By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published May 9, 2012
Everett Transit to release final service plan Tuesday, May 15
EVERETT - After hearing from the public, Everett Transit will be releasing a final plan for 2012 service reductions on Tuesday, May 15.
The final plan will be released on the agency’s website, www.everettransit.org. Everett Transit has scheduled four informational meetings between May 15 and June 5 to discuss the final plan. The chance for the public to comment, though, ended April 15.
As reported last week, the agency is certain it will keep much of the eastside north-south Route 29 unaltered and cut Route 27. The agency is still determining what other differences might happen from the initial proposal, Everett Transit program manager Steffani Lillie said last week.
Overall, the proposed service changes seek to maintain popular routes and eliminate routes or reduce service times on routes with lower ridership. The changes include eliminating some holiday service such as Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day.
The proposal includes a 25-cent fare increase for all riders (increasing the adult fare to $1) and changes to paratransit services.
The service changes are scheduled to go into effect Aug. 26, while the fare increase would begin January 2013.
A public hearing focused on the 25-cent rate hike will be at the June 6 City Council meeting, Lillie said. The City Council has the final say on fare increases.
Everett Transit held eight public input meetings in March and April and received more than 200 written comments as part of the process.
The written comments “ran the gamut” but largely discussed specific routes, agency outreach coordinator Matt Coomes said.
The agency got more than 20 comments regarding its plan to cut Route 9 on Evergreen Way, which agency officials say largely duplicates Route 7, which runs almost the same route on the same corridor.
Route 7 got 14 comments. Routes 7 and 9 make up the routes with the highest ridership figures.
Route 29, which Everett Transit originally planned to cut in half, got the second-most comments. Route 3 and Route 18 each represented more than a dozen comments.
Route 18 goes from Mukilteo to Everett Station and the agency plans to cut back morning and evening trips, eliminate Saturday service and adjust the route. Route 3 goes from Casino Road to Everett Station and service would be reduced in the View Ridge Madison Neighborhood.
“To sum up, people said, ‘hey can you preserve as much service as possible’,” Coomes said.
Only a couple of comments said Everett Transit should stop paying for Community Transit’s Swift service along the Evergreen Way corridor and put that money into Everett Transit, Coomes said.
Everett Transit pays 1/12th of its sales tax revenue to Community Transit for Swift service under a contract, and Everett Transit’s union president publicly has called for redirecting the money to Everett Transit service.
A recommendation to cancel the contract also came out in a leaked draft letter of recommendations from a Council of Neighborhoods ad hoc transit committee. The committee planned to send its recommendations to Mayor Ray Stephanson, but the council as a whole voted to wait until the committee has more information about the payments.
The leaked letter was sent to some City Council members. The letter prompted city officials to ask Everett Transit to present the pros and cons of the Swift contract to the City Council at the council’s Wednesday, May 16 meeting.
Everett Transit will hold four informational meetings on its final service reductions.
To read through the service reduction proposal, click on “ET Service Change Proposal” at www.everettransit.org. The final plan will be released May 15.
The four meetings are:
• Tuesday, May 15 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Everett Station, 3201 Smith Ave.
•Wednesday, May 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Everett Senior Center, 3025 Lombard Ave.
•Tuesday, May 22 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Everett Station, 3201 Smith Ave.
•Wednesday, May 30 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Everett Public Library, Evergreen Branch, 9512 Evergreen Way