Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pierce Transit to Cut 35% This October

Yesterday Pierce Transit had all all day work session covering everything from the future of Pierce Transit, PT's service size, to their cuts plan.  I was at the very interesting meeting all day and was live tweeting the event which you can find on our twitter @Transpochocies .

I left an hour before the explosion, all I can say is thank God nobody got hurt.

There were a lot of contentious discussions about the future of PT and their service size yesterday, but one of the bold things the board did do is direct staff to implement the full 35% service cuts in October (as soon as possible) with the failure of proposition one.  From my perspective this is good news in that voters and the community will realize Pierce Transit wasn't lying when they said they would have to cut service by 35% if Prop. 1 didn't pass.

Here is the full release from Pierce Transit:

Nine of the ten Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners participated in a work session yesterday with the goal of ensuring that they had all the information they needed to make a decision about next steps after the failure of Proposition 1, which asked voters to approve using the final 0.3% sales tax authority available to Pierce Transit to preserve existing service levels.

The Board directed staff to go forward in reducing the system by approximately 35% by October, 2011.  All service and staff reductions will occur by that date.  These actions will stabilize the agency’s finances and allow for short and long-term sustainability.

Public hearings will be held in the following communities in April:
o   Tacoma
o   Gig Harbor
o   Puyallup
o   Lakewood
o   Bonney Lake
Dates and times for the public hearings will be announced in a later communication.  The Board will take formal action for the October service reduction at their May 9, 2011 meeting.

Claudia Thomas, Board of Commissioners Chair, stated, “The Board is deeply regretful about the impacts of this decision on Pierce Transit riders, the community and employees.”

The Board will not pursue exercising ballot authority at this time but did not rule out using it in the future.


  1. The county is shoving this bus cuts plan down our throat. What bothers me greatly is a 2 month timeline to figure out what to do about this. It isn't enough time to constrain the boundary, but enough pressure could structure the cuts towards the outskirts.

  2. I realize Pierce Transit proposed the reduction plan and its service frequency cuts as somewhat of a threat to try to get people to vote for Proposition 1, but following through with that plan is folly as it heavily punishes those who use the system, namely those in areas like Tacoma, Lakewood, and Puyallup who incidentally by-and-large voted in favor. I hate to see those that may live out in the sticks for what may be economic reasons end up not being serviced by transit, but the reality is that the only correct solution is to reduce the service area to cover geographies that have heavy bus use and are willing to fund it.

  3. Jamie,
    35% cuts were not a campaign threat. They are a financial reality that have to be enacted by PT in order to remain fiscally solvent with prop 1 failing.

    That said, the board could alter and tweak the cuts plan at their May meeting based upon who supports transit & where transit is efficient and cost effective. Unfortunately the board did not direct the staff to go in that direction at this week's work session.

  4. I get that cuts of some manner are necessary, but sort of figured that the level of specificity on what cuts would happen and where that were included in campaign literature were at least somewhat designed to make people at least somewhat quake in their boots about reduced and less-frequent service. I'm not accusing PT of anything unethical by any means, and I think it was the right political choice in how the measure was run.

    Following through with those cuts as designed is a different matter. When the precinct-by-precinct voting statistics speak so clearly about where transit is considered important and where it is not, I don't feel like PT is listening to me as a voter when there is a very real possibility that headways on the busy routes like the #1 are going to be reduced.

  5. Good input. We are going to continue working hard on this issue. In the meantime you should contact your reps. on the Pierce Transit Board with you suggestions because ultimately the decision lies with them. For Tacoma that is the Mayor and councilmembers Fey and Manthou and County Councilmember Farrell.

  6. Thanks for the suggestion Andrew. I've had little luck over the years getting any sort of response when I contact PT customer service (granted I've used their online contact form instead of calling, but there's still no excuse), so it's nice to know explicitly who represents us on the board.

  7. The reduction was a thinly veiled campaign threat, but also very real.