No bus stop at Future of Flight

Bus rider Joe Kunzler wonders why Community Transit doesn’t have a route to the popular Future of Flight Aviation Center at Paine Field.

“The nearest bus stops require a walk up a steep incline to get to Snohomish County’s top tourist attraction,” said Kunzler, who lives in Sedro-Woolley.

A bus stop is something the museum wants, too.

“We are most interested in finding a long-term public transportation solution for staff, volunteers, event and meeting attendees, local residents, contractors and visitors,” said Sandy Ward, sales and marketing director.

The museum made a formal request for a stop to Community Transit in April.

For now, no bus stop planned.

“Our current buses in the area serve the Mukilteo Speedway, and there is no easy way to get them to make this loop without leaving a portion of the Speedway unserved, or adding lots of time to the current trips,” said Martin Munguia, Community Transit spokesman.

Still, leaders from both groups met in May to go over possible alternatives.

A nixed idea was to loan a Community Transit van to the museum to use as a shuttle from the nearest Route 113 stop. Museum staff “are not in the business of providing transportation,” Munguia said.

An option the transit agency is now exploring is running the weekend Route 113 on an alternating schedule.

“So one bus would operate on the Speedway and the next one would serve the Future of Flight. It’s a thought, and we’ll do some modeling to see what it costs and how it might impact our existing ridership,” Munguia said.

Customer confusion is a concern, as well as quality of service with buses only running once an hour those days.

“As with all new requests for service, we are looking toward the future. We hope for the chance to get new funding so we can add service throughout our service area. If that happens, it is possible that the area around Paine Field and the Future of Flight could get new bus service,” Munguia said.

Still, there are a lot of other priorities on Community Transit’s wish list should any new funding come in.

Kunzler said he’s pleased the idea is at least getting attention.

“The Future of Flight deserves a fair slice of service and this is a significant step in that direction,” he said.

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