Community Transit fares are going up. (Lizz Giordano / Herald file)

Community Transit fares are going up. (Lizz Giordano / Herald file)

Community Transit bus fares are set to increase next week

The 25-cent increase would apply to local routes, but commuter fares would not be affected.

EVERETT — Community Transit’s local fares are set to rise by 25 cents for most riders starting Monday.

At the same time, changes are being made to commuter routes that cross into King County, but they don’t include fare increases.

The transit agency has long had a goal of making sure at least 20 percent of its operating funds come from fares. It’s about 21 percent right now.

To maintain that percentage, the Community Transit board reviews fare rates every two years. Sometimes they’re raised; sometimes they’re not. The board approved the local fare hikes earlier this year to take effect Oct. 1.

“We want to make sure they are in line with the increasing cost of providing the service,” said Martin Munguia, a Community Transit spokesman.

The new rates will be $2.50 for adults, $1.75 for youth and $1.25 for reduced fares. DART paratransit service will cost $2.50.

The agency also is streamlining its fare for commuter routes that cross into King County. There used to be two commuter fares, but now there is one. Riders in south Snohomish County won’t see a change; those in areas north and east of Everett will see a reduction of $1.50. That sets fares on all commuter routes at $4.25 for adults, $3 for youth and $2 for reduced fares.

All riders on commuter routes — the 400 or 800 series routes — will pay the commuter fare even if they are only traveling within Snohomish County. Previously, a rider could pay a local fare on a commuter route if their entire trip was within Snohomish County.

“If you want to take the lower fare you will probably extend the trip time,” Munguia said.

The new policy mirrors what other Puget Sound transit agencies are doing.

“We are trying to simplify fares a lot more,” Munguia said.

Vanpool fares also will go up 3 percent beginning next week. That’s about a $14 increase a van per month.

Community Transit also made a series of route changes that went into effect over the weekend:

Swift Blue Line buses will run every 10 minutes, instead of the previous 12-minute intervals, between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays. Buses will continue to run every 20 minutes during the early morning, nights and weekends.

Route 109 (Ash Way-Lake Stevens) will no longer serve Highway 9 in Lake Stevens between 20th Street and the Lake Stevens Transit Center. Buses will instead travel 20th Street and 99th Avenue, with the rest of the route unchanged.

Route 120 (Canyon Park-Edmonds) will provide 30-minute service from early morning to 6 p.m.

Route 196 (Edmonds-Ash Way) will no longer serve 196th Street in Lynnwood between 44th and 48th avenues, instead traveling 44th and 48th avenues to the Lynnwood Transit Center.

Route 413 (Lynnwood-Seattle) will add new trips throughout the day between Lynnwood and Seattle.

For the last three years, Community Transit has had a modest but steady increase in ridership of about 2 percent annually.

If ridership numbers continue to follow the trend seen in the spring, the transit agency could record a 4 to 5 percent increase in ridership in 2018, Munguia said.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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