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,
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 piercetransit.org.
Thank you for supporting and using your local transit service!
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
- 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 & 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.
- Sales Tax – 57%
- Regional Partnership – 29%
- Fares – 8%
- Grants – 3%
- Miscellaneous – 3%
- Personnel – 69%
- Supplies and Services – 22%
- Purchased Transportation – 5%
- Fuel – 4%
In 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.
With PiercePay℠ You’re On Your Way!
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
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 RideBRT.com
Special Events & Services
In 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!
TASTE OF TACOMA
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.
WASHINGTON STATE FAIR
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
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 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
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.
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.
Mayor of Lakewood
Pierce County Executive
Pierce County Council
Puyallup City Council
|Kent Keel |
Mayor of University Place
Tacoma City Council
Mayor of Edgewood Representing Fife, Milton & Edgewood
Mayor of Tacoma
|Nancy Henderson |
Steilacoom City Council Representing Auburn, Fircrest, Gig Harbor, Pacific, Ruston & Steilacoom