacity and both buses were busy. Last session the transportation budget injected roughly $300,000 of operating funds into the North Sound Connector service. It is great to see the state getting involved in financially supporting the operations of struggling local transit agencies. I would love to see the model, that has worked in the North Sound, of the state supporting transit operations expanded to other areas of the Washington!

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