The Pierce Transit board of directors took a substantial step this week to restore thousands of service hours lost to the Great Recession.
The board voted unanimously Monday to restore 35,000 hours of service next year and to restructure its route system to provide more bus frequency and longer hours of service on many routes.
“This is the largest service restoration Pierce Transit has been able to make since the economic downturn and subsequent recovery,” Pierce Transit CEO Sue Dreier said.
“I am pleased we’ll be able to do so with a new service model that will provide more frequent bus service and service later into the evenings.”
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Under the adopted plan, all urban peak and midday routes except Route 13 will see 30-minute frequencies. In addition, service on all urban routes will be extended until 10 p.m. on weekdays. Some suburban routes will see extended service hours as well.
“The restructured system will also deliver more direct bus routes with faster service between locations and fewer overlapping routes along the same path,” according to the agency.
Some routes were consolidated with others to increase efficiencies, Pierce Transit said.
Commissioners voted to save Route 13, which serves the Old Town area of Tacoma. The route had been targeted for elimination under the restructuring plan, but several people asked for it to be saved. It now will run hourly on weekdays only.
Money for the restoration and changes, estimated to cost the agency about $4 million, will come from reserves and increasing sales tax revenues, agency spokeswoman Rebecca Japhet said.
Pierce Transit cut more than 100,000 service hours when the economic downturn of 2007-09 decimated sales-tax revenue. About the same time, five cities left the agency’s service area, taking resources with them.
By the end of 2017, Pierce Transit hopes to restore 59,000 of those lost hours.
Revamped bus system
You can find out more about Pierce Transit’s restructured bus system at piercetransit.org/route- analysis-moving-forward/.