The absence of public transportation by Community Transit on Sundays, major holidays and eight other days when the holiday falls on a Sunday is a disservice to the community of Snohomish County. One of the first of several core values stated in the mission statement for Community Transit is “Customers First.” If the customer cannot depend on the service being provided, then how can they support a system that is less than adequate?
A portion of the Community Transit budget in Snohomish County is supported by a percentage of sales revenue. That means, if you are able to get to the store, work or the Alderwood Mall, then a portion of what you spend goes to the financing of a system that has cut service by 37 percent. In addition to cutting services they propose to increase fares in 2013, something they also proposed for 2012. The Community Transit website states that they addressed improved budget management at “the first sign of the recession.” If the budget was well managed prior to 2008, then it should have been able to make more reasonable adjustments to insure economic viability. Community Transit embarked on a campaign for citizens to “Buy Local for Transit.” Again, if you can’t get to the store or work on a Sunday or a holiday, then how can you spend or make money to support transit?
Community Transit envisions a future that challenges citizens to consider public transportation for such things as family outings. Most families spend recreational time together on weekends and holidays, so planning transportation on the bus on those days would not be an option in Snohomish County. Several years ago my husband and I took a trip to the San Diego area. We did not rent a car and took the city transit and light rail system to all of our destinations. They obviously run a system that meets the needs of their community, but also those who visit.
There are those of us who work weekends, holidays and shift work. Not everyone chooses to own a car and many in the Northwest live a lifestyle that protects and minimizes the harm on the environment. I work in King County, but live in Snohomish County. I work in health care in a hospital setting that is open 24 hours a day, seven days of the week year round, but I don’t have a bus system that could get me to work if I had to take the bus. Shift workers cannot rely on Community Transit because bus service ends before 10 p.m.
A public service needs to be fair and equitable to the community that it serves. Metro Transit and the city of Everett appear to honor that commitment by continuing to offer the services seven days a week that the community requires. Community Transit needs to reevaluate their commitment to their own core value of “Customer First” because without the customer they will fail.