2018 Annual Report
Your Local Transit Agency Since 1980
Pierce Transit’s mission is to improve people’s quality of life by providing safe, reliable, innovative and useful transportation services that are locally based and regionally connected.
In 2018, we provided 9.8 million rides to people in our community, getting them to jobs, shopping, medical appointments, social events and much more. We offer bus, vanpool and paratransit SHUTTLE services, as well as innovative, tailored programs that connect people to transit. We also help local employers implement efficient and cost-effective employee transportation plans.
Forty years ago, the people of Pierce County approved the funding and formation of Pierce Transit. A lot has changed over the years, including the way people choose to travel. While the majority of people who ride public transportation still choose the bus as their preferred mode, we know that one size does not fit all when it comes to public transportation. That is why Pierce Transit is committed to also providing innovative solutions that make transit simpler and more convenient, such as providing a ride to catch the bus in areas without robust service, making fare payments mobile and providing customers with route-specific updates via text message.
As the CEO of your local transit agency, it is my honor to present you with Pierce Transit’s 2018 Annual Report. We are pleased to share how we helped our community thrive last year and the plans we have for the year ahead.
Thank you for supporting and using your local transit service!
Pierce Transit CEO
The Value of Transit
Transit riders are us – we are teachers and students, office professionals, mechanics, retail workers, military members, parents and entrepreneurs. We ride the bus to get to work or school, to medical appointments, to visit friends. What does transit do for the people who ride it, and for our community?
- Transit benefits a community financially, generating $4 in economic returns for every dollar invested.
- Transit reduces air pollution and traffic congestion by taking cars off the road.
- A household can save nearly $10,000 a year by taking public transportation and living with one car.
- For those who don’t, or can’t, drive, public transportation is a mobility lifeline.
- Traveling by public transportation is 10 times safer than traveling in an automobile.
- Transit encourages healthier habits, generating physical activity by walking to your transit stop and final destination.
- It also reduces the stress of driving.
- Transit frees up your time, allowing you to read, work, study or do other things, without having to watch the road.
Meet your local transit agency...
Pierce Transit Loves the South Sound!
Our employees are proud to be working in this community, and we are dedicated to helping our neighbors. Here are some of the ways we were happy to serve you in 2018.
We began a pilot program selling tickets and passes to qualifying 501(c)(3) human service agencies at a 50 percent discount, allowing them to provide even more transportation assistance to those in need in our community. We sold nearly 22,000 of these tickets and passes in 2018.
We’re all about the fun! In 2018, Pierce Transit provided nearly 49,000 express bus rides to the Washington State Fair and the Taste of Tacoma, and ran community-based “trolleys” in Gig Harbor and between downtown Tacoma and Point Defiance.
Pierce Transit’s newly-formed employee “Good to Give” committee organized employee charitable events, including a Saturday building furniture at the NW Furniture Bank, a “Stuff the Bus” event to collect school supplies for local students, and robust participation in the South Sound Heart and Stroke Walk. Overall, our team racked up 234 volunteer hours in 2018.
We partnered with the City of Gig Harbor and Gig Harbor Peninsula FISH Food Bank and Community Services to repurpose unused Pierce Transit property to house a new food bank.
Every few years Pierce Transit wraps a bus with a local theme and that bus becomes our ambassador at various events. In 2018, we unveiled our newest decorated bus, complete with a South Sound Proud theme!
Partnerships are very important when you’re providing a critical community service. Here are some of the partnerships we fostered in 2018 that benefited people throughout our service area and beyond:
Worked with local school districts to get ORCA (transit) cards into the hands of 5,700 students.
Partnered with 180 local employers to help them with their employees’ transportation needs.
Partnered with ride-hailing company Lyft on a pilot project to provide people with rides to certain transit locations.
Formalized agreements with three community colleges to provide expanded transit options to nearly 13,500 commuting students.
We continuously partner with local groups and organizations to help us recruit an excellent, diverse workforce.
Innovations and Renovations
Throughout the year Pierce Transit continued planning for the South Sound’s first Bus Rapid Transit line between downtown Tacoma and Spanaway, including reaching out to community members to tell them about the project and gather feedback.
In 2018, Pierce Transit introduced the South Sound to our first all-electric buses, building on the agency’s long-term commitment to protecting the environment.
Also in 2018, we renovated six transit centers and Park & Rides, including the Tacoma Dome Station, bringing these important neighborhood assets back to life.
Customers’ use of our PiercePay℠ mobile ticketing option is growing by leaps and bounds!
Pierce Transit is funded primarily by a 0.6 percent sales tax, with some funds coming from other sources, such as fares and federal grants. By law, the only local tax our agency is allowed to collect is sales tax (not car tabs, property taxes or other types of taxes). Pierce Transit operates debt-free, and for 34 years the agency has received a Certificate of Achievement from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada, the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting.
- Sales Tax – 56%
- Regional Partnership – 30%
- Fares – 8%
- Grants – 3%
- Miscellaneous – 3%
- Personnel – 69%
- Supplies and Services – 22%
- Purchased Transportation – 5%
- Fuel – 4%
Serious About Safety
Pierce Transit’s priority is the safety of our riders, our community and our employees. Here are some of the ways we further enhanced system safety in 2018.
Implemented an innovative system to identify hazards and tailor driver coaching to prevent accidents.
Installed LED lighting at several transit centers, brightening them up for added safety and reducing electricity consumption by more than 30 percent.
Conducted nearly 13,000 vehicle safety inspections on our fleet.
More Safety Stats
Pierce Transit bus operators receive 37 days of intensive training, including a full 28 days before ever taking a customer on the road.
Pierce Transit has its own Public Safety team, including 20 Transit Deputies and 19 Public Safety Officers, who keep a watchful eye on our routes and facilities.
Where Are We Going from Here?
Pierce Transit is serving you in 2019:
We will update Pierce Transit’s Long Range Plan this year, seeking extensive public input into what types of services you would like your local transit agency to provide in the future.
We will renovate three more Transit Centers/Park & Rides and begin exploring the possibility of opening a transit center in the Spanaway area.
We will explore operating a new on-demand, tailored transportation service to connect people to transit.
We will begin designing the Bus Rapid Transit line, name the line and assemble a BRT citizens’ advisory committee.
We will participate in a national research project to test a transit collision avoidance system that has the potential to save lives.
We are planning a new apprenticeship program to continually build a skilled workforce.
This summer watch for real-time bus arrival signs at transit centers.
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.
Steilacoom City Council Representing Auburn, Fircrest, Gig Harbor, Pacific, Ruston & Steilacoom
Mayor of Edgewood Representing Fife, Milton & Edgewood
Mayor of Lakewood
Pierce County Council
Pierce County Executive
Puyallup City Council
|Kent Keel |
Mayor of University Place
Tacoma City Council
Mayor of Tacomaa