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Welcome to Pierce Transit


Pierce Transit has been providing transportation services for the people of our community since 1980, offering bus, SHUTTLE (paratransit) and vanpool services. We also provide connections with other local and regional transportation providers and work with about 185 local employers to assist them with their ridesharing needs.

Dear Community Members,

Pierce Transit CEO Sue Dreier

The year 2017 was one of growth and innovation for Pierce Transit. The agency spent most of 2016 planning for enhanced service and a comprehensive redesign of our bus route network. We delivered on those promises in 2017, with 45,000 hours of service restored across our service area and a new, more efficient routing system in place with buses that arrive more frequently and run later into the evening. This capped off a 16 percent increase
in service hours since 2015.

It was also a year of planning for the future of transportation in Pierce County as our community continues to grow, and meeting the mobility demands of the future by providing our neighbors with innovative transportation options. One example is our Community and Technical College Bus Pass program, which has already assisted hundreds of students access to the education they need to build their future careers. In 2018, we are building on that philosophy with more programs to help people get where they need to go, including a pilot program to help people bridge that “first, last” mile gap and more easily access a bus line. We are also planning South Puget Sound’s first Bus Rapid Transit system, which will open a world of possibilities to our neighbors with faster, easier-to-use transportation between downtown Tacoma and Spanaway.

In this report, you will find more examples of the work your local transit agency conducted in 2017 to better serve you, and what we are planning for the future. If you have ideas for how we can better serve you, I invite you to contact us at 253.581.8000 or via our website at

Thank you for supporting and using your local transit service!

With regards,

Sue Dreier
Pierce Transit CEO

How We Serve You

WORKFORCE: 948 employees

Local Bus Routes

  • 34 routes with 200 buses
  • 8.5 million boardings
  • 4.9 million revenue miles

SHUTTLE (Paratransit)

  • 5,800 clients and 100 vehicles
  • 325,000 boardings
  • 2.1 million revenue miles


  • 2,395 customers and 456 vans
  • 810,000 boardings
  • 4.8 million miles

Reinventing routes and supplementing service

Reinventing Routes & Supplementing Service

In March 2017, after a year-long, in-depth study of Pierce Transit’s existing bus routes that included robust public input, the agency rolled out a more efficient routing plan with buses arriving more frequently and service running until 10 p.m. on many routes. We also restored 35,000 hours of service, the largest one-time service increase in the agency’s history. In September 2017, Pierce Transit added another 15,000 hours of service, with a focus on providing additional service on the weekends. This capped off a 16 percent boost in service hours since 2015.

The public has noticed the difference, and ridership is up!


Pierce Transit is funded primarily by a 0.6 percent sales tax, with some funds coming from other sources, such as federal grants. The agency operates debt-free, and as sales tax resources have returned following the recession, Pierce Transit has focused on using those funds to rebuild our transit service and provide our customers with more mobility choices.

For the last 33 years, Pierce Transit has received a Certificate of Achievement from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. This is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting.Budget Graphs

  • Sales Tax – 57%
  • Regional Partnership – 29%
  • Fares – 8%
  • Grants – 3%
  • Miscellaneous – 3%
  • Personnel – 69%
  • Supplies and Services – 22%
  • Purchased Transportation – 5%
  • Fuel – 4%

Route 15In the summer of 2017, Pierce Transit introduced the Downtown to Defiance Trolley – Route 15, which ran from downtown Tacoma, along Ruston Way, to Point Defiance Park and back. The Trolley pilot project, which operated from June 2 through Sept. 3, was a partnership funded by the City of Tacoma, Metro Parks Tacoma, South Sound Together, Point Ruston, the Port of Tacoma and Pierce Transit. The goals of the Trolley included enhancing South Sound’s economy by drawing more people to our area’s attractions and businesses; showcasing our region’s assets to visitors and residents; strengthening awareness of South Sound as a desirable place to live, work and play; increasing transit ridership; and helping alleviate the parking squeeze. The Downtown to Defiance Trolley is running again as a pilot in 2018 from June 1 through Sept. 2 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with service extended this year to the Tacoma Dome Station and into Old Town.

Route 15

With PiercePay You’re On Your Way!

Pierce Pay

In September 2017, we introduced PiercePay, a new way to pay for rides using a smartphone or tablet. Using an app called Hopthru, Pierce Transit customers can purchase One Ride Tickets and All Day Passes anytime, anywhere, and use them at their convenience. New users receive their first ride or pass free! This has proven to be a popular service; nearly 1,400 people signed up in just the first four months and it has continued to grow at a rapid pace. The program began as a one-year pilot, but given its popularity, has been extended to a longer-term service.

Studying High Capacity Transit

HCT study

In early 2017 Pierce Transit began studying the feasibility of placing High Capacity Transit (HCT) on a 14.4-mile corridor along Pacific Avenue/SR-7 between downtown Tacoma and Spanaway. The corridor is currently served by Route 1, the agency’s highest-ridership route.

High Capacity Transit systems are designed to carry larger numbers of riders with greater speed, reliability and frequency than a standard fixed-route bus. Stations have additional amenities, such as enhanced lighting, real-time bus arrival information, raised platforms and offboard payment. Buses are more sophisticated, with multiple doors, Wi-Fi and room for bikes on board. Buses arrive every 10 to 15 minutes, allowing the rider to head to the station virtually anytime, rather than thinking about a schedule.

Pierce Transit held six open houses along the corridor in 2017, sharing information with community members and collecting feedback. Of the various HCT methods examined, Bus Rapid Transit rose to the top as the best option and value for the corridor. If the project proceeds and full funding is achieved, it could break ground as early as 2019 with service getting underway as early as 2022.

For More Information Visit

Special Events & Services

special events and servicesIn 2017 Pierce Transit was honored to provide express bus service to several major community events, making it easier for everyone to access them without having to find and pay for parking!

On June 23, 24 and 25 Pierce Transit provided more than 21,000 rides to the Taste of Tacoma. Rides were free, thanks to Taste of Tacoma organizer Festivals, Inc., which paid for the service in its entirety.

On Independence Day, Pierce Transit provided more than 7,600 rides to the Freedom Fair along Ruston Way, and back to parking locations after the fireworks.

Pierce Transit provided nearly 37,000 rides to the Fair and back between Sept. 1 and 24. The agency also offered a “train to bus to door” service that took Sounder train passengers from the Puyallup Station directly to the Fair’s Red Gate.

Transit to Trails

Transit to Trails

Pierce Transit launched a new “Transit to Trails” summer series in 2017.
This educational pilot was aimed at breaking down barriers for new bus riders and
helping them learn how to plan rides and get around using the Pierce Transit bus network.
The pilot ran from June through August, with an additional event held Nov. 19. During these
events, Pierce Transit staff guided program participants through four fun adventures:

  • A visit to the Taste of Tacoma on board the Taste Express;
  • A ride from the 72nd Street Transit Center to the Riverwalk Trail in Puyallup;
  • A ride onboard the Downtown to Defiance Trolley to the Point Defiance Zoo and a ranger-led nature walk; and
  • A Route 1 ride to Pierce County’s Fantasy Lights at Spanaway Park.

Each participant received a free $10 pre-loaded ORCA card, transit information, outdoor packets and information about outdoor events.

Watch for more Transit to Trails events in 2018!

Pierce Transit Gives Back

pierce transit gives backPierce Transit employees love our community! In 2017, agency staff banded together to assist our local community with food and coat drives. We also conducted a United Way campaign and collected school supplies for local students. On one Saturday in September, 65 Pierce Transit employees, along with their family and friends, participated in the South Sound Heart & Stroke Walk and raised $8,720 for this important effort.

Helping Students Reach Their Dreams

Helping Students Reach Their Dream

In April 2017, Pierce Transit kicked off the Community & Technical College Student Bus Pass pilot program, with Clover Park Technical College as our first partner. The program’s goal is to put a bus pass in the hands of every eligible student, thus supporting access to post-high school education and assisting students in reaching their continuing education goals. At the end of the year, students had used their passes to board the bus nearly 30,000 times. In 2018, Pierce Transit expanded the program to include a partnership with Tacoma Community College, and other colleges are on the horizon.

Looking Forward

The year 2018 is already shaping up to be a year of important projects that will give people in our region more transportation options and continue enhancing our community. Among them:

  • Planning for the South Sound’s first Bus Rapid Transit line along Pacific Avenue/SR-7 between downtown Tacoma and Spanaway.
  • Partnering with rideshare company Lyft on a pilot Limited Access Connections program, which provides free rides to help people more easily access transit.
  • Bringing the first all-electric buses to the South Sound.
  • Restoring and improving local Park & Rides and Transit Centers to ensure these public assets reflect well on our community.
  • Partnering with other local entities to plan enhancements and improvements in the transit-rich Commerce Street/Theater District area.

Board of Commissioners

Pierce Transit is governed by a nine-member Board of Commissioners The Board is made up of elected officials representing thirteen cities and towns, Pierce County, and one non-voting union representative (vacant). Board meetings are held the second Monday of each month at 4 p.m. and are open to the public.

Don Anderson Bruce Dammeier Rick Talbert Robin Farris
Don Anderson
Mayor of Lakewood
Bruce Dammeier
Pierce County Executive
Rick Talbert
Pierce County Council
Robin Farris
Puyallup City Council
Kent Keel Ryan Mello Daryl Eidinger Victoria Woodards
Kent Keel
Mayor of University Place
Ryan Mello
Tacoma City Council
Daryl Eidinger
Mayor of Edgewood Representing Fife, Milton & Edgewood
Victoria Woodard
Mayor of Tacoma
Nancy Henderson
Nancy Henderson
Steilacoom City Council Representing Auburn, Fircrest, Gig Harbor, Pacific, Ruston & Steilacoom

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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.


  • You don't need to type in the city along with the address. The Trip Planner shows the possible city names as options if needed. City names are based on zip codes.
  • 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 110 Jones instead of 110 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 1000 Main instead of 1000 S Main. But type 1000 West Viewmont for 1000 West Viewmont Way W.)
  • Some streets and addresses are unknown to the Trip Planner. You may need to enter another nearby location, such as an intersection or a landmark.
  • You should not enter the suite number or apartment number.  Just the house number and street name (Example: type in 401 Broadway instead of 401 Broadway Avenue Suite 800).


  • The "&" symbol is the only character used between two street names to show an intersection. (Examples: 1st & B, James & Madison)
  • You don't need to type in the city. The Trip Planner shows the possible city names as options if needed. City names are based on zip codes.
  • 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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