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Get Around Gig Harbor a Community Success


By just about all measures, the Pierce Transit Trolley “Get Around Gig Harbor” Demonstration Project has been a resounding success. The PT Trolley has exceeded performance measures since it went into operation on July 9, and is just one example of the Agency’s new strategic direction. Watch this video to see how Pierce Transit employees are shifting the Agency’s emphasis to innovation and rapid design processes. In the future, increased collaboration with communities in co-designing tailored transportation solutions like the PT Trolley will be a high priority.

In The News

  • Gig Harbor trolleys will be back for second summer, Pierce Transit board decides


    By Steve Maynard — Staff writer
    The Tacoma News Tribune

    The trolleys will be back again next summer in Gig Harbor.

    Pierce Transit's board voted unanimously Monday to continue the service after a trial run proved popular this summer and met the agency’s ridership and revenue goals.

    Meanwhile, if you think you still see the old-fashioned-looking trolleys on the road, you're understandably mistaken.

    Pierce Transit painted two of its surplus 30-foot buses to look like trolleys. They were used during the summer as substitutes when the two leased trolleys broke down. The painted buses are currently being used on Route 100 in Gig Harbor.

    Next summer, riders could have to pay a substantially higher fare next summer to ride the real trolleys. The price of a ride during the summertime demonstration project was 25 cents. Pierce Transit proposes charging its standard fares of $2 for adults. Youths ages 6 to 18 would pay 75 cents. Children 5 and under would still ride for free.

    Pierce Transit plans to seek more community contributions to lower the adult fare.Also Monday, the board approved designing tailored service using two loop routes with shuttles in Fife, Edgewood and Milton. The so-called "circulator" service is proposed to start in mid-February.

  • Trolley hop drawing to roll into Gig Harbor this month


    When I traveled to San Francisco earlier this year, I had the opportunity to ride up and down the hills of town on their world-famous trolley. We had a blast and saw the city from a whole new perspective that can only come by way of a cable car.

    Little did I know that, within a short time, a classic trolley would be traveling our streets, and we would all have the opportunity to do the same thing right here in good ol' Gig Harbor.

    Since its inception July 9, more than 18,000 people have ridden the Pierce Transit Get Around Gig Harbor Trolley. Amazing!

    The trolley has been a way to connect the many neighborhoods of town. It brings people downtown who may not otherwise come to explore the more than 20 restaurants, six pet stores, many independently owned book stores, clothing stores and art galleries.

    The trolley also takes riders to the bustling west side of town to find groceries, fast food, the beautiful shops of Uptown and the surrounding area.

    A round trip from downtown to Uptown appeals to both locals and visitors alike as it stops mid-way to visit the Harbor History Museum and the shops of the Finholm District.

    Riders also may disembark the trolley to enjoy the view from the beautiful Bogue Viewing Platform. Our hotels visitors have expressed how much they enjoy the ability to explore our town without a car, just as you can in San Francisco, seeing everything we have to offer.

    Let's keep it going.

    The Pierce Transit Get Around Gig Harbor Trolley will continue through Sept. 28. As a community, we have supported this program, and its ridership has exceeded expectations each week.

    With summer winding down, I would like to encourage all of you to continue to ride the trolley and to encourage visitors to hop on. And if you haven't yet, take a ride. See your town from a new perspective.

    Let's keep it going and show Pierce Transit we can support this on an annual basis. And if that isn't reason enough, participate in the Trolley Hop Drawing, because you may win a prize.

    The Pierce Transit Get Around Gig Harbor Trolley marketing group, a collaboration between the City of Gig Harbor, the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Pierce Transit, the Downtown Waterfront Alliance and Uptown Gig Harbor, is encouraging people to participate in the drawing Sept. 14-28. Grab an entry form onboard and drop it off at one of the businesses listed on the form for your chance to win an iPad.

    The event will end at 10 a.m. Sept. 28 at the Farmers' Market at Uptown, where the winner will be drawn. You may enter as many times as you ride the trolley.

    Karen Scott is the marketing director for the City of Gig Harbor. She can be reached at For more information, visit

  • Trolleys a sign of hope for Pierce Transit


    By CHRISTIAN HILL — Staff writer
    The Tacoma News Tribune

    Summertime service seen as innovative way to link downtown Gig Harbor with uptown shopping areas

    There’s more riding on Gig Harbor’s new trolleys than shoppers and tourists. Pierce Transit and its partners, including the city of Gig Harbor, started a summertime service Tuesday that will link the downtown waterfront and uptown shopping areas. It will also be a test of how the beleaguered transit agency could serve small communities in the future.

    Pierce Transit will slash service hours by 28 percent in September following last year’s rejection of a sales tax increase. It already made reductions after voters defeated the same measure in 2011, cutting service by one-third, its workforce by 18 percent and its service area by 30 percent.

    No longer able to afford sending large buses on fixed routes to small outlying communities, Pierce Transit is looking at less expensive ways to serve residents who rely on public transportation.

    Marilyn Strickland, Tacoma mayor and Pierce Transit’s board chairwoman, told more than 70 people who attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Skanskie Brothers Park Tuesday morning that the agency has had “some tough years.” But she added the Gig Harbor trolley service reflects a willingness by board members, managers and employees to be “creative and innovative.”

    “We hope that this will be a project that is very successful so we can roll it out to other communities throughout our entire service area,” she said.

    Pierce Transit will spend an estimated $216,096 for the service. Its partners, including the city of Gig Harbor, uptown businesses, the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Waterfront Alliance, will chip in a total of $41,161.

    The transit agency leased two 29-foot trolleys (actually diesel buses) delivered from North Carolina. It also painted two surplus 30-foot buses to look like trolleys as backups and installed trolley bus stop signs. The total startup cost was $75,780.

    The agency hopes trolley fare revenues will reduce its overall costs.

    So-called “tailored community solutions” will be a focus for Pierce Transit as the agency develops a strategic plan guiding its decision-making from 2014 to 2016.

    Other possible solutions, according to agency spokeswoman Carol Mitchell:

    • Pierce Transit could join forces with a large employer to transport workers and local residents throughout an area.
    • It could provide a small bus to circulate in one or more communities more often than a traditional large bus that follows a fixed route.

    In May, Pierce Transit convened what will be a 10-member business development team to drive this effort. The team is set to meet with Fife city officials on July 18 to explore service options that could start in early 2014. The city councils governing Edgewood, Fife and Milton have passed resolutions protesting the coming service cuts.

    Fife City Councilman Glenn Hull, who serves on the Pierce Transit board, has proposed an alternative “circulator” route to reduce costs while continuing to provide service to the three neighboring communities.

    He said he’s happy about the Gig Harbor trolley service because it “sends signals that the agency is starting to shift our strategic direction to serving communities with different needs with alternative modes of transportation.”

    Gig Harbor civic and business leaders have lobbied for the trolley project for years as, in the words of Mayor Chuck Hunter, it provides the “missing link” to connect the core retail areas.

    The trolley could return next year if the demonstration project is successful. On Tuesday, 120 people had boarded in the first three hours of operation.

    “We need to get people out of automobiles somehow,” said former Mayor Gretchen Wilbert, a strong supporter of the trolley project. “The price of gas. The parking. We just need to have local transportation available, and that’s what the trolley does.”

    But Gig Harbor will not be immune from Pierce Transit cuts. The day after the trolley service ends on Sept. 28, the agency will reduce its total service hours from 417,000 to 300,000 annually, with big cuts on weekends.

    Mitchell said the trolley will run a total of 1,762 service hours, which is less than 1 percent of the current total, and “that’s not a huge impact when you’re thinking about the larger system.” But factor in providing mass transit to a busy community for three months, and the investment “makes a huge difference,” she said.

    “If we’re going to find ways to increase ridership and grow the system, we have to be able to attract riders that would otherwise be in their cars,” she said.

    Gig Harbor resident Dayla Clark, 34, and her 3-year-old son, who rode the trolleys Tuesday, may be exactly the audience Pierce Transit and its partners are seeking.

    She lives near the waterfront and expects to ride a lot over the summer.

    “It’s the cool factor,” she said of the trolleys, “but after that I could easily do some shopping.”

    Christian Hill: 253-274-7390 @TNTchill

Measured Success

Pierce Transit conducted on-board surveys on 14 selected days between August 12th and September 8th, 2013. The purpose of the survey was to collect valuable Trolley rider experience feedback and usage data, as well as increase the amount of positive interactions riders have with Pierce Transit employees. We asked basic questions of Trolley riders including, basic demographic information, real-time travel and frequency of use, how they learned about the Trolley, and the overall experience. Some highlights include:

On Board Survey completed by 641 passengers

  • 94% satisfied or extremely satisfied with trolley & 4% dissatisfied
  • 91% very likely to somewhat likely to recommend the trolley
  • Trip purpose: 21% shopping & errands, 16% restaurants, 12% to reach recreation
  • Travelling to local destinations including Farmers Markets, Downtown, Uptown, library & skate park

Merchants Survey completed by 29 merchants

  • 55% think trolley increased the number of customers who visited their business.
  • 66% think trolley positively impacted tourism at their business
  • 52% think trolley positively impacted their business’s revenue
  • 86% think trolley added benefit to Gig Harbor community.
  • 85% rated their satisfaction with the trolley an 8 or higher.

Gig Harbor Trolley Seasonal Service Title VI Service Equity Analysis
© 2014 Pierce Transit, All Rights Reserved. Site Design and Development by SiteCrafting.

Trip Planner Help

Trip Planner Tips - Entering Locations

To create a trip plan you need to enter both a starting location (origin) and an ending location (destination). For information about stops, schedules, or service at a specific location, you only need to enter one location.

The Trip Planner recognizes most street intersections and addresses as well as many landmarks in Pierce, King, and Snohomish Counties. If what you entered is not immediately recognized, the Trip Planner will offer you a list of options. You can choose one of the options, but if your intended location is not there, select the "Revise Original Entries" link to return to the entry page and change the entries you have already made.


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  • You don't need to type in St., Street, Ave., or Avenue, or similar street types. The Trip Planner shows the possible alternatives as options if needed. (Example: type Conifer & Jones instead of Conifer Circle & Jones Boulevard.)
  • You don't need to type in the directional designations for streets, but if a direction name is part of a street name, you should include it. (Example: type 3rd & Main instead of 3rd S & S Main. But type 34th & West Viewmont for 34th W & West Viewmont Way W.)
  • Some streets are unknown to the Trip Planner. You may need to enter another nearby intersection or a landmark.


Government Sites: Pierce County Health Dept, Pierce Co Sheriffs Office, Tacoma City Hall

Major Commercial Sites: Tacoma Mall, Sheraton Hotel

Transportation Facilities: Sea-Tac Airport, Greyhound Bus Depot

Schools & Colleges: Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma Community College

Sports & Leisure: Cheney Stadium, Pt Defiance Zoo

Medical Facilities: Group Health, Tacoma General Hospital


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