Boeing bus routes serve other riders as well

Steven Haynes of Arlington writes: Last year, Community Transit cut a number of routes and trips, eliminated Sunday service, and raised fares to save money. You would think this organization would always be on the lookout for cost savings and efficiency improvements.

However, for some reason,

during the Boeing Christmas closure, the Boeing commuter buses (routes 227, 247, and 277) continued to run, every day, with completely empty buses. They also ran the day after Thanksgiving, another Boeing closure.

These routes are almost exclusively for Boeing employees, and all but one of the stops is on Boeing property. Boeing’s Christmas break is hardly a secret, and even if it was, you would think that after the first day the drivers would realize something was amiss.

Yet, the buses continued to run all week, even using the 60-foot articulated buses! I’d really like to know why they wasted so much fuel, payroll, and wear and tear on the buses.

Community Transit service planner Sara Hayden responds:
Community Transit continued to operate routes that serve Boeing during the holiday between Christmas and New Year’s Day to serve customers who rely on transit. Buses were not empty, but there were fewer passengers.

Although most Boeing employees get the week off, there are some who do work during that time. Also, the recently added stop near Seaway Boulevard north of 75th Avenue SW allows employees at other nearby employers (such as the Snohomish County PUD) to ride these routes. Because these employers do not follow Boeing’s holiday policy, their employees still need to be able to get to work.

Finally, two of our Boeing routes (277 and 280) stop at Everett Station on their way to Boeing. There are non-Boeing riders on both routes who depend on the early service from Granite Falls and the U.S. 2 corridor to Everett Station. For all these groups of riders, it was important to continue providing the service they count on.

The use of articulated coaches on some Boeing routes is based on normal daily ridership. After completing the trip to Boeing, these buses go onto other routes. Most operate a commuter trip to or from the University of Washington.

Were they to use a standard coach for the Boeing service, the cost of coming back to the base afterward to exchange the coach for an articulated would be much, much higher than simply operating an articulated coach on both trips.

Steve Braden of Everett writes: Who at the city of Everett decided to remove the right lane on Rucker Avenue between California Street and Everett Avenue?

There used to be a right-turn-only lane there – now it’s planters put in when the new condos were built. This forces everyone who turns right on Everett to merge left for ½ block and merge back to the right, creating huge traffic jams

Dongho Chang, traffic engineer for the city of Everett, responds: The change made on Rucker Avenue is based on the downtown streetscape plan adopted by the City Council. The plan calls for Rucker Avenue to be transformed into a more residential and business-friendly street that discourages cut-through traffic.

Wide sidewalks, angle parking and mid-block crosswalks similar to Colby Avenue are planned for Rucker between Hewitt and Everett avenues. The planters were installed by the Library Place development to reflect the future street configuration.

Traffic hasn’t been a problem since the change was made late in 2009. Some traffic was added on Rucker with the work going on at Hoyt and California, but this should be remedied by this summer.

E-mail us at stsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your city of residence.

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