CT CEO Emmett Heath (left) and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Washington, tour the Seaway Transit Center across from the main employee parking lot at the Boeing Co.’s Everett plant. The facility is set to open next year as part of the new Swift Green Line to Canyon Park in Bothell. (Noah Haglund / The Herald)

CT CEO Emmett Heath (left) and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Washington, tour the Seaway Transit Center across from the main employee parking lot at the Boeing Co.’s Everett plant. The facility is set to open next year as part of the new Swift Green Line to Canyon Park in Bothell. (Noah Haglund / The Herald)

Higher fares, altered routes possible for Community Transit

People have a chance to weigh in on the proposals at an April 5 hearing before the agency’s board.

EVERETT — Community Transit wants to raise fares by 25 cents and bolster its Swift bus service, including big changes next year near Paine Field.

Some local routes would change as well, starting in the fall.

People have a chance to weigh in on the proposals at a hearing scheduled April 5 before the agency’s board of directors.

“Our fare policy is designed to make small adjustments more frequently,” CEO Emmett Heath said. “Basically, a little bit at a time, rather than big increases that adversely impact people.”

Heath spoke Friday at the Seaway Transit Center under construction in Everett, across from the main Boeing Co. plant. He led a quick tour for Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen. By the spring of 2019, the new hub should be the northern terminus for the agency’s new Swift Green Line, with service to Bothell’s Canyon Park area.

With the Green Line in place, about a third of the Boeing employees who work across the street at Boeing will be in walking distance of one of CT’s two bus rapid-transit bus lines, Heath said.

“The opportunity is amazing,” he said.

The $76 million Green Line construction project will continue, whether or not CT receives a federal grant for much of the money, Heath said. Policy changes by the Trump administration have cast uncertainty over whether a grant for about two-thirds of the amount will come through. If it doesn’t, the CEO said his agency intends to use its own funds to carry out the project.

“The Green Line’s a go,” he said.

The proposed changes also would increase service on the Swift Blue Line along Highway 99 between Shoreline and Everett. By this fall, those buses would come every 10 minutes on weekdays, instead of the current 12-minute interval. That would apply from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays. The Swift originally came every 10 minutes, but the agency pared back routes to save money during the recession.

“We started at 10 (minutes) because frequency is perhaps the most important factor in attracting people to transit,” Heath said. “… You can throw away your schedule. You’re never late for the bus, you’re just early for the next one.”

Blue Line buses would continue to run every 20 minutes early mornings, nights and weekends. The Green and Blue lines will intersect at Highway 99 and Airport Road.

Two more bus rapid-transit lines are being planned. CT expects to have an Orange Line in place when Sound Transit’s Link light-rail service reaches the Lynnwood Transit Center in 2024. The goal is to serve Edmonds Community College, 196th and 164th streets.

After that, a Red Line is envisioned from Everett to the Smokey Point area.

In all, CT expects to invest $12 million in new bus service over the next year. Overall service hours would grow by 12 percent under the proposal. That’s expected to increase bus ridership by 750,000 trips in its first year. There could be an additional 1.8 million trips, or 20 percent more, by 2023, according to CT’s projections.

The expansion is being aided by a 0.3 percent sales tax-increase voters approved in 2015.

Changes are planned on several bus routes starting this fall: Route 109 (Ash Way-Lake Stevens); Route 196 (Edmonds-Ash Way); and Route 413 (Lynnwood-Seattle).

Some routes serving the Paine Field area are set to change in the spring of 2019, to better align with the new Green Line.

The fare hike would be the first for the agency since 2014. It would apply to local buses, DART paratransit and vanpools. CT reviews the rates every other year.

The increase would take effect Oct. 1. It would push local fares to $2.50 for adults, $1.75 for youth and $1.25 for reduced fares.

Prices for all commuter routes into downtown Seattle and the University of Washington would be simplified to $4.25 for adults, $3 for youth and $2 for reduced fare. That’s the current rate for commuters from south county; riders starting in north county would see a price drop.

Vanpool rates would go up an average of 3 percent, or about $14 per month, based on size of van and length of the trip.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@herald net.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

Community Transit changes.

People can comment on Community Transit proposals to raise fares by 25 cents, add service and alter some routes. The deadline is April 6 to give feedback by mail, email, phone or social media. Find details of the plan at www.communitytransit.org/Proposal.

Mail: 7100 Hardeson Road, Everett, WA 98203

Email: 2018changes@commtrans.org.

Telephone: (425) 353-RIDE (7433), (800) 562-1375 or TTY Relay: 711

Facebook: www.facebook.com/communitytransit

Twitter: @MyCommTrans

Public hearing April 5 at regular CT board meeting

Time: 3 p.m.

Place: 7100 Hardeson Road, Everett. (Served by CT Route 105 and Everett Transit Route 8).

This story has been modified to correctly state that the proposed youth fare would increase to $1.75.

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