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2021 Annual Report
Meet Our CEO
As Pierce Transit’s Chief Executive Officer, it is my honor to present to you Pierce Transit’s 2021 Annual Report. Inside you will find details about the many ways we provide safe, innovative public transportation services that benefit our entire community. Thanks for reading, and for riding.
-Mike Griffus, CEO Pierce Transit
What Does Transit Do?
Public transportation provides many benefits, both to people who use it and those who do not. Simply put, transit-rich communities are strong communities. Among other benefits, transit:
Helps people get to jobs, health care and other critical destinations
Reduces traffic congestion by taking cars off the road
Improves air quality through reduced emissions
Generates family-wage jobs, both transit jobs and private sector jobs
Increases equity through improved mobility – for example, recent national, onboard surveys showed 68 percent of bus riders did not have a car available for their transit trip
Spurs economic growth
Transit improves people’s lives, and we are proud to provide this essential service to the people of our community.
Safety On Our System
At Pierce Transit, safety is not just a word – it’s a culture. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Pierce Transit has been a leader in providing a clean and safe riding environment for our customers and employees.
In 2021, the agency led the nation in developing a virtual reality training program for bus drivers. When the program launched in early 2022, it added another tool to Pierce Transit’s already award-winning safety training program. The agency’s Public Safety team is also active out in the system, ensuring a safe environment while waiting for and riding transit.
1,248Classroom and Behind-the-Wheel training hours
748Bus driver on-the-road safety checks
8%Decrease in preventable accidents per 100K miles from previous year
Pierce Transit is continuously focused on improvement. Agency staff measure key performance metrics against goals and benchmarks to ensure the delivery of positive safety outcomes.
Million Mile Club
Million Mile Club is a rare honor attained by professional bus operators nationwide who have driven a million consecutive miles or more without a preventable accident.
Pierce Transit is proud to have more than 50 employees who have achieved this impressive honor!
In 2021, Pierce Transit relaunched Runner on-demand services after a pandemic hiatus. We added a Runner serving the Port of Tacoma and Tideflats area to the Runner menu, alongside services for Ruston Way and JBLM.
Riders can request a Runner ride using an app or by phone call, providing a connection to and from transit in areas that have limited bus service. Runner trips are paid for using Pierce Transit’s mobile ticketing app or by showing a valid ORCA card or All Day Pass. In 2022, the Spanaway-Parkland-Midland area will also have Runner service.
4,363,240Annual passenger boardings
4,558,354Annual miles traveled
14,270Average weekday boardings
323,089Annual passenger boardings
2,583,536Annual miles traveled
1,217Average weekday boardings
1,367,835Annual miles traveled
481Average weekday boardings
Paratransit vehicles supported
Support vehicles maintained
Vanpool vans serviced
One of our favorite things is partnering with people and organizations in our community! For example, in 2021:
- Pierce Transit provided service to the Blue Gate parking lot for the Washington State Fair. Several local Pierce Transit routes also connected passengers to the State Fairgrounds.
- Pierce Transit partnered with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to ensure people had equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations. We provided free rides for people riding to and from vaccination events and appointments, and helped raise awareness about how to get there.
- Pierce Transit was proud to be part of the now-underway Tacoma Trax transit-oriented development in the heart of the Tacoma Dome District. The 5-story development, built on land previously owned by Pierce Transit, is located steps away from Tacoma Dome Station, Washington state’s largest multi-modal transit hub.
The ORCA for Multifamily program gives multifamily properties a convenient way to provide their residents with bus, train or light rail benefits.
This regional transit amenity pays for rides on these ORCA service providers: Pierce Transit, Sound Transit, King County Metro, Community Transit, Kitsap Transit, and Everett Transit. ORCA for Multifamily includes a flat rate first year cost and rolls into a pay-as-you-go pricing upon renewal.
70.6% Sales Tax
Smart Commute Solutions
In November 2021, the Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners approved a simplified flat rate fare for our Vanpool service, which reduces the number of vanpool fare options from 420 to six. The Board also approved a permanent, part-time rider option that will give hybrid commuters more flexibility to participate in vanpool.
We are excited to launch the new fares and the part-time rider option starting in May 2022.
Pierce Transit 2021 Board
Pierce Transit is governed by a nine-member Board of Commissioners, representing the communities in the agency’s service area.
Pierce County Council
Tacoma City Council
Tacoma City Council
Mayor of University Place
Pierce County Council
Puyallup City Council, representing Edgewood and Puyallup
Mayor of Fife, representing Fife, Milton, Pacific, Auburn, Ruston, Steilacoom and Gig Harbor
Deputy Mayor of Lakewood
Mayor of Tacoma
Planning for the Future
As we look ahead to the service Pierce Transit will provide in the future, we are making changes that will help us meet the community’s needs. This includes updating our Lakewood base facility to maintain future Bus Rapid Transit vehicles, accommodate a larger electric fleet, expand the bus lot to accommodate more vehicles, and modernize our 35-year-old maintenance facility to service vehicles with new technology and components. This multi-year base improvement project is underway and will result in enhanced service and safety.
Bus Rapid Transit
A New Mobility Option for South Sound
Pierce Transit is planning the South Sound’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line along a 14-mile portion of Pacific Avenue/SR-7 between downtown Tacoma and Spanaway. BRT is a new type of service designed to carry a larger number of riders with greater speed, reliability, and frequency than a standard bus route. Pierce Transit continues laying the groundwork for this new service, expected to be up and running in 2027. We are also studying where to locate future BRT lines that will make up an integrated BRT system called “Stream.” To learn more and interact with us on this project, visit RideStream.org.