CT restores Saturday bus runs


Herald Writer

Starting in mid-September, LuRee Sperry will once again be able to attend Saturday meetings of a group for people with hearing problems, courtesy of Community Transit.

Laura Jensen is not so fortunate.

Both are confined to wheelchairs, live on the outskirts of Everett, and have relied on the bus agency’s door-to-door service for the disabled.

But geography and a decision by CT’s board on Thursday meant Sperry regained previously canceled Saturday bus rides, while Jensen remains without the service she lost in February.

"I like it very much," Sperry, 84, said of the resumption of most Saturday bus service starting Sept. 18.

"I don’t have a social life anymore," lamented Jensen, 38, whose electric wheelchair is so unwieldy that without the special vans she has had to quit a computer class, support group and volunteer job.

Despite pleadings from an activist for the disabled, the CT board unanimously approved plans restoring 86 percent of Saturday service, and commuter runs for south and north Snohomish County, but not returning special Dial-a-Ride, or DART, service to Jensen and 115 others.

The bus service to be returned Sept. 18 was part of cuts made earlier in reaction to the 1999 passage of Initiative 695. The initiative canceled the car tax, a source of roughly a third of CT’s operating budget.

Board member Dave Earling welcomed the service revival as a victory achieved with extensive input from unions, workers and citizens, and a one-year financial aid package from the state.

With limited funding, he said, they could do little more.

"We understand and are sensitive to the fact that we didn’t restore all the service. But we’re going to need more money to do that," Earling said.

But Sarajane Siegfriedt, director of the Disability Resource Center in Everett, said she was disappointed CT’s staff hadn’t briefed board members, or earlier committees, about a plan to help more disabled people for a fraction of the $3 million package approved Thursday.

Siegfriedt lobbied the board to resume DART trips for people who live near bus routes wiped out in the early round of service cuts. Now, CT only offers the special service to people living within three-fourths of a mile of a regular bus route – as required by federal law.

For an additional $58,000 a year, the bus agency could have gone above the legal requirements and helped an estimated 116 former DART riders such as Jensen who are now completely without service, she said.

But Earling said that would require a change in the agency’s long-standing policy tying DART service to regular bus routes. A memo from agency staffers on Thursday warned board members that change could later force them to maintain other costly service for the disabled.

A policy shift like that was beyond the scope of the board’s considerations Thursday, Earling said.

"I’m not averse to doing it," he said. "But I hadn’t even thought about it."

Teresa "Flying Eagle" Baird, a long-time activist for transit for the disabled, backed the board’s decision, saying the pain of cuts needed to be spread equally among riders.

But the loss of a bus could be more devastating for someone in an wheelchair, said Siegfriedt.

"Some people need a little extra help at the outset," she said.

Earling cautioned all of the restored service could be lost within a year if CT doesn’t find another source of money. The $3 million comes from a one-time package approved by state lawmakers.

Transit officials are considering asking county voters to approve a three-tenths of a penny sales tax increase to replace money lost to I-695.

You can call Herald Writer Warren Cornwall at 425-339-3463 or send e-mail to


Coming back

Community Transit Bus service returning Sept. 18:

Most Saturday service – 86 percent. All weekend service was canceled in February.

A commuter route from Stanwood to Seattle gets three round-trips a day, after being cut to two.

Two commuter bus routes from south Snohomish County to Boeing’s Everett plant.

For more information, call Community Transit at 800-562-1375.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Arif Ghouseat flips through his work binder in his office conference room Paine Field on Monday, Dec. 10, 2018 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Paine Field Airport director departing for Sea-Tac job

Arif Ghouse, who oversaw the launch of commercial air travel at Paine Field, is leaving after eight years.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of education.
Public school enrollment still down, even as rural districts grow

Smaller districts in Snohomish County seem to be recovering more quickly — and gaining students — than their urban counterparts.

Angelica Montanari and daughter Makena, 1, outside of the Community Health Center of Snohomish County Everett-Central Clinic on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Amid patient woes, CHC of Snohomish County staffers push for a union

Doctors and nurse practitioners are worried about providers being shut out from clinical decisions, which hurts patient care.

Students make their way after school at Edmonds-Woodway High School on March 12, 2020. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
After Edmonds schools internet outage, staff ‘teaching like it’s the 1900s’

“Suspicious activities” on the district’s network delayed classes and caused schedule havoc. “Kids are using pencil and paper again.”

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Retooling drug laws, protecting octopus and honoring a cactus

It’s already Day 26. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

April Berg, left, and John Lovick
Snohomish County legislators talk race, policy in Seattle

Rep. April Berg and Sen. John Lovick chatted about Tyre Nichols and education at an event kicking off Black History Month.

A suspect removes a rifle bag from a broken rear window of a Seattle police car on May 30 in downtown Seattle. An Everett man, Jacob D. Little, 24, has been charged with the theft of the high-powered rifle stolen from the car. This image is from the criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. 20200904
Everett man sentenced for stealing police gun in Seattle protest

Jacob Little, 26, now faces second-degree murder charges for allegedly killing a man in Renton in August 2020.

Switzerland delegate Markus Herrmann listens while 12th grade students speak with him during a special event set up for their AP Comparative Government class at Glacier Peak High School on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
European delegates talk American culture with Glacier Peak students

Representatives from 18 different EU countries made a stop in Snohomish during their US tour.

Community Transit is leasing a 60-foot articulated BYD battery electric bus this year as an early step in the zero emission planning process. (Community Transit)
Community Transit testing 60-foot electric bus

The agency leased the BYD K11M for $132,000 this year as the first step in its zero-emission planning process.

Most Read